Italian design for the kitchen is as varied as Italy itself. It is at once simple and natural but vibrant and full of life. If there is one constant, it is color. So if you want to be a bit bold, an Italian theme might be the perfect design direction for your Chicago kitchen remodel. At The Kitchen Master, we will guide you from start to finish.
How to Create an Italian Kitchen Design for Your Home
Italian style may be more a state of mind than a well-defined set of principles. However, one thing is clear: Italian design — like the Italian language and the Italian countryside — is colorful, exuberant and diverse.
More than many other design labels, Italian style is difficult to define. There is the soft and faded comfort of Tuscany, the vibrant hues and sometimes “spicy” combinations of the Mediterranean, and the earthy, artistic classic style of Italy’s interior and northern provinces. There is also strikingly modern Italian design, with an aesthetic all its own.
Color Is the Common Thread
No matter which Italian landscape you draw inspiration from, color is the important element: Cobalt, blue, the softer blues and aquas of sky and sea, terra cotta, a variety of greens, sienna, mustard yellow and tomato red all are part of the Italian soul. In a kitchen you can mix them all as in a piece of Italian pottery, or use only one or two to add spice to a more neutral palette.
Use bright blue enamel on an island to complement wood-tone perimeter cabinetry; paint a single wall terra cotta to add interest to a kitchen filled with ivory-painted cabinets and walls the color of buttercream. Capture the appeal of traditional Italian ceramics by mixing citrusy tones of lemon, lime and orange with accents of vibrant blue — as wonderful with white-painted cabinets as with dark woods. Rein in the effect by taking inspiration from the olive groves — use grey-greens in all their variations from pale to inky darks — play them off against pale wood cabinets and black olive toned countertops. Keep the floor the color of ancient paving stones, either in the grey or reddish-brown spectrum.
Simplicity and Character
Although there is no single hallmark of Italian design, that is one of the most appealing aspects of its popularity. Pick a simple slab cabinet door, a modified Shaker-style flat panel or a more formal raised panel. Paint the cabinetry; distress the wood, or select high-tech metal cabinets. Use stainless steel appliances, opt for a bright enamel finish on the range and hood, or stick with classic white or black. All can adapt to Italian decor.
Italian kitchens, like country French, put the focus on the food — and most Italian kitchens invite collaboration. If you love entertaining, you’ll want to make space for more than one cook and for observers. In a large space, provide an eating (or sampling) bar and comfortable seating. If floor space is limited, consider opening up the kitchen by creating a pass-through to the living area or dining room, extending the kitchen with a peninsula, or turning a corner to create an adjacent dining nook or sitting area.
Lighting and Accessories
You’ll want to keep your Italian kitchen light and bright, even on cloudy days. To supplement natural light, use open themed pendants and hanging fixtures: brass, bronzed metal and black wrought iron in simple shapes will complement bright colors in tile and shed light where it’s needed. Patterned tile for the backsplash, or even on the floor, can be an artistic accent for an Italian-themed kitchen.
Pottery in classic shapes and patterns will add interest, provide storage for kitchen tools and be perfectly at home on solid color counters. Keep artwork and accessories simple to avoid a cluttered appearance. Let the color and a few patterned accessories be the focal point.
If you are drawn to a rustic look and want cooking essentials close at hand, store dried pasta, cooking oils, flour and spices in clear or green glass containers. If you prefer a more tailored appearance, choose a large basket to hold colorful linen napkins or place a piece of sculpture on the counter as a nod to Italian culture.
Italian design is certainly worth a second look if you don’t quite know what direction to travel for an upcoming remodel. Whether your taste runs to traditional or daring, rustic or high-tech, you might find the right expression in Italian style.
At The Kitchen Master, our design consultants will work with you to hone your ideas, develop a plan and select cabinets and countertops, flooring and appliances that reflect your preferences and meet all your needs. We will respect your budget and help you from initial design through final completion. Call now to schedule a no-obligation consultation. We’re looking forward to meeting you — in Italy or wherever you choose to go.