The kitchen is often the described as the ‘heart of the home’, so it’s vital that you choose a style in which everyone feels totally relaxed. Whether you opt for Shaker style, ultra modern or traditional farmhouse, cottage-style, there’s something for everyone…

The traditional style of kitchen tends to be installed in homes where the owners wish to keep the period feel of a property. The term ‘traditional’ not only covers wood finishes, such as pine, oak and mahogany, but also the general layout of the kitchen. A large wooden table may, for example, act as the centre or focal point of the room, allowing the family to gather around for home-cooked meals. This type of kitchen also tends to include large, double-door larder units, plate racks and lattice-fronted or Georgian-barred display units. An Aga may also be a distinguishing feature. Recreating a period look can involve many visits to reclamation yards and antique shops, but the effect will be well worth it.

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Farmhouse kitchens were traditionally simple and rustic in appearance. Real wood, little furniture, basic utensils – everything was of a practical nature. Ironically, recreating the simple, rustic, olde worlde kitchen today can set you back quite a bit of money. For a start, to replicate the look, you need to go for real oak and authentic farmhouse designs, although  effective veneers are increasingly available, which can reduce your spend a little.

Stainless steel is still a major trend in both modern and traditional kitchens, and it’s likely to remain a strong influence for some time to come. Its overall effect can often be stunning and highly professional looking and, if you don’t mind constantly wiping fingerprints, your visitors will probably be very impressed!

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The Shaker style is named after a rural community, who have lived in the eastern and central USA since 1774 and whose commitment to a life of purity is reflected in their simplified style of furniture. With its simple frame, flat panels and light woods such as maple or beech, the Shaker look remains popular. The Shaker kitchen displays a love of clear, crisp lines, but there’s still plenty of scope for the utilitarian aspect of the design.

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So, which style is right for you?

Well, if you’re thinking of buying a new kitchen, make sure that it’s one that matches your home – and your lifestyle! If you’re family oriented and don’t mind a bit of clutter, then the traditional or Shaker style is best for you. If you live alone, or are a very ‘everything in its place’ type of person then a minimalist or stainless steel look will suit you perfectly. Look for inspiration in magazines before visiting a kitchen retailer so that you’ll have an idea before you go of the type of kitchen you’re looking for.

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