Combine design elements to create a kitchen that’s the best of both worlds

Modern, traditional, country, urban. There are so many choices out there when it comes to kitchen interiors. Sometimes you can’t put your favourite kitchen style in a box. And often, when you do, the look can be a bit ‘too much’. With all those hard lines and shiny surfaces, modern kitchens can often come across as cold and sterile. Rustic kitchens, on the other hand, are inviting, but can appear unorganised messy.

So what’s the solution? Make your kitchen as unique as you are. Mix vintage elements with your modern kitchen and get the best of both worlds. Read on for tips and tricks to get the look.

Vintage wooden rustic bench.

A mix-and-match, old-and-new kitchen design requires an anchor. In other words, that one element that contrasts well with the rest of the kitchen design. In a contemporary kitchen, it could be a wooden farmhouse table that does the job. Or eye-catching cabinetry. Or a vintage lighting fixture. It’s important not to overdo it when it comes to combining old and new. Stick to a 80/20 rule when selecting elements for your space. If you’re opting for more rustic or vintage elements, keep your modern pieces to a minimum and vice versa.

If it’s rustic ‘old’ you’re going for, cabinets are a good starting point. They are a prominent element in the kitchen. And those done in a traditional wood style provide a timeless backdrop to add a wealth of interesting accents. Consider adding an element of interest to the cabinets themselves too. Fit them with whimsical hardware like brass or hand-painted ceramic knobs.

Reclaimed wood, vintage elements and roughed up furniture, all create a “down hominess” that is sought after by many homeowners. © bulthaup

In a modern kitchen, an old table draws the eye and adds texture without being too dominant. The wooden grains complement the stark cabinetry and clean lines of a modern kitchen nicely. Not to mention the practical use that the table offers – doubling as an extra workspace and seating area.

It’s important to consider scale when jazzing up your new/old combo kitchen. Pair a kitchen island topped with a hefty butcher’s block with a geometric, modern pendant lamp for example. It’s all about finding the right balance between the two contrasting styles. If you stick to a consistent colour palette (and get inspired by the right Pinterest boards), there’s not much that can go wrong.

Don’t be afraid of using wood, concrete, stone, glass, tile and fabric in non-traditional ways. © Jolanda Kruse

When it comes to creating an eclectic contemporary kitchen style, the principle of “less is more” doesn’t always apply. Particularly in the case of materials. Don’t be afraid of using wood, concrete, stone, glass, tile and fabric in non-traditional ways. Every material brings something unique to the atmosphere of a kitchen. The only rule is to avoid overload and use the elements in balance. And, don’t be shy about using traditional kitchen design materials in new ways. Wooden backsplashes and glass countertops are two ways interior designers are mixing and matching materials. Learn more about using alternative materials for backsplashes.

Think about texture. The sleek surface of stainless steel adds impact to the rustic textures of wood and brick. Even kitchen appliances can play a role in bringing together old and new. There’s nothing quite as inviting as a warm, approachable materials complemented by modern technology.