Kitchen and Bath Design Styles

When it comes to redesigning, remodeling or redecorating a home, most of us have a unique, personal style that is a blend of one or more design styles. Use the definitions and photos below as a starting point to understand what you like and what you don’t.

As always, an RSI designer can walk you through the process to ensure your style and vision come to life.

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Traditional design brings the warmth & elegance of the past into the present. Graceful, curving lines are very common in traditional styles. Furniture is often constructed of dark wood and finely crafted detail. Important architectural detail in traditional design includes fine moldings. Adding decorative features, like crown molding and chair railing, is a great way to anchor the style.

Traditional style can be adapted to a more eclectic and up-to-date feel by mixing in some fabrics and accessory items of other styles. This should be coordinated, but not necessarily strictly matched, to the rest of the scheme. It’s the secret to keeping this time-honored style looking fresh.


Clean-lined is often how contemporary interior design is described, and for good reason. This modern approach focuses first and foremost on function and avoids the excessive ornamentation evident in many other styles.

Choose clean-lined, modern furnishings and accessories. Avoid furniture with curved legs, for example, which suggests a more traditional style.

Texture is a very important element in contemporary interior design style. Texture provides the perfect complement to the sleek, smooth surfaces of wood, metal and glass that tend to dominate this setting.

Contemporary design doesn’t have to be harsh or cold. When contemporary interior design is well planned it can promote a sense of serenity and non-fussy simplicity.


Transitional style is the most popular design style of today, combining current contemporary design with more traditional architectural or decorative principles. This contemporary sub-style is well suited to those who like the look of more formal or classically designed furniture, but find traditional too fussy or even claustrophobic.

The Transitional style color palette is generally earth-toned; furniture profiles have lines that are soothing, either slightly rounded or gently tapered; and fabrics are textured with comfort and functionality in mind.

Transitional is a perfect style for those who feel modern might be too “cold” and traditional might be too “busy.” The clean, flowing lines typical of transitional cabinetry and furniture have a calming presence that is thoroughly contemporary.


Mid Century architecture began its popularity in the United States after WWII with a look towards the future and away from the past. It stretched thru the mid 1970s. After many years, Mid Century architecture has made a big resurgence, quickly becoming one of the most popular design styles in America.

Mid Century Modern gave us the open floor plan; large open living room/dining room spaces followed by the open concept kitchen.

Mid Century is also most recognizable for large windows, large sliding doors and floor to ceiling walls of glass that allow for the integration of nature with the interior.

Flat roof lines, linear cabinetry and flat planes throughout the space are a key design feature of Mid Century Modern. In the kitchen, this is most notable in the lack of added details such as crown molding, island turnings or decorative cabinet doors and hardware. Simple, clean lines are key.

Finally, Mid Century offers a great mix of industrial metals with natural wood. No white painted cabinetry in this kitchen.


Arts & Crafts Style brings together clean lines & fine craftsmanship. This style revolves around finely crafted furniture and interior features – usually of wood. Look for wooden furniture featuring a series of square, vertical slats and simple construction.

Arts and Crafts interior elements feature prominent straight lines and a lack of excessive embellishment seen in some other traditional and classic styles. The careful craftsmanship of materials often provides a hint of native culture, particularly in the Mission Style variation which gives a nod to Spanish influence.

In the United States, a variation of this style that became popular through the years is called Mission Style. This style is versatile enough to work within a traditional or transitional environment.