When Your Styles Don’t Match: Modern vs. Traditional Kitchen

If you and your significant other have a hard time agreeing on a style of decor, it can leave your home improvement projects at a difficult and frustrating stand-still. One of the toughest design challenges couples face is when one prefers modern decor while the other prefers a more traditional look. Sound familiar?

If this describes your situation, don’t despair! There is a way to reach a style compromise between modern and traditional that both of you can love.

Here are some expert tips for bringing together modern and traditional style into one amazing kitchen.

Tip #1: Choose a Countertop Material that Compliments Both Styles

white marble kitchen counter

Certain countertop materials can be incredibly versatile when it comes to walking that line between modern and traditional. Wood and natural stone are major winners in this category because they can make a minimalistic, contemporary room feel less cold and clinical.

Try installing a classic material with an understated pattern (such as marble) with a clean, crisp edge for a perfect blend of modern-meets-traditional.

Tip #2: Try New Takes on Old Classics

white kitchen with wood counter

For kitchens, this trick is best applied to plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, and cabinet hardware (and stools if your kitchen has bar seating). One popular choice is to install a faucet that's modern and minimalistic in its design but that comes in a more a traditional finish, such as antique bronze. Conversely, antique-inspired plumbing and lighting fixtures are available in contemporary finishes as well, such as stainless steel farmhouse sinks.

Tip #3: Accessorize, But Sparingly

kitchen with dark island and bar seating

To those who prefer traditional kitchens, modern kitchens can feel cold and sparse. To those who prefer a modern kitchen, traditional kitchens can feel cluttered and claustrophobic. That’s why one of the keys to a modern-traditional style compromise is to accessorize the space sparingly.

For each large section of your kitchen counter, you can create a mini-focal point by giving it a pair or trio of accessories. The best part is that all the accessories don’t even have to match.

Tip #4: Consider Full Overlay or Inset Cabinet Doors

white kitchen with marble island

To give cabinets with traditional molding and hardware a more contemporary appeal, opt for inset or full overlay cabinet doors. Inset cabinet doors fit flush with the face of the cabinet when they’re closed. Full overlay cabinet doors cover the cabinet face entirely, resulting in a flat cabinet front that looks very similar to inset cabinet doors.

Both options give cabinets a sleeker, customized look than partial overlay cabinets and are a great way to blend traditional and modern styles together.

Tip #5: Stick to a Simple, Neutral Color Palette

gray cabinets

A neutral color palette will serve as the perfect blank canvas for everything to fall into place. Neutral colors will lend a soothing consistency to your kitchen while also making the textures and patterns (like the stunning striations of your natural stone countertop) stand out more. In addition, a neutral color palette will allow you and your partner to swap out accent colors--a budget-friendly way to refresh your kitchen’s look.

Time to Get Inspired!

Check out these kitchen transformations of numerous shapes and sizes!

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