Too often, kitchens only serve utilitarian purposes in homes. They're a place to make quick meals, dump the mail and occasionally have a chat. A kitchen should be the heart of the house, a gathering place for friends, family and neighbors - and the key to that kind of kitchen is finding the right design inspiration.
Whether you're in California and want a classic brick-red New England style to your kitchen or an Iowa native with a taste for Tuscany, consider some of these kitchen aesthetic inspirations.
1. The sunflower kitchen. Tall and stately, these colorful flowers make for the perfect design choice. At once evocative of the American Midwest and Van Gogh's famous paintings, they have an aesthetic range only matched by their natural beauty. To pull together the look, get your hands on a few prints as well as a gold, pale yellow, cream and wood design scheme. Cast-iron kitchenware would also look great in this kitchen. And of course, you'll want some fresh-cut sunflowers in a vase.
2. The restaurant kitchen. This kitchen is a sleek mix of stainless steel, hard angles and extreme minimalism. If you want your kitchen to have the super-clean and super-stylish look of a professional restaurant, these are the choices you want to go with. Lots of counter space, drawers and plenty of fridge and freezer room.
3. The farmhouse kitchen. Take inspiration from the New England farmers of yore and install deep porcelain sinks, butchers' block counters and sleek wooden floorboards. Color schemes can be anywhere from classic red to a peaceful pink, but make sure to decorate with antique animal prints and farmscapes. For modern comfort, be sure to install radiant heat under the floor as protection against chilly mornings and winter afternoons.
4. The country store kitchen. This design takes some creativity and antiquing. You'll want plenty of open shelving to store a pantry's worth of kitchenware and food. Use unique older furniture to give your kitchen an old-fashioned vibe - consider an old barrel stood on its head for a small bar with stools, or an old steamer trunk to double as storage and seating. A color scheme with white walls and dark wood would be most traditional, but play with whatever ideas come to mind.