A kitchen renovation often starts with choosing an overall theme or style. The theme will influence everything from cabinetry and tile to decor and accessories. With so many options, it can be tricky deciding on a direction for your new kitchen. We’ve put together an overview of popular kitchen themes to provide inspiration as you envision the look of your updated space.
Rustic Kitchen Theme
The rustic kitchen theme brings natural warmth and coziness to the space. It features natural materials like wood, stone, and metal paired with more casual, farmhouse style elements.
Rustic Style Cabinets and Counters
Wood cabinets in stains from light oak to almost-black walnut make up the backbone of a rustic kitchen. Barn wood, reclaimed wood, and distressed finishes add character. Butcher block countertops in wood tones complement the cabinets. For counters, you can also choose materials like concrete, stone, or tile.
Rustic Backsplashes and Flooring
Natural stone or stacked stone tiles make excellent rustic backsplashes. Wood-look porcelain plank tile is another option. For floors, hardwoods like oak and hickory or distressed wood-look tile capture the cozy vibe.
Rustic Fixtures and Accents
Look for chandeliers or pendants with exposed Edison bulbs, black finishes, or “barn tin” metal shades. Cast iron or vintage style sinks and faucets work well. Open shelving, baskets, and ceramic crocks provide casual storage and display.
Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Theme
The modern farmhouse blends contemporary elements with classic farmhouse charm. The look feels laidback but still polished enough for an urban space.
Modern Farmhouse Cabinets and Counters
Crisp shaker style cabinets in white, light gray, or warm wood tones fit the modern farmhouse aesthetic. Concrete, quartz, or butcher block counters complement without going too rustic.
Modern Farmhouse Backsplashes and Flooring
Subway tile, geometric patterns, marble, and exist in clean white palettes. Luxury vinyl plank flooring provides the look of wood with more water resistance.
Modern Farmhouse Fixtures and Accents
Update traditional farmhouse light fixtures by choosing metallic finishes like matte black rather than distressed wood. Woven baskets, dried botanical wall art, and ceramic knobs offer casual accents.
Industrial Kitchen Theme
The industrial look embraces unfinished, urban warehouse elements. The masculine vibe works well for modern urban spaces.
Industrial Style Cabinets and Counters
Unfinished wood, black steel, and concrete make ideal industrial cabinets and counters. Opt for an eclectic mix of materials like butcher block with metal legs.
Industrial Backsplashes and Flooring
Exposed brick, concrete, metal tiles, or reclaimed wood panels deliver on the industrial aesthetic for backsplashes. For flooring, poured concrete or wood-look porcelain planks are perfect.
Industrial Fixtures and Accents
Pipeline plumbing, galvanized metal, exposed ductwork, and cage lights feel right at home. Floating shelves, metal stools, and ladder racks add finishing touches.
Traditional Kitchen Theme
The traditional kitchen evokes warmth and familiarity. Timeless detailing makes the look enduringly appealing.
Traditional Style Cabinets and Counters
Opt for framed cabinetry fronts with inset doors and drawer fronts. Painted finishes in whites and creams suit traditional sensibilities. Granite, marble, or quartz counters pair nicely.
Traditional Backsplashes and Flooring
Subway tile, pressed tin, or ceramic tiles in soft hues keep the look classic and understated. Hardwood flooring can match cabinet stains or provide contrast.
Traditional Fixtures and Accents
Pendants and sconces with curved lines or glass elements feel traditional without going too ornate. Pot racks, wine racks, and glass-front cabinet accents maintain the timeless charm.
Contemporary Kitchen Theme
The contemporary kitchen emphasizes clean lines and minimalist sophistication without appearing cold or austere.
Contemporary Style Cabinets and Counters
Flat panel or slab cabinetry fronts with recessed hardware epitomize seamless, contemporary style. Choose monochromatic cabinets or bold colors. Quartz in solid hues makes a perfect counter.
Contemporary Backsplashes and Flooring
Glass, metal, polished stone, or colorful mosaics create contemporary but elegant backsplashes. Porcelain plank flooring offers durability and provides a sleek, streamlined look.
Contemporary Fixtures and Accents
Sleek pendant lighting and accent sconces with geometric sensibilities enhance the modern appeal. Floating shelves, stainless steel barstools, and wall-mounted pot racks embrace minimalism.
Coastal Kitchen Theme
The breezy coastal kitchen evokes relaxing beach house vibes. The light and airy aesthetic pairs perfectly with seaside cottages or urban oases.
Coastal Style Cabinets and Counters
Crisp shaker cabinets in white, light blue, or sea glass colors embody coastal style. Butcher block offers warmth while quartz counters provide low maintenance ease.
Coastal Backsplashes and Flooring
Keep backsplashes light and bright with tile, marble, or glass in soothing hues. Lighter oak or whitewashed wood flooring completes the beach house vibe.
Coastal Fixtures and Accents
Look for pendant lighting with nautical rope or driftwood elements worked into classic forms. Driftwood, seashells, and reclaimed oars make charming decorative accents.
Bohemian Kitchen Theme
The bohemian kitchen embraces an eclectic, collected look. Vintage and global elements blend seamlessly together.
Bohemian Style Cabinets and Counters
Play with a mix of cabinet colors and styles for maximum bohemian appeal. Concrete, wood, or butcher block counters keep things casual.
Bohemian Backsplashes and Flooring
Handmade encaustic tiles, Moroccan patterns, or eclectic vintage tiles communicate bohemian style. Distressed wide plank floors reinforce the relaxed aesthetic.
Bohemian Fixtures and Accents
Woven rattan pendant shades, colorful handblown glass, and sculptural metal lighting choices feel bohemian. Collections of vintage plates and global serving pieces make artistic displays.
Midcentury Modern Kitchen
Midcentury modern design emphasizes clean lines and functionality. The pared-back, retro style still feels current.
Midcentury Style Cabinets and Counters
Flat front cabinets with pops of retro colors like teal or orange epitomize midcentury style. Butcher block or laminate counters keep the vibe playful and casual.
Midcentury Backsplashes and Flooring
Retro geometric tile patterns in vibrant hues make fun backsplash options. Vinyl tile capturing midcentury motifs works well for flooring.
Midcentury Fixtures and Accents
Sputnik-style chandeliers, orb lighting, and pop art pendants evoke the era. Kitschy vintage appliances, bar carts, and canister sets lend authentic flair.
Eclectic Kitchen Theme
The eclectic kitchen embraces quirky personality. Collecting favorite pieces leads to unique discoveries and conversations.
Eclectic Style Cabinets and Counters
Mismatched cabinets, drawers fronts, and hardware play up eclectic charm. Butcher block and concrete suit the casual vibe.
Eclectic Backsplashes and Flooring
Make the backsplash the main event with handmade tile collages or Moroccan fish scale tiles. Distressed plank floors allow the cabinets and counters to shine.
Eclectic Fixtures and Accents
Display your most daring lighting pieces like beaded pendants or funky retro sconces. Shelves of collected tchotchkes and family heirlooms give everything a place.
Transitional Kitchen Theme
The versatile transitional look gracefully bridges traditional and contemporary elements. It provides timeless flexibility.
Transitional Cabinets and Counters
Shaker cabinets offer clean lines while unlacquered finishes provide warmth. Granite and engineered quartz counters suit transitional kitchens.
Transitional Backsplashes and Flooring
Subway tile, stacked stone veneers, or mosaic sheets keep the look classic yet fresh. Wood-look plank flooring wears beautifully.
Transitional Fixtures and Accents
Pendant lighting mixing traditional shapes with trendy finishes hits the transitional sweet spot. Open shelving looks clean while still displaying cherished pieces.
How to Choose Your Kitchen Theme
With so many kitchen themes to contemplate, it can be challenging deciding on a direction for your redesign. Consider the following tips as you narrow down your options:
Reflect Your Home’s Architecture and Layout
Let your home guide the theme instead of forcing a look that fights the existing architecture and layout. For example, a sleek modern theme will appear out of place in a traditional colonial home.
Complement Adjacent Spaces
Your kitchen theme should transition smoothly to adjacent spaces like a dining room, living area, or outdoor space. If rooms connect via open concept, ensure a cohesive flow.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Make sure to choose a practical theme that supports your lifestyle and meets your unique needs. For instance, rustic farmhouse may not suit busy families who require easy-to-clean surfaces.
Incorporate Meaningful Elements
Even if following a specific theme, integrate special pieces to personalize the space. For example, display sentimental serving pieces in a midcentury modern kitchen.
Envision How It Will Evolve
The most enduring kitchen themes allow you to modify accessories and decor over time. Picture how to refresh your transitional kitchen down the road just by updating lighting and hardware.
Consult Magazine Photos for Inspo
Flip through kitchen photos to discover themes that appeal to your personal style. Houzz, Pinterest, and design magazines offer tons of visual inspiration.
Explore Themes In Person
Once you’ve narrowed down your favorites, visit model homes or showrooms to experience the themes first-hand. Note details that draw you in or turn you off.
Choose Timeless over Trendy
While trends come and go, certain classic styles will remain relevant in years to come. Opt for flexible themes with enduring, widespread appeal.
Design Elements to Make Your Kitchen Theme Shine
Completing a full kitchen remodel provides the perfect opportunity to fully embrace your chosen theme. Take advantage of these key design elements to create a cohesive, stylish look:
Cabinetry sets the tone for your entire kitchen’s style. Door fronts, hardware, stains, colors, and installation details like trimwork powerfully communicate the theme.
Countertop materials also significantly contribute to the overall aesthetic. Options like quartz, stainless steel, or butcher block reinforce modern, industrial, farmhouse and other themes.
Creative backsplash tile designs enable you to embellish your theme. For example, Moroccan fish scale tile packs a substantial bohemian punch.
Light fixtures subtly or boldly underscore the desired mood. For instance, midcentury sputnik pendants make a clear retro statement.
Flooring can complement cabinetry for a cohesive effect or inject contrast. For example, light oak floors offset crisp white modern farmhouse cabinets.
Faucets and sinks ranging from apron front to industrial stainless steel establish additional theme details.
Incorporate appliance finishes that align with your vision, or make them disappear behind custom panels for a seamless look.
Barstools, kitchen islands, and banquettes covered in material swatches instantly communicate your style direction.
Accessories and Decor
Art, rugs, greenery, and carefully curated decor pieces put the finishing polish on your kitchen theme.
8 Steps to Design your Dream Kitchen
Ready to turn your vague renovation dreams into a concrete kitchen design plan? Follow these 8 steps:
1. Set Your Budget
Determine how much you can realistically invest so you can set achievable goals for your remodel. Remember to factor in contingency funds to cover unforeseen issues.
2. Assemble a Design Team
Work with qualified kitchen designers, contractors, and architects (if doing structural changes) to translate your vision into a workable plan.
3. Review Layout Options
Collaborate with your design team to reimagine the room’s layout. Consider adjustments like knocking down walls, relocating plumbing, or adding an island.
4. Finalize Your Design Concept
Decide on the overall theme, color palette, materials, and style elements you want to incorporate. Share inspirational photos or mood boards with your designers.
5. Make Structural Changes
If widening doorways, removing walls, or relocating windows or plumbing, complete necessary structural renovations first.
6. Update Floorplan and Layout
With structural changes finished, redraw the floorplan if needed. Map out the ideal placement of fixtures, work triangles, and furnishings.
7. Choose Fixtures and Finishes
Select attractive yet functional fixtures, appliances, cabinetry, countertops, flooring, lighting, and plumbing to actualize your design.
8. Add Special Touches
Inject personality by incorporating theme-based accents like artwork, area rugs, and greenery. Fill the space with decorative items that make you smile.
What are some inexpensive ways to update a kitchen theme?
Some budget-friendly ways to update your kitchen’s theme include:
- Adding new knobs and pulls to refresh cabinet hardware
- Painting cabinets a trendy color like sage green or navy blue
- Using removable wallpaper or contact paper for an affordable new backsplash look
- Switching out existing lighting for fixtures that match your desired theme
- Accessorizing with themed decorative items like a farmhouse-style rug or industrial barstools
How do I choose a backsplash that complements my kitchen theme?
Consider colors, patterns, and materials that will enhance your chosen kitchen theme when selecting a backsplash. For example:
- Rustic kitchen: Stacked stone tiles, reclaimed wood, or brick backsplashes
- Modern farmhouse: White subway tile, shiplap, or marble hexagons
- Industrial: Exposed brick, black metal tiles, concrete, or stained wood
- Traditional: Subway tile, ceramic farmhouse sinks, stone, or stainless steel
- Contemporary: Geometric mosaics, glass tiles, or shiny metallics
What type of flooring works with different kitchen themes?
Popular flooring options for popular kitchen themes include:
- Rustic: Distressed wide plank wood flooring
- Modern Farmhouse: White oak or acacia wood floors
- Industrial: Concrete floors, wood-look porcelain plank tile
- Traditional: Hardwood floors to match cabinetry, stone tile, or subway tile
- Contemporary: Grey wood-look luxury vinyl plank, polished concrete, sleek stone tile
How do I incorporate a kitchen theme on a budget?
Some budget-friendly ways to establish a kitchen theme include:
- Painting cabinets and walls in colors suited to your theme
- Choosing budget-friendly countertop materials like butcher block or laminate
- Selecting lower-cost backsplash tile like subway tile or faux tin ceiling panels
- Opting for lesser expensive hardware and fixtures with finishes that match the theme
- Shopping thrift stores and garage sales for themed dishware or decorative accessories
- Making DIY accents like boarding up cabinet fronts for a cottage look
What are good traditional kitchen themes?
Some examples of classic, traditional kitchen themes include:
- French Country: White shaker cabinets, apron-front farmhouse sink, butcher block counters
- English Cottage: Paneled cabinets, stone or brick floors, floral accents
- Colonial: Raised panel cabinets, granite counters, ceramic backsplash, stainless steel appliances
- Farmhouse: Light wood floors, farmhouse sink, open shelving, checkerboard backsplash
- Spanish Mission: Terracotta floors, arched doorways, wrought iron accents
How do I choose a kitchen theme that will stand the test of time?
Opt for versatile themes with widespread, enduring appeal to avoid your kitchen seeming quickly outdated. Traditional styles like farmhouse and contemporary classics like transitional offer timeless flexibility. Inject personal style through mix-and-match elements rather than rigid themes. Focus on quality materials and craftsmanship paired with adaptable colors and finishes. Trend-proof your design with portability so elements like your backsplash can move to future homes.
Determining your kitchen’s style direction is a fun first step in the remodel process. A thoughtfully designed theme will give your updated space personality and purpose. Look to your existing architecture, lifestyle needs, and personal tastes as you narrow down your options. Work with qualified designers to actualizing your vision within your budget. Focus on quality, enduring materials suited to the theme like cabinets, counters, and flooring. Then finish off your dream kitchen with charming lighting, accessories, and high-impact accents that reflect your chosen aesthetic. With proper planning and expert help, you’ll be well on your way to a fabulously themed kitchen that nurtures gatherings for years to come.