The most popular kitchen design styles – Traditional, Contemporary, and Transitional – are well known throughout the design industry as the top three design styles for today's kitchens. Resources for designing each kitchen design style are in high demand and today we're sharing everything you need to know about the top three kitchen design styles!
From the moment you decide to remodel your kitchen (and probably long before), you have a vision for what you want your dream kitchen to look like. Whether you plan to remodel your kitchen on your own or with a designer's help, it's essential to know which kitchen design style you prefer so you can bring that vision to life.
To help you uncover which design style is for you, we're breaking down the most popular kitchen design styles: Traditional, Contemporary, and Transitional. Plus, we're giving you all of the tools, tips, inspiration, and ideas you need to create your preferred kitchen design style in your own home!
So what are the most popular kitchen design styles?
The Top 3 Kitchen Design Styles:
It may come as a surprise to some, but traditional style kitchens still hold the number one spot among homeowners. Home Stratosphere surveyed over one million households and determined that 32 percent of the homes surveyed had a traditional style kitchen. Coming in at a close second, contemporary style kitchens made up for more than 25 percent of the homes surveyed. Finally, at just over 15 percent of kitchens surveyed, transitional style kitchens took third place.
What's involved in creating each kitchen design style?
Today, kitchen design styles trend towards a combination of classic and modern styles, known as transitional. However, as we mentioned above, traditional and contemporary are still holding the top spots.
No matter which style you prefer, to bring your dream kitchen to life in your own home, you'll need to know what's involved in creating each style of design. Which is why we're breaking down the factors involved in designing each kitchen design style into four key design elements, listed below.
4 Key Kitchen Design Elements:
1. Cabinets & Hardware
2. Countertop Material
3. Light Fixture
4. Color Palette
Ready for some gorgeous examples of each popular kitchen design style?! We have you covered – Along with examples of the four kitchen design elements you can use to recreate your favorite design in your own kitchen!
Now that we've covered the basics, let's get into the details of each of the top three kitchen design styles!
Traditional kitchen designs typically feature wood elements and darker color palettes. The alluring style creates a warm and welcoming feel to the kitchen while keeping with a classic look. Traditional kitchen designs utilize classic elements while keeping with the times and implement updates that create a fresh finish. You can create an old-fashioned traditional kitchen or infuse other modern elements to add a contemporary twist. Traditional kitchen designs offer a world of possibilities and are certain to give your kitchen a homey appeal.
Traditional Kitchen Design
These designs showcase a few unique ways to create a traditional style kitchen.
Traditional Style Cabinets & Hardware
Traditional style kitchens feature a number of cabinet & hardware combinations, including:
- Wood or wood veneer cabinet material
- Raised-panel cabinet doors
- Embellished wood cabinetry
- Traditional finishes and antique glazes
- Natural wood, cream, or white-colored
- Crown molding
- Glass panel doors are an elegant option for a traditional style kitchen
- Decorative and unique
- Gold, oil rubbed bronze, bronze, or brushed nickel finish
- Vertical bar pulls, knobs, cup handles, and ring pulls are all popular hardware choices for a traditional kitchen design
Traditional Style Countertops
Think "timeless" when searching for a countertop for your traditional style kitchen. These gorgeous countertop materials below are all excellent choices for a traditional kitchen design
Traditionally designed kitchens typically highlight neutral colored countertops, including:
- Granite countertops offer a unique, neutral-colored pattern with every slab
- Laminate and solid surface also offer similar patterns for a more affordable price.
Solid surface is just as aesthetically pleasing as granite and offers the following gorgeous patterns. From left to right; Lunar Sand, Harvest, and Wallowa present gorgeous patterns that make each countertop material an excellent fit for any classic kitchen design.
Traditional Style Light Fixtures
There are many lighting possibilities for a traditional style kitchen, including:
- Antique lighting
- Linear style pendants
- Bronze and gold light fixtures
Traditional Style Color Palette
Traditional kitchen color palettes often lean towards warm and neutral tones, and often feature soft creams, natural tans, and rich browns and blacks. Dark hunter green is another popular color in many classic designs. A great example of a gorgeous classic color palette is featured below and showcases all the typical hues found in a traditional kitchen. The beautiful and welcoming shades of earth tones are perfect for any classic kitchen design.
The combinations are endless for a traditional style color palette, we've featured one example below, which highlights a gorgeous array of classic colors:
Contemporary kitchens are all the rage right now, and we can see why. These kitchen designs are on par with the latest design trends and offer a revitalized look that is certain to impress. Contemporary kitchen designs opt for cooler color palettes and often feature bright white or gray. The contemporary style, often characterized as chic and elegant, incorporates sharp edges and geometric elements for a streamlined look. Going for a contemporary (or modern) styled kitchen is an excellent choice for those who are looking to embrace beautiful quartz countertops and stunning stainless steel appliances.
Contemporary Kitchen Design
Our designers have created numerous contemporary style kitchens, and the following examples showcase their work beautifully.
Contemporary Style Cabinets & Hardware
Contemporary style kitchens combine various cabinet & hardware combinations to create a seamless finish, including:
- Flat-Panel or Slab cabinet doors
- Metal, glass, laminate, or wood veneer cabinet material
- Doors are typically smooth and may not feature any visible hardware
- All-white cabinetry is trendy among contemporary kitchen designs
- Gray and other unique colors are also commonly used to create a beautiful contemporary look
- Simple and sleek
- Matte black, brushed nickel, gold, or straight silver finish
- Hardware finish pairs with faucet and sink
- Knobs, as well as horizontal or vertical pulls are all popular choices for a contemporary kitchen design
Contemporary Style Countertops
Think chic and elegant when looking for the perfect countertop to complete your contemporary kitchen design. These examples below showcase some gorgeous countertop materials that make a great fit for any contemporary style kitchen.
- Quartz and marble
- Materials that mimic quartz or marble patterns
- Minimal pattern with soft veins of gold, white, silver, or gray
- Laminate and solid surface countertops also offer beautiful patterns for a contemporary design
Contemporary style kitchens feature sleek countertops, often in black, white, or gray, including:
The following are excellent quartz countertop material choices, perfect for a contemporary style kitchen design. From left to right; Arion, Marquina, and Bianco Calacatta contribute a gorgeous pattern to any contemporary style kitchen.
Laminate and solid surface materials also work well in a contemporary kitchen. From left to right; Aurora Pavia is a beautiful light gray solid surface countertop choice, while Calacatta Marble and Nero Marquina are stunning laminate materials. All fit perfectly in any contemporary kitchen design.
Contemporary Style Light Fixtures
The lighting options are vast for a contemporary style kitchen, some examples include:
- Pendant lights
- Recessed and integrated lighting
- Exposed wire
- Glass-covered lights or industrial exposed bulb
- Silver, matte black, or gold accents
Contemporary Style Color Palette
Contrast is key when creating a contemporary style kitchen. A cool color palette is a staple for any contemporary kitchen design. Even though white is a favorite as well in modern style kitchens, your contemporary color palette may feature bold blacks and grays or subtle blues and tans. Rich charcoal colors are also perfect for a contemporary kitchen. We love the color palette featured below for encompassing all of the characteristics of a contemporary design.
A transitional kitchen design is the best of both traditional and modern styles. In a transitional style kitchen, you'll see various textures and colors, as well as sleek lines and sharp features. You can incorporate crown molding, subway tile backsplash, a range hood, or any other timeless design elements to style a transitional kitchen design. Together, the healthy balance of traditional and contemporary features presents a fashion-forward interior that is certain to stand out. Typically transitional designs feature a balanced color palette of both warm and cool tones, making for an inviting interior. Transitional kitchen designs offer homeowners the freedom to be creative and mesh classic and contemporary design elements to create a cohesive design.
Transitional Kitchen Design
The following examples display some of our designers beautiful transitional style kitchens.
Transitional Style Cabinets & Hardware
Transitional kitchen designs blend an assortment of cabinet & hardware combinations, including:
- Wood, laminate, or wood veneer cabinet material
- Recessed panel, glass front, or inset panel doors
- Cream, white, light natural wood, or gray in color
- No typical hardware type
- A combination of knobs, pulls, and handles are all common hardware choices
- Colors range from matte black, gold, silver, or any other finish you prefer
Transitional Style Countertops
- Any countertop material can work well in a transitional style kitchen
- Laminate, quartz, granite, and solid surface offer gorgeous transitional patterns
- Colors range from white and cream to soft gray and even black
Typically, natural-looking countertop materials are featured in a transitional kitchen design, including:
Quartz is our favorite choice for any kitchen design and any of these gorgeous materials would work well in a transitional style kitchen. From left to right; Alabaster White, Aura, and Calypso quartz all make a great fit for a transitional style kitchen.
Transitional Style Light Fixtures
A multitude of light fixtures can be found in a transitional style kitchen design, including:
- Either traditional or contemporary lighting styles
- Styles can be combined for a unique look
- Hanging caged bulbs
- Hanging lanterns
- Linear chandeliers
Transitional Style Color Palette
Transitional kitchen color palettes are typically a healthy mix of traditional and contemporary colors. They tend to lean towards cooler hues and often feature soft grays, beiges, charcoals, and blues. The key to a great transitional color palette is to find a balance between dark and light browns, while mixing in bolder colors like blue or pale orange.
Transitional kitchen color palettes often feature a combination of cool and warm tones, including:
Now that you have a guide to designing the most popular kitchen design styles, it's time to get started on making your dream kitchen a reality! Prepare yourself for your kitchen remodeling journey by checking out our ultimate step-by-step guide to designing a kitchen.
For even more preparation, we've linked the five steps you should take before your begin your remodel and our best tips for creating a kitchen remodeling budget!
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