Transitional Kitchen Style

Knowing which style resonates with you can be a big help when building a kitchen. Below are need-to-know details about popular kitchen styles, including color palettes and key features of each look.


Transitional kitchens gracefully walk the line between traditional and contemporary, with just enough detailing to please folks in both design camps. Keep in mind that while there are elements of both traditional and contemporary styles present, transitional kitchens don’t veer too far in either direction.

Key features of transitional-style kitchens:

  • Shaker-style cabinetry

  • Farmhouse sinks

  • Subway tile

  • Stone slab backsplash

  • Pendant lighting

Color palette: In transitional kitchens, serene neutrals are key. Whether you opt for cool or warm hues, the colors tend to be soft and subtle. For a richer look, consider deep blue or gray cabinetry.


Farmhouse-style kitchens balance the rustic appeal of regional, rural heritage with simplicity-loving modern sensibilities. And while farmhouse kitchens today often incorporate modern elements, this isn’t the place to experiment with trends: Think simple, honest and homespun.

Key features of farmhouse-style kitchens:

  • Shaker-style cabinetry

  • Farmhouse sinks

  • Subway tile

  • Stone slab backsplash

  • Pendant lighting

Color palette: Farmhouse-style kitchens tend toward simple, natural hues with a timeless feel. Crisp white with black accents is a popular choice. Colors inspired by nature, historic homes and farm finds also work well — think of barn red, robin’s-egg blue, mustard, buttermilk and sage.


Contemporary kitchens fully embrace the latest in technology, materials and trends for an of-the-moment look with clean lines and minimal adornment.

Key features of contemporary-style kitchens:

  • Flat-panel cabinetry
  • Cutting-edge appliances and smart kitchen technology
  • Creative backsplashes
  • Dramatic lighting
  • Undermount sinks and minimalist faucets

Color palette: White is a popular choice for contemporary kitchens, but it’s certainly not the only option. Color can be bright and bold or soft and subtle. Consider using crisp white walls as a jumping-off point for colorful cabinetry or an eye-catching backsplash.


Modern kitchens emphasize form and structure rather than surface ornamentation — think of smooth surfaces like concrete and steel, strong horizontal lines and plenty of open space. The polar opposite of traditional style, modern kitchens embrace a minimalist aesthetic that keeps the emphasis on the architecture.

Key features of modern-style kitchens:

  • Frameless cabinets with flat-panel doors
  • Continuous backsplash material, such as a glass sheet or stone slab
  • Minimalist faucets in polished nickel, chrome or matte black
  • Clean-lined pendant lights, recessed and integrated lighting

Color palette: The focus of a modern kitchen is on the architecture, which means the color palette tends toward crisp and clean white, subtle neutrals and black. When brighter colors do appear, it’s often in the form of accessories.


Rustic-style kitchens are warm and welcoming, showcasing rugged natural materials like rough-hewn wood beams and stone. While the look is informed by the past, today’s rustic-style kitchens can lean more contemporary, depending on your design sensibility.

Key features of rustic-style kitchens:

  • Textured stone such as granite, slate, fieldstone, travertine and soapstone
  • Apron-front sinks
  • Natural wood, including beams, stained wood cabinetry, flooring and farm tables
  • Barn door hardware
  • Lighting made from copper, reclaimed wood and wrought iron
  • Open shelving

Color palette: Echo the hues of natural materials like stone and warm woods with paint colors and accents in similar shades for a rich, cozy look.


Reminiscent of factories and warehouses, industrial-style kitchens are simple, utilitarian spaces where raw materials and tough fixtures and finishes take center stage. Favoring practical, hard-wearing surfaces and restaurant-grade equipment over ornament and excess embellishment, industrial-style kitchens are made to stand up to a lot of use.

Key features of industrial-style kitchens:

  • Hardworking materials like stainless steel and concrete
  • Frameless cabinets with flat-panel doors
  • Exposed piping and ductwork

Color palette: The raw materials used form the foundation of the color palette in an industrial-style kitchen. Think of concrete gray, architectural white and matte black, with an occasional pop of saturated color.


Beach kitchens are light, bright and open, with ample island space and a casual, easygoing style perfect for socializing with family and friends. Beach kitchens can lean contemporary, traditional or somewhere in between — the relaxed mood is more important than the specifics.

Key features of beach-style kitchens:

  • Colorful appliances
  • Patterned tile
  • Natural textures like jute, seagrass and rattan
  • Nautical lighting
  • Indoor-outdoor connections

Color palette: Beach-style kitchens gather inspiration from the colors of sand, sea and sky. White is a popular choice for walls and cabinetry, as it creates a crisp backdrop for pops of sea-inspired color. For a more vibrant take, look to greens and bold corals to add tropical flair.


Mediterranean-style kitchens emphasize natural materials such as wood, brick and stone for a casually elegant, earthy look inspired by sun and sea. While traditionally Mediterranean kitchens have featured warm hues and heavy wrought iron details, today’s iterations often take a lighter approach, with plenty of white space to offset the rich tilework and natural wood.

Key features of Mediterranean-style kitchens:

  • Dark, rich wood, such as walnut
  • Materials with patina, such as brick, stone and reclaimed wood
  • Colorful tile
  • Curving arch details
  • Lighting made from wrought iron, hammered metals and reclaimed wood
  • Natural fiber and leather accents

Color palette: Rich hues inspired by the warm earth and sparkling sea — such as chile pepper, terra cotta and cerulean blue — look striking in a Mediterranean kitchen, especially against a calming backdrop of white and natural wood.


Craftsman-style kitchens spotlight the simple beauty of natural wood and quality workmanship within a warm, cozy atmosphere. Craftsman kitchens are not the place to experiment with trends or veer too far from the plucked-from-nature aesthetic.

Key features of Craftsman-style kitchens:

  • Handcrafted cabinetry made of oak, pine or maple
  • Artful lighting with strong geometric lines
  • Built-in storage such as bookshelves, wine cubbies and glass-front display cabinets
  • Banquette seating
  • Handcrafted tile
  • Nature-inspired details like botanical artwork and earthy pottery

Color palette: Craftsman-style kitchens feature rich earth tones, vibrant greens and warm neutrals that coordinate well with natural wood.