Whether you are buying the cheapest set of units from everyone’s favourite homeware store or going for a fully handcrafted bespoke kitchen from a kitchen company in Cheshire, there are basically four types of kitchen. The only question is which type suits you?
A traditional kitchen tends to be a practical mixture of function and form over aesthetics leading to a comfortable, lived-in, feeling. If space allows, the centrepiece will be a large, preferably aged, kitchen table which provides most, if not all, of the preparation space.
The sink will typically be a stone or ceramic Belfast sink with Victorian or Edwardian style taps wall mounted above it. A range-style cooker (or better yet a real range such as an Aga or Rayburn) completes the look.
Traditional kitchens are about being places where families meet and cook together so expect to see pans and utensils on the walls and worktops, cookery books on shelves and visible ingredients.
Other names: Rustic, Mediterranean, Country, Farmhouse
Modern kitchens are all about sleek efficiency. They tend to be fully-fitted industrial styles with straight lines being the order of the day.
Worktops are often made from modern materials such as polished concrete, glass or stainless steel and floor to ceiling walls of cupboard fronts hide appliances as well as storage space. Cupboard fronts have plain, often high gloss, finishes and may be handle-less for a fully streamlined appearance.
Alternatively, cupboards may be absent with shelves and racks providing storage space similar to that found in commercial kitchens. The cooker will probably be in a more industrial style and other “white goods” will probably have stainless steel or chrome finishes.
Other names: Industrial, Functionalist
Contemporary kitchens tend to combine the best of both modern and traditional designs. Fuss-free lines and fitted units ensure the kitchen is easy to keep clean and tidy while a dining area, breakfast bar or island unit (as space permits) allows for easy entertaining and fuss-free family meals.
Materials may be more traditional than in a modern kitchen – granite or quartz worktops, wood flooring, stainless steel sinks, although high-gloss wipe clean cupboards make an appearance. Often contemporary kitchens eschew a large amount of cupboard space for drawers, which may include drawer appliances such as dishwashers and fridges.
There may also be a “wall of gadgets” including multiple ovens, coffee makers and plumbed-in fridges. In some kitchens, multi-function taps may replace the traditional kettle.
Other Names: Scandinavian, Minimalist
Why stick with just one style? Having an eclectic kitchen means you’re free to mix and match styles. Done well the result can be astounding – although if it is poorly done, it can result in something visually chaotic.
Eclectic kitchens work best when there is an underlying base style that has been added to thoughtfully to make a very personal and unique kitchen combining the elements of kitchen design you find important.
A modern one-wall kitchen could be tempered by an aged farmhouse table or traditional style units could be topped by ultra-modern stainless steel or glass. Careful juxtaposition of styles can allow you to get the best of both worlds instead of the worst of each!
Other names: Fusion Chic, Bespoke
What’s Your Style?
Whatever the size of your kitchen, or the age of your home, you’re sure to have your own personal style. Discussing a kitchen design with an experienced kitchen designer – not just a planner who wants to sell you some units – can help you to explore your own style. In doing so, you’ll be able to create a kitchen that accurately reflects your individual personality and will be an asset to your home.