How is European kitchen design different?

Kitchen design is a popular concept, but what makes European kitchen design different from continental or traditional design? We’ll explore the fundamentals of a European-styled kitchen and how you can channel these concepts in your home during this 5-minute read.

The history of European kitchen design

While the first kitchens were created in 8350 BC, the kitchens you’d recognize didn’t really start until the invention of the wood-burning stove in 1735. That’s when the shift of mindset from kitchens as a dirty, stinky place of butchering and food preparation began to move to the communal ‘heart of the home’ aesthetic we’d recognize today. By the 1900s, the European kitchen design look was forming into a cohesive movement. According to Tel Kitchens, “Urbanization transformed the kitchens completely. There was a construction of built water and gas distribution pipes into homes in cities. Electricity was started using in the kitchens and it became an alternative to gas and slowly started substituting the latter. The idea of a separate and open kitchen, with appliances designed to show off, came into existence.” Modern European kitchen design still has some of these early elements, but they are more refined today.

Key elements of a European kitchen

While trends come and go, there are some core fundamentals of European kitchen design that most kitchens will follow in this style. Those include:

#1 Smart pops of color

In a European kitchen, you can get bold with color but use it sparingly. For the right aesthetic, look at SMEG. This popular European kitchen appliance brand is never afraid of color. Capture this in your kitchen with coordinated small appliances in a bright tone. Or try one large appliance like your refrigerator or oven in a bold hue. We’re obsessed with the Big Chill Original Retro Refrigerator in Beach Blue or Buttercup Yellow. And we think it can help you to achieve this look.

#2 Matte, matte everywhere

If it’s painted, make it matte. This design sentiment adds a subtle texture and warmth to the space. It’s true that shiny surfaces can be cleaned a bit easier. But that’s hardly a worthwhile tradeoff when it reduces the premium look of your kitchen. So, don’t be afraid to explore an out-of-the-box neutral like Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog. We’re in love with its soft and soothing grey and green tones.

#3 Raw edges & unfinished wood

To deeply connect yourself to nature, European kitchen design suggests you look for as-close-to-natural finishes as you can. Consider live-edge countertops. Or if that’s too expensive, a large butcher block in the same finish for your island or worktable. We love the black walnut finish of these live-edge pieces. And we would pair it with a dual-toned kitchen color scheme for maximum impact.

#4 Highlight original features

One key European design trope is to carry architectural elements from the rest of the home into the kitchen. And there are many ways to do that. You might add accent lighting to empathize faux arches. Or use creative modern backsplash tiles in vintage prints to carry through geometric motifs into the kitchen. We love the Medici Gold or Royal Link from MSI for this.

Ready to explore European design with us? Book one of our kitchen design packages to let our team create something remarkable for your space.