Here’s a look at three popular kitchen styles:
The contemporary kitchen is uncluttered and unadorned. It appeals to people who like clean and sleek. Appliances are disguised as cabinets so the kitchen does not look “kitchen-y.” Cabinets are flat-front wooden, steel or lacquered. Countertops are square-edged, often metal or underlighted glass. Light fixtures are works of art. Accessories are minimal.
If you tell a designer you want a traditional kitchen, she will steer you toward cabinetry reminiscent of 18th- and 19th-century furniture. Lighting is more functional than artsy, and accessories are decidedly not funky. Countertops are neutral, while backsplashes may be tumbled stone. Flooring is made of tried-and-true woods and patterns. Trimwork features flutes, columns, beadboard or, at the high end, a coffered ceiling. Blue Danube china feels right at home. Traditional can be Old World formal with cherry cabinetry or farmhouse informal with painted-white cabinets and rustic additions such as wooden countertops, scraped wooden flooring and farm sinks.
The transitional kitchen suits you if you like Arts and Crafts-style cabinetry with little ornamentation. Woods are painted or in natural tones. Think traditional with spice, such as a backsplash with funky tiles, an island with colorful cabinetry or a light fixture with humor. The backdrop is conservative enough to carry it into the next decade, but the kitchen has enough pluck to qualify it for a magazine spread. For the remodeler, this kitchen is updated but doesn’t scream “new addition.”
Some materials cross style lines, depending on their applications. The concrete countertop with an ogee edge fits a traditional kitchen, while square-edged concrete suits a contemporary one. Aqua subway tiles in a classic running-bond pattern help turn a traditional kitchen into a transitional one, while the same tiles in the stacked-bond pattern say contemporary.
Design trends also cross style definitions, said the designers. More homeowners are eliminating upper cabinets in favor of windows, shelves or artwork. More are “foodies,” who require features such as built-in spice cabinets or televisions to watch cooking shows. Islands have replaced peninsulas and are more often bar height. Their stools welcome visitors as though they are part of the neighborhood pub or martini bar, depending on their style.
Buyers’ demographics affect kitchen designs, said Zielinski. Busy families want their kitchens to be command centers, regardless of the style. Single women want simple kitchens where they can have quick meals and check their iPads, said Zielinski. Most single men have other priorities, according to a recent study by Rent.com. Only 4 percent surveyed require spacious kitchens, compared with 45 percent who want single women as neighbors.
Image from: designremix.com