There are loads of ways to decorate a kitchen: you can make the room bold and eclectic, rustic and cozy, breezy and coastal, or surprisingly glam. And while all these options are worth considering, there’s something irresistible about designing—and spending time in—a classic kitchen.
Classic kitchens take cues from the kitchens that came before them. They’re filled with traditional cabinetry and quality materials. They’re lined with ornate trim and other historic details. And they’re dressed up with enduring accents, like striking window treatments, printed rugs, and full-blown works of art.
These designer-made classic kitchens range from sleek and simple to dramatic and opulent. But in every iteration, they’re elegant, traditional, and timelessly stylish—exactly the kinds of places you want to cook, host, and spend time in.
Keep It Simple With an All-White Palette
There are lots of ways to craft a classic kitchen, but one of the easiest is to start with a timeless palette. Paint your walls and cabinets white, and stick with classic hardwood floors. The palette will immediately set the tone in your space, giving you a classic canvas to work with as you layer in fixtures and décor.
Hang a Classic Chandelier
Chandeliers aren’t appropriate for every kitchen—but in a classic kitchen, they feel right at home. Keep an eye out for something that looks genuinely vintage, and don’t be afraid to go understated. Since chandeliers are so showstopping, you can stick with something subtle and still make a statement.
Line Your Backsplash With Marble
Marble is one of the most elegant materials around, so it’s a no-fail addition to your classic kitchen. Line your countertops with the sturdy yet stunning material—and consider lining your backsplash with marble, too.
Make Space for a Sprawling Island
Open-concept kitchens may be on-trend, but that doesn’t mean they can’t look classic. By building a sprawling island, you can capture some of the intimacy you’d get from a classic kitchen—while enjoying the flexible feel of a more contemporary space.
Invest in Kitchen Window Treatments
Window treatments are a must in any classic space—your kitchen, included. So spring for a set of printed curtains that bring the room together. Or keep it simple with a set of classic white blinds.
Line Your Walls With Art
Art may not be the first thing you reach for when decorating your kitchen. But it should be, especially if you want your space to feel classic. Keep an eye out for paintings, drawings, and photographs that’ll dress up your kitchen, and consider slipping them inside some lovely antique frames.
Craft a Subtle Statement Ceiling
Decorating your ceiling might sound a little avant-garde. But step inside any old building, and you’ll likely find ornate tiles or exposed structural beams lining the top of the room. Do some research to learn more about the style of your home. Then, craft a classic statement ceiling that honors your home’s history.
Let Your Dishes Double as Décor
Displaying your dishes is a time-honored tradition, one that’s left us with china cabinets, curios, and other display cases. And you can nod to this custom—without buying any new furniture—by lining your kitchen shelves with the prettiest dishes you own.
Invest in an Ornate Faucet
A faucet rarely makes or breaks a kitchen, but it can bring the room together. So, consider switching yours out with an ornate option. The upgrade may not make a statement on its own, but when paired with other traditional details, it’s sure to make your kitchen feel more classic.
Craft a Playfully Printed Backsplash
Worried you can’t pull off a printed backsplash in your classic kitchen? Think again. If you stick to traditional patterns—and keep your palette pared-down—you can create a tiled backsplash that feels playful, sleek, and classic all at once.
Repurpose Your Favorite Antiques
Resist the urge to fill your kitchen with brand new furnishing and fixtures and capture some truly classic style by weaving in a few antiques. Use an old armoire as a cabinet, turn a vintage console into a bar, or snag your kitchen sink from a local flea market.
Replace Your Fruit Bowls With Cloches
One unexpected way to make your kitchen feel more classic? Ditch your favorite fruit bowls, and store your produce in glass cloches, instead. While the cloches may not keep your fruits and veggies any fresher, they’ll definitely make your produce storage set-up look more elegant.
Snag a Truly Striking Stove
When shopping for a stove, function is the main priority. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice form. By snagging a retro stove, you can add nostalgia and style to your kitchen—making it feel both more classic and more stylish.
Go All Out With Your Trim
It may seem strange to line your kitchen with ornate trim, but because the accent is so traditional, it’s a great way to set the scene in your classic kitchen. Plus, the surprising touch will make a statement in your space—leaving you with a kitchen that feels next-level special.
Trade Sconces for Picture Lights
When it comes to lighting kitchen shelves, sconces and recessed lights are popular picks. But don’t overlook picture lights. Since the mounted lights are typically used to illuminate paintings, they’ll make an elegant addition to your kitchen. And they’ll give you all the light you need to brighten up your shelves.
Color-Coordinate Your Finishes
Streamlining your finishes isn’t a must, but it’s a surefire way to make your space feel sleeker. Match your faucet to your shelves and your cabinet pulls to your backsplash. The pared-down palette will make your kitchen look more elegant, while the attention to detail makes it feel more luxurious.
Mix and Match What’s on Your Shelves
When lining your kitchen shelves, don’t limit yourself to dishes, glassware, and cooking supplies. By mixing in some traditional décor—like paintings, books, and vases of flowers—you can dress up your shelves, lending some classic style to your entire kitchen.
Snag a Stunning Range Hood Cover
Range hoods are rarely very pretty. But range hood covers? They can be absolutely stunning. Look for a range hood cover that suits your kitchen’s classic look. Snag a sleek option that matches your cabinets, or invest in a statement-maker that looks utterly traditional.
Soften Your Floors With a Printed Rug
Since kitchen floors are often lined with sleek hardwoods or slick tiles, they’re rarely very comfortable. So a cozy kitchen rug goes a long way. Keep things classic by scoring a traditional printed rug—one that’s pretty enough for your living room, but sturdy enough for your kitchen. The addition will spruce up your space, making it feel both cozier and more classic.
Create a Cookbook Nook
Consulting a cookbook is a time-honored way of figuring out what to make for dinner, so dress up your kitchen by making space for your favorite recipe-filled reads. If you’re not sure what to do with a bare corner, fill it with cookbooks—and finish things off with an elegant bookend.
Stick With a Dark Wood Stain
Lighter woods have become fan-favorites over the last few decades, but darker woods are some of the most traditional around, so trade the washed-out oaks, pines, and maples, for richer woods, like walnut, cherry, and mahogany. Or stick with a dark wood stain to get the same effect.
Tuck a Dining Nook Inside Your Kitchen
Pressed for eat-in space in your kitchen? Tuck a dining nook inside it. By stocking up on classic bistro furniture, you can transport yourself to the streets of Paris every time you step foot in your kitchen.
Decorate With Items You’d Expect to Find Elsewhere
Since classic kitchens give you such a lavish canvas to work from, you can have a lot of fun with décor. While framed paintings, printed rugs, and ceramic table lamps may look out of place in most kitchens, they’ll fit right in with your classic kitchen’s rich palette and ornate trim.
Finish Things Off With Antique Hardware
Want to put the finishing touches on your classic kitchen? Install some antique hardware. Replace all your knobs, handles, and pulls with vintage options. And consider leaving them unpolished. The aged details will make your kitchen look like it's decades old—even if you just redecorated it this year.