Building a brand-new kitchen that feels like it’s been there forever offers the best of both worlds: Contemporary needs are met in a comfortable, timeless gathering space appropriate for a parade of guests. It’s a kitchen that can grow and adapt to changing needs, while still retaining a warm and inviting vibe—a balance most people covet.
Fortunately, this look is called “timeless” for a reason: It’s easy to achieve, even with the latest technology. Opting for an efficient arrangement of high-quality basics, surrounded by plenty of cabinet space, will make this kitchen go a long way.
Long-lasting materials and established designs should be the foundation of this kitchen. Thankfully, you can look to IKEA for everything you need to design one that’ll hold up to years of wear and style whims.
The classic kitchen has to hold up to a lot, but you can still make room for timeless craftsman-like details that add warmth. Customization is key when you need to life-proof countertops and cabinets but still want smart detail.
“Even a traditional kitchen can look updated with the smart choice of color,” says IKEA Senior Interior Design Leader Viola Mushkudiani. “Use brighter or trendy colors on kitchen doors, walls, and finishes to create a transitional look.”
Laminate countertops are durable and polished, and often come in a whole gradient of shades. They’re easy to maintain, wipe clean no matter what, and don’t show wear like natural stone does. Plus, today’s laminate surfaces, while still affordable, can mimic the look and feel of stone or quartz.
An ultra-versatile and modular cabinetry system will allow you to meet the specific needs of you and/or your family. Look for a mix of low and high storage so you can keep everyday tools close at hand and more seldomly-used items stored away. Simple Shaker fronts with a bevel design will fit right in, or show off a special set of dishes with a style that incorporates glass. Try a multi-pane option for larger cabinets or a quaint crossbar pattern for smaller ones
To easily stash your countertop kitchen tools—food processors, toasters, and Instant Pots can add up—a cabinet at counter level can be fashioned out of a horizontal wall cabinet, hinging at the top. Close up shop, and it’s like a clean slate until the next use.
Time-honored touches, elevated
Cooking over gas is as classic as it comes, and a slide-in range integrates with surrounding cabinetry, suiting any size of kitchen. Cast-iron grates that can be removed and cleaned, as well as upward-facing knobs, are contemporary upgrades to the simple design.
A faucet in an antique-like brass color with a high spout marries the past and present. Look for one with a contrasting handle in an elegant taper to further the vintage feel.
Maybe you have a separate dining area, maybe you don’t—but having some place directly in the kitchen to gather around makes spending time there even more joyful. There are several ways you can go, but we like these two options.
Casual, counter-height seating
If your kitchen layout includes an island or a breakfast bar, add casual seating that doesn’t take up too much space. Try stools in powder-coated steel or solid wood that are easy to shift around. Or a style with a classic silhouette and backrest that adds to the craftsman look.
One of the coziest looks for an eat-in kitchen is a breakfast nook, surrounded by built-in or bench seating. There’s wiggle room in the finished product, and styles fit for kitchens of all shapes and sizes. The equation is simple, and ingenious:
Start with a storage bench and anchor it along one wall—or install two benches, perpendicular inside a corner. Top with a couple of bench pads or a few chair pads for extra comfort, and add a table that’s easy to scooch around. Round it out with some spare seating, and finish the look with pendant lighting that exudes comfort.
Short on space and storage? Try a gate-leg table with large leaves that fold out in either direction; when they’re down, this one becomes a thin console table with drawers. Folding or stackable chairs fit into the look easily, and can hang on a hook or corral in a corner when you’re not using them.
The details make a classic kitchen truly memorable, so build in accents that brighten your day—whether they’re functional or purely decorative. Aluminum pulls in a classic black or metal color could lend a vintage-y feel without dating your space, and functional textiles with soft colors in classic patterns do the same work.
If you opt for a neutral palette, avocado-green accessories are perfectly at home in the most classic of kitchens—and scalloping on edges of bowls or textiles adds a charming visual element. And lastly: What’s a classic kitchen without a cookie jar?
Getting the look of a classic kitchen updated for modern living is all about balance. Whether you need help visualizing what is possible, or are looking for a partner in making your dream kitchen come true, IKEA Kitchen Services is here to help. Schedule an appointment to get started.