When it comes to a kitchen design project, sometimes it’s hard to get started. But, once you know what you want, it can be so much fun! 

After spending my summer interning with a local interior design firm, I now fully understand how many different options you have and decisions you make when designing just a single room. During my time there, I helped research and pick out every little detail for a room design down to what kind of trim was going to be used on certain pillows. It can be a pretty overwhelming process especially when you don’t already have a good idea of what you like and don’t like.

To be honest, I still don’t know what materials and finishes I would use for my dream kitchen design because I have a love for so many different styles, which is why I chose to write about this topic. I have to admit that sometimes it’s fun to look at beautiful kitchens and pretend I’m there just cooking my life away.

Kitchen Design Traditional White Decor with Wood Island Light Cabinets Backsplash and Stainless Appliances

Via Design Trends

First things first, what style do you like? Do you prefer contemporary or traditional kitchens? Traditional design is influenced by historical architecture, furniture, and interiors. It comes from popular styles originating in the Middle Ages; the Italian Renaissance; and the Hispanic, French, English and American periods of history (1). Contemporary (or modern) designs, on the other hand, were shaped by the Industrial Revolution and the advent of mass production (2).

Contemporary or traditional? Do you gravitate towards the clean, sleek lines of a contemporary kitchen, or do you prefer the carved moldings and fine woodworks characteristic of traditional designs?

Once you know the major differences between traditional and contemporary designs, it’s very easy to figure out which you prefer. Traditional design is known for introducing a calm and relaxing vibe. Details that indicate a traditional design include carved moldings, fine woodworks, graceful lines, and sturdy, crafted furniture. Most traditional homes use beige, ivory, or cream color palettes, but may utilize bold colors for certain spaces or on accent walls (3). 

Kitchen Design Contemporary Décor with Wood Paneled Cabinets Light Counter Tops and Lime Green Barstools


Contemporary or modern designs take a different approach to producing a calm feeling. Instead of giving you a relaxing, warm feeling the way traditional design does, contemporary styles use clean lines, open space and basic geometry to give you a sense of tranquility. There’s not much in the way of intricate detailing or carving in contemporary styles (4).

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Just as there are numerous types of traditional styles, there is also variation in contemporary design choices including urban, retro, art deco and others. Urban contemporary design uses impactful shapes and lines and all different types of materials ranging from metal to leather. Retro design recalls the eras from the 1950s to the 1980s and has a whimsical or child-like feel to it. 

Art Deco is characterized by its rich colors, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation, while Mid Century Modern presents little to no ornamentation paired with sleek lines. Lastly, casual contemporary design is best for someone who likes modern style, but wants to soften it a bit. It gives you that warm, relaxed feeling you get from traditional design, but it also gives you that clean sleek appearance typical of modern designs (5).

What contemporary style fits you best? The whimsical designs of retro styling or the bold, lavish ornamentation of an Art Deco inspired room? Or something else all together?

When you know what style fits you best, it really narrows down the rest of the decisions you have to make. Now you can start thinking about what kind of material and color you want for your countertops and cabinets, i.e. the fun stuff.

Let the gawking begin! Here are 6 kitchens that are 100% swoon-worthy!!

Kitchen Design Classic Traditional Coastal Décor with White Cabinets and Black Countertops

Via Home Bunch

This kitchen idea represents a traditional style, with black granite countertops. There are so many things I love about this kitchen. The coastal accessories really make this kitchen pop. It isn’t huge, but it does look like there is plenty of necessary space. I’m pretty sure I’ve had more than one architecture professor stress the “less is more” slogan. The contrasting light cabinets and dark countertops are a really nice touch. I LOVE the large square island with the lowered cutting board area. I can honestly say that before discovering this photo, I have never come across anything like this before. This allows so much prep room right in the middle of the kitchen!

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Kitchen Design French Country Décor in White with Raw Wood Accents

Via Home Bunch

Let’s be honest, this kitchen is flawless and I wish I could spend the rest of my life cooking in it. I enjoy a lot of natural lighting and this kitchen definitely has that. I especially like the large, beautiful windows above the sink area, which help illuminate this already bright space. Usually when I think of an all-white kitchen, I picture clean lines, sleek and modern, but I love the way the white is softened up with rustic detailing in this country-themed home.

Kitchen Design Contemporary Decor with Island Dark Wood Floors Hanging Lanterns and Open Shelving

Via Finding Home

There’s truly a lot to love about this kitchen style, from the use of mixed materials to the skylight. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I typically favor traditional design, yet the way this contemporary kitchen softens the sharp, crisp lines by using specific curved pieces makes me (kind of) want to change my mind. The round white barstools give off a relaxing vibe that would make me want to get up and eat my breakfast there every morning. Also, the unique setup of the three lighting fixtures is a neat detail and one that you don’t typically see in kitchens.

Kitchen Design Modern Sleek White Countertops and Appliances with Round Bright Purple Chairs

Via apd

What’s the first thing you notice about this kitchen? The large window? The bold, purple chairs? The fact that there’s no handles on the cabinets? This modern kitchen has so many intriguing qualities. As you can see, it’s very sleek and clean-lined. You probably guessed my favorite part of this kitchen, the enormous window illuminating this immaculate space. I always notice windows first and it’s because I truly think they can make or break a space. In this particular kitchen, I think the window enhances the sharp, crisp appearance of this kitchen. And one more thing, what about that faucet? How elegant does it look on that island? It definitely ties together the steel from the chairs and the appliances and unifies this kitchen.

How can you make your kitchen rise above the rest? Consider a bright backsplash, a bold accent wall or even a perfectly placed window!

Kitchen Design with Statement Wall Brick Backsplash with Red Appliances and Dark Cabinets

Via T.D.C

Everyone wants their kitchen to stand apart from the rest. But how? All kitchen interiors generally have the same appliances and serve the same functions, so how can you really set yours apart? A lot of people are turning to backsplashes to make their bold statement in the kitchen. For this kitchen, the brick wall really makes a statement. The contrast with the black cabinetry is perfect. The red accent pieces are the ideal middle man and mesh the brick wall and black cabinetry together seamlessly.

Kitchen Design Multifunctional Traditional Décor with Two Large Islands Lots of Open Space and Fire Oven

Via McAlpine

I wanted to showcase this particular kitchen layout mainly because of the two islands. If you have the money and the space, the extra prep area and storage this would provide is a great idea; especially if you have a big family, or enjoy hosting events in your home. If your family is anything like mine, we love to have buffets for any and all events, so the extra space would be so nice to accommodate all of that food. I can’t say I’ve ever considered having a wood burning fireplace in my kitchen, but this one is quite nice. I think it reinforces the warm tones throughout this kitchen. My two most favorite details (besides the two islands of course) would have to be the rustic wood flooring and the silvery-gray backsplash behind the stove area.

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I hope this post helps get your inner creativity flowing, and helps you come up with some killer kitchen design ideas! The kitchen is one of the most important spaces in your home, so you want it to be perfect for you and your family. Take your time when picking out materials and finishes, don’t rush it. If you are building your house and get to fully design your own kitchen, always take into consideration the amount of space and the functionality you require. It’s better to be prepared and get exactly what you want when it comes to your kitchen.

So, what is it that you want from your kitchen design project? Share, comment, and let us know! 

The following sites helped with information on traditional & contemporary designs: Kitchen Art, iMatchDesigners, and about home.

**Featured image via Bungalow5