Kitchen Design Styles to Know Before You Remodel

    Although many of the homes in the Metro DC region were built 50, 75 years, or even longer ago and they have gone through several generations of ownership, the exterior most likely has not evolved in terms of its appearance, its style. But the interiors, especially kitchens, have evolved enormously. 

    If your home is, for instance, a center hall colonial built in the early 1950s, the outside is probably recognizable, even with new siding and upgraded landscaping. The interior is a different story. You don’t walk inside your 50’s-era colonial to a 1950s style kitchen (unless you’re John Waters). The location, size, flow, and appearance would be all wrong for how you live and utilize the kitchen today.

    Even a kitchen that has been renovated once or twice in the home’s lifetime shows signs of wear. Design choices were made by a previous owner that don’t fit with your own aesthetic, and the space just doesn’t look or feel the way you want it to.

    As you consider renovating, is there a “right” design style for a modern kitchen remodel?

    Free eBook: The Definitive Guide to Kitchen Design & Renovation Success

    Types of Kitchen Design Styles

    Home interiors often include multiple design influences or styles. There is nothing wrong with that. The challenge is to make transitions that create a harmonious whole.


    Design style is very subjective. “Clean lines” and “modern” are popular terms, but it is always a process of discovery to understand what that means to an individual homeowner. One client spent several years living in the Netherlands before coming home to Chevy Chase, Maryland with her family. It is not surprising that she developed a taste for minimalist style while living in Northern Europe. So when the time came to remodel her kitchen, we took a minimalist approach, but one that would also fit in with the overall aesthetic of the home. 

    As another example, we recently completed a bungalow renovation that stayed very much in keeping with the arts and crafts roots of the home. But the homeowners also had an appreciation for contemporary lines and minimalist style that we were able to reflect in the kitchen renovation. 

    The goal is to complement the style of the adjoining rooms or spaces while giving you the kitchen you want. You can honor the style of a more traditional interior with cabinet doors in wood tones or paint, depending on the other elements of the interior. Or you might choose a classic style for the legs of the island. Then you can add more contemporary pendant lights, or an unfussy tile backsplash. You might trade in the dated Corian countertops for an interesting quartz. 

    With so many options available, and so many definitions of words like “traditional” and “minimalist,” the next question becomes, how do you work with a designer to get the kitchen style you are looking for?

    Where to Get Kitchen Design Style Inspiration 


    Nowhere is that aphorism more true than in kitchen design. Homeowners are getting design ideas from photos they see online at Houzz, Pinterest, or a subscription to Dwell Magazine. These photos are the perfect place to start. Your definition of “traditional” or “contemporary” might be different from someone else’s, but when a designer sees photos of what you love in a kitchen, they can develop the overall kitchen concept with these specific style points in mind.

    From there, a good designer will be able to pull up similar photos, have cabinet door samples, color swatches, and other samples to confirm and solidify a design approach to your new kitchen. Even if you feel you don’t quite have a name for your style preferences, photos will help translate your inspiration to the designer, where their experience and expertise can bring your inspiration to life. 

    Kitchen Design Style Trends

    Homeowners are becoming more bold in their design choices. Metro DC is very cosmopolitan. Many people have traveled internationally, and have broadened design tastes as a result. There is an interesting interplay between tradition and the new. That presents exciting design opportunities for home interiors, particularly the kitchen.

    One trend we are seeing is a move away from high-gloss, lacquered finishes on cabinets, to more matte finishes. We are also seeing a lot of rich, luxurious color choices. For a kitchen island, you might choose a deep blue, a dark green, or even a deep red as a contrast to the perimeter cabinets.

    A seasoned design professional will pay close attention to customer style preferences and from there make adjustments to the layout that maximize functionality and flow, balancing the color palette. They will help you in choosing cabinet doors and drawer pulls. They will plot the lighting design, select lighting instruments, and accessorize the space for storage and organization. Whether you live in a colonial, a farmhouse, a bungalow, or classic rowhome, a beautifully designed and exceptionally functional kitchen is a very attainable goal.

    Learn about how to approach a kitchen design and remodeling project by downloading The Definitive Guide to Kitchen Design & Remodeling SuccessIf you are considering a home renovation, please feel free to schedule a home renovation discovery session with Gilday today.

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