How to Design a Classic Kitchen
These days, a huge amount of effort goes into designing modern kitchens. And for a good reason, in the right home and for the right person, they can look incredible. However, as with all things in the design world, personal preference is paramount.
For some, a kitchen with ultra-high-super-gloss cabinets, polished concrete floors, and green neon floor lighting will look bizarre in the extreme. They’ll feel like they’ve walked into the kitchen on the Starship Enterprise!
No, for some, modern kitchens won’t do.
Fortunately, a timeless alternative exists in the classic kitchen.
This article is going to explain the benefits of a classic style, walk you through designing your own classic kitchen, and have a look at a particular style of classic kitchen — the Shaker style.
The benefits of a classic kitchen
Here are the three main reasons you should consider bucking the trend of modernity and opting for a classic style kitchen.
Modern = expensive.
If you want to do a modern kitchen properly, you’re going to end up spending a lot on it. Classic kitchens, on the other hand, don’t require expensive finishes or furnishing to make them look homely and welcoming. By keeping it simple, you can achieve a stunning look for less.
Modern styles change quickly.
New trends in modern kitchen design chop and change like the weather. You could be at the height of fashion one moment and gone with the wind the next. Classic kitchens, however, never go out of fashion. They are, after all, classic! Not only do these timeless designs look fantastic, but they can also save you money in the long term as you will feel less pressure to change your kitchen every 4 years. A well-made classic kitchen can last a lifetime!
Another great aspect of classic kitchens is that their simple design lends itself to easy updates. Sure, you may want to keep your classic kitchen for a long time, but you might also want to tweak certain features to add your own style as your preferences change. Classic kitchens allow you to do this, so you’ll always have the opportunity to update and perfect your classic kitchen.
How to design a classic kitchen
It’s all very well shouting the odds about how good they are, but how exactly do you achieve that classic kitchen style?!
After taking a brief look at the “philosophy” of a classic style, we’ll focus on each aspect of your kitchen and how to achieve the classic look. If you need more help with your kitchen design questions, our ultimate guide to designing your kitchen has all the answers you need.
What even is a “classic” kitchen?
The easiest way to describe a classic kitchen is by pointing out the two “extremes” at either end of the spectrum, with classic kitchens sitting somewhere in the middle.
At one end of the spectrum, you have modern kitchens, which focus on sleek simplicity and often emphasise a minimalist design.
At the other end, you have traditional kitchens, with a focus on elaborate design features and cramming in as much detail and luxurious decorative ornamentation as possible.
And in the middle, you have classic kitchens, which take the best elements from both and combine them. Classic kitchens do maintain a simplicity; however, they don’t shy away from adding in details here and there to make things really stand out.
Kitchen cabinets make up a significant percentage of the space in a kitchen, so it’s crucial to get them right. When going for a classic style, wooden cabinets are your best bet.
The great thing about wooden cabinets is there is a massive range of woods, offering different colours and grains so that you can add your personal style to your cabinets. You can also tweak your final choice with a range of wood oils and varnishes.
In terms of colour, the middle way approach is also best. The lovely light brown of maple or oak would be perfect. If anything, tend towards darker woods, as very light woods will look too modern.
Finally, wood can be easily worked, meaning virtually any design can be carved into them. For the classic look, less is more, so try adding just a simple bevel to make your cabinets stand out.
Again, wood is going to be a strong choice for a classic kitchen. Combining lighter cabinets with a dark wood floor, such as walnut, will really bring out the features of your cabinets.
Another option is tiles made from natural stone. In this department, black slate is a fine choice as it provides a solid, dark colour with a matt finish, as opposed to polished shiny tiles which wouldn’t suit a classic design.
To provide a visual break between the brighter colour of the lower and upper cabinets, a wise choice would be a darker worktop. If you opt for a dark slate floor, you could tie this with a dark slate worktop which would work beautifully.
Alternatively, other dark worktops, such as granite, black marble, or dark quartz, would also work very well.
The materials discussed so far have very distinctive colours, and your choices for the features above will influence which particular colour scheme is right for your design.
The one thing to keep in mind for a classic kitchen is to go for a neutral colour scheme. When painting the walls and ceiling, steer clear of bright reds, blues, oranges etc. and stick to beige, cream, or ivory. This will provide a humble backdrop to let the colours and grains of your natural materials take the limelight.
The colour of your furniture is another important consideration and, yet again, wood is the prime candidate. Keeping it sensible is the order of the day here. You don’t want to pick a wood that is wildly different in colour to your cabinets and/or floor, and picking the same colour means you’ll lose out on the opportunity to make a nice design statement with your table.
Go for a wood that compliments the rest of your kitchen while being different enough to draw your attention to it.
The Shaker style
We’re going to end by bringing your attention to a specific style of the kitchen which has it’s own unique history and identity and is a perfect example of a classic kitchen. We’ve covered Shaker kitchens in extensive detail here; however, we want to whet your appetite for a “classic classic”.
Shaker kitchens are a type of classic kitchen that place particular emphasis on functionality and practicality. They veer towards the simple end of the previously mentioned spectrum, with a no-frills approach to decoration and design.
Plain cabinets, a neutral palette, and simple design features create an effortlessly elegant look. Combining this with a focus on space-saving storage ideas results in a classic looking kitchen that is well-equipped to deal with the demands of modern living.
The final word
The classic style is an excellent way to future-proof your kitchen from the changing whims of modern fashion. You can achieve a timeless look, and there’s enough flexibility to put your own mark on it. We hope you found this guide useful and wish you good luck in designing your very own classic kitchen!