When renovating a kitchen in a home with traditional style, it’s important to design the new kitchen in a way that remains consistent with the existing architecture and aesthetics. This allows the kitchen to feel cohesive with the rest of the home, while still incorporating modern elements and conveniences. Here are some tips for designing a kitchen that aligns with a traditionally styled home.
Blend Old and New Elements
A key strategy is to blend classic details with contemporary fixtures and finishes. This creates a transitional look that respects the home’s origins while upgrading for how families live today. Consider options like:
- Cabinetry: Opt for classic framed cabinetry fronts paired with soft-close hinges and roll-out shelves. Shaker, inset panel, or raised center panel cabinet door styles work well.
- Countertops: Granite, marble, or quartz countertops add natural elegance. Edge with simple eased or pencil round edges.
- Backsplash: Subway tile is a traditional backsplash choice, but you can opt for larger tiles or mix in some glass, stone or ceramic tile for interest.
- Fixtures: Choose fixtures with traditional silhouettes but modern finishes, like nickel or matte black. Bridge style faucets work well.
- Flooring: Hardwood floors suit traditional kitchens. For an updated look, use wide plank floors or distressed wood textures.
- Lighting: Incorporate elegant chandeliers or pendant lighting alongside recessed lighting for task illumination.
- Appliances: Look for options with a classic look but modern conveniences like convection cooking. Panel-ready designs blend seamlessly into cabinetry.
Complement Architectural Features
Study the home’s existing features and styles. Repeat and enhance architectural details through the kitchen design. For example:
- Moldings: If the home features crown molding or elaborate trimwork, reflect those details. Add molding to open cabinets or as a border along the ceiling.
- Arches: Mimic archways found throughout the house. Use rounded molding over entryways or incorporate arched panels into cabinet doors.
- Windows: Frame windows with wood trim and soft curtains. Use a window valance or glass cabinet doors to repeat the shape and lines.
- Hardware: Opt for cabinet knobs and pulls in antique brass, oil rubbed bronze or iron finishes to pair with existing door hardware.
- Paneling: If paneled walls are present, incorporate similar recessed or raised panels on cabinet faces. Paint panels to match wall colors.
- Flooring: Border the kitchen flooring using the same wood species or tile patterns found in entryways and hall spaces.
Select Transitional Color Schemes
Traditional kitchens typically rely on warm, welcoming color palettes. Incorporate these hues through paint, tile, cabinetry and decor.
- Neutrals – Beige, taupe and warm grays blend seamlessly with wood elements while keeping the space light and airy.
- Whites – Opt for antique white or oyster cabinet colors over stark options. Soften further with cream walls.
- Wood tones – Stained cabinetry introduces rich brown hues. Contrast with neutral counters and backsplashes.
- Black accents – Wrought iron fixtures, black countertops or dark cabinetry grounds the space.
- Earth tones – Greens, browns, terracotta and natural stone add organic color. Use in backsplashes or accent tiles.
Choose Timeless Materials
Prioritize high-quality, durable materials suited to traditional design when selecting finishes and fixtures. Key options include:
- Stainless steel – A popular choice because of its timeless look, durability and clean lines. Opt for a softly brushed finish.
- Solid wood – Hardwood offers a classic appeal and artisanal allure. Use for cabinetry, floors and butcher block accents.
- Wrought iron – Expresses traditional blacksmith craftsmanship. Works beautifully for pendant lights, pot racks and wine racks.
- Natural stone – Materials like granite, marble and travertine have an elegant Old World vibe. Ideal for countertops and backsplashes.
- Ceramic tile – Has a traditional foundation but comes in endless shapes, colors and patterns. Subway tile is quintessentially classic.
- Nickel and brass – Shiny unlacquered brass and soft brushed nickel have a timeless luster. Perfect for fixture finishes.
- Glass cabinetry – Clear glass fronts work well in traditional kitchens. Opt for leaded glass or beveled glass for added flair.
Incorporate Traditional Touches
Look for accessory elements that speak to classical design. Incorporate details like:
- Crown or dentil moldings
- Recessed panel cabinetry
- Glass-front cabinetry doors
- Porcelain knobs and pulls
- Apron-front farmhouse sinks
- Pendant lights over an island
- Built-in wood cutting boards
- Panelized refrigerators
- Exposed brick backsplashes
- Butcher block countertops
- Farmhouse tables
Accenting the space with traditional artwork, rugs, curtains and greenery brings everything together beautifully.
Embrace Traditional Layouts
Follow classic kitchen layouts that traffic well, rather than trendy open concept designs:
- Work triangle – Connect the sink, stove and refrigerator efficiently in a triangle workflow.
- Prep and cleanup zones – Have dedicated spaces for food prep and cleanup to streamline cooking steps.
- Landing zones – Incorporate spots to land keys, mail and grocery bags near the entrance.
- Walkways – Keep traffic routes open so multiple cooks can collaborate. At least 42 inches for main aisles.
- Concealed appliances – Hide small appliances like microwaves and toasters in cabinets or pantries to keep counters neat.
- Dedicated storage – Use cabinets, drawers and butler’s pantries specifically for food, dishes, linens, cookware and more.
Blend Casual and Fine Dining Areas
To balance daily use with party hosting, zone traditional kitchens into casual and formal spaces.
- Breakfast nooks – Built-in banquettes with a circular table create cozy morning meal spots.
- Kitchen island – Offer counter-height seating and pendant lighting for informal gatherings.
- Formal dining room – Open the kitchen to the dining room with a wide doorway or passthrough.
- Butler’s pantry – Use an adjoining pantry with a wet bar sink for drink mixing and appetizer prep.
- Buffet cabinetry – Built-in cabinets with countertops hold servingware to streamline setting up a buffet.
Considerations for Open Concept Kitchens
If you opt to open the kitchen to surrounding rooms, incorporate transitional techniques:
- Repeat wall colors, trimwork, flooring and light fixtures into open areas. This visually ties spaces together.
- Add an architectural header or beam over the kitchen peninsula. This defines the kitchen zone.
- Orient cabinetry, islands and appliances toward the interior to contain kitchen functions. Avoid placing the stove or sink on the open side.
- Zone louder tasks like food prep away from relaxation areas. Locate them along walls without openings.
- Layer area rugs in living spaces and eat-in dining zones. This designates spaces while reducing sound transmission from the kitchen.
Incorporate High-Function Work Zones
While honoring traditional style, ensure the new kitchen also serves busy modern households. Include:
Touch-free faucets make washing up hygienic and hassle-free. Look for voice-activated models that get the temperature and flow just right. Position near the prep sink, island, and stove for maximum convenience.
Never hunt for phone chargers again. Define a space to stash cords and small tech accessories in a shallow drawer outfitted with built-in USB ports. Pop in phones and smart watches while cooking and entertaining.
Lockable Pantry Cabinets
Add specialized cabinetry with locking doors to securely store expensive cooking oils, wines and other high-end ingredients out of sight. Install near food prep zones. Integrate style details like glass fronts, detailed molding or paneling to blend with traditional cabinetry.
Pull-Out Waste and Recycling
Keep trash and recycling bins out of sight but within easy reach. Install base cabinetry designed with partitions and roll-out bins making it simple to sort and discard food scraps, cans, and bottles. Dual compartments keep trash and recycling separated.
A floor-to-ceiling faucet by the stovetop that extends over cookware on the range makes filling stockpots and canning jars infinitely easier. Look for articulating designs that swing into place when needed. Install near the oven.
Smart Kitchen Controller
Consolidate control of all connected appliances and smart kitchen features like lighting, music streaming and television through an integrated touchscreen command center. Select streamlined models suited to traditional design. Locate centrally for all users.
Frequently Asked Questions About New Traditional Kitchens
- How do you mix modern conveniences into a traditional kitchen? Carefully blend necessary modern elements like appliances and tech features alongside more classical finishes like subway tile, hardwood floors and granite counters. Conceal small appliances and choose appliances with panel-ready designs to seamlessly integrate.
- What cabinetry works best for traditional kitchens? Framed cabinetry with shaker, inset panel or raised center panel door fronts have a timeless appeal well-suited to traditional homes. Stained oak, cherry or maple wood species work beautifully.
- What about open concept floor plans? If open concept is a priority, use lessons from the past to define kitchen, dining and living zones: Add architectural dividers and repeat flooring choices throughout. Position appliances and work areas thoughtfully.
- How do you light a kitchen with traditional style? Incorporate central fixtures like a chandelier or pendant lights to make a statement. Undercabinet lights illuminate tasks. Consider adding vintage edison bulbs in converted fixtures for ambiance.
- What type of seating works in a traditional kitchen? Banquettes or built-in benches make great casual dining spots. Tailor the height and style to bar or full-dining chairs used in your formal areas. Add plush cushions to soften.
Bringing It All Together
The key to designing a kitchen remodel that honors the home’s traditional architecture is blending classic elements with modern amenities. Use cabinetry, hardware, lighting, layouts and details that speak to timeless style. Incorporate conveniences like hands-free faucets and automatic lighting controls discretely. Focus on high-quality materials and smart work zones tailored to how your family lives today. With careful planning and design, your new kitchen can feel comfortably in sync with the home’s roots. At the same time, it will provide an enjoyable, highly functional space for making memories for years to come.