Kitchen Style Guide

Emily Smith explores the various kitchen design options to fit your lifestyle and home layout
by Emily Smith
19th April 2018

The kitchen is now widely considered to be the heart of the home, offering so much more than simple cooking facilities.

In the modern home, the kitchen-diner is king – and many spaces also double up as living zones, perhaps with access into the garden through glazed sliding or folding doors.

With so much to cater for, it’s crucial to choose the right kitchen design for your lifestyle, property and design ambitions.

Here’s our selection of the latest on-trend kitchen styles that could add real wow factor to your self-build, renovation or extension project – whatever your budget.

At the end of the article, we’re also serving up some fantastic expert tips to help you incorporate these looks into your scheme.

Industrial

Rustic materials and freestanding storage made of metal and timber elements look striking alongside dark cabinets in this setup by Ikea
Featuring clean lines and matt surfaces in charcoal grey, these handleless units by Hub Kitchens boast a sleek and modern aesthetic

Creating an ambience somewhere between New York loft room and professional kitchen, the industrial trend has a rustic factory or workshop feel about it.

Raw textures such as reclaimed wood and exposed bricks work in unison with dark hues, metals and concrete to create the stripped back and unpolished allure. This style is often seen in open-plan spaces and conversion projects.

You can go for a clean, clinical look with stainless steel appliances or a lived-in feel with utensils hung from open shelving or magnetic wall strips. The look works well alongside exposed lighting chords and mid-century furniture.

Country farmhouse

Pale-fronted cabinets create a light backdrop for the timber worktops in this design by Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets
In the Sebastian Cox Kitchen by deVol, vertical timber panels on the freestanding island look striking topped with a copper worktop

Rustic details, furniture-like cabinetry and farmhouse tables create the rural feel of a country kitchen. The style calls for a lived-in, cosy look; consider finishes in primary colours and creams.

Think fabric blinds, patterned tiles and crockery displayed neatly behind glass-fronted cabinets for more of a traditional ambience.

Due to the origins of this style, country kitchens tend to work especially well in larger rooms, where you can look to include features such as a deep butler sink and a large range cooker. Tweak with earthy colours, florals and ornate flourishes to produce a French country feel.

Contemporary

Large, handless cabinets, smooth and clean finishes, plus curved edges give the Zeluso design by Crown Imperial a contemporary appeal
Available in 10 colours and four wood effects, this Furore gloss finish in midnight blue by Crown Imperial makes a modern statement

Creating a stylish yet practical look, these kitchens are sleek and clutter-free, often featuring reflective surfaces and fuss-free finishes.

Expect storage in the form of large handleless drawers and cabinets alongside high-tech materials. Consider pairing a single bold colour on the cabinets and/or splash-back with stark white worktops.

Kitchen islands can double up as preparation space and breakfast bar – perhaps a worktop that folds over the edge towards the floor will bring some wow factor.

These schemes are often seen in open-plan kitchen-diner extensions that feature wide spans of glazed doors to create a bright and airy space, perfect for family life. But this style is versatile and can look equally good in compact rooms thanks to the neat nature of the cabinets.

Traditional

Available in off-white and grey, the Bodbyn cabinets from Ikea feature a bevelled panel that gives a traditional feel
Featuring a solid oak frame, the Nebraska range from Schmidt has an open-grain lacquered finish and is available in 17 colours

It wasn’t until the Georgian era that kitchens as we know them today were widely introduced into homes. Mantel shelves over range cookers, copper appliances and full-height larders were all part of this look.

Victorian-styling saw more free-standing furniture and open storage, plus elaborate design flourishes. Today, painted Shaker-style cabinets with cup, drop or round bronze handles and antique-looking dressers give a heritage look.

However, there are a wide range of designs that suit and plenty of opportunities for modern twists; by introducing contemporary-looking hues, for instance, or wide steel handles.

Shaker

Stylish and space-savvy, this contemporary-looking design is from the Durham Grey kitchen range by Magnet
This shaker lacquered kitchen by Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets features wenge worktops and an oak plate rack

Originating from late 18th century New England, Shaker kitchens are rooted in the principles of minimalism and high-quality craftsmanship.

This style has stood the test of time thanks to its versatility to adapt with changing trends whilst keeping its core values. There are no elaborate details or fuss and the main theme is square-framed doors with inset panels.

Wood knobs and finishes are traditional for Shaker kitchens, while painted cabinets will help the design to morph in style.

20th Century Chic

Perfect for anyone after a vintage look, the Creme de la Creme 50s-inspired range by John Lewis of Hungerford comes in various pastel shades
Magnet’s Newbury Midnight design features clean edges and minimalist appeal. The dark colour looks striking here paired alongside the duck egg cabinets

Whether you’re into mid-century modern or a vintage post-war look, there’s a kitchen design to suit every retro preference.

This era saw fridge-freezers and a wealth of labour-saving gadgets enter the home, helping to break down class boundaries.

Gallery-style layouts were popular for fitting kitchens into compact spaces, as were bold colours and wood cabinets. For an American diner vibe, think candy colours, curved drawers and retro tins.

Kitchen design: Expert advice

Jim Gettings from design consultants J+S House of Design answers your questions about kitchen schemes

How can I decide what style is best for me?

The days of choosing a kitchen to complement the style and age of your property are long gone. The trend now is to integrate more of a multi-use space into homes, designed with open-plan living in mind.

The first choice to make is based around how the kitchen will work with the style of furnishings you want within the entire room. In terms of colours, we’re seeing more neutral palettes being selected that allow for complementary details to enhance the overall design.

After this, look at the furniture style – for example, do you prefer handleless cabinets for clean lines or more of a traditional look? I’ve found that contemporary models are currently the most popular by far.

How can I make the most of a small kitchen?

Compact rooms can be quite challenging when it comes to getting the best from your design. But clever use of drawers and internal supplements, such as magic corners, pull-out larders or tower-drawer based solutions, will help to maximise useability.

To create that feeling of space, use narrow height wall units that don’t overpower and a carefully considered lighting scheme to form a bright and inviting culinary zone.

In really small rooms, using clever compact designs, such as corner sinks, will let you benefit from more preparation space.

What materials look best?

Quartz worktops are always on homeowners’ wishlists for a high-end look, but the choice is so much wider than ever before. With ceramic, glass, concrete, laminate and Corian options, plus new products on the market such as Constentino’s Dekton, we’re spoilt for choice.

I’ve found that laminate door finishes are especially popular with young families, mostly because they are durable and will last for a long time. There is an ever-growing range of these high-quality doors, with matt and satin finishes available, as well as wood grain.

What should I invest the most money in?

This is very dependent on your individual requirements. If the latest cooking tech and impressive results for your food are a driving factor, then focus on getting the best appliances you can afford.

On the other hand, if storage is important then the emphasis should be on the furniture element of the design and maximising space. My advice is not to compromise the above and overall scheme by having an expensive solid worktop.

Top image: Add a rustic charm to your home with this characterful Sebastian Cox Kitchen by deVol

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