Traditional or Contemporary: Styled New Kitchen Depends on Tastes, Needs

February 21, 2011

Out with the old, in with the new is a motto that applies especially well to the kitchen, which is usually the most important and yet often the most neglected room in a typical home.

But updating an older kitchen doesn’t necessarily require modernizing it with a vogue look. You can achieve lasting aesthetic appeal with either a traditional or contemporary style, provided your new kitchen is carefully planned, said Diane Bohstedt, kitchen designer for Cabinets at Danada, a full-service kitchen and bath design firm with locations in Geneva and Wheaton.

“Many homeowners aren’t sure whether to opt for a classic, traditional theme or a modern approach in their kitchen. They often worry that with either choice, the room will eventually appear dated and unfashionable. But the truth is that, so long as your kitchen is well designed and incorporates quality products and materials, you usually can’t go wrong with either style,” she said.

A traditional kitchen, Bohstedt noted, commonly features an eclectic combination of period styles, textures and materials and flaunts a more intricate level of detail. That often equates to finer ornamentation within the cabinetry, heavier crown moldings and greater use of onlays, inlays and appliqués such as rosettes and acorns carved into the woodwork.

“With a traditional kitchen, the colors are warm, soft and muted, which is why we often see a lot of crèmes and off whites. This classic aesthetic tries to invoke the feeling of bringing the elegance of nature indoors, which typically equates to more common use of hardwood flooring and special fabrics being used for the window treatments or in an area rug.”

To prevent a traditional-themed kitchen from becoming too old fashioned or passé over time, Bohstedt recommends blending a variety of textures and design elements into the living space, such as painted cabinets paired with stained cabinets.

Traditional and conservative is not the right approach for everyone. Bohstedt also suggests considering a more modern kitchen design, particularly for younger homeowners who desire something more visually interesting—without going overboard, of course.

“Contemporary doesn’t have to mean sterile, futuristic, or eccentric. You can create a clean, simple look which incorporates colors more often associated with traditional styling,” Bohstedt said.

Bright white cabinets with clean lines, paired with intense or subtle colors, are frequently seen in contemporary kitchens. Using colors that are currently in fashion establishes the room’s freshness and up-to-the-minute charm.

“It may also be smart to choose a blend of modern and classic elements in your kitchen, which incorporates the best of both worlds,” she said. “For instance, you may select contemporary styled cabinetry with clean lines and a sleek finish, but choose an antique or re-purposed table. You can also opt for a more transitional, ‘easy traditional’ look that creates a more simplified, less ornamental appearance in the classic vein.”

The bottom line, Bohstedt said, is that “you have to be informed about the options when it’s time to create a new kitchen. And that means giving serious thought to the styles and design approaches which will give you the best bang for your buck, whether you plan to remain in your home indefinitely or are looking for increased resale value in the short- or long-term.”

If you fall into the latter category, you may want to play it conservative and stick with classic traditional, she added.

“But as to which is the better choice—modern or traditional—for most homeowners it comes down to a matter of personal preference, individual taste and aesthetic proclivity. Again, if your kitchen is in the hands of a skilled design expert and you use quality ingredients, the results should be stunning and long-lasting.”

For more ideas on popular kitchen trends and designs which will stand the test of time, call Cabinets at Danada. The firm has two locations: Cabinets at Danada Studio West in Geneva at 321 Stevens St., suite H (at the intersection of Third Street and Stevens Street, four blocks north of Rt. 38/State Street), phone (630) 232-9500; and Cabinets at Danada in Wheaton, located at 245 Rice Lake Square, phone (630) 260-1200. Visit www.CabinetsatDanada.com for more info.

Cabinets at Danada is a Havlicek Builders company. Since 1983, Havlicek Builders has crafted hundreds of luxury custom homes in the Fox Valley area — each one bearing Havlicek’s signature of quality and fine workmanship. The company has won numerous building awards through the years and continues to build on a tradition of excellence established by founder and president George Havlicek.

About The Author

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Lynn Walsh is the President at Walsh Communications, LLC. Walsh Communications is a full-service public relations, marketing and advertising agency for home builders and real estate-related industries.

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