Often when homeowners are browsing Houzz.com, they add dozens of kitchen photos into ideabooks without knowing which style of kitchen those photos represent. There’s nothing wrong with that. But when you’re a homeowner ready to start making decisions on your kitchen remodel, knowing what style and trends you like will help narrow your design options and direct your focus.

When you have hundreds of options before you and a limited budget, knowing your personal style will help make the decision process easier for you and your kitchen designer.

If you were to ask me my personal style, I favor traditional design. From what I’ve seen while working at Studio 76 Kitchens & Baths, the same is true for a majority of homeowners who live in Northeast Ohio. About 75% of the kitchen remodels we design are traditional (not because that’s what I favor, but it’s what the homeowners choose). However, as we follow the trends of kitchen design, we expect to see more clients choosing transitional styles.

In this blog post, we will define traditional and transitional styles as they are most often confused. What are the differences between traditional vs transitional kitchen design, and where does your personal style most likely fit?

Traditional

With traditional kitchen design, we aren’t talking about grandma’s kitchen with its floral wallpaper and laminate flooring. Even “traditional” kitchen remodels include elements of contemporary kitchen design. For example, a large stainless steel hood over the range is popular in most kitchen remodels. That’s contemporary. But our kitchen designers can help you choose a hood that can be covered with an ornamental overlay matching the cabinetry surrounding it. That’s traditional.

Traditional design: classic colors and stain; ornate molding and details

Traditional design: classic colors and stain; ornate molding, fixtures and details

Traditional kitchen design often includes:

  • cabinetry doors with traditional raised panels, elaborate profiles or large applied moldings
  • ornamental crown molding
  • classic stains and colors
  • natural materials
  • detailed craftsmanship
  • traditional lighting

When you’re identifying a traditional kitchen style, those six elements are what to look for!

Transitional

It’s not traditional, and it’s not modern. It’s transitional – a blend of traditional and modern styles with a focus on practicality and creativity. Blending elements of two distinct styles can be confusing and uncertain. No one wants to spend money on a remodel that ends up looking like a bad aftertaste. (This is why including a kitchen designer is so important!) With the help of a kitchen designer, you can blend the personal style of each partner and balance feminine and masculine taste all in one transitional design. (Maybe we should call this style “Compromise”?)

Transitional design: simple cabinetry profile, no molding, no fuss, neutral colors

Transitional design: simple cabinetry profile, no molding, no fuss, neutral colors

Transitional kitchen design often includes:

  • cabinetry doors with simple profile (often Shaker style, pairing stained and painted finishes)
  • crown molding with very little ornamentation, or no molding at all
  • neutral color palettes
  • mix of natural and manufactured materials
  • clean lines in craftsmanship
  • traditional, industrial, or modern lighting

Look for those six transitional elements in photos and images of kitchens to determine if transitional is your style.

Conclusion

Our definitions and descriptions are very basic. If you were to take an interior design class, you wouldn’t get off this easy. However, next time you’re scrolling through images on Houzz, I think you’ll be able to spot a traditional or transitional design fairly well. And you’ll know why a certain image speaks to you.

Which style will you choose for your kitchen remodel? Understanding your own personal style and where that fits into kitchen design makes for more informed decisions for you and your kitchen designer.