Modern or Traditional: How to choose your kitchen style

There are a multitude of decisions to be made when planning a new kitchen, with the first and most common question being should it be modern or traditional?  The Kbsa discusses how best to determine your kitchen style…

If you have done your research you will have a selection of images, collected from magazines and from the internet.  The sleek and clean look of a contemporary kitchen is popular and will certainly be in the ‘like this’ collection.  The lure of the uncluttered white kitchen is strong but so is the timeless appeal of a more traditional, classic shaker style kitchen.

Firstly, gone are the days when your kitchen style was dictated by the type of home you lived in. There is no longer a need to put a rustic kitchen in your country cottage or a shiny modern design in your town house. So don’t let that hold you back.

It is often useful to have a starting point: find out what colour palettes you like, whether you have a preference for matt or gloss, or even if you fancy having open shelves over a pantry. Making these decisions will help move you more towards a modern or a traditional design, but it pays to consider in more detail what each kitchen style means.

Modern kitchens will usually have frameless cabinets, they will be sleek and smooth. They could be handleless or have a slimline handle. The furniture will be matched with a high performance solid worktop such as quartz or Corian. At the edgy designer end of the spectrum this could be an urban worktop such as concrete. Appliances will be hidden or one of the newer grey or black appliances rather than stainless steel. Cooker hoods can make a statement or be hidden away, with glass splashbacks adding colour and drama. Gloss doors are losing popularity to matt doors, especially the super matt finishes that are smoother than earlier matt finishes, making them easy to clean and hardwearing.

Traditional shaker kitchens tend to be the ‘safer’ option. One issue people need to consider is longevity, whether your new kitchen will stand the test of time and the kitchen trends that come and go. Shaker kitchens have been around for a long time and their origins come from a movement that was renowned for their simple and humble design philosophies. They are known to showcase quality craftsmanship, champion natural wood, particularly oak, and promote practicality with plenty of storage. 

The reality is that shaker is probably the most well-known style and hence it feels safe. It is acceptable to opt for a standard shaker kitchen but many choose classic shaker style but with modern elements. Today’s shaker doors are still understated, and a popular option is a neutral or earthy colour palette with scope to add a splash of personality with an accent colour. This could be on an island, for example, or as a complementary carcass colour seen in open shelves.  They can look more contemporary when a brighter colour is selected or by matching them with modern handles, taps and worktops and adding the latest in built appliances.

The key to any decision on your kitchen design is your own particular style. However if you are really struggling, a big tip would be to create an appointment with a good kitchen designer.


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