The kind of kitchen design you settle for speaks a lot about not only your taste in the kitchen but also your ancestral history. Traditional European kitchens have stood out over their American counterparts thanks to their traditional, yet contemporary design.

Wait, how do the two mix? Well, the European kitchen traces its roots back to the midcentury, when Nordic countries were more poised on efficiency over comfort in their kitchen spaces. Most notably, European kitchens were smaller compared to the more spacious American kitchens.

This was mostly because unlike their American counterparts, most European households cooked with fresh produce right from the farm. Thus, there was no need for large storage spaces to store food. But even more importantly, the Europeans decided to express their culture in their kitchen design. This led to the development of different styles, such as the French farmhouse Belgian, Tuscan, and English country.

Well, does that mean you’re limited to certain specifications in your European style kitchen? Not exactly. Traditional European kitchens embed personality. Their designs allow you to mix the architecture with contemporary and fun elements that are bound to create a unique space for you.

You can still use top design trends in 2020 like contrasting countertops, cool colors, and colorful kitchen tiles to create a unique, traditional European kitchen design. Even top 2019 kitchen colors, like white, can still produce an authentic traditional European kitchen.

So, don’t get too worried. Take a look at the ideas below, and see which one inspires your design the most.

1. Instead of a Center Island Counter, do a Worktable


Center island counters are great. They add extra space to the kitchen while proving a common gathering center in the kitchen. However, if you have limited space or you’re renting, committing to a kitchen island is tricky.

So, what should you try? Worktables. Traditional to most European kitchen designs, worktables offer the convenience of center island counters, without the full commitment required.

Plus, since they’re not fixed but instead have legs for support, they offer extra storage space at the bottom. This is something you might crave for given inherently, European kitchen designs tend to be smaller compared to American designs.

2. Give Fireclay Farmhouse Sinks a Try


Before dishwashers became a thing, folks would spend long hours in the sink washing mountains of dishes every day. So, to deal with the strain that was associated with the long hours, the fireclay farmhouse sink was born.

It is one of the most comfortable sinks you can use. Apart from being very authentic, this added comfort is another reason why you should have one in your European kitchen design.

Fireclay sinks are not made from modern ceramic. Rather, they’re crafted from clay that’s ultra-heated and hardened to withstand the torture that a European country kitchen would subject it to.

“But I do have a dishwasher.” Yes, that’s an added advantage. However, if you are the kind that is always busy creating in the kitchen, this is the kind of sink you need.

It nicely accommodates pots and pans. Plus, it traditionally features an apron design that eliminates the need to lean over the countertop while working at the sink.

3. Be Creative with Pops of Color


Plain European kitchen design can look a bit boring to some people. This is because, in its architecture, most European kitchens are built using dark wooden cabinets and vintage tiles. But that’s just the architecture. Being creative with pops of color around the kitchen can add that missing pizazz to your final design.

To stay true to the Europeanisms of the kitchen, you have to use a lot of the dark wooden cabinets and vintage tiles. But not everywhere. As far as the tiles go, you can get creative and use colorful backsplash tiles to bring the color you need back to the kitchen. You can then go all creative with your appliances, using say a red stove, colorful microwave, or a blue refrigerator.

The idea is to have these colors pop while mixing beautifully with the traditional colors of the architecture.

4. Go All Vintage with Grain Sack Upholstery


Adding pops of colors might sound a bit unauthentic to you. So, if you don’t mind the dark colors and you’re totally in love with the entire vintage theme, grain sack upholstery might be the way to go.

This kind of upholstery is associated mostly with traditional Gustavian, Tuscan, French Country, and Belgian European kitchens. The grain sack upholstery blends seamlessly with the dark wood used to make the cabinets and tops in the kitchen.

In some instances, you can extend this theme to the dining area. Instead of leather or normal cushions, you can use this upholstery on the dining seats. The main thing to note here is that if you opt to take this route, everything else, including most appliances, have to be mildly colorful to maintain the architecture’s pureness.

5. Try Adding Breadboards Too

Back in the day, breadboards were used to get loaves of bread in and out of the oven. Today, these traditional appliances are still functional. Moreover, they are an authentic addition to a country-style, traditional European kitchen. Thus, if the grain sack upholstery worked for you, this might be a great addition as well.

Authentic breadboards are made from maple, pine, or oak. They’re about 2 inches in diameter. What makes them a great design idea is that apart from serving a traditional purpose, they’re nice, collectible, decorative artifacts for your kitchen.

They can thus be placed in the kitchen to add aesthetic value, instead of just retrieving hot bread from the oven.

6. Eclectic Ideas Work


Indecision is common when figuring out the right kind of European kitchen design. But what most people don’t get is that this indecisiveness plays right at the heart of European kitchen design.

Thanks to its architecture that allows for a touch of personality, eclectic European kitchen designs feature a mix and match of materials and even color. In most cases, this kind of design approach is used when you want to remain as authentic as possible, while still adding a bit of contemporariness to your design.

For instance, if you love shiny metals, you can combine shiny metallics with the raw and earthy materials that inspire most European kitchen designs. The result will be a beautiful blend of modern design and a European rustic theme.

You can combine this with the creative pops of color if you want to fully venture into your own creative space.

7. Try Sticking To Raw Materials


Suppose you’re remodeling from a fully modern kitchen to a European style kitchen. Does that mean everything you had before has to be thrown out? Not really. Wood, iron, and concrete are among the key components you need to add a rustic touch to your kitchen. The great thing about these raw materials is that they blend seamlessly with either a feminine or masculine traditional kitchen design.

If you have modern cabinets that you dread remodeling, you can try concrete countertops. These also work well with your modern artifacts to create a breathtaking European kitchen design. And since you already have eye-popping colors in your modern kitchen, adding wooden beams, for instance, will complement the modern design perfectly.

The main thing to note here is that the imperfections of the raw natural materials should be maintained for authenticity to the traditional looks.

8. Go for Reclaimed Terracotta Tiles


Tiles are not as modern as most interior design newbies think. Back in the day, terra cotta tiles were among the very first to be used in European kitchens. The tiles were, and still are gorgeous, authentic, filled with earthy colors, and full of history.

Back in the day, terra cotta tiles were made out of natural clay deposits found in the earth. Everything was done by hand.

The clay was first dried in wood molds. Then, they were further dried in the sun before firing in wood-burning kilns.

One of the most attractive features of the terracotta tiles is the unique color spectrum on each tile. This is a result of the different kiln temperatures used during firing.

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Lisa Pogue