Key Differences Between an American and European Style Kitchen

People who have been to both ends of the Atlantic will notice a big difference in terms of home design. And this is a testament to the different historical experiences between the two cultures.

Americans seem to prefer everything be supersized while Europeans prefer compactness and functionality. Open plan living spaces are common in America while decently distanced rooms or spaces are a staple in Europe.

The kitchen, in particular, offers a good glimpse of these key differences. Below are some kitchen details that separate American and European styles.

Bigger vs. smaller kitchens

Property size, in general, is one of the obvious differences between an American and European home. This concept carries over into the kitchen.

For one, a typical American kitchen will have an open-plan kitchen-diner setup. The latter will encompass as much space as possible for more storage options and counter tops.

However, European style kitchens are smaller. This is because in the past, home design prioritized efficiency over comfort and space & doing more with less essentially. Since there’s not much space for storage, it’s common for Europeans to refresh their stocks weekly.

Additionally, there are usually no seats on a European kitchen’s center island. Cooking and prepping in front of guests and visitors is not encouraged.

Openness vs. protection with windows

American kitchen windows often feature double-hung windows. Some window installations also have window screens that prevent insects and pests from entering the home.

With European style kitchens, openness and natural light is a core concept.

You’ll frequently see shutters instead of window screens. Casement windows are also a common sighting. Regardless of what type, Europeans generally go with options that let in more air and light into their homes.

European kitchen

Minimalism vs. abundance in terms of hardware

In many American kitchens, hardware is particularly prominent. Drawer pulls showcase either simple round metal knobs or luxuriously intricate designs. A modern American kitchen often makes use of stainless steel.

The more visual spectacles there are, the better. This design ethos carries over to other areas of the kitchen, from the faucet and vent hood to the cabinet handles.

In contrast, European kitchens will prioritize functionality and minimalism over visuals. As a result, these kitchens exude a nice clean look.

Additionally, in the area of appliances, American kitchens will have an array of devices available. Whether it’s a microwave, food processor, coffee grinder or blender. Again, the more the better. You won’t see this a lot in European kitchens, where people prefer cooking food from scratch and using manual methods.

Framed vs. frameless cabinets

In American homes, you’ll often see framed kitchen cabinets. This frame is comprised of rails and stiles which come together to form the structure (often called face frame).

One of the benefits of this style is that it ensures sturdiness & securing the doors to the frame. Additionally this also creates more appeal and depth and there are a number of ways to customize.

However, with European homes, frameless cabinets are the norm. Without the face frame attached to the cabinet box, it provides more accessibility. Overall, these types of cabinets look simpler and less busy.

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