What Is A European Kitchen?
Can you tell the difference between an American kitchen and European kitchen?
American kitchens used to be comprised of a collection of free-standing pieces.
European kitchen designers were actually the first to introduce what we consider to be the “modern” kitchen today - or what’s known as the “built-in” kitchen. Meaning, cabinetry and appliances fitting between two walls. Companies from Germany, Italy and England have pioneered and paved the way for modern kitchen design around the world. In fact, Europeans have been producing products in factories long before anyone else. This is impressive if you consider that brands from Europe rival handmade and custom products in quality, price and length of time from production to installation.
So what defines a European Kitchen?
Less is more in a European kitchen. They are designed to be minimalist and sleek in design. Homes in Europe are smaller and so are kitchens, therefore the focus is on functionality and efficiency. Kitchen cabinets are no exception. In order to maximize space, European kitchen cabinets are often simple. They feature flat surfaces, flush doors, little to no hardware and do not have many decorations or “frills”.
Increasing function also increases storage space.
European kitchens have frame-less construction - or full overlay. This means, cabinets are constructed without a face frame attached to the front of the cabinet box. All that is visible are flat door and drawer fronts. This frame-less construction offers a seamless look while maximizing space as there is no divider in between the cabinets. Because of this frame-less construction, hinges and hardware are often hidden - adding to the seamless, streamlined aesthetic.
Another way European kitchens differentiate themselves is through the materials that are used. European kitchen cabinets are synthetic - meaning the materials used such as engineered woods, metals and glass are highly processed which gives them their polished and smooth appearance. Engineered woods include high-grade plywood, MDF (medium density fiberboard) and particle board. These materials are usually adhered to another finishing material. For finishes, European cabinets use laminates to mimic the appearance of wood grain patterns and special paints such as polyurethane and acrylic give cabinets that high gloss finish.
Mixing different looks and products together are yet another tell tale European cabinet distinction. Frosted glass, inserts, lacquer,, paint, polyester and acrylic are used in conjunction with steel, metals, concrete and stone veneers.
Also popular are laminates for the super contemporary European kitchen. Laminates are made from several layers of materials (mixture of real wood, veneers, fibers, resin and adhesives) “sandwiched” together and coated with a resin. This European manufacturing technique gives laminates a long-lasting durability and ease of maintenance. Laminates also come in almost every color under the sun and prices to fit almost any budget.
So which European country makes the best kitchens and what are the differences?
Italian kitchens focus on color, aesthetic and warmth over function and minimalism and are designed to be welcoming and inviting. While English kitchens bring a mix of “old English” traditional style with streamlined modern function. For example, the use of a mantle and hearth. German kitchens focus on more modular design that emphasize reliability, function, innovation and precise measurements and fit. German kitchens dominate the American market (and the global market too).
German Kitchens Dominate the Market
You’re probably not surprised that German Kitchens dominate the American market. “German-Made” is truly synonymous with top quality. Germany has been known for centuries for their manufacturing, precision and attention to detail. With German kitchens, your kitchen is crafted with highest quality materials that are durable with storage solutions that are smart, innovative, ergonomic and functional.
Another difference is that German kitchens are manufactured and assembled at the same time and quality-checked before shipment. German kitchens are so well built that in Germany, many people move with their kitchen! This leaves kitchens empty - emphasizing the need for quick installation!
German kitchens also emphasize customization and maximization of all space including tricky corners and tight spaces. This is easy to accomplish as German kitchens are made with sizes to fit any space.
Many companies try to mimic the German kitchen - and it’s easy to see why, but German culture and tradition are still the driving force behind why they are still leaps above the competition.
The Bottom Line
If you’re entertaining a kitchen remodel and want a modern kitchen with emphasis on quality, design, choice, customization and function, shopping European kitchen brands will suit your needs!