A guide to choosing a kitchen style to suit your home.

Are you are looking for a new kitchen in 2023? Maybe it’s your first one or perhaps it was some time ago you fitted your last kitchen . Either way, you no doubt will be feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer choices available to you.

Choices such as: Which kitchen style do I opt for?

Here at Saffron have stripped things back a little for you and prepared this objective guide to help you make an informed decision on which style of kitchen is best suited for you and your home.

Let’s start with a very simple decision: – the overall look.

Are you interested in having traditional style kitchen, a contemporary style or perhaps an eclectic mix of the two? This decision could be influenced by your own personal taste or by the character of the property that you are planning for.

So lets first look at the 3 different kitchen styles:

Traditional style kitchens

Image of a traditional style kitchen

Traditional style kitchens are broadly speaking characterised by:

  • shaker style doors and frames
  • decorative (with pillasters etc.)
  • open shelving
  • feature units (such as the trays in the picture above)
  • painted finishes
  • natural woods
  • structural features
  • stone worktops
  • high ceilings or cottages

In summary – they are typically warm, homely and inviting.

Some will find this style of kitchen ‘too busy’ and would prefer the simplicity of a more contemporary feel.

Contemporary style kitchens

Image of a contemporary style kitchen with clean lines

Contemporary style kitchens are broadly speaking characterised by:

  • simple clean lines
  • slab/plain fronted doors
  • minimalistic
  • contrasting units
  • industrial materials
  • low maintenance
  • handle-less
  • low or high ceilings
  • penthouse apartments and flats

In summary – they are typically functional clean and simple with the interest or drama created by complementary or contrasting colours and materials.

Some will find the contemporary look to harsh and clinical on one hand with traditional kitchen styles being too fussy or busy.

Why not combine the best of both to create something unique and to suit your needs.   Read on >>

Eclectic styled kitchens

Image of a mix of contemporary and traditional style kitchen

A collective mix of both traditional and contemporary styles.

  • classic styling with a modern twist
  • simple shaker and slab doors
  • handle-less or with handles
  • low or high ceilings
  • perfect for open plan living spaces
  • opportunity to create something unique

Once you have decided on the overall look, it’s time to focus on the type of doors and the opening mechanisms. There are 4 main options:

1. Lay-on doors

Image of a lay-on kitchen door style
A standard hinged door and drawer that covers the full width of the unit and is opened with a handle. They are available in all materials with any style of handle. This is the type of door found on about 80% of kitchens in the UK.

2. In-Frame doors

Example of an in-frame door
Doors and drawers open within a fixed external frame and are fitted with handles. They are available with either exposed ‘butt’ or concealed hinges and come in solid wood or painted finishes only.

3. Handle-less doors

Image showing a handle-less kitchen door style
Doors and drawers which are opened from behind using a continuous profile rail. The rail creates a finger space (shown in a dark blue in the picture above). Handle-less doors used to be available in just plain flat doors. However, painted shaker style doors are now available to create the Eclectic look. Profile rails can be finished in any colour.

4. Tip-on (push to open) doors

Example of a push-to-open style of door
Doors and drawers which are pushed to activate a manual spring-loaded catch or electronic motor to open. Tip-on is best suited to contemporary style kitchens. Although they could be used for traditional style kitchens it would be a bold design statement to try it. No profile rails are required for this type of handle-less door.

The idea of tip-on handle-less doors appeals to many, however we would strongly suggest you try before you buy if you want to go down this route.

Why do we say this? Opening a door or drawer with tip-on needs 2 motions. Firstly you need to push the door on the side opposite the hinge. Then you need to change hand position to get purchase on either the side or top of the door to open it.

To close the door one can’t simply flick it closed like other doors. Once again there are 2 motions needed. Firstly you need to close the door to about an inch of the cabinet. Here the door will be re-engaging the tip-on mechanism and will require another careful push to re-energise the spring for the next cycle.

Also to note that built-in appliances will not open without special help. Some dishwashers already come with the ‘push-to-open’ doors.  Fridges and freezers will require a special electronic ram fitted to allow opening of the first couple of inches. All this is possible, it just needs to be carefully designed into the kitchen.

Once you are clear on your choice of kitchen style let’s move on to:

Discover the kitchen options available to you

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