How To Design A Timeless Kitchen (That Never Goes Out Of Style)
Are you worried about having to constantly update your kitchen to keep up with the latest design trends? Do you want to create a timeless kitchen that will look great for years to come?
As a kitchen designer for the last 10+ years, (and having worked with companies that pull this look off very well) I’ve gained some valuable insights into what it takes to create a truly timeless kitchen.
In this post, I’m going to share my tips and tricks for creating a timeless kitchen that never goes out of style. From colour choices to material selections, I’ll cover everything you need to know to design a space that you’ll love for years to come.
So, let’s get started on your journey to creating the perfect timeless kitchen!
What is a timeless kitchen?
A timeless kitchen is a design style that has a classic, enduring quality that can remain relevant and stylish for many years to come. It should not be tied to any specific kitchen trend or era.
In my opinion, the key to achieving a timeless kitchen is to focus on creating a design that is practical, elegant and built to last, rather than following short-lived trends or fads.
A timeless kitchen design often incorporates natural materials like wood and stone, which are known for their durability and enduring appeal. The layout should be functional, with an emphasis on practicality and efficiency. It will often include features like ample storage, easy-to-clean surfaces, and high-quality appliances.
The overall effect is a space that is elegant, practical, and built to last, with a timeless quality that will never go out of style.
That’s great, but how do you achieve this!?
How to Design a timeless kitchen
I’ve broken it down into 9 elements that I think help to make a timeless kitchen design. I’m not saying you have to tick each one off the list. However, incorporating or at the very least paying attention to some of these elements will have you well on your way to creating a kitchen design and style that will stand the test of time.
The cabinet style plays a crucial role in creating a timeless kitchen because cabinets are a dominant visual element in the kitchen. Choosing a classic cabinet style that is not tied to any specific trend or era will ensure that the kitchen remains stylish for many years to come.
Simple, shaker-style cabinets, for example, have been popular for over a century and continue to be a timeless choice. The clean lines and minimal detailing of shaker-style cabinets create a versatile design that can be adapted to a wide range of kitchen styles.
Additionally, choosing high-quality materials, like natural wood or durable laminates, and finishes that are easy to maintain, like painted or stained, will ensure that the cabinets remain beautiful and functional for many years.
Using neutral colours in a kitchen design can help create a timeless kitchen because they are often classic, versatile, and have an enduring quality that transcends trends and fads. Neutral colours like white, beige and light grey provide a clean, sophisticated look that is easy to pair with other colours or design elements.
Using neutral colours can also make a kitchen appear larger and more spacious, which is particularly important in smaller kitchens. By reflecting light and creating a feeling of openness, neutral colours can help to make a small kitchen feel more inviting and comfortable.
Additionally, neutral colours provide a blank canvas that can be customized with more colourful accessories or accents. This allows you to update the look of the kitchen without having to completely overhaul the design. Which can save a significant amount of money and time in the long run.
Having a practical and user-friendly layout is essential for creating a timeless kitchen design. (or any kitchen design) as the layout impacts the functionality and efficiency of the space. A kitchen that is difficult to navigate or lacks essential features will not only be frustrating to use but also lose its appeal over time.
A practical and user-friendly layout includes the placement of major appliances, the location of storage areas, and the flow of traffic within the space. It should be designed in a way to access everything you need and work efficiently, without feeling cramped or overwhelmed.
The kitchen triangle or kitchen zoning are popular layout design concepts that can be helpful in creating a practical layout.
In a timeless kitchen design, functionality is just as important as aesthetics. A practical layout can help to ensure that the kitchen remains functional and usable for many years to come, regardless of changes in design trends or personal preferences.
It can also mean that you only do your kitchen remodel once. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Layout is key!
Functional Design Elements
Having functional design elements provide practical benefits that are essential for everyday use. Design elements like adequate storage space, ample countertop area, and efficient lighting not only make a kitchen more functional and user-friendly but also contribute to the overall look and feel of the space.
For example, having plenty of storage space is a must for keeping a kitchen organized and clutter-free. Pull-out shelves, deep drawers, and cabinets that extend to the ceiling can all help maximize storage space and make it easy to access and organize kitchen items. A timeless kitchen design should aim to incorporate plenty of functional storage space, regardless of the kitchen’s size or layout.
As well as plenty of cabinet storage you should make sure to design enough countertop space to accommodate food preparation, cooking, and serving, as well as space for small appliances and decorative elements. A large island or peninsula can provide additional countertop space and double as a seating area for family and friends.
Lighting is an essential component when designing a timeless kitchen, or any kitchen for that matter!
Proper lighting can enhance the functionality, ambience, and overall look and feel of the space. There are three main types of lighting that you should consider when designing a kitchen. Ambient lighting, task lighting, and decorative lighting.
Ambient lighting refers to the general lighting that provides overall illumination throughout the kitchen. It can be achieved through overhead fixtures like recessed (pot) lights, or even through natural light sources like windows or skylights. Ambient lighting sets the tone for the space and creates a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Task lighting, on the other hand, is focused lighting that is used to illuminate specific areas where tasks are performed, such as countertops, cooking areas, or sink areas. Under-cabinet lights, pendant lights, and track lighting are all examples of task lighting that can be used in a kitchen. Task lighting is important for creating a functional and efficient workspace in the kitchen, allowing you to see clearly while you work.
Finally, decorative lighting is used to add visual interest to the space and highlight decorative elements like artwork or architectural features. Chandeliers, pendant lights, and sconces can all serve as decorative lighting in a kitchen. When used strategically, decorative lighting can add depth and texture to a kitchen design, creating a layered and sophisticated look.
A well-designed lighting scheme can enhance the functionality, ambience, and overall aesthetic appeal of the space, ensuring that it remains a functional and beautiful part of the home for many years to come.
Balance and symmetry
If you’ve watched any of my YouTube videos you’ll know I can be a little obsessed when it comes to balance and symmetry as part of a kitchen design. I believe these design principles can help to create a harmonious and cohesive look that can stand the test of time.
When designing a kitchen with balance and symmetry in mind, it’s important to consider the placement of elements, the use of materials, and the overall visual weight of the space.
One example of using balance and symmetry in a kitchen design is the placement of cabinets and appliances. Kitchen cabinetry can be arranged symmetrically around a focal point, such as a range hood or a window, creating a sense of balance and order. Another way to achieve balance is through the use of matching or coordinating finishes, such as matching cabinet hardware or coordinating countertop and backsplash materials.
In addition to cabinet placement and materials, lighting is also an important consideration when designing for balance and symmetry. Lighting fixtures should be placed evenly throughout the space to create a balanced distribution of light. For example, pendant lights can be hung symmetrically over a kitchen island, or wall sconces can be placed evenly above a sink area.
However, you don’t have to make everything perfectly symmetrical. A little bit of A-symmetry can look fantastic! Just remember to step back, look and consider at the overall visual weight of the space. There are lots of ways (big and small) that you can incorporate balance and/or symmetry into your kitchen design.
Wood and natural stone are perfect examples of timeless materials. They provide warmth, texture, and a connection to nature that can make a space feel more inviting and timeless. Biophilic design is a style that looks to achieve this.
One example of incorporating wood into a kitchen design is the use of wood cabinetry. Wood cabinets can add warmth and natural beauty to a kitchen, and they can be stained or painted to match any style or colour palette.
Another way to incorporate wood into a kitchen is through the use of wood flooring. Wooden flooring has been used in kitchens for years and can help to create a warm, homely and timeless look. Nowadays I tend to recommend engineered wood flooring in a kitchen. However, if you have the right conditions, there’s nothing quite like the real thing.
Natural stone is another important element in kitchen design. Materials such as granite, marble, and quartzite are popular choices for countertops because they are durable, easy to maintain, and add a luxurious look to a kitchen.
In addition to countertops, natural stone can be used as a backsplash or as a flooring material. The image below shows a kitchen with a marble tile backsplash and matching marble countertops. This helps to create a cohesive and timeless look.
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Kitchen appliances play an important role in the overall design and functionality of any kitchen. Not only do they serve a very practical purpose, but they can also enhance (or detract) the aesthetic appeal of the space.
Style and Aesthetics: Kitchen appliances can contribute to the overall style and aesthetic of your kitchen. For instance, a classic stainless steel range cooker can create a timeless look that will never go out of style. Whereas a funky-coloured range may look great now but will likely go out of trend and ‘age’ much quicker.
Cohesiveness: Choosing appliances that match or complement each other can create a cohesive look in your kitchen. For example, pairing stainless steel appliances with a stainless steel sink and faucet can create a uniform and cohesive look. This can also make your kitchen appear more organized and visually appealing.
Longevity: High-quality kitchen appliances are built to last and can withstand the wear and tear of daily use. Investing in appliances that are durable and long-lasting can save you money in the long run and ensure that your kitchen remains functional for years to come.
When selecting appliances for your kitchen, it’s important to consider both their functionality and how they will contribute to the overall style and design of your space.
In a similar vein to high-quality appliances. Picking quality products and materials that will last and stand the test of time is crucial when it comes to designing a timeless kitchen.
Durability: High-quality materials are more durable and will last longer than cheaper, lower-quality options. This means that you’ll be less likely to need to replace or repair elements of your kitchen over time, saving you money and time in the long run. This could be things like your kitchen cabinetry hinges and drawer runners, or even the cabinet doors themselves.
Aesthetic Appeal: Quality materials tend to look better and more visually appealing than cheaper alternatives. For example, a solid wood countertop will look more luxurious and timeless than a laminate lookalike one. Investing in quality materials can give your kitchen a more upscale, high-end timeless look.
Functionality: Quality products and materials are often more functional and perform better than cheaper options. For example, investing in high-quality kitchen appliances can help ensure that your kitchen functions properly for years to come. And could mean you avoid replacing faulty, poor-quality appliances, saving you money in the long run.
Here’s a few examples of quality products and materials to consider:
- Solid wood cabinets: These are durable, timeless, and can be refinished or repainted as trends change.
- Quartz or natural stone countertops: These materials are long-lasting and add a luxurious touch to any kitchen.
- High-quality kitchen appliances: Investing in well-made appliances can improve functionality and longevity.
- Ceramic or porcelain wall tile: These materials are durable, water-resistant, and come in a variety of classic, timeless designs.
- Solid brass or stainless steel hardware: These materials will last longer and look better than cheaper options like plastic.
- Hardwood or stone flooring: These materials are long-lasting and add a touch of warmth and luxury to any kitchen.
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What is the difference between a timeless and trendy kitchen?
A timeless kitchen design is a design that will never go out of style. It incorporates classic elements and design principles that will stand the test of time. The design looks just as good today as it did 20 years ago, and will continue to look good for many years to come.
On the other hand, a trendy kitchen design is one that incorporates the latest design fads and popular elements of the moment, but may quickly become dated and fall out of style.
For instance, timeless kitchen cabinets have classic, simple designs that are often made of wood or wood-like materials, such as Shaker cabinets. In contrast, trendy cabinets may incorporate unique shapes or trendy finishes, like bright colours or high-gloss finishes, that may fall out of fashion in a few years.
Similarly, timeless kitchens typically use neutrals in their colour schemes, such as white, cream, or beige, that are easy to match with other elements and decor. This is unlike trendy kitchens that may incorporate bold, statement-making colours or bright, contrasting hues that may become dated.
When it comes to countertops, timeless countertops are typically made of durable, natural materials like granite, marble, or quartz. Trendy countertops may incorporate unique textures, patterns, or colours that may quickly fall out of style.
In short, a timeless kitchen design incorporates classic, functional, and high-quality elements that will stand the test of time. While a trendy kitchen design incorporates the latest design trends and fads that may become dated quickly.
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What colour kitchen Cabinets are timeless?
Neutral colours are generally considered timeless choices for a kitchen. Shades of white, beige and light grey are classic choices that have been used in kitchen design for many years and continue to be popular today.
Neutral colours create a clean, sophisticated look that is easy to pair with other colours or design elements. They also have the advantage of not overwhelming a space, which is particularly important in smaller kitchens.
Another advantage of neutral colours is that they provide a blank canvas that can be customized with colourful accessories or accents. These can be changed or swapped out over time, so as not to be committed long-term.
So, if you want to create a timeless kitchen, consider choosing a neutral colour palette that will stand the test of time.
What is the most timeless kitchen countertop?
I would consider natural stone countertops the most timeless choice for a kitchen. Materials like granite, marble, and quartzite have been used in kitchens for many years and continue to be popular today.
These materials have a classic, elegant look that works well with a variety of kitchen styles and colour palettes.
Granite and quartzite are also quite durable and long-lasting, with resistance to scratches, stains, and heat. Marble has good heat-resistant qualities but can be susceptible to scratches and staining. However, it’s those little imperfections and patina that give it that timeless lived-in look.
While natural stone countertops can be more expensive than other options, they offer a timeless quality that can add value to a home and last for many years with proper care and maintenance.
If you want the timeless look of natural stone but with less maintenance, consider quartz countertops in a natural stone-lookalike finish.
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What kitchen cabinet never goes out of style?
I would consider simple, shaker-style cabinets a cabinet design that never goes out of style.
This classic design features a five-piece door with a recessed panel and clean lines, making it versatile and easy to integrate into a wide range of kitchen styles.
Shaker-style cabinets are popular because they offer a timeless quality that you can adapt to both traditional and modern kitchen designs. Additionally, their simplicity makes them a good choice for a variety of colour palettes and finishes, including painted, stained, or natural wood.
Shaker-style cabinets are also known for their durability and quality, making them a great long-term investment for any kitchen renovation.
What Kitchen backsplash is timeless?
With many different backsplash (splashback) options on the market, it’s an important consideration when it comes to timeless kitchen design. It’s an element that can make or break the design depending on what you go for.
Neutral tiles are a great way to achieve a classic and timeless backsplash design. In particular, the subway tile has been a classic kitchen backsplash option for over a century. Its clean, simple lines and rectangular shape make it a versatile option that can work in a variety of kitchen styles. It is also available in a range of colours and finishes making it a great option for achieving a timeless look.
Natural stone, such as marble or granite, is another timeless option that can add elegance and texture to a kitchen. It is a durable and long-lasting material that can withstand wear and tear. You can find natural stone in a range of colours and patterns to create a variety of looks, from classic to modern.
When choosing a backsplash for a timeless kitchen design, it is important to consider the material, colour, and pattern. Opting for a classic, neutral colour palette and simple shapes can help ensure that the backsplash will stand the test of time.
Natural materials like stone and neutral tiles can also help create a timeless feel. By choosing a backsplash that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing, you can create a space that will be both functional and beautiful for years to come.
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There you have it! My guide on how to achieve a timeless kitchen design.
By following the tips and tricks I’ve shared, you’ll be well on your way to designing a space that you’ll love for years to come. Remember to keep it classic with neutral colours, durable materials, and a functional layout.
But don’t forget to have a little fun, too! Incorporating personal touches and unique accents are what will truly make your kitchen stand out as a reflection of your personal style. With the right combination of timeless design elements and individual flair, you can create a kitchen that truly never goes out of style.
[Cover image: Harvey Jones]
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.