11 traditional kitchen design ideas for a heritage feel at home 

Steal the best traditional kitchen design ideas for a warm and inviting cooking space.

Traditional kitchens design is all about reinterpreting formal flourishes from the past in a sophisticated way that reflects how we live and cook, now.  

Some mainstay traditional kitchen ideas include cabinet moulding and ornate fire surrounds – touches that would not be out of place in period homes. But, in today’s kitchen setting, these classic accents are often chosen alongside more polished modern touches like refined surfaces. The result is a more streamlined take on the grandeur of these heritage kitchens. 

While we know a traditional kitchen when we see one, there is no decor rulebook for creating one. The idea of ‘traditional’ constantly evolves. For instance, not so long ago, light neutral paintwork  was the only way to go for traditional wooden cabinets, but today navy blue is hugely associated with traditional kitchen styling. 

Tom HowleyCredit: Tom Howley

Still, there are some tried and tested features that, working together, will bring your traditional kitchen to life. Think Belfast sinks and ornate taps. Your worktop and cabinet handles and pulls are also key to nailing the look. Make a beeline for elegant and refined options. 

When approaching a traditional kitchen design, Ben Burbidge, MD at Kitchen Makers, says: “The key to bringing a traditional look to your kitchen is blending contemporary construction with traditional accessories to create a warm, inviting space. Vintage style light fixtures, with a weathered patina, traditional materials and of course a generous kitchen table, brings the look together.  

Not starting from scratch? Burbridge suggests that a few charming and characterful touches help to create a look that works with the existing design and feels lived in. 

1. Seamlessly integrate appliances

House your cooking tech in classic joinery

Tom HowleyCredit: Tom Howley

With their classic bones, traditional kitchens can be overpowered by large freestanding appliances like fridges and freezers. 

The best way to deal with your appliances in this style of kitchen is to neatly integrate them into your traditional joinery.  

You can get range of built-in, off-the-peg cabinetry options from a variety of suppliers that are designed to work with the major appliances brands. 

Alternatively, you can enjoy seamless kitchen design flexibility with bespoke joinery created with your specific appliance wants and needs in mind. 

Tom Howley, director of his eponymous brand, says: “The appliance choice is key to the success of any design. A mix of cutting-edge appliances will give you more and you don’t need to compromise on the overall design to get this. By positioning all the appliances within a workable distance of each other provides the chef complete flexibility. 

“Position your large appliances like fridges and wine coolers near to the dining area in your kitchen, allowing the family easy access to drinks and snacks whilst not getting in the way of the main cooking area. 

“We recreate professional chef’s kitchens at home by placing banked appliances along one wall, positioned at eye level to make using everything easy. Having the oven, microwave and hob quite close together creates a flexible, functional cooking zone which simply means you’re not constantly going backwards and forwards.” 

2. Try a monochrome look

Black and white traditional kitchens feel contemporary

Blake’s LondonCredit: Blake’s London

Treading that fine line between traditional and contemporary takes some thought. Given the subtleties of the traditional style, it can be all too easy to lose sight of the decor goal if you stray too far from tried-and-tested traditional kitchen ideas.  

This traditionalmeetscontemporary black and white kitchen by Blakes London is worth exploring. It is a masterclass in how to make a traditional kitchen feel fresh, but without losing the essence of the classic look. 

The dualcolour look is a modern twist but the bones are very much in the classic kitchen tradition. 

Blake’s LondonCredit: Blake’s London

In this new build apartment, the designers paired monochrome contemporary shaker cabinets lavished in Farrow and Ball paint with traditionalstyle black Carrara marble worktops. A fluted glass home bar with brass hardware adds an elevated and elegant touch of traditional kitchen grandeur. 

We like the classic library ladder that emphasises the high ceiling. You can get similar from the Library Ladder Company. 

3. Try coloured marbles in your traditional kitchen

Give the Calacatta a break and try an unexpected stone

Cave Interiors kitchenCredit: Cave Interiors

We can all agree that selecting white marble with grey veins like the much beloved Calacatta is always a good traditional kitchen idea. But, somewhere along the line, it has become the norm to think this is the only marble choice to get that refined traditional kitchen look. 

That’s a shame because there is a world of awe-inspiring marbles to consider, making your traditional kitchen the ultimate work of natural art.  

This blue veined marble used as a splashback and worktop in a traditional kitchen designed by Cave Interiors shows what trying an unexpected stone can do. It is simply mesmerising to behold the wonderful colours created by a millennia of natural forces. Showcasing them in your kitchen makes a soothing yet monumental statement. 

A range of stones in a rainbow of colours to consider are Georgia pink marble, purple Carrara marble, green serpentine marble and yellow Lamartine marble. The list goes on. 

Just remember to look into how to care for natural stones in your kitchen when opting for them harder wearing over engineered options.  

4. Show off foodie flair with a large larder

Never run out of ingredients by factoring in plenty of storage

Credit: Tom Howley

Nothing says ‘traditional kitchen’ like an oversized larder. After all, this kitchen design style is all about embracing the good life, like good meals cooked with love and care. 

A nice big wellstocked larder means that ingredients for your meals are always to hand and there is no shortage of space for snacks and treats. 

We like how this kitchen by Tom Howley shows how gracious a well-designed and co-ordinated large larder can be. The avocado colour used throughout is very smart – appetising, even. It seamlessly ties this big unit in with the rest of joinery. The dainty gold handles are a nice touch. 

If you prefer a less integrated look for your larder, try using freestanding pieces like antique bookcases. You can find some elegant options online at Collinge Antiques or Selling Antiques. 

5. Add a classy traditional kitchen touch with dark blue

Re-think the light-coloured cooking space

Somerton kitchen - Burbidge & Son Kitchen MakersCredit: Burbidge and Son Kitchen Makers

Colours don’t come more traditional than navy blue, with its long-held association with solidity and reliability. So it makes perfect sense that traditional kitchens are made for a dark blue hue. 

And, if this gorgeous room by Burbidge and Son Kitchen Makers is anything to go by, matching dark blue with a slightly lighter blue shade makes for a perfectly decadent cooking space. Extending the paint to the ceiling – or fifth wall – gives the kitchen a feeling of all-encompassing luxury. 

It goes to show how creative thinking around the use of colour can have a huge impact on even the most established design styles. By thinking out of the box with this dark blue palette, this kitchen feels remarkably original and fresh, while featuring all the typical features and accents you would expect to find in a classic traditional kitchen. 

Want to extend your kitchen colour to the ceiling for this enveloping effect? Discover how to paint your ceiling like a professional.

6. Paint your traditional kitchen black

Invite moody interest into your classic kitchen design

Haddon Kitchen - Burbidge and Son Kitchen MakersCredit: Burbidge and Son Kitchen Makers

Taking it a step further from navy blue, black paint is the new kid on the block, helping to redefine what a traditional kitchen can be.  

And it turns out that black traditional kitchens can pack a powerful punch while still being every bit as elegant as they are expected to be. 

This Haddon cooking space in charcoal paint by Kitchen Makers certainly proves that. The bones of the kitchen are traditional to their core and are only further amplified by being set against a confident black backdrop. 

Make like Kitchen Makers and keep your island leggy, worktop white and some of your shelves open display if you’re painting your traditional kitchen black. This helps the kitchen to feel light and airy. If, though, you want to amp up the moody, break all these rules and really ramp up the drama. 

The burnished bronze hardware used in the kitchen looks extra smart contrasted against the black paint. Options in a range of finishes are available through Kitchen Makers. 

Considering how to style your open shelf display in your kitchen? Start by reading Styling kitchen shelves: 15 top tips for getting it right.

7. Leaded glass cabinets look timeless and grand

Decorative timber motifs on cabinets doors add classic visual appeal

Lusso kitchenCredit: Lusso

For a grand decorative boost to your traditional kitchen, leaded glass inserts with gracious fretwork are a go-to for that classic look. To really emphasise your kitchen design theme, inserts go a long way towards defining the style in a way that plain glass might not.  

All-wood cabinets in traditional kitchens, especially smaller ones, can feel heavy and lacking in visual variety. Opting to have some leaded glass in strategic kitchen cabinets is a handsome way to break up the look of a solid wall of cabinets. 

Variations in glass types also offer a wide range of customisation options and construction can be as intricate as you fancy. Don’t want the contents of your cabinets to be seen by visitors? Try textured frosted glass. Want a decorative touch with fine detail and a bit of colour and a dash of transparency? Try stained glass inserts.  

We like this kitchen styling by Lusso. The leaded glass inserts are used sparingly, but effectively, balancing a sense of modernity with nostalgic heritage. 

If everything including your kitchen sink needs to exude elegant traditional style, take a look at Lusso’s Carrara Belfast Marble Polished Kitchen Sink, £1,095. 

8. Opt for paler wall cabinets

Make your kitchen look bigger and brighter

John Lewis of Hungerford KitchenCredit: John Lewis of Hungerford

Choosing to forgo a light-coloured kitchen isn’t easy. So, don’t choose.  

Keeping lighter cabinets high means that you will get that open feel that makes light paint so popular. What light cabinetry in a kitchen isn’t so great for, though, is hiding everyday stains and wear and tear. That is where your lower darker cabinets can be handy, as dark colours will do a better job of disguising the marks that living makes. 

Also, notice how in this kitchen by John Lewis of Hungerford, the door hardware really pops on the dark cabinets but all but disappear on the lighter cabinets. If you spend lots of time and energy selecting your hardware, you will thank yourself if you have some darker cabinets to show them off on. 

9. Match light tiles with light cabinet

Playing with light and texture looks polished

Adderley Kitchen - Burbidge and Son Kitchen MakersCredit: Burbidge and Son Kitchen Makers

The monochromatic effect of an all-white traditional kitchen can be impressive. The space looks as light as it possibly can and the all-white space feels like peak luxury. 

The disadvantage of only using paint to achieve this look is that you risk missing out on a key element that lifts neutral decor schemes and that is an injection of texture. 

A way around interrupting your all-white kitchen dream is to find gloss effect white tiles that are almost indiscernible in colour from your selected paint. 

This kitchen by Burbidge and Son Kitchen Makers is a great example of just how luxurious this effect can be. 

We like how they temper the grandeur with more rustic details, which are a key ingredient in any warm and welcoming traditional kitchen. 

10. Accessorise with copper

Add wow factor with the quintessential classic metal

Copper pans on a cooktop

Anywhere copper goes, a sense of earthiness follows. This probably explains our long-standing love affair with this metal – its proper and primal all at the same time. 

There is also the matter of versatility. Copper is used for everything from  cooking pots, to worktops, extractor hoods, splashbacks, sinks, lighting and many more everyday items. Its extensive use is not only due to its natural antibacterial qualities, but copper looks great in all decor styles. 

And what’s more, in the age of sustainability, copper is a top pick, as it can be melted down and fully recycled. 

Cooking pots are possibly one of the most popular accessories associated with traditional kitchens. Not only do they look great on display but copper has excellent conduction qualities. That means you will have pots that are less likely to burn your meals or suffer from food sticking to them.

11. Wash up in classic style

Pair a traditional Belfast sink with ornate taps

LussoCredit: Lusso

Besides your cooker, you won’t use anything in your kitchen as much as you will your sink and taps. 

To keep to the traditional styling, you can’t go wrong with a Belfast sink and an ornate tap. 

Getting cooking and washing up fixtures you love – and as high quality as you can afford – is one of the best traditional kitchen ideas we can share with you, and certainly one of the most sensible.  

Your taps are an especially important purchase, as their functionality goes way beyond looks. Start with looking at mid-range, not lower-price, options, then take it from there. Cheap and cheerful when it comes to taps may be a false economy. 

And, remember, opting for traditional taps does not mean that you have to go back in time, tech-wise. If you have your heart set on a tap that does it all, brands like Lusso offer taps with traditional styling. 

Featured product

Filtrata tap, Lusso

RRP: £795

Filtrata tap, Lusso

Written by Joy Archer she/her

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