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What’s So Traditional About a Traditional Kitchen?

When considering the style of kitchen you are looking for, you may hear kitchen style terms like ‘traditional,’ ‘contemporary,’ ‘casual,’ ‘country’ or ‘eclectic.’ Unfortunately, those terms aren’t very helpful if you’re not quite sure what distinguishes a traditional kitchen from a casual kitchen or a country kitchen. When determining which style of kitchen is truly ‘your’ style, some basic guidelines as to what types of features you will find in these different kitchen styles. For this post, we’ll focus on the traditional kitchen style.

What Traditional Is Not

The word tradition immediately lets you know that anything incorporated into that style has been around for a while. Traditional style is not about starting new trends or making bold statements. It is about preserving and honoring that which has stood the test of time.

You will not find the use of bold, bright colors in a traditional kitchen. What you will see is much more wood, stone and tile. When it comes to metal finishes, you’ll find copper, bronze, brass and nickel used for the cabinet hardware, light fixtures and other metal accents. Stainless steel appliances would certainly be acceptable, but wood cabinet panels applied to the appliance fronts are also a common feature in a traditional style kitchen.

Classic Styling

The traditional kitchen will feature classical architectural features, such as columns, arches, corbels and cornices. The symmetry of classical styling allows the eye to glide over the room, capturing the scene as whole, in spite of the intricate details woven into the design. You will see much more detailing in the wood cabinet accents; fluted corners, crown molding and dentil molding are common ingredients in a traditional kitchen. Glass fronts to cabinets will showoff chinaware or crystal glassware. The kitchen sink and plumbing fixtures will feature styling that relates to the past and granite will be the countertop material of choice.

Soft curves and warm rich colors create an inviting feel to the traditional kitchen. Cherry, birch and maple are favorites for the cabinetry since they offer a smooth fine grain that delivers a beautiful finish for raised panel cabinets. Stain colors can be warm deep browns such as cherry or mahogany, lighter natural wood stains or painted white finishes. The overall pallet will be harmonious rather than contrasting, creating a sense of relaxation and comfort.


If you’re looking for an elegant, regal look in your kitchen, traditional styling is certainly going to provide that. As you’re choosing flooring, lighting, furnishing and fabrics, be sure to carry that same level of elegance through to those details. Your flooring should provide a muted accent that creates the proper pedestal for your cabinetry. Lighting, again, should not showcase itself, but put the spotlight on its surroundings. Recessed lights and lighting hid underneath and above cabinetry will provide excellent illumination for a traditional kitchen. Keep hanging light fixtures limited to over eating areas or center islands.

Finishing Touches

When we dress for an elegant dinner, we would certainly feel underdressed if we did not finish off our attire with the appropriate accessories. The same is true for any kitchen, but especially true for the traditional kitchen style. Cabinet hardware selections will make the same impact on your kitchen as the choice of a necklace or tie will make on your evening apparel.

There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to your cabinet hardware, it is just a matter of the type of statement you want to make. Do want understated elegance or are you looking to add additional flair? The choices available for cabinet hardware are extensive; you’re certain to find the perfect match for your taste. Of course, hardware is not a necessity with today’s easy open cabinets, so feel free to eliminate pulls and handles altogether if you wish.

What Style Is Your Home?

One important consideration when selecting your kitchen style is to match the style of your kitchen to the rest of your home. This may seem like an obvious observation, but it is not uncommon for homeowners to make the mistake of remodeling one portion of their home in a totally different style then the rest of the home.

Few rules are hard and fast in the world of modern home design, but generally speaking, a traditional kitchen style is best suited for a larger kitchen space and a home which includes a formal dining room. However, the creative kitchen designer is able to tie together elements of mixed styles that can make transitions from one living area to another flow smoothly, even without adherence to one standard of style. In the end, the choice belongs to the homeowner and should fit their tastes and lifestyle.


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