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13 Modern Ways to Get a Traditional-style Kitchen

Sleek and minimal isn’t for everyone – keep your kitchen classic for looks that will last

Houzz Contributor. I’m a London-based journalist with years of experience writing… More

The trend for minimal, modern kitchens has mushroomed in recent decades, but traditional kitchen styles still remain popular, and it’s easy to see why. Shaker cabinets, wooden or stone worktops and rustic touches, such as a flagstone floor, are comforting and timeless. Here are 10 classic features to consider for your traditional kitchen.

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Shaker things up
No matter what kitchen trends come and go, Shaker-style cabinets never seem to fall out of fashion. They’re defined by their trademark recessed central panels and, as their name suggests, their simple, functional style is based on the handcrafted cabinetry produced by the Shakers.

For a traditional look that isn’t too heavy, try painting cabinets in a pale shade. Adding wall-hung units with open shelves or glass doors is another way to stop a small space feeling cramped.

See 10 of the best contemporary Shaker kitchens on Houzz

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Indulge in an Aga
They may not be cheap, but range cookers add a traditional, cosy feel to kitchens, and work particularly well if your style is country. Consider one with a door in a bright colour, such as this red, to turn it into a real feature.

Agas add irresistible warmth in winter, and aficionados extol their virtues when it comes to delicious roasts and cakes. Bear in mind, though, that Agas can be expensive to run.

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Celebrate wood
Cabinets don’t have to be painted. A natural wood Shaker-style kitchen has a warm, rustic, old-school feel; this one is handmade from oak.

Classic cup handles work well with this style of cabinet – and a brass finish works better with the golden tones of the wood than chrome might.

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Paint in grey tones
Painting cabinets in a matt, heritage shade creates a period look that’s very of the moment – both traditional and trendy. Greys and mushrooms are good neutral choices. More forgiving of spills and scrapes than cream or white, they add quiet elegance.

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Choose traditional-style handles
The handles you choose can make a huge difference to the look of your traditional kitchen. Here, Shaker-style ‘peg’ knobs have a pleasing simplicity. By leaving them unpainted, they also add a lovely wooden contrast to the painted cupboards.

How to get your kitchen handles right

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Add a Roman blind
Don’t forget about window dressings in your traditional-style kitchen. Roman blinds can help to soften a room and add a sweet country touch. They also give you the opportunity to introduce some pattern. Choose a striped fabric, as here, for a timeless effect.

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Bag a butler’s sink
A white porcelain butler’s sink is hard to beat looks-wise in a traditional-style kitchen. With a period, vintage feel, they can be practical, too, as they tend to be roomy, and the boxy shape manages to look both classic and contemporary. Be sure to combine them with traditional, vintage-style taps, so they don’t ‘jar’.

Also bear in mind that plates and glasses may be more likely to break during the washing-up, and porcelain can chip and crack. You’ll also need a separate drainer.

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Fall for fabulous flagstones
A natural flagstone floor may not be the cheapest choice to lay, but it will look beautiful, unique and authentic. This is a great style for rustic farmhouses, but it can also add a sense of history to any home.

Dark grey or black stone, as here, can create drama and impact or, for a lighter look, choose a honey-hued limestone.

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Weave in some wicker
Investing in a few simple wicker baskets can be a fast way to add traditional country style to a kitchen.

Use them on open shelves or rest them on top of units. As well as providing a handy home for everything from kitchen roll to spare packets of pasta, they add texture and character, especially if everything else is white or cream.

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Panel an island
Most of us, admittedly, don’t have space for an island as large as this one, but it’s a great example of how a traditional-style panelled unit, teamed with a wooden worktop, can add grandeur and a country manor air.

This kitchen sticks to simple white, warmed up by wood, and it works beautifully.

Not sure whether you have room for a kitchen island? Read this expert advice

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Contemplate terracotta tiles
Terracotta floor tiles add instant visual warmth and a timeless feel to a kitchen. They also mean you don’t need much colour elsewhere. In this kitchen, the owners have echoed the effect with similar-hued wall tiles.

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Slot in a butcher’s block
A wooden butcher’s block makes a flexible, affordable and compact ‘mini island’ when space is tight. As well as providing an extra surface for prepping and chopping, it will add buckets of traditional character.

Make sure you maintain yours properly, however, so it stays hygienic. Wash it regularly with soap and water, and oil it every few months so the wood stays in good shape, sanding back scrapes and cuts beforehand if necessary.

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Suspend a pan rack
It might bring to mind Victorian sculleries, but if your ceiling is high enough, a pan rack can be a great finishing touch in a traditional-style kitchen.

Suspended over an island is a natural home; use it to show off your very best cookware. A metallic, industrial number can also help tone down a surfeit of wood in a traditional room.

What traditional elements have you used in your kitchen? Share your ideas and thoughts in the Comments below.

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