04 March, 2008

Styles of Kitchen - Which One Suits You?

Kitchen styles - sleek and industrial, rustic and homely, crisp and fresh, which one suits you?

There is an expression for all the differing kitchen styles available, but they all have one thing in common.

They all have a sink, oven and refrigerator!

Most have many more appliances and this makes the kitchen the most expensive room in the home to equip.

So careful planning and attention to detail for every aspect is essential from electrical power point placement to light fittings; the kitchen is a complex space to design.

The kitchen is the hub of the home as we all have to eat regularly and it is always a constant buzz of activity. Kitchens are therefore one of the major area home buyers look at along with bathrooms when purchasing a house.

The first consideration whether remodeling your existing house or starting out with a new home is the current style of your home and your furnishings. The kitchen is often placed centrally in the home and therefore visible from most rooms, the decoration and style should flow harmoniously throughout.

Imagine how crazy a sleek single line, white marble top, lacquered cabinetry with stainless steel appliances would look in a country cottage. An exaggeration of concept but crazier style combinations have been seen, unfortunately most of them fail as the contrast is too great and the detail of the styles is broken and lost with the jolting differences in a small space.

In this area of the website we will outline the features of different kitchen styles and allow you to decide which style reflects your home and your lifestyle best.

Country Styled Kitchens – Relaxed and Comfortable.

Country styled kitchens are difficult to define exactly as they have an eclectic feel, which means that they have all sorts of bits and pieces from differing styles and periods combined to create the country look.

There are also regional styles that are probably more well known like French Provincial Country Style or Old English Country Style, Colonial American Country Style. They all bring a similar feeling to the style, that of a safe, warm and comfortable homely ambience to the kitchen.

Generally timber is a major feature either in the cabinetry and or the flooring and the furniture.

Timber counter tops are popular or simply a mobile timber island or cutting block.

The finish to the wood is simple and often a white wash or distressed look is used over the wood to create a weathered or aged feel.

Most country styled kitchens have room for a kitchen table and chairs. Usually in timber or wood, with a plaid or checked upholstery. The preferred timber types are pine, maple or the local wood in plentiful supply.

Pot racks – generally metal, and timber chopping blocks are features and numerous other forms of display for cooking utensils and jars of sugar, flour, salt and condiments etc.

The country kitchen lacks order and symmetry but it does possess visual movement and controlled clutter. The style allows for combinations of accessories and wrought ironware, copper pans, ceramic plates and jugs, different patterns in fabrics and collectables. They are functional and homely. Many finishes are different, combining timber with painted tiles, metal work and ceramic, as long as there are no high contrast clashing combinations – the country feel exists.

The prevalent colors are creams and whites combined with natural timbers and light browns. Highlight colors are dependant on which country style you follow but in general, reds, earth greens, blues are popular and common colors in plaids and checked fabrics.

The American Country Style is typified the the colors of sun aged barn reds and dusky blues, patchwork upholstery and painted floor boards, floor cloths and matchboard wainscoting, stenciled motifs and artwork and simple rag rugs.

French Country Style or Provencal or French Provincial is defined by the Provencal print of fabric which features warm sun drenched color schemes of bright yellows, pinks, reds and blues. The walls are often white washed or color washed in natural tones of ochre, russet, honey or rose. The flooring is predominately terracotta tiles and the use of timber is prolific with simple functional, rustic designed furniture. Metals feature in accessories, wrought iron cabinetry handles, pot racks, plate holders and candelabra and shutters to the windows.

English Country Style is a weathered and well-used look. An elegant yet old and faded look, still homely with the generational comfort of unchanged history and style. Worn floor rugs, needlework cushions and upholstery on timber kitchen chairs, faded floral chintz drapery at the windows. Soft subtle mellow colors, creams, pinks, generally warm colors as kitchens were often in colder areas of the house. Display of condiments, preserving jars and always some sort of flowers, either wild flowers in a vase of flowers and herbs hanging over the stove to dry.

Contemporary Styled Kitchens – Sleek and Streamlined.

Contemporary styled kitchen’s characteristics are their efficient use of space, their simplicity of form and openness.

The cabinetry is simple with little or no decoration; it is often made of prefinished board like laminate, a pale timber veneer, or a lacquered paint MDF board.

The use of glass in overhead cabinets is common and lighting plays a major role.

Cabinetry lighting is a feature especially in glass-fronted cupboards and under overhead cupboards to allow light to fall on the counter top.

Halogen is the preferred type, as the fittings are small and provide a lot of light and they literally make everything sparkle. Pendants over breakfast bars or islands are popular.

Windows in the kitchen are functional and generally not decorated unless with a functional blind to reduce the direct sunlight or provide privacy. Color is what makes contemporary style kitchens popular, reds, blues and bright colors. The color is often in the decoration, not the cabinetry. The walls are painted, colored tiles used as a splash back behind the sink or behind the cook top. Accessories are colored and can be changed regularly to create a new look.

The contemporary kitchen is functional and versatile. The appliance colors can be selected from white the most traditional, to black the most sophisticated or stainless steel for a clean hygienic modern feel.

The contemporary styled kitchen is a low fuss easy care kitchen that has products specified for easy cleaning and low maintenance. Vinyl flooring is popular for it’s easy clean and hygienic properties as well as cost effectiveness. Tiles are popular and new eco flooring options are creeping in for example laminate timber flooring strips, they look like timber but they’re not!

Contemporary styled kitchens covers a vast array of looks, it works well in most modern homes today and is an ideal style for remodeling and renovating your kitchen as it can be changed to create different looks with a minimum expense through colored accessories.

So follow through and find out which style of kitchen fits the look of your home. To learn about which type of kitchen layout best suits you visit Kitchen layouts.

Remember that there is a style of kitchen out there for everyone, when you add your decoration to the space you completely create your own unique sub style of kitchen design.

Next article, I will post about how to choosing colors for kitchen, Keep your interest..

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