|While certain layouts, or
floor plans, are more typical with particular kitchen
types, it is almost always possible to mix and match types and layouts.
While this section deals
with types, the "Layouts"
section addresses the equally important question of floor plans,
including common kinds, key considerations, and the various benefits
and drawbacks of each.
kitchen type is, first and foremost, a reflection of personal
preferences. It speaks to aesthetics rather than function. A
traditional kitchen can contain the same appliances, the same floor
area, and the same amount of cabinet space as a contemporary
kitchen. Both allow the same sorts of food preparation and
processes to take place. However, the two have an entirely different
look and feel. Consequently, in selecting a kitchen type, the question
for the household is not: "will this allow us to cook the way we want
to cook?" Rather the question is: "will this provide the ambience and
the environment in which we feel most comfortable?"
importance of the kitchen as a working space and a social space,
coupled with the amount of time spent by various members of the
household in the kitchen, it is imperative to devote time to
considering and selecting a kitchen type that best reflects the
aesthetic preferences of the members of the household. The process
begins by overviewing the different kitchen types that are available
and understanding the component parts which comprise those types.
kitchen type is an admixture of architectural and design elements
associated with elegant European and American homes of the 18th, 19th,
and early 20th centuries. Traditional kitchens typically feature ornate
molding or trim, raised cabinet fronts, warm wood surfaces, and antique
elements, such as throwback light fixtures. Within the category of
traditional kitchens, there are a number of subcategories, including
Victorian, Italiante, Edwardian, Queen Anne, Georgian,
Federal, Neoclassical, Cape Cod, Shaker, Cottage, Estate, and Manor.
Victorian style utilizes a light color palette, basic woods, a classic
cabinet design, crown moldings, and rounded floor corners. Light drapes
can be added to the windows. The overall look is one of understated
elegance and warmth. Cabinets do not look built in, but often feature
legs, creating a furniture effect. Countertops should be made of
marble, wood, granite, soapstone, or plated steel.
The Edwardian style
takes a somewhat more utilitarian approach, eliminating the rounded
corners and maximizing the floor space relative to the Victorian style.
Although Edwardian still emphasizes the use of woods and raised panel
cabinets, often with a bolder color palette, the overall look of
Edwardian is more pared down and functional than Victorian, with less
emphasis on moldings and trim. By contrast, Italiante goes in the other
direction, placing greater emphasis on moldings, trims, and carved
reliefs, along with a wider variety of colors. Queen Anne goes even
farther than Italiante, adding a lot of elaborate design elements,
almost excessive ornamentation, and a combination of multiple materials
The Georgian style emphasizes symmetry, with square
raised panel doors and cabinets that extend to the ceiling. Georgian is
a stately, imposing design, with substantial moldings and reliefs,
dramatic draperies, and chandelier lighting. Colonial and Federal
styles are both close derivations of the Georgian style.
less ornamentation than the Georgian style and often uses a darker
color palette and places greater reliance on intermixing glass cabinet
doors with traditional panel doors. Cherry, hickory, maple, and oak are
common materials for the cabinets, while countertops are usually made
of soapstone, granite, or laminate that resembles either of the former
two materials. Federal is a more austere style, with basic designs and
a quiet emphasis on functionality. There is a reduced use of moldings
or trim and a lighter feel to the furniture. The Georgian, Colonial,
and Federal styles also all lend themselves to a more contemporary look
which is known as Neoclassical. The Neoclassical kitchen uses such
traditional elements as raised panel cabinet doors, basic molding, and
pilasters, but combines them with a more contemporary, pared down and
functional look seamlessly incorporating modern appliances.
Cape Cod style is a frugal and pared down approach to kitchen design,
featuring a built-in look with basic cabinets, most commonly painted
either white or off-white. Compared to Victorian, or even Federal, the
Cape Cod kitchen looks simplified and minimalist, emphasizing space and
light. The Shaker style is even more functional and basic than the Cape
Cod, offering simple lines, no-frills designs, and knobs in place of
handles on cabinet doors, while favoring natural wood colors,
particularly in shades of tan. The Cottage style borrows elements from
both the Cape Cod and the Shaker, recreating the light and spare feel
of a summer cottage, with light colors and basic wood cabinets and
countertops. Cottage can have a rustic feel to it, with the use of such
design elements as faded tiling, exposed frames, trough sinks, and open
Where Cape Cod, Shaker, and Cottage offer
progressively simplified styles, Estate and Manor go in the opposite
direction, combining Victorian ornamental elements in an expansive
utilization of space which typically includes a recessed hearth
surrounding the rangetop and a long center island. Carved doors and
moldings are coupled with a combination of painted, glazed, and stained
cabinets to create a feel of old world luxury.
kitchen style focuses on creating a warm, cozy, and uplifting
atmosphere through the use of bright colors and earthy materials
coupled with beadboard paneling, botanical motifs, decorative shelves,
and handcrafted elements. Country style kitchens often feature floral,
checkered, striped and plaid patterns; glazed, painted, pickled, or
distressed cabinets; chicken wire or metal cabinet door inserts; tiled
wall or countertop sections; and woven basketry and handmade cutlery.
Within the category of country kitchens there are several additional
subcategories which include French, English, Tuscan, Swedish,
Farmhouse, and Garden.
The French Country kitchen design
utilizes framed cherry or oak cabinets with either raised or recessed
panel doors and wrought iron handles, decorative open shelves
containing multicolored dishware, pot and plate racks, beadboard and
tiling on the walls, a hearth shaped range top, a center island, and a
The English Country kitchen design has many similar
characteristics, but is a bit more dressy than the French Country
style, utilizing more Victorian and Edwardian elements such as crown
and rope moldings, carved cabinet doors, and soapstone, granite, or
marble countertops. A typical touch is a racked display of condiments
and sets of flower vases.
The Tuscan Country kitchen design
places much greater focus on creating a rustic feel than either the
French or the English styles. The cabinets are heavy wooden types with
a weathered or distressed look and ponderous wrought iron handles.
There is a higher proportion of open, doorless cabinets to cabinets
with doors than in most other kitchen designs. The countertops
typically use stone, slate, granite, marble, or limestone. Walls are
often textured in aged, faded motifs such as rough plaster or,
alternatively, use colored tiling or mosaics. The typical color scheme
is very grounded and earthy, utilizing terracotas, slates, burnt
umbers, burgundies, taupes, olives, chestnuts, and teals. Decorative
jars are a common design addition to help create an authentic Tuscan
The Swedish Country kitchen is a more austere and basic
design than the French, English, or Tuscan. It uses the open shelving
and antique elements of the country kitchen style, but combines them
with basic, no-nonsense cabinets and a functional layout. There is a
much greater emphasis on white and off-white cabinet colors coupled
with natural wood countertops and floors. Condiment displays and
decorative jars are eschewed in favor of open shelves and racks with
basic plates and dishware. The emphasis is on simple, strong lines and
maximizing the available light.
The Farmhouse style kitchen is
even more rustic than the Tuscan Country kitchen, utilizing pine or oak
cabinets coupled with checkered designs and sections of unfinished
wood, metal, or even brick. Vintage placemats and antique
add to the overall feel of a Farmhouse kitchen. Dark woods,
bronzes, and plaids are common motifs. The Garden kitchen is similar to
the Farmhouse kitchen, but places greater emphasis on pastoral themes
such as glazed pottery and floral arrangements.
kitchen style is a minimalist approach that replaces ornamentation with
function. Basic lines, geometric shapes, curves, and arcs are
coupled with such materials as glass, stainless steel, chrome, lacquer,
and laminate. Trim and moldings are avoided. Cabinets are typically
frameless with glass, frosted glass, or slab doors. Metallic accents
are common, often in the form of sleek handles. The contemporary
kitchen provides a polished, futuristic look with excellent lighting
and open space.
subcategories which comprise the contemporary kitchen style are not
well defined. However, there are several general influences which can
affect the look of the contemporary kitchen. These can be broadly
related to the architectural styles of Art Deco, Modernism,
Postmodernism, and Futurism.
Art Deco and the accompanying Art
Moderne are design styles which emphasize geometric shapes, aerodynamic
appearances, metallic materials, and exotic color palettes. The Art
Deco kitchen typically utilizes glass cabinets, halogen lighting, and
laminate countertops. Splashes of color are often evident in the walls
and flooring, with designs echoing cubist or abstract motifs. Curvature
is often worked into the lines of the cabinets and the center island.
is a movement in architecture which stresses clean, straight lines and
emphasizes the importance of form fitting function. Unlike Art Deco, a
Modern kitchen will generally have a more narrow color palette, a
smaller amount of glass, and less emphasis on curves. Instead, there is
a greater emphasis on boxy shapes and an efficient utilization of
space, with slab-doored, spacious cabinets, large, comfortable
countertops, and monochromatic floors and walls. Gaudy colors and
ornamentation are entirely eschewed in the modern style, with
functional designs representing their own spare aesthetic.
was a reaction to the extreme utilitarianism of modernism and, as such,
represents an amalgamation of both functional and ornamental design
elements. The Postmodern kitchen is an eclectic mix of styles,
combining modern and art deco elements with traditional and rustic
touches. Often, a Postmodern kitchen will offer an interesting
amalgamation of colors, lighting sources, and furniture styles. Such a
kitchen may push both artistic and functional boundaries for the sake
of certain thematic elements. At times, unusual materials and color
schemes are used, such as, for example, bamboo or leopard prints. The
Postmodern kitchen is perhaps the strongest expression of individuality
possible with regard to this room.
The Futurist kitchen takes
its inspiration from space exploration and technological innovation,
featuring striking shapes, dynamic lines, striking contrasts, and
advanced materials. A Futurist kitchen maximizes sleekness and
automation, seeking to conceal functionality behind a stripped down
exterior that belies the possibilities that lie beneath. Appliances are
often integrated into the furniture, with operational controls hidden
from view. Recessed and base lighting combined with back-lit glass
cabinets provide a radiance that basks the kitchen space in a warm
glow. Plastic laminates in shades of silver, gold, and chrome are
common color themes.
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style combines elements of the traditional style with elements of the
contemporary style, creating a coupling of the old and the new. The
transitional style is often characterized by a mix of natural and
man-made materials and a combination of sleek surfaces and functional
lines with displays and ornamental touches. It is an eclectic approach
to kitchen design which places greater emphasis on individual
preference than thematic consistency.
One common type of
transitional kitchen is a design that incorporates traditional cabinets
with contemporary surfaces, such as Victorian cabinets with laminate
countertops and a tiled backsplash, or Shaker cabinets with stainless
steel countertops and bamboo floors. Alternatively, glass cabinet doors
can be intermixed with traditional raised panel doors, giving the
traditional kitchen a more open look. Ornamental components from
different eras can be mixed together, such as corbels and brackets, or
moldings and mosaics.
Another common type of transitional
kitchen is based on bringing modern colors, finishes, materials, and
lighting to traditional designs. Examples include painting the cabinets
with vibrant blues, yellows, greens, or reds in a Victorian style
kitchen; utilizing concrete or pebble for the backsplash in an Estate
style kitchen; installing recessed lighting in a Federal style
kitchen; using blacks, grays, and silvers in a Cape Cod style
kitchen; or installing stainless steel sinks and matte granite
countertops in an Italiante style kitchen.
The greatest benefit
of the transitional kitchen design is its flexibility. It allows
household residents to fully explore their creative side and to be
adventurous in the design process. A transitional kitchen is defined
not so much by what it is, but rather what it is not. Consequently,
there is no need to follow a specific set of design criteria or to be
limited by a particular range of materials. Rather, there are virtually
endless opportunities to mix, match, and innovate.
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kitchen style looks to pre-industrial Europe for its inspiration. Where
the transitional style takes elements from the Victorian era and moves
forward into modernity, the Old World style harks back to pre-17th
century Europe, utilizing the heavy, dark wood furniture cabinetry,
large cooking hearths, rough hewn stone or brick walls, and pewter and
copper accents of that era. The Old World style can be further
categorized as Italian Villa, French Chateau, Normandy/Dutch Cottage,
Italian Villa kitchen features aged wood cabinets made of pine or a
similar wood, terra cotta stones or tiles in an uneven sized pattern,
open-faced brickwork, and styled ironwork ornamentation. A set of ivies
or a similarly appointed plants are often placed in pots atop the
cabinetry, creating a natural feel and adding a refreshing scent. The
sink is apron-styled and may be made of a range of materials, although
the most traditional would be metal such as nickel, brass, or copper.
The refrigerator should be paneled with the same wood as the cabinets
and modern appliances should be concealed behind cabinets and
partitions in order to preserve the overall aesthetic.
French Chateau kitchen is typically an elegant design of wood and stone
which utilizes both functional and decorative archways, chandelier
lighting, oversized cabinets, and French windows. There are typically
multiple workstations, with a separate area for food preparation,
cleaning, and storage. A butler's pantry is built as a
space either within the kitchen or immediately adjacent to the kitchen.
A French Chateau kitchen will also often feature such touches as herbs
in pots, pot racks, dish cupboards, and a traditional wall clock.
Different stone types can be combined with great effect, such as
granite countertops with a limestone backsplash, or marble countertops
with travertine floors.
The Normandy or Dutch Cottage
kitchen is simpler, smaller, and more functional than the French
Chateau kitchen, with more emphasis on effective utilization of space
and wrought iron touches in place of ornamental arches and moldings.
Cabinets are made of aged wood and generally smaller than the French
Chateau cabinets, with whites and lighter colors most common. Beams may
be run along the ceiling and painted to match the trim of the cabinetry.
Medieval, Gothic, or Castle style kitchen is the most antique design
which recreates the rough hewn, warm, and sturdy feel of a cooking
space from the Middle Ages. Such a kitchen uses dark woods, or even
timber slabs, and large stones in strongly articulated patterns. The
cabinetry has weight and heft, with staunch wrought iron handles and
thick doors. There is typically a walk-in sized hearth over the
cooktop, its frame laid out in uneven stone. Space permitting, a
walk-in pantry should be built in and hidden behind a heavy hinged
door. Iron nails on the cabinets, lantern sconces along the walls,
copper pots on bronze racks, and thick stone countertops made of slate
or limestone complete the design with great effect.
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The Arts & Crafts kitchen
style is the antithesis of the polished, mass-produced, post-industrial
look. Eschewing both Victorian excess and modern sleekness, Arts
Crafts celebrates the wholesome aesthetic of small town craftsmanship.
Emphasizing form and function and striving for a natural look, the Arts
& Crafts kitchen uses dark woods, simple cabinet designs, basic
trims, and clean lines to create a cozy and homespun atmosphere.
Earthenware, ceramics, metalware, and stained glass are common
elements. Within Arts & Crafts, the most recognized sub-types
Craftsman, Mission, Prairie, and Foursquare. However, these
are all so similar and interrelated - particularly with respect to
kitchen design - that their names are often used interchangeably. For
this reason, the subsequent description of a Craftsman style kitchen
can really describe any one of these four styles.
kitchen features recessed square panel cabinets made of cherry, maple,
birch, or oak, basic countertops made of laminate, soapstone, or
granite, and simple floors made of wood, slate, or linoleum. Unlike an
Old World kitchen, the cooktop and the sink have a low profile,
blending into the countertop. The color scheme should be earthen or
neutral colors such as rusty reds, soft browns, creams, and off-whites.
Lights are never recessed, but made of basic drop fixtures utilizing
wood and stained glass with touches of bronze. Large windows in simple
frames flood the kitchen with natural light during the day. Overall,
the Craftsman kitchen has a spare, spartan look to it, with most of the
emphasis being placed on the fine woodworking and superb joinery
associated with the cabinetry. At the same time, there is a wholesome
and comfortable feel to the space. Space, subtlety, and serenity are
the themes which tie the Craftsman kitchen together and provide for its
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kitchen style echoes elements of the country kitchen and the Arts
Crafts kitchen, but with a far stronger woodland, northern feel
a lodge or a log cabin. The style utilizes robust cabinetry made from
strong, dark woods, well-lit open spaces, and wooden flooring to mirror
the hearty coziness and groundedness of a rural home. The themes
associated with rustic kitchens are typically regional in nature and
can be roughly designated as Southwestern, Adirondack, Adobe, or
Pacific Northwest. However, as with Arts & Crafts kitchens, the
majority of rustic kitchens amalgamate multiple influences and tend not
to strictly adhere to a single regional theme.
rustic kitchens are often made of such hardy materials are pine, cedar,
hickory, spruce, fir or alder. The woodworking seeks to celebrate these
materials as they existed in their natural state, at times using whole
logs or branches and leaving natural markings such as knots, burls, and
rings in place. Similarly, countertops are often made in butcher block
style, with thick wooden slabs showcasing the grain. Alternatively,
stone or metal countertops with a matte finish can also complement a
rustic kitchen design. Example materials and finishes that would
accomplish this task include flamed granite, honed limestone, and
Architecturally and ornamentally, wooden beams
along the ceiling and stonework along the walls are a frequent element
in rustic kitchens. They add a rugged yet secure feel to the space. As
with the cabinetry, the beams and stonework should have a worn and
weathered look best attained through a natural, aged, or distressed
finish typically associated with well constructed mountain lodges and
forest cabins. The same goes for the floors, which are typically wide
planks made out of hardwood.
While wood and stone are the
primary themes of a rustic kitchen, wrought iron and ceramic elements
can also be incorporated with great effect. Wrought iron works well for
pot racks, cabinet handles, basket stands, cookbook holders, bar
lights, and simple chandeliers. Meanwhile, earthenware such as clay
pottery, terra cotta urns, and glazed ceramic vases provide the perfect
dishware to fill the space and bring it to life. A farmhouse or apron
sink made of granite, iron, or copper offers sufficient room to house
the oversized rustic pots and dishes and is the most appropriate sink
design for a rustic kitchen.
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