An old world kitchen is a rare sight and a major undertaking. If you’re looking for a warm family-gathering place that gives off a strong sense of classic architecture, distressed finishes, and a bold and personal aesthetic, look no further.

While old world style means different things to different designers and architects, there are a few main considerations when you’re looking to give your kitchen that sought after old world charm and décor. Fireplace features are not uncommon, and give a room a soothing and strong source of light, shadow, and comfort. Exposed wooden beams and high ceilings, generally in a darker wood, give old world kitchens a dark tone. Cast iron pot racks and cookware are common in this style, as is any finely crafted piece of freestanding furniture. Materials that look better with age are great old world elements, and have a functional, heavy charm to them.

Although you certainly want dark kitchen cabinets, usually strong with dark wood furnishing, the old world kitchen is not gloomy. Designers often lighten the room with natural light via windows, and accent areas with a few recessed lighting fixtures. The contrast between the warm glow of the sun or fire place and the antique wooden furniture and metal will make you feel as though you’ve been transported to a cozy inn or tavern from days long past.

Hardware and accessories such as hand pulls should fit this darker metal aesthetic and style. Finishes like oiled bronze or darker coppers on your faucets and door knobs will really give the old world kitchen a finishing touch. Avoid floral prints and patterns, as these take away from the bold style and high contrast design. Flooring should likewise keep with the darker tone; Planks of walnut, mahogany, and dark cherry are great choices.

Old World Kitchen

This Riverwoods kitchen draws heavily from old world style – without going overboard on the darkness – and keeps appliances in line with all the conveniences we expect out of a 21st century kitchen. Note the distressed brick accent wall and oiled bronze sink. The contrast of light and dark is brought out by a lighter wood kitchen island, while still staying within the broad lines of an old world style. Recessed lighting above the range adds subtle and functional light to the space. A mixture of materials adds to the theme, just so long as they don’t appear too mismatched or out of place.

Glenview Old World Kitchen

Glenview Old World Kitchen

Here, this Glenview kitchen remodel shows off this mixture of material a bit better. Heavy use of stone on wood creates a nice contrast without requiring much in the way of lighting. Patterns are irregular and natural, giving the feeling of being in a handcrafted hearth. Again, pursuing an old world design doesn’t mean eschewing modern kitchen appliances. A restaurant-grade range and kitchen island complete with wet bar accompany this kitchen. Note the emphasis on metal accents and accessories.

Old world aesthetics are a great way to set your kitchen apart from a mostly modern or traditional landscape. Find more design ideas by looking through our galleries.