Kitchen designs are a central point in today’s home, where we do everything from store and cook food to dine, relax, and entertain. The latest kitchens are often interconnected living spaces, either in an open plan first floor or linked to adjacent dining and living areas through open doorways. Since your kitchen is such an important space at the heart of your home, your kitchen design must also reflect and enhance your home’s design aesthetic.
A kitchen design is an investment in your home and lifestyle. When planning a kitchen remodel, you want to get the most out of your investment and create a space that flows easily from your surrounding living spaces. To achieve this goal, it pays to create a design with a timeless style and quality materials. By choosing classic design elements, your kitchen will remain stylish and functional for years to come.
What does it mean to create a classic kitchen with a style that lasts? Simple design elements, quality materials, and a neutral color palette are timeless and lay a foundation for your kitchen that will remain relevant. You can then layer onto this classic design accent colors and accessories that give your space a personal flair. Best of all, a classic design can be easily updated over time by changing out accessories without having to incur a significant investment. It’s good news for your home, lifestyle, and your budget!
Start with our guide to simple styles that have a lasting impact on your kitchen design. Our experienced kitchen design team can help you assess your requirements and find the perfect timeless design to enhance your home.
Principles of a Classic Design
Choosing a classic kitchen design style does not mean your kitchen will be boring or not on trend. Instead, a timeless design lays a foundation for your home’s style, onto which you can layer elements of the latest kitchen design trends.
The first step is to find the ideal layout for your home, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Remember that a kitchen design should last so think about your family’s needs for the next 10-15 years and plan your layout around that. By creating a kitchen design that can evolve as your family dynamic changes, you can get more bang for your remodeling bucks.
Choose materials that balance your style and functionality needs. Decide what is really important to you and invest as much as you can afford into those design elements. If you love to cook and bake, make sure you include quality cabinetry with custom storage accessories plus a durable and easy-to-maintain countertop. If you have a young, growing family, consider going for low-maintenance surfaces that can withstand the rigors of daily family life and that can be easily wiped clean.
Choose a design style and color scheme that fits your home and that won’t go out of style quickly. While you may love the rustic farmhouse kitchen you saw online, don’t choose this style if it jars with the rest of your home or if you are not ready to commit to this design aesthetic. By choosing a simple style as the foundation for your kitchen, items that can’t be easily changed like cabinets, countertops, and tile will always be in style and fit in your home. Update elements like towels, cabinet hardware, accessories, or even light fixtures more often if you want to change the look of your kitchen.
Get the Basics Right First
For any kitchen design, creating your ideal layout is the first step to making your dream kitchen a reality. The layout determines where you will position appliances, key work zones, and entertainment spaces, and also how traffic flows throughout your kitchen. Examining your layout also lets you determine if you need to change your existing kitchen footprint as part of your kitchen remodel. If your kitchen is too small for your needs or you want to change to a more open-plan kitchen design, a remodel is the perfect time to remove or move a wall to expand your available space.
It’s important to spend time with your kitchen design expert discussing your needs and how you plan to use your kitchen. This allows them to help you find the ideal layout that will fit your home for years to come. Get the layout right and you know you will have ample storage and workspace, room to entertain, visibility to watch the kids while you cook dinner, and space for anything else you plan to do in your kitchen. If you entertain frequently, you might want to consider including a beverage bar and seating at your kitchen island or peninsula since parties always wind up in the kitchen! Once you have determined your ideal layout, other decisions will fall into place more easily.
Storage is essential in any kitchen design, and today’s customized storage options mean you can truly personalize your storage to fit your needs. Work with your kitchen design expert to identify all your storage requirements and find the ideal storage solutions to meet your needs. By doing this, you will ensure that your classic kitchen remains clutter-free, easy to maintain, and stylish.
Start by fully decluttering your kitchen. To do this, you must take everything out of your cabinets and drawers, decide what you use and don’t, remove items that are out of date, and determine what needs to be stored in your kitchen and what could be kept elsewhere. If you are embarking on a full kitchen remodel, you will need to do this anyway. However, decluttering is beneficial to your kitchen’s functionality so plan to remove, clean, and reorganize your cabinet’s contents a couple of times a year.
Categorize everything you plan to keep in your kitchen and decide where it should go based on when and how you use it. Frequently used items should be kept close at hand, while less seldom used items could be stored in upper cabinets or the top shelf of your pantry.
Incorporate storage that works for you, such as deep drawers, pull-down upper shelves, or mixer lifts that make it easier to access items (especially if anyone in your household has limited mobility). Rollouts, pull-outs, corner storage solutions, and tray dividers are all ideal storage accessories that support kitchen organization. Plan effective pantry storage, whether that is a walk-in pantry, butler’s pantry, or pantry cabinets for all your food storage needs.
Neutral color schemes always work for timeless kitchen designs. When it comes to kitchen styles, neutral does not equal boring! There is a wide range of neutral tones ranging from white to off-white, beige, gray, and wood tones. When paired with quality materials, these neutral shades let your stylish products become the focal point, such as wood cabinetry or stone tile. They provide the ideal foundation for a stylish space that you can accent with accessories.
If you choose to stick to a single, neutral color you can easily add depth to your design by including different textures or patterns. For example, a white herringbone tile pattern set against white cabinetry or a textured stone tile backsplash against beige cabinetry creates a stunning style that is visually appealing. Countertops with veining is another ideal way to subtly add color to a classic kitchen design.
If you want to add a splash of color to your room, consider a tile feature in your backsplash. Or go for the two-tone cabinet trend with white or natural wood cabinets for the perimeter paired with a trendier cabinet color for your kitchen island. Cabinet hardware can also update a neutral color scheme and be more easily changed over time. For example, matte black, rose gold, or brushed gold hardware instantly updates a classic white cabinet design.
Choose Materials that Will Last
Once you have determined your layout and color scheme, you can select products that help you achieve the look and functionality you need. Stick to classic style principles and choose quality materials that will be relatively easy to maintain and will last for years to come.
Your cabinet design forms the basis of your room’s layout and determines your available storage space. It also dominates your kitchen’s style since it takes up a large amount of space in a kitchen design. For a kitchen style with staying power, choose a classic cabinet design constructed from quality materials. Look closely at the construction techniques for your chosen cabinetry and at the finishing touches like hinges and drawer glides.
Shaker-style cabinetry has simple lines and quality construction that have made it as popular today as it was over a century ago. If a more modern style fits your home’s design aesthetic, then go for a modern slab door, but choose a model in a natural wood tone to soften the look instead of a glossy finish. Both door styles are relatively easy to clean and maintain, so your kitchen will look great and function well for years to come.
Once you have your kitchen storage figured out, your countertops should be reasonably clutter-free and available for preparing food, serving, and dining. This means the countertop material can stand out as a key element of your room’s style. Choose a quality material that is durable, nonporous, and easy to clean. Your countertop must be able to withstand sharp or heavy objects, heat, spills, splatters, kids’ art projects, and more. Engineered quartz is an ideal choice that checks all the boxes for a top-quality, durable, easily maintained, and stylish surface. It comes in a wide range of colors and styles and can include veining that beautifully accents classic cabinet styles.
Tile and Flooring
Backsplashes and flooring are two other key surfaces that affect your room’s style and functionality. Tile backsplashes are always a popular choice, with subway tile the classic option that never goes out of style. Subway tile has been around for over a century, with white tile the quintessential option to complete this look. You can also go for subway tiles in another color, in a textured tile, or arranged in a different pattern or direction if you want to go for an update on the classic. Slab backsplashes have grown in popularity and offer an alternative that is even easier to clean and maintain since it can be simply wiped clean. If you go for a natural stone remember that, while they offer a beautiful appearance, they will need to be carefully cleaned and maintained over time.
Tiles are also popular for kitchen floors since they are durable and can withstand spills and heavy foot traffic in a busy kitchen. Hardwood flooring is another classic design choice that brings warmth to a kitchen design. Keep in mind that wood can warp, scratch, and dent so make sure you are ready to maintain it and to live with these imperfections as part of its charm. Luxury Vinyl Tile or Plank is an alternative that gives you the look of hardwood or stone tiles in a durable, nonporous, easy-to-clean and maintain surface.
Appliances let you safely and effectively store, cook, and reheat food, plus clean dishes and silverware in your kitchen design. We all use at least some of our appliances daily so they must be reliable and easy to use. When choosing appliances as part of a kitchen remodel or even just to replace a single appliance, look at the features of your preferred model as well as the warranty. Choose a model that will last, work when you need it, and that can be fixed easily should anything go wrong.
Your chosen appliances also impact your room’s style particularly when it comes to the finish you choose. For a classic option that will never go out of style, stick to stainless steel and keep all appliances in the same finish. Or consider installing paneled appliances, which means they are covered by a panel that matches your kitchen cabinets and therefore blend seamlessly into your design aesthetic. You could also add smart technology to your appliance selections, making life easier by integrating your appliances with your smart device so you can check your oven temperature, manage fridge contents, and start cooking dinner all from your phone or tablet.
Select a Style with Staying Power
When planning a kitchen design, you want to choose a style and include functionality that will enhance your home and lifestyle, and that will last for years to come. By selecting a kitchen style with quality materials, a timeless color palette, and simple styles such as Shaker cabinetry and quartz countertops, your kitchen will be as relevant in 10 years’ time as it is today. Work with an experienced kitchen design team who can help you identify your requirements, create the ideal layout, and find the perfect products to bring your vision to life. You will enjoy the results and love spending time in the kitchen with family and friends!