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Darren Palmer’s tips for finding your kitchen style

If you’ve ever had to design or select finishes for a kitchen, you’d know it’s no easy task!

What seems to make the process even more difficult, are the endless choices and million decisions that need to be made — from cabinetry to benchtops, layout, lighting and more!

A way to simplify the kitchen design process is knowing the style you want to achieve. Thanks to Freedom Kitchens, we’ve got leading interior designer Darren Palmer on the blog to share his expert tips on finding your kitchen style.

Related article: Do you know what your interior style is? Take the quiz!
Related article: A guide to the 10 most popular interior design styles

Most beautiful kitchen
Norm and Jess’ stunning traditional style kitchen from The Block | See all The Block kitchens

There’s no ‘right style’ when it comes to kitchens — some people desire contemporary and sleek, others will prefer an earthier palette, and some will be drawn to a more traditional style.

When working out what you want out of your kitchen the best thing to do is look through as many different styles, types and details as you can to be sure the one you commit to you can commit to for life — or at least the life of the kitchen!

We’ve got plenty of tips on how to find your interior style and even created a fun quiz that takes the hard work out of it! Sometimes though, the easiest way to discover your style is by simply looking at images and seeing what you’re drawn to. Trust your instincts and as you collect images you love, you’ll see common themes start to emerge.

Bianca and Carla kitchen
Bianca and Carla’s kitchen on The Block | See all The Block kitchens

Modern style

One of the most popular design styles for kitchens is modern. It’s sleek and simple and generally stands the test of time.

Common themes in modern kitchens are:

  • streamlined doors with integrated handles
  • plenty of storage that is generally concealed, and often running to the ceiling
  • black, white, grey or timber joinery are the most popular finishes
  • engineered stone benchtops in either a white, black, marble or concrete-look finish
  • statement or architectural lighting to enhance the space.

Integrating your appliances is important in a contemporary look, or at the very least ensure your appliances present well should you decide to have them on show.

Contemporary kitchen
Image credit Freedom Kitchens

Classic style

When it comes to a classic style kitchen, like Hamptons or country style, Darren says the devil is in the detail so pay attention to the types of handles you choose and what profile you pick for your doors.

“A simple routed panel rather than overly detailed profiles gives you a fresh and crisp but still classic and charming look,” says Darren. “Freedom Kitchens has released a gamut of new handles so mix and match until you find the one that works with the overall look you want to achieve.”

Characteristics of a classic style kitchen:

  • doors with a profile, such as a shaker style
  • muted cabinetry colours, like the soft taupe colour of the kitchen below
  • marble accents, usually seen on the benchtop or splashback
  • ornate lighting, often featuring glass or metal
  • butler sinks are also popular in classic kitchens.

Timber laminate tops work well with this style, and can be combined with one of Caesarstone’s stunning marble effect tops for a more luxe look.

Shaker kitchen finding your kitchen style
Image credit Freedom Kitchens

Chef’s kitchen

Always dreamed of a chef’s kitchen that’s perfect for preparing meals for a big crowd? Darren says that if your plan to cook for the masses, you’re also going to need great prep space and a fridge large enough to hold all of your ingredients.

“Also think about your pantry and how much space you allow for it to maximise functionality,” he says. “It might be a pull out pantry, a butler’s pantry or pantry cupboard with internal drawers to sort your goods in exactly the way you will need them for ease of creation.”

Must-haves in a chef’s kitchen:

  • appliances are everything so invest in the best! You won’t regret a steam oven and a generous wine fridge is also a welcome addition
  • bench space is essential, including a minimum 600mm either side of your cooktop
  • incorporate as much functional storage space as possible, drawers trump cupboards every time and a mix of deep drawers for pots and regular drawers for utensils is ideal
  • a functional kitchen layout is also key to a successful chef’s kitchen so take the time to consider the kitchen triangle and how you can make the space as ergonomic as possible.

A big island bench is always a winner but whether the kitchen is U shaped, galley or features an island, make sure your kitchen has plenty of bench space.

Black and grey kitchen with extra long bench finding your kitchen style
Guy Sebastian’s kitchen is the ultimate chef’s kitchen | Take the tour

Industrial edge

If you like things a little more rustic, an industrial edged kitchen may be the style for you. Hard working surfaces like Caesarstone’s new range of concrete-look benchtops suit this style, especially when paired with matte white, black, greys and oaks.

The brickwork as a splashback idea is a great textural one, just make sure you either have a return above your cook top to save tomato sauces and other oily splashes getting into your lovely, but porous brickwork.

Characteristics of an industrial kitchen:

  • exposed elements — think free-standing oven rather than built in and visible rangehood rather than one that’s concealed
  • raw materials, such as textured timber cabinets and concrete or concrete-look benchtop
  • accents of metal used in a functional rather than ornate way, such as stainless steel splashback
  • overall streamlined design that strips things back to basics.
Industrial kitchen finding your kitchen style
Image credit Freedom Kitchens | Do you have any more questions about finding your kitchen style? Pop a comment below!

No matter what you think you might want to fall for, the most important thing is to understand what your home and your family need from your kitchen and then create something that looks like it has always belonged.

We hope these tips on finding your kitchen style help you create the kitchen of your dreams. If you have any questions we didn’t cover, pop them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you!

More kitchen tips

This article was originally published in March 2016 and continues to be updated with latest information and images.

Gina Beschorner Style Curator

Welcome to Style Curator, your destination for daily interiors inspiration, styling tips, reno advice, home tours and DIY projects!

We're on a mission to help you create a home you love. And with plenty of tips and tricks, tutorials and other home inspo, we give you all the tools to achieve it!

I’m Gina, Founder and Interior Designer, and you can read more about Style Curator here.


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