Design Inspiration

Buyer’s Guide To 7 Popular Kitchen Design Styles in 2021

Remodelling a kitchenSteph Quosdorf, Design Expert-min brings a ton of excitement… and a ton of decisions as well! One of the very first decisions to make is choosing the design style of your new kitchen.

We spoke with Stephanie Quosdorf, a designer at Copperstone Kitchens, about kitchen styles that are popular in Ottawa today.

Popular Kitchen Styles

What are the elements of popular design styles in Ottawa?

1. Traditional

Definition: Traditional is a classic European-influenced style, with depth, layers, and dimension.

Characteristics: Opulence stars in the form of elaborate patterns, adornments, and embellishments. Kitchen cabinets are furniture-like with raised panels and ornate trim. You’ll also see an abundance of accessories, such as tile mosaics and ornamental hardware.

Colours: Light or dark neutrals are frequently combined with deep classic colours, for example, off-white with burgundy or forest green.

Materials: Stone countertops of granite, marble, or marble-patterned quartz, with antique finishes or glazes.

2. Modern

Definition: Modern design style offers a timeless minimalist look.

Characteristics: Simplicity is key, with clean lines and plenty of open space, free of frills and clutter. For example, cabinets are flat-panel.

Colours: A simple palette of saturated colours is used (for instance, true red rather than burgundy).

Materials: High gloss cabinets of melamine or thermofoil, glass or stone sheet countertops — or possibly quartz with a simple pattern. Metallic accents.

3. Contemporary

Definition: Similar to Modern (in fact, the two are often confused), Contemporary is more based on the present or the “here and now.”

Characteristics: You’ll notice drama and sophistication, with sleek, strong shapes. Cabinets have simple slab doors. Highlights are “of the moment” elements — perhaps a waterfall island or unique backsplash.

Colours: Clean white and high impact colours — think bright primaries or teal.

Materials: A harmonious mixture. However, human-made materials abound, including acrylic, linoleum, moulded plywood, or plastic with steel or chrome highlights.

4. Transitional

transitional kitchen design

Definition: Described as a “noncommittal” style, Transitional design pulls from and unites many different eras.

Characteristics: You’ll find a mix of both Traditional and Modern kitchen styles. The mood is sleek yet comfortable and inviting with simple accents like narrow crown moulding.

Colours: Neutrals — calming off-whites, pale blue, greys, greige (a mixture of grey and beige).

Materials: A potpourri of elegant and less polished substances, for example marble countertops with concrete floors. Stainless steel and glass elements are also popular.

5. Mid-Century Modern

Definition: Mid-Century Modern is a throwback design, based on 50s and 60s style.

Characteristics: MCM, as it’s affectionately known, is casual, functional, and fuss-free. Flat cabinets and pared-down natural forms (example: egg-shaped chairs) are iconic.

Colours: Bold and bright — turquoise, apple green, primary yellow. The addition of checkerboard floors will make a statement and add character.

Materials: Materials typical of the era including walnut, teak, laminate, and simple fabrics. Terrazzo countertops and flooring, retro appliances, or black tile borders are charming vintage touches.

6. Industrial

Definition: Industrial style recreates the look of a warehouse or urban loft. 

Characteristics: The design is utilitarian, intentionally raw and imperfect, with lots of open space and high ceilings.

Colours: A stripped down colour palette of mainly greys, black, and white, to enhance the sparse and functional feel.

Materials: Exposed brick and concrete, steel, pallets or other reclaimed wood, and repurposed items such as dangling metal light fixtures. Even bare pipes become part of the décor.

7. Farmhouse

Definition: Farmhouse style is an updated approach to “cabin-inspired” design.

Characteristics: This type of style is rustic, simple, practical and utilitarian — yet warm and cozy at the same time.

Colours: Natural earth tones, like wheat and clay.

Materials: Authentic materials — natural wood (for Shaker cabinets, hardwood flooring, and barn-style doors), fireclay or porcelain apron-style sinks, subway tile, and whitewashed walls.

Kitchen Style Trends

How do we help clients figure out their style?

Kitchen Style Trends

I ask my clients to do three things:

1. Browse our Kitchen Makeover Gallery, as well as sites like Houzz and Pinterest, and pick out kitchens that you like. Don’t put too much thought into it; just go with your instinct.

2. Look to your clothes closet for inspiration. This is a great place to start when choosing kitchen colour schemes.

3. Think of objects you love. To illustrate, for one client, I based my entire design on a beautiful tile they had in their home.

Once I have this information, I can dive in and determine which style and colours you are leaning toward.

When designing a kitchen, I also will draw inspiration from the other rooms in your home. In fact, from the second I pull up to a house, I’m already starting to collect information and get ideas.

The exterior of your home and how you plan to use the space are important design considerations.

What’s your favourite style?

Mid-Century Modern. It’s what I have in my own home.

Are there styles you don’t like?

No style is wrong. It is up to the designer to figure out how to make each style work.

At the same time, when designing, you need to stay sympathetic to the age of the home. For instance, much of Ottawa was developed in the 60s and 70s, so farmhouse style might not be the best fit.

What’s the most popular kitchen style in Ottawa today?

80% of clients end up with “Transitional,” which doesn’t require you to fully lean into any one style.

What are the design style trends for 2021?

We’re starting to see a resurgence of the 80s, with features like retro curved furniture and shag carpets. This trend will probably hit Ottawa in another five years or so.

In terms of materials, there are two interesting new products:

  • Advanced Engineered Marble is a melamine-like material that can be used for countertops, cabinet doors and backsplash for a monotone look
  • Fenix ™: a new “self-healing” material similar to what is used in craft mats. You can fix scratches with a damp towel and an iron. It’s not cheap, but it is long-lasting — great for young families to use on cabinet doors.

Has the COVID pandemic affected interior design?

Yes, especially in terms of layout decisions. For the last 15-20 years, “open concept living” was huge. Now, people are spending a lot more time at home. As a result, my clients ask for more room separation and the addition of walls.

Find Your Kitchen Style

What’s the best way to find your personal kitchen style? Consult with one of Copperstone Kitchen’s designers.

We’ll help you create a kitchen you will love!