Balance and harmony. The Asian aesthetic places a strong emphasis on harmony, in terms of materials as well as design. Pay attention to balancing visual elements such as color, form and weight. In this kitchen the dark range hood offsets the island, and the lighter ceiling beams echo the cabinetry.
Flush inset or framed cabinetry. The type of cabinet construction can have a significant impact on the way a kitchen looks. Full overlay or frameless cabinets are associated with a more contemporary way of building a cabinet — the door overlays the frame of the cabinet, and you don’t see any exposed hinges. Flush inset or framed cabinets are associated with an Old World way or furniture-style way of building cabinets. With this sort of construction, you’ll see the frame around the doors, and the doors and drawers are set flush with that frame. You’ll also see exposed piano hinges in silver, oil-rubbed bronze or even antique brass.
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Open shelving. Installed in place of traditional upper cabinetry, open shelving recalls the days when kitchens were more utilitarian than decorative. Not only was cabinetry expensive, but open shelves allowed cooks to retrieve dishes and tools quickly. Today open shelves are as much about aesthetics as about practicality: Their openness helps make a space feel larger, and they often house accessories in addition to kitchen implements.
Style is easier to recognize with your eyes than with words: You know it when you see it, and the photo that inspires you most can often surprise you. Think you know your kitchen style? Check out these guides to a dozen favorite kitchen design themes, then tell us which one takes the cake.
You don’t have to be obsessively neat and organized for open shelving to look attractive, but you’ll want to make an effort not to let clutter build. Keeping dishware to a single color, as shown here, creates a striking effect.