If you’ve ever been exposed to an Italian family, you know that their life pretty much revolves around mealtimes. Eating is a big part of the Italian culture, as it’s a time when the whole family comes together, to share memories and stories over a glass of wine and a home-cooked meal.
These days, people tend to not eat around the table – especially after the invention of the lap-tray and television.
However, we’re here to help you bring the family back together with the perfect Italian-style kitchen. Inspired by the coasts of Amalfi, the history of Rome or the picturesque villages of Lake Como, your kitchen will become your favourite place to be.
1. Choose a colour scheme
When considering your Italian-themed kitchen, go back to basics with earthy, warm tones. Traditional Italian kitchens heavily reflected simplicity through the use of stone and brick work, as well as exposed beams across the ceiling and walls. However, this is a big job, especially if your home isn’t of a traditional build, so choosing a similar colour scheme will help you replicate this feel without completely renovating your entire kitchen.
Depending on the size, light and space you have will help you to determine the right direction your colour scheme should go in. If you’re working with a small space, think bright, light colours to open up your space – for a larger room, use deeper tones to enhance the space.
If your kitchen is on the small side, you should aim to use lighter colours to make the room feel larger by bringing light into the space. The perfect Italian wood is oak, which is a great choice for kitchen surfaces and matches well with most colours. If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, you can opt for a painted kitchen, which looks really rustic and is extremely homely. Oak often pairs well with subtle tones too, such as light greens or blues – this creates the ultimate rustic feel in the kitchen to transport you to southern Italy.
If you’re lucky enough to have a larger kitchen space, you can be more generous with the tones you use, and apply darker shades across the space, especially on worktops and floor tiles. Rich, dark woods – such as dark oak or timber – work really well in the kitchen, adding depth to the space. Darker woods are complemented really well with deeper shades, such as darker browns or reds, offsetting the dark rich wooden floorboards with lighter countertops and cupboards.
2. Choose your kitchen units and worktops
As we’ve already mentioned, wooden surfaces make the perfect Italian-style kitchen units. In a traditional Italian kitchen, wooden ceiling beams are exposed, with a stone tile on both the floor and walls, which is ideal in a European country to keep the room cool while cooking and preparing food. However, as we live in a relatively cool country, stone floors aren’t necessary – but they look stunning.
Whether you have a small or large kitchen, wooden kitchen doors and cabinets can complement your colour theme beautifully. Wooden units are the best choice for sparking an Italian mood in your kitchen, especially when combined with those darker colours and granite tiles, such as our Cornell Classic Kitchen.
Depending on what you like to cook on, granite worktops are the most Italian choice you can make for your kitchen worktops – if you prefer wood, choose from a darker walnut, or bright oak to offset your wooden or painted cabinets; too much wood on all surfaces can be overkill.
If you’ve chosen to go with a lighter colour theme in the kitchen, then take inspiration from our Mornington Beaded Kitchen, which uses lighter granite finishes across the worktops and a paler oak for the furniture to really set that italian feel, perfect for a hint of that Italian class.
3. Decide on kitchen storage and cooking space
For the larger kitchens, an island would definitely be something to consider. Traditional Italian kitchens use slightly different colours on their kitchen islands compared to the rest of the kitchen, using darker woods or granite, whereas the rest of the kitchen will contain a lighter wood across the kitchen doors and worktops.
An island is perfect for that extra cooking space – which is always necessary when hosting a dinner party – and also can be used as extra storage and eating space. Pair your island with some oak stools to match your kitchen units, and you’ll bring the warmth of the Italian sun into your home in the morning when it’s brisk outside.
4. Pick your kitchen accessories and appliances
As the focus in Italy is, of course, on the cooking, Italian kitchens are often filled with equipment on display, with ingredients and appliances placed around the workspace proudly.
Instead of storing your pots and pans, place them on the wall in a hanging-style. To compliment your kitchen theme, use metals that work well with your wood and granite choices – Italian’s favour copper.
When it comes to your kitchen sink, there aren’t any strict rules – traditionally, Italian kitchens feature a ceramic sink, but don’t shy away from stainless steel. Make sure, however, your pots and pans don’t clash. The only important thing to remember is ensuring your sink is big enough to accommodate kitchen prep, washing up and food preparation – we say the bigger the better.
The best accessory you can have for your Italian-themed kitchen would not be complete without your Mediterranean ingredients. From jars of sauce, to spices, pasta and bottles of wine, your kitchen will be that of a true Italian.
Italian kitchens truly do make your house a home. Our lives revolve around mealtimes, so make your family’s that bit more special, with a kitchen you want to be in.