Comparing Kitchen Styles: Traditional and Transitional Kitchens

Often times clients approach us desiring a kitchen renovation knowing the look and feel they want to achieve, but not what details accomplish the particular look. As professional custom cabinetry makers we take the words, the look and feel our clients describe and bring it to life. We try to match their words to a particular style of kitchen and customize the design from there. Often when a kitchen design is labelled as a distinct style, such as traditional or transitional, clients become uncertain because they don’t fully comprehend the style. We want to dispel any misconception and help define each kitchen style. Two designs that often get confused are Traditional and Transitional Kitchens.

What defines Traditional?

Firstly, a traditional kitchen is defined not by old world or country, those are two very different and independently unique styles of cabinetry.. A traditional style kitchen is defined by a warm and classic feel with French and English inspired elements. Normally a traditional kitchen will have warmer and muted tones such as creams, whites, taupes and light grays. Ornamentation and detailed elements are common in traditional kitchens, and often you may see patterns included in the cabinetry and finishing panels. One big word associated with traditional style kitchens is “handcrafted”. This affiliation is because traditional kitchens often have scenic detailing with butterflies, fruit and flowers that normally can only be achieved if its handcrafted.

How to achieve the look:

  • Look for intricate furnishings with carved legs and columns.
  • Install flooring in a pattern to add more contrast.
  • Use fabrics to bring colour into the space (Look for nature scenes and stripes, not geometric shapes)

What defines Transitional?

Consequently, a transitional kitchen is more difficult to define because it is a blend of classic and modern. The blend proportions between traditional and modern are completely up to the discretion of the designer and the homeowner. The word itself implies that the design of the kitchen is transitioning, going somewhere, changing, ever adapting. A Transitional kitchen is achieved by incorporating elements one would consider traditional with a modern innovative twist. A transitional design always recalls elements of the past but with a fresh new look. To set a kitchen apart at transitional, one normally mixes finishes and details. Incorporating a pop of colour, be it the cabinetry, the counter, or flooring, adds to the transitional look of the space. A transitional kitchen feels modern, like it’s moving forward, but still homey.

How to achieve the look:

  • Do not mute the colours in your kitchen.
  • Mix components from various periods.
  • Think innovatively when making design decisions.
  • Choose a matte or leather finish for your countertops.
  • Incorporate a pop of colour to elevate the look

Ultimately, what truly differentiates traditional and transitional kitchens is whether modern elements are incorporated and at what level.

Posted on May 22, 2020

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