Latest Trends in Kitchen Design: Modern vs. Traditional

When you set out to completely redesign your kitchen, the biggest question to address after your budget is whether you will go for a traditional or a modern approach. Each has its own specific advantages and disadvantages, and it’s hard to say which is the better option in today’s world. Certainly, modern gadgets like smart devices and Wi-Fi appliances are attractive to many people, but just as many homeowners like an old-fashioned, traditional look and feel to their kitchen.

So which is better? Is it possible to mix the two and come up with a design that’s the best of both worlds? Let’s take some time to explore the differences between modern vs. traditional kitchen design and find out how you can get the best out of whichever choice you make for your remodeling project.

Modern vs. Traditional Kitchen Design

Your style and aesthetic will form the major factor in deciding between a modern vs. traditional kitchen design for your project. It’s important to understand the difference between these styles and what actually sets one apart from the other. You may be surprised at some of the elements that are (and are not) required in each.

In the end, your modern vs. traditional approach comes down more to the overall appearance and function than it does what’s in it. That means you can have smart appliances installed into a traditional kitchen design; it just gets a bit trickier. Let’s break down the differences.

Elements of a Traditional Kitchen

A traditional kitchen goes for a warm, welcoming and classic design in their look. They tend to adopt rustic decor, often influenced by English and French designs as well as country and vintage looks. Traditional style is considered elegant and classic and is the ideal approach for someone who loves detail and prefers decoration that takes on a timeless and welcoming feel.

In a traditional kitchen, you’ll find natural elements like woodwork and natural stone, moldings and trims around the baseboards and backsplashes, and earth-tone colors with prominent browns, grays and creams.

Elements of a Modern Kitchen

Modern kitchens tend toward very sleek, sharp lines. They gear toward a minimalist approach that places an emphasis on keeping things clean, bright and efficient, which makes them popular in small spaces. Color schemes tend to stick to black and white and shades of gray, along with black or stainless steel appliances. These are the kitchens that look starkly futuristic.

In a modern kitchen, you’ll often find smart appliances and technology in full display, sometimes even featured as a core element of the design. Styling will focus on a modernist, yet striking and eye-catching, aesthetic.

Which to Choose?

Which to choose really depends on what you like and what you need. If you have a small kitchen with minimal space with which to work, such as is often found in a condo or apartment, a modern kitchen design may well be the best option to choose, as it tends to maximize the space you have available with smart appliances and the very best possible use of the area. It’s all about function and efficiency, and, in this case, form really does follow function.

If, on the other hand, you have a larger space with which to work and you enjoy the elaborate detailing and soft lines of a rustic look, if you enjoy deep browns and woodgrain with natural marble or granite, elaborate tile, stone, or seashell backsplashes and counters, a traditional kitchen may be just the way to go. Traditional kitchens are more focused on the look than the efficient function, so they tend to go better in larger spaces. That said, it is possible to design a gorgeous traditional kitchen in a smaller area.

Start With a Color Palette

If you’re still not sure where to go, start with your color palette. Are you looking for bright, crisp and clean colors that give your kitchen an edge or that really pop, or are you aiming for classic and soft colors like beige, shades of brown or pastels? If it’s the former, you may be leaning toward modern, while the latter tends toward traditional.

Additional Decor

Next, consider the kind of decor you want. Do you like the idea of signs that read, “My Kitchen Is My Home,” or old-school advertising signage? Do you enjoy elaborate hot pads that can hang as a wall display when not in use? If so, you’re leaning again toward traditional.

If, on the other hand, you’d prefer clean, plain walls that let the technology and sleek silver of your appliances do the talking, the modernist style is your taste. Modern kitchens tend to eschew extraneous decoration, while traditional spaces tend to embrace it.

What Kinds of Cabinets?

Cabinets say the world about your taste in kitchens. If you go with cabinets that have a raised panel design, natural woodgrain and a warm, glazed finish, you’re choosing at a natural look that is definitely gearing toward the traditional design style.

If, on the other hand, you prefer cabinets to be functional, maximize space with a minimum of detailing and sport sharp lines that create a sleek focus and eyeline, that’s a modern taste. Again, the level of decorative detail your cabinets offer says the world.


Finally, consider the lighting elements you want in your kitchen. If you’re drawn to the idea of decorative lighting that offers a fancy, detailed or retro look to the lighting fixtures themselves, that’s an element of traditional kitchen design. The lighting in these kitchens, in addition to providing illumination, adds to the decorative look of the overall aesthetic.

On the other hand, if you are looking at hidden lighting that’s bright and airy and doesn’t offer any sort of relation, either distracting or complementary, to the overall design aesthetic, you’re definitely thinking along the lines of modernist designs.

If you’re still not sure which way you’re leaning, why not work with Kitchen Solvers to design your dream kitchen, which may well be somewhere between traditional and modern? Give us a call today or stop into one of our local stores to get started on your next remodel.