We are all unique individuals–no two alike–and we all have our own personal tastes. There’s no right or wrong, in style or out. Some of us are contemporary, some traditional, some of us are country and some are more than one style–eclectic. Sometimes we’re not quite sure which style we are. This article is for you.
Clean, sleek, uncomplicated. Contemporary is not the same as Modern. Contemporary is literally ‘’what is popular at the moment.’’ Contemporary colors come and go but whatever the color scheme the kitchen is very simple and uncluttered. Cabinets are usually somewhat light whether they are painted or stained. The door style is simple—either slab or a very simple framed style. The countertops are in general simple as well. Solid surface is a popular material in the contemporary kitchen because they are often solid in color and unpretentious. Backsplashes are usually tile and often ceramic or a simple glass mosaic. Appliances are stainless steel. Floors may be wood or wood-look tile which tends to add just the right amount of warmth. Faucets and other metals are usually chrome, stainless or polished nickel. Contemporary is a very ‘’young’’ style—not so much in actual age, although it is the preferred style of those under 30– but rather in personality. Do you love everything that is popular at the moment? Were you one of the first to buy a smart phone, IPad and all technological wonders that come on the scene? Are you career oriented? Is your biological clock getting worried? Do you hate anything you have to dust? Do you detest knick-knacks? Is your closet filled with the latest high fashion? Contemporary may be your style.
Transitional is a hybrid of the contemporary and traditional styles. It has many elements of both. The cabinets are often still somewhat simple but are more likely a simple frame style. It is casual—not anywhere near as elegant as many traditional style kitchens but it has more décor elements than contemporary—for instance, while you won’t find anything other than perhaps a coffee maker and microwave on a contemporary style countertop, you will find kitchen décor on a transitional countertop. It’s still not ‘’cluttered’’ but it isn’t as strictly clean of decoration. The appliances are stainless and often pro style. Faucets and other metals are nickel, brushed chrome, or stainless. The countertops are often stone, granite being the most popular. Floors are most often wood or wood-look. Transitional is a lot like Shaker or Craftsman but not quite as ‘’rustic.’’ It is a young style favored by those under 30 but it is also a style many contemporary homeowners graduate to in time. Are you a little bit eclectic—somewhere between high tech and classic? Are you a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll? Do you hate being typed? You may be transitional.
Traditional is unique because it can encompasses many sub-styles. There’s very elegant traditional and less elegant traditional. Some designers and schools of thought type all of the various country and Old World styles in with traditional—although I’m not one of them. Traditional is one of the few styles that still favor dark wood finishes for cabinets–most often cherry. These are the more elegant traditional kitchens. Elegantly carved corbels and turned table legs for islands are a big design element of this style. Upper cabinets very often have glass inserts. Cabinet doors don’t always match. The upper and lower may be different—but similar. Cabinet colors don’t always match either. It’s not unusual to see painted and wood stain cabinets mixed. Stone is almost always used for countertops and backsplashes and that stone is most often granite or marble. Appliances are may be either stainless or black but most often paneled to match the cabinets. Faucets may be brass, nickel, polished bronze or even copper. Floors are sometimes stone but, today, most often wood. Do you love classic books and movies? Do you own not one but many little black dresses and classic pants and sweaters that never go out of style? You may be Traditional.
The country styles include American, Colonial, Federal, Farmhouse and French Country. These kitchens used to have mostly wood finish cabinetry in the case of Colonial and Federal; painted for American country, farmhouse, and French Country. These are casual, warm, family-friendly styles that really are the heart of the home. They are apple pie and red, white and blue –even French Country! They are cheerful and often very charming with open shelving, fully stocked pantries, glass-front upper cabinets, and arch or square frame doors. Ceramic tile used to be the preferred countertop and backsplash material but today you may also see granite, marble, or slate countertops or solid surface. Sometimes at least some of the countertops are butcher block. Floors are most often wood or wood-look or the traditional ceramic tile. Walls are sometimes still wallpapered. Country is an over 30 style and very popular with the baby boomers. Do you love knick-knacks? Do you collect collector’s plates? Are you old-fashioned and proud of it? Do you prefer jeans or flannel dresses to more elegant attire? Do you love quilts and quite possibly make them? Does your kitchen usually smell delicious with warm loaves of bread, pies and cakes cooling on the counters? Do you love cooking up big pots of hot wholesome soups and stews? You may be Country.
What is the ‘’right’’ kitchen for you? The one you love. The one you look forward to coming home to. The one that makes every morning a good morning.