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Transitional kitchens include elements of both traditional and contemporary design. Eclectic in nature, they mix natural and man-made materials as well as finishes and textures.
For example, an Arts & Crafts or Shaker kitchen can be made transitional rather than traditional by lightening the color palette, adding bamboo flooring, and showcasing appliances rather than hiding them with panels.
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Contemporary kitchens tend to be described as modern, minimalist and geometric. The characteristics include horizontal lines, asymmetry and a lack of molding and other ornamentation. Materials often are man-made rather than natural: stainless steel, laminate, frosted glass inserts, concrete, linoleum, chrome and lacquer.
Contemporary encompasses styles from the 1940s to the present, with Europe—especially Italy, Germany and Scandinavia—leading the way.
Traditional kitchens have a formal, elegant look characteristic of American and European homes of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.
Design styles within this category include Victorian, Edwardian, Georgian, Federal, Regency, Italianate, Early American and Neoclassical. Expect to see more ornate molding and trim; elegant cabinets in cherry, walnut and mahogany; and antique fixtures and appliances.