How to choose design features for a traditional kitchen

Bringing a variety of items and designs together is key.

Individuality is central to the design of a traditional kitchen, but there are plenty of features that different versions of these diverse spaces share. Discover these ideas to get inspired.

Consider different combinations

To create a vintage look, think about how your furniture, china, cookware and kitchen appliances all work together, and do not be afraid to mix patterns and textures. The more eclectic the combination, the better.

Mix up your furniture

Variety is key when it comes to furniture, too. By mixing up groups of antique and new furniture, built-in and freestanding storage units, and quirky and conventional tableware, the room ends up being packed with intriguing pieces. For example, worktops that were once benches in school science labs and glass-fronted display cabinets that show off their contents work well alongside classic shaker-style kitchen doors.

Consider every last detail

Details make all the difference to the overall impression of your traditional kitchen. From the shapely hand-turned legs of a treasured dining chair to the finishing touches on cabinetry, such as pilasters, moulding and cornicing, everything, however small, is worth doing properly.

Style and practicality go hand in hand on every scale – the imposing form of a classic dresser looks all the better for being adorned with china (and can handle the largest of collections), while old-fashioned favourites such as open plate racks and smooth wooden cutlery drawers provide discreet but invaluable storage solutions.

There is room to customise pieces at every level too, whether you are transforming furniture with a coat of paint or swapping modern door furniture for antique alternatives.

Work with the original features of your property

Many of the classic elements of a farmhouse or country kitchen are determined by the original features of the property.

The look of exposed wooden beams give an instant sense of history, and are a gift when it comes to creating a rustic look, as well as providing a great space for hanging pots and pans.

An often-envied inglenook fireplace is the perfect backdrop for a range cooker that is large enough to cook for a house full, adding to the look of a warming hearth and the irresistible charms of a wood burning stove.

Use traditional techniques to make a statement

Materials and techniques that were once used as a matter of necessity are now at the heart of a traditional kitchen’s distinctive style statements. Here are just some of the popular techniques and features that can add an old-fashioned homely look to your cooking area:

  • Tongue and groove panelling
  • Woven wicker storage baskets
  • Ceramic sinks
  • Whitewashed floorboards and furniture

Do not rule out modern technology

What places a traditional kitchen firmly in the current era is a willingness to embrace new developments. At one end of the scale, soft-close drawers or cupboards create a subtle sense of luxury, and traditional range cookers are now available in electric and programmable designs.

Cutting-edge technology has also brought us retractable flatscreen TVs, laptops that will slip into a kitchen drawer, and hidden speakers which seem to play music out of thin air. Innovative products like these are all proof that it is possible to incorporate the 21st century into the most traditional kitchen design.