May 23, 2024

Kitchen Styles

Which style kitchen is right for you? Take a look at this list to find the kitchen styles you like best, and to get ideas and inspiration for decorating any style of kitchen.

The Modern Kitchen Style

Modern Kitchen Style -- The Farnsworth House, Plano Il, by Noteworthy Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Modern Kitchen Style — The Farnsworth House, Plano Il, by Noteworthy Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Often, when people speak of a “modern kitchen,” what they really mean is a “contemporary kitchen.” You might wonder what, exactly, the differences are, and how to differentiate “modern” from “contemporary.” While the differences are subtle, it’s important to make the distinction. This is particularly critical if you are planning to remodel your kitchen or build a new kitchen from scratch, because you’ll need to communicate your design preferences to professionals. It will be essential for them to understand the specific goals you have in mind for your new kitchen’s style and functionality.

When you say, “I want a modern kitchen,” do you really mean “I want a kitchen that looks totally stylish and up-to-the-minute, right now”? If so, the chances are good that what you really want is not a modern kitchen design, but rather a contemporary design.

When you say, “I want a modern kitchen,” do you mean to say that you want a kitchen design that could — and probably is intended to — complement a structure built between the years 1900 -1979, featuring a vaguely retro, minimalist, vintage look and feel — yet it also retains a timeless quality that’s absolutely appropriate for life in 2024 and beyond? If so, the chances are good that a modern kitchen is exactly right for your needs.

“Modern” isn’t at all a new concept, although many brand new kitchen and home designs do continue to incorporate design elements that were popularized during the early years of the modernist movement. For that reason, it can be challenging to figure out where “modern style” stops and “contemporary style” begins.

Common elements between the two design styles could include clean, uncluttered lines, open floor plans and extensive use of glass, metal, concrete, stucco, brick and / or wood fabrications.

The Contemporary Kitchen Style

Anything goes in the contemporary kitchen, but clean, minimalist lines are characteristic of the style, along with appliances that blend seamlessly into the d├ęcor. Stainless steel has been a contemporary kitchen fabrication of choice, and has remained a popular material for kitchen fixtures in the recent past. Other materials such as chrome, brushed nickel, and brass have been recent alternative options for fixtures in contemporary kitchens.

Any color could be the right color in a contemporary kitchen, although black and white are two of the hottest color choices of the moment. Quartz kitchen counters are in widespread use in contemporary kitchens, and white granite is also a good choice for those who are embracing the black and white color trend. Need more ideas? Check out more of the top kitchen trends for 2024 and the top color trends for 2024.

The Country-Style Kitchen

There are zillions of different ways you could decorate a country-style kitchen, which means that country kitchens defy easy explanation.

Over the years, one popular theme has been the red and white country-style kitchen, with cozy red and white checked tablecloths and a variety of different red or white appliances.

A Farmhouse-Style Country Kitchen.

A farmhouse style kitchen is another popular variation of the country kitchen. A farmhouse kitchen generally has a large sink, ample pantry space, plus lots of cabinets for holding dishes, pots, pans, canning jars, bakeware and all the other gadgets a gardener needs to process and preserve fresh produce.

The French Country Kitchen

Antique French Country Kitchen Design from Houmas House and Gardens, a Louisiana plantation-era attraction; photo courtesy of photographer Carol M. Highsmith
Antique French Country Kitchen Design from Houmas House and Gardens, a Louisiana plantation-era attraction; photo courtesy of photographer Carol M. Highsmith

The French country kitchen is typically a warm, sunny, comfortable space, often featuring cream, off-white, butter yellow, golden yellow or pale blue surfaces or paint. The French country kitchen might also be colorful, perhaps featuring a color story of red, blue, yellow, green and cream or white — or colors of the occupants’ choosing.

Wood floors, cabinets or other surfaces abound, with warm woods, light-colored woods and interesting wood grains evident in various examples.

Floral motifs and rooster motifs are popular design elements, which you might find present on the wall art, the table linens and even sometimes on the dinnerware. Plaids and florals are popular for printed fabrics, perhaps adorning curtains at the windows, slip covers or chair pads. Brick surfaces are also commonly found in French country style kitchens — perhaps integrated into a fireplace or wall.

The Suburban Casual Kitchen

This is a laid-back, low-maintenance, user-friendly style of kitchen that could be right for just about any suburban family. It features basic yet plentiful cabinetry, perhaps wood or perhaps in other fabrications. This kitchen is practical and easy-care, with tile or laminate floors and plenty of stainless steel surfaces.

The Urban Industrial Kitchen

When a kitchen environment has a raw, unfinished look reminiscent of a downtown loft, that’s what people refer to as an “industrial style kitchen” or “urban industrial kitchen”. Typical design elements could include hand-scraped wood flooring, glass picture windows, glass block, exposed pipes, stainless steel appliances, trough-style sinks, brick walls on the interior, open shelving, metal cabinetry, barn lights and / or RLM light fixtures. None of these elements are strict necessities, as many interior designers have a distinctively individual approach to this design style.

The Mountain Modern Kitchen

“Mountain Modern” is a relatively recent style trend that fuses elements from several disparate style trends: Basically, it’s a mashup of elements from traditional lodge style decorating plus urban industrial style plus modern design and / or contemporary style. Take the list of design elements listed above under “urban industrial style” and then add log cabin style design elements such as wood beams and a cozy fireplace. Yes, a fireplace in the kitchen — that’s trendy right now, although a fireplace is not an essential inclusion in a mountain modern style kitchen. If you want to refer to your kitchen as “mountain modern,” it does help if you can actually see snow-capped mountains when you look out the massive glass picture windows — but that isn’t a strict necessity either.

The Craftsman Kitchen Style

A Craftsman Style Kitchen, Otherwise Known as Arts and Crafts or Mission Style Kitchen.
A Craftsman Style Kitchen, Otherwise Known as “Arts and Crafts” or “Mission Style Kitchen.”

When you think of a Craftsman home, the kitchen probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind; Craftsman homes are noteworthy more for the living rooms, the dining rooms and the fireplaces. Still, the kitchen is an important room in any home, and the Craftsman kitchen is no exception.

To get inspiration for what constitutes the typical Craftsman kitchen, I took a look at back issues of The Craftsman magazine and a book called Craftsman Homes, both published by Gustav Stickley in the early 1900s. What I found: comfortable, roomy kitchens featuring built-in sinks and furniture, plus abundant tile.

See Also: Decorating a Craftsman Home With Vintage Furnishings

The Beach Cottage Style Kitchen

A beach cottage kitchen features a breezy, easy charm. It might incorporate a nautical theme, or perhaps incorporate ocean-themed elements such as fish, dolphins, coral or shells.

The Eclectic Kitchen

Your kitchen doesn’t have to be decorated in any one style or theme. You can curate your own space and combine as many elements or styles as you want to. Feel free to put French country-style roosters together with minimalist white cabinetry plus a cozy red and white checkered tablecloth, or put together any other mixed and matched, eclectic look that would make you happy.

Find More Kitchen Style Ideas and Inspiration

Get the lowdown on all the latest kitchen design trends. Discover the hottest kitchen gadgets, accessories, and fixtures:

References and Photo Credits:

This page was last updated on 2-18-2024.

Which kitchen style is right for you? Take a look at this list to find the kitchen styles you like best, and get ideas for decorating any style of kitchen.
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