They may speak the same language, but the Americans and the British differ wildly from each other and sometimes seem as if they’re on opposite ends of the spectrum. When it comes to design, these differences often come to the forefront. There’s no room in the home quite like the kitchen to reveal your personality, but can it show your nationality and traditions too? To kick off our blog series on different nationalities’ kitchen styles, we’ll take a look at how the USA and the UK approach designing that central space in their homes.
The cliché “everything’s bigger in America” exists because it is, in general, true. Step into an American kitchen and you’ll see an open plan space, with easy access to the living room and dining room to allow hosts to entertain family and friends flawlessly. We’re all now familiar with the ‘American style’ fridge – a double-doored machine of beauty which holds enough food for a banquet and produces ice and perfectly chilled water at the push of a button. One feature which seems almost obligatory, regardless if the kitchen is traditional or modern, is the island. Always incorporating the same style as the cupboards and countertops, this tends to be the central point of the kitchen – food is prepared while chatting to guests, drinks and snacks are set out at parties and everyone gathers here to catch up on the latest news. As well as the island, you’ll see the breakfast bar, where, propped up on stools you can fuel up for the day ahead or relax with a drink at sundown. The breakfast bar really emphasises the importance of the kitchen – you’re seated looking into it, creating a homey, family feel, with cooking and eating becoming intrinsically connected.
When it comes to the design approach, there tends to be more detail and matching in the American kitchen. Handles, soft furnishings and appliances are often chosen to go seamlessly together and you will see classic carved wooden cabinets and mouldings throughout. Wood, in particular rich, dark tones, is the go-to cupboard choice, complemented by granite or quartz counter tops. Spacious and grand, while continuing to be the beating heart of the home – this is the American style.
Big, bold, beautiful – Stateside style
So, how does the UK differ when it comes to kitchen style? There tends to be less space in homes here, simply because there is less land available and many houses were built a long time ago. Brits, being used to utilising the space they are given, create innovative storage solutions. The larger fridge is growing in popularity, but more compact appliances are still the norm. Similarly, the open plan approach has taken off in a big way, but you will still often see the kitchen as a separate entity from the rest of the house, with a door to close behind you. This doesn’t mean it’s not still the most important room in the house – no matter what, everyone still gravitates here, regardless how small the space, or how far away it is from the living room!
Small spaces, spectacular design experience
Because the kitchens are often smaller, wood and colours are light and airy to create the illusion of space. UK style can be described as ‘eclectic’ – they’re not afraid to mix and match patterns – and are more likely to add a pop of colour with some unusual wallpaper to draw the eye. A real British classic, the AGA oven, has never gone out of style and really makes a statement, often being the focal point of the entire room. This can be used to complement a traditional cottage kitchen, but works perfectly with modern furnishings. Although floral and ‘country style’ is still a common theme in some kitchens, the blend of old and new is increasingly the trend. As well as the AGA, a great example is the use of a farmhouse sink alongside sleek cabinets without handles. The sense of traditional lives on, but with an alluring modern twist – that’s what the British do best.
The contrasting British style reflects the traditional values and soul of modern human.
Stay tuned as we’ll continue discovering kitchen styles from countries around the world in our upcoming blog posts – explore the globe in style.