Key Elements of a Traditional Kitchen

The warmth of wood makes a kitchen feel welcoming.
Kitchen by KLM Builders.

The desire for traditional kitchens is on the rise even though the time we spend in them has decreased tremendously in the last several decades. According to "The Dallas News" women spent an average of 30 hours a week cooking and cleaning up after meals in the 1920's and today the average working woman spends less than five hours a week in her kitchen. The average working man? Well, statistics say he spends less than two hours a week cooking or cleaning in the home kitchen.

While nobody's longing for the days when it took 30 hours of labor just to keep a family fed for a week, maybe it's a sense of nostalgia that's piqued our interest in traditional kitchen design, or maybe we want to make the best possible use of our kitchen time when we're in there. The efficiency of a traditional kitchen design makes it possible to do more in less time and keep the family near us while we cook.

The Work Triangle

Almost everyone's heard of the magical "kitchen work triangle" but not everyone knows that it should fit within specific perimeters for ideal function. The refrigerator, sink and cooking area should each be positioned more or less on one point of an imaginary triangle. Each arm of the triangle should be 4 to nine feet long with a total perimeter of no more than 26 feet. Once this crucial function element is established, the rest of the kitchen design revolves can begin.

Kitchen table and center work space are important elements.
Kitchen by KLM Builders.

The Must Haves 

Every traditional kitchen must have three elements to make it truly fit into the category of traditional design.

Wood cabinetry -- The warmth of wood makes a kitchen look welcoming and feel substantial. Traditional stain colors include cherry, oak and walnut but there are a variety of beautiful colors available to work with your specific design. Mixing stained and painted wood cabinets is also an option.

Kitchen Table -- Your home may include a formal dining room separate from the kitchen, but a smaller, more casual eating space for family meals is part of a traditional kitchen's charm. An eat-in kitchen provides an intimate space for families to gather for a conversation, do homework or play a board game together while dinner's cooking.

Center Workspace -- A multi-tasking island is the perfect addition to any traditional kitchen. One fitted with drawers, shelf space, a vegetable sink, a cooktop or a marble countertop made especially for rolling out pie dough is an extra bonus that will make any cook's life easier. If space is too limited for a true eat-in kitchen, an island with room for stools is a smart solution.

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