Eye-catching kitchen designs from around the world
Some of the boldest designs we have produced at Extreme are those inspired by international destinations that have had a profound impact on our clients. From the vast natural landscapes of Utah to the palatial architecture of St. Petersburg, we are always keen to design kitchens that evoke a sense of space unique to a specific culture and environment. Besides aesthetic value, such interiors usually hold some personal value for those who inhabit them.
While visiting certain places may inspire your personal interior design choices, the designs frequently used in major locales around the world can also have a direct impact on how you construct your kitchen. Here we will examine a wide range of international styles that could influence your next design project. From the rustic elements of the French country kitchen, through Arabian-inspired Moroccan opulence, to the futuristic minimalism of Japanese design, international kitchens always bring something new to the table. Perhaps when it comes to remodelling your kitchen, you’ll find yourself bringing elements of these beautiful international kitchen designs into your own home.
Japanese interior design is one of minimalist symmetry. In Japan, one often finds a near perfect blend of the hyper-modern with the supremely traditional – even the most fleeting visit to Tokyo makes this immediately clear. Beyond the skyscrapers and traditional shrines, however, is a school of design that makes its way into the Japanese home. Defined aesthetic trends such as shibui and wabi-sabi form the backbone of Japanese design. A flow of sleek minimalism unites the country’s aesthetic ideals and creates the basis of the Japanese design today.
While Japanese kitchens tend to be much smaller than the average kitchen in the UK, Japanese design can still be put to incredibly effective use in Britain. The easiest way to achieve a truly Japanese look is to focus on the minimalist symmetry that brings balance to so many of their buildings and interiors. However, if you wish to break symmetry, contemplate the aforementioned wabi-sabi aesthetic. This school of Japanese design embraces asymmetry, finding beauty in the individuality and impermanence of objects.
To achieve the optimal minimalist effect, keep as much of the kitchen space open as possible. This way, you can ensure that a perfectly sleek sense of calm is afforded to the room, ideal as a place in which to cook and relax. This can be enhanced further by accentuating straight lines in the design. Doing this ensures that the kitchen delivers a certain fluidity to its surroundings. Stick to muted tones when it comes to walls and cabinetry. White and grey are the most prominent shades in the Japanese palette. In terms of materials, don’t be afraid to introduce bamboo accents and stone surfaces. These help to add a splash of natural colour and depth to the room while still retaining a decidedly Asian aesthetic.
Finally, with a Japanese-inspired kitchen, technology is a must. Japanese tech should never be too loud or domineering in a room. Rather, the technology used in a Japanese kitchen should be refined and simple – all while streamlining the kitchen experience. Ultimately, for a true Japanese feel, you should focus on blending optimum functionality with authentic design.
While French interior design could see you drawing influence from Parisian apartments or the villas of le Midi, it is in the countryside that we find the most awe-inspiring French kitchens. Brimming with rustic elegance and a hint of luxury, French country kitchens combine opulence with traditional charm. A kitchen of this nature can find itself at home in Burgundian vineyards, the farmhouses of Normandy, and the châteaux of the Loire Valley.
There is a definite focus on streamlining the workspace in French kitchen design. Stripped-back, unassuming worktops and homespun furnishings which never hide their imperfections are the backbone of such designs. But that isn’t to say the style lacks more exciting variety. Alongside the more austere body of the kitchen, French kitchens are also defined by their decorative statement features. These features could come in the form of antique storage options, eye-catching lighting solutions, or beautifully detailed cabinetry.
When taking inspiration from French design, you’re free to be as modern or traditional as you like. However – and this is especially so if you have an older house – you should always try to work with any traditional aspects of the room that are already present. For instance, if there is an original fireplace, consider utilising it as a decorative alcove or unique storage space.
When we consider the kinds of appliances used in the French country style, the range cooker is of utmost importance. The range is a country stable, acting at once as a cooker and a hearth – all while being an important decorative feature. Whether you choose a smaller, more traditional Aga-style range, or opt for an exceedingly luxurious La Cornue cooker, it really is a necessity if you’re looking to achieve an authentic Gallic design.
Morocco is home to perhaps one of the most recognisable styles within the wider Arabian school of design. Oozing luxury with an undercurrent of warmth and comfort, this international kitchen design is perfect for those who appreciate the finer things in life. Influenced by grand Moorish palaces, the bold exoticism of Moroccan design is sure to give your kitchen a boost.
Japanese and French kitchen designs ultimately focus on practical minimalism. To give your kitchen a Moroccan flavour, however, decoration must take centre stage. As anyone who has visited the country will know, exquisitely detailed tiling (in worktops, flooring, splashbacks or even shelving) is a key component of Moroccan design. Glazed ceramic tiles are popular in Morocco, with zellige tilework being a mainstay across the country. The tiles stand out against the blue waters of the Mediterranean and the rich red of the country’s deserts, making them perfect accompaniments to a wider red or blue colour palette.
Aside from tiles, the most important feature in Moroccan interior design is the horseshoe arch. Intricately carved arches are worked into almost all facets of Moroccan design, from windows to doors to niches. In the kitchen, the arch can be used to beautifully frame certain areas of the room such as the cooker or the sink.
With its intricate tiling and woodwork, vibrant colours and beautiful arches, Moroccan design is undoubtedly lavish. But at the same time, it should always retain a rustic, homely undercurrent. While palaces and kasbahs may dominate Morocco’s architectural influence, it is from brightly coloured homes and bazaars that we should draw inspiration for Moroccan kitchen design – designs which combine vibrant exoticism with a more homely Mediterranean charm.
Often, we find ourselves torn between the exotic and the familiar when it comes to our design preferences. The rustic air of a French country kitchen can be just as enticing as the Arabian influence of a Moroccan home. If you can’t seem to come to a decision, consider looking towards Iberia.
Spanish kitchens couple a rustic continental style with the same Moorish touches that are so prevalent in Moroccan design. Thanks to the shared European and Moorish heritage of Spain, kitchens in the region have a very distinct style that combines elements of both cultures. Decorated with warm red and yellow hues, with beautifully crafted (and often ornate) arches and furnishings, there’s a certain grandeur present in Spanish-style kitchens. This often makes way for the kind of traditional exposed wood and plain terracotta tiles, the likes of which evoke feelings of country cooking in the Spanish campo.
Using wrought iron is a distinctly Spanish design choice that unites the luxury and the rustic in a way rarely seen in the kitchen. Wrought iron accents should go beyond using the material only for drawer and cupboard handles. Instead, work it into less conventional areas of the kitchen. Perhaps choose wrought iron shelving or pot racks to add a very impactful sense of Spanish heritage to your kitchen.
For truly opulent Spanish design, a traditional wrought iron chandelier is effectively a requirement. A chandelier brings a beautifully classic, near-medieval touch to the kitchen, uniting the themes of rustic traditionalism and bonafide opulence that define Spanish design. Curves are a defining facet of Spanish interior design. Bevelled worktops, flared hoods above the hob and rounded furnishings exude vintage Spanish charm. The curved nature of the Spanish kitchen lends a touch of fluidity, while the materials used (dark woods and natural stone) ensure that the kitchen loses none of its rustic character.
For more advice on designing kitchens shaped by the world around us, contact the Extreme Design team for a bespoke and collaborative kitchen design service.