oversized vintage lanterns over a kitchen island european kitchen

How European Kitchen Designs Inspired Our Kitchen (Reveal!)

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European kitchen designs are known for their sophistication and timeless appeal. Like with any design style, there are always interpretations and personalizations that can be done along the building or renovation process that will make your house feel that much more like home – and feel that much more like you. When it came time to pick the style of our home, and, of course, our dream kitchen aesthetic, we knew that we wanted charming, functional, and inviting spaces overall. 

The beauty of European style is not just in the beauty that we can see (though inviting yet chic decor pieces make for a great combo) but in the versatility, allowing you to infuse your unique taste while still retaining the essence of European charm that you fell in love with in the first place. Come with me as we go through some of my favorite elements of our new European-inspired kitchen and I’ll let you in on how we got here!

My Kitchen Reveal: European Kitchen Design

Kitchen Layout & Foundation

european custom timeless kitchen designs

Here she is!

First things first. To lay the foundation and overall design of our perfect kitchen, we called in Providence House Design. Kitchen design is beyond our DIY capabilities and I know how important it is to start with a good foundation – and one you really love! Then you can integrate your own tweaks and custom details along the way.

For us, it was really important to create a space that resonated with our lifestyle. Though most authentic European kitchens use a dining table in lieu of an island, a kitchen island and bar stools are important features for us, and at the end of the day, your kitchen should work for your lifestyle first. (Even if it does make you look like you’re from the United States!)

Achieving a European space is more about following design principles and less about following an exact blueprint. After all, there are so many decisions to make in a kitchen, from finding the best placement for cabinets to thinking about traffic flow, and you don’t want to feel confined to a certain way of designing that may not be conducive to how you realistically live.

Overall, European design tends to blend the features of functional kitchens with style for the ideal space – and you get to decide how that looks for yourself!

Thanks to a designer, we were able to find a layout and see a rendering that worked for us both aesthetically and in real life, and having a plan really allowed us to properly see the vision of what was possible. So we got to work!

European Kitchen Cabinets

Armed with our kitchen rendering, we took it to our cabinet designer and asked them to turn the picture into plans to start the most important (and expensive) part of the kitchen.

Anybody who has dealt with a kitchen remodel or build will understand – custom cabinetry and cabinets in general can easily be the most expensive part of a new kitchen. From getting the actual cabinets to having them assembled or installed, you’ll see a significant dent in your budget after accounting for this part. 

Keeping expense in mind and how we never ever wanted to change our cabinets, for our kitchen, we wanted our take on European cabinets to check a few boxes when it came to narrowing down our options. Design trends can be great if you are looking for something more current, but we opted for timeless and classic when it came to looks, as well as durability. 

After considering a bunch of different possibilities, we settled on inset white oak kitchen cabinets with molding. Though I was torn between painted cabinets and stained cabinets for a long time, at the end of the day, stained wood was the right material for us for a few reasons.

We’re located in a wooded location, so it just made sense to integrate this aspect into our home in a way that felt fitting, not overwhelming, and truly timeless. This classic wood look fit in perfectly both into our environment and with the design of our kitchen, which was beyond ideal for us.

Perhaps most importantly, I didn’t want to have to worry about paint chipping or peeling in the future; since we definitely don’t anticipate getting tired of this stunning material, wood was the perfect choice for our European-style kitchen cabinets.

We got our RTA cabinets through Cabinet Joint. In order to save some money, we decided to assemble and install the cabinets ourselves. I definitely don’t want to downplay how much work this took, but it was completely worth it! Our European cabinets look great and exactly the way we pictured it, too, on top of giving us plenty of storage space in the kitchen. (We have soft close drawers too!)

Ultimately, I’m glad we went this route because it made the high-end look (complete with panels for our appliances) achievable, and allowed us to do fun extra details, like a cubby for cookbooks and glass front cabinets by the stove to display dishes and serving bowls.

Vintage Lanterns 

oversized vintage lanterns over a kitchen island european kitchen

counter stools (similar) | olive oil dispenser | utensil caddy | artwork

A design element that we definitely felt strongly about integrating into our kitchen was two beautiful vintage (inspired) lanterns on top of our island. In a world of modern and sleek, I wanted to kick it “old school”.

These (very oversized) charming fixtures not only illuminate the space and bring that much-sought European flair, but they also set a warm and inviting tone overall. A soft sage green color with gold detailing, these lights create exactly the type of atmosphere we want for the heart of the home. (They match our living room color scheme too!)

Charming, homey, and bringing that much-wanted European flair, these oversized lanterns work to blend our desired look with a space that feels functional for our family. Casting a softer warm glow over the island, these lights turn our kitchen into a cozy, super inviting space we all want to be in.

After all, everybody knows where home gatherings and parties always end up. Naturally, the kitchen of a home is where most people tend to naturally gravitate towards, and we wanted to make sure that our kitchen looked and felt exactly the way we intended it to.

Small touches and intentional details that may feel insignificant during the process were the touches that really transformed the kitchen into a place for shared moments and connection for us.

Related: 18 Beautiful French Country Pendant Lighting Ideas for Your Home

Brass Details 

copper canisters | cookbook here, here, and here

Brass hardware is another trademark touch in European kitchens, and we definitely wanted to find a way of integrating it into our space. 

Something I loved about integrating European design into our kitchen was the way that everyday elements that we might not think too hard about ended up being some of the details we love most!

While brass hardware is absolutely beautiful, it served an even bigger purpose in the grand scheme of our kitchen plans: adding touches of warmth and sophistication to the room. 

Once I decided on the unlacquered brass hardware from Pepe & Carols, I went all in and matched it to the faucets, sconces, vent cover, and even the outlet covers.

Related: 12 Top Picks for French Country Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Farmhouse Sink

white farmhouse sink in european kitchen

faucet | vent

Gaining more widespread popularity in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries (and consequently becoming a staple!), farmhouse sinks were known for their multifunctional appeal. Being able to be used for a variety of purposes, a deep basin was an absolute must-have when it came to functional European kitchens in the past. Today, farmhouse sinks are still very much in demand around the world, wanted for their classic charm and, of course, practical aspects too! 

As far as placement, personally, a sink in the island is not my first choice. Placing our sink by the window gave our kitchen the best flow design-wise, and also allows for whoever is doing the dishes to admire the beautiful view outside – what could be better than that? 

Sconces and Window Shelf

Anybody who has been designing or renovating a house knows just how important lighting can be in making a space feel welcoming and comfortable to be in. While the lanterns above our island are incredible, we also wanted smaller touches of light that work to make for a soft and serene space whenever we want. Our designer dreamt up this idea of sconces on cabinets and I instantly loved it as it was very multipurpose.

As with any element we were looking to bring into our kitchen, we wanted to make sure that the sconces worked on two levels like everything else – aesthetically and practically. By adding sconces to the cabinet by the window, we were able to achieve that charming, intentional European look while also making the space that much cozier as well!

While bigger elements in the kitchen stand out on their own, more subtle choices also play a big role in the big-picture aspect of this room. In particular, I wanted to mention the window shelf, another idea from our designer!

When it came to incorporating this European design style throughout our kitchen, I wanted to make sure that small touches and details were spread out throughout the whole space, making this room feel really cohesive and intentional as a whole.

Putting a shelf in front of the window and above the sink helped achieve that look while also adding yet another practical detail.

The window (that still opens!) stays visually unobstructed, meaning the shelf doesn’t affect the amount of natural light we get in the kitchen and it doesn’t block the view. (Because who wants to stare at a shelf?)

On top of that, the shelf makes it easier to clear and clean the counter for optimal daily use. It’s all in the small touches – the gorgeous detailing on the shelf is made from the same material and stain as the cabinets, making it a fun little detail of its own and not just a functional addition that takes away from the design.

Arched Stove Niche

The arched stove niche gave us an opportunity to infuse our space with an extra dose of European style when it came down to it. Matching our arched doorway to the right, this niche gave this section of our kitchen a very intentional and beautiful effect. It’s thee statement of the kitchen!

Beyond aesthetics, this section is perfect for hiding easy-access spice shelves that make our lives a lot more efficient, but still clutter-free, by making great use of our space. 

For the look I wanted, I painted this stove niche in plaster paint.

Pot Filler

polished brass kingston brass pot filler

If you have gone through the process of designing, building, and finishing a kitchen, you know how long and frustrating it can be along the way. Having to go through all of the chaotic steps of the home building process just meant that we wanted to make sure to include all of the details from the start that we had been dreaming about when picturing our home.

If you can relate, of course, you’ll also know that there are some limitations to this too! While we did inevitably have to pick and choose when it came to certain aspects and details of our home (that’s a whole ‘nother post – or three), a pot filler was definitely a practical luxury we were excited to integrate into our kitchen.

Beyond making for a practical piece (who doesn’t love the fun touch of cooking with a beautiful pot filler?) this special element also added some much-welcome visual interest to the area above our stove.

When looking at different kitchens for inspiration, practical elements that end up also serving as visual standouts can make for some of the best moments in a space, and the pot filler can definitely fit within this category! 

I went with the Kingston Brass pot filler as it had a matching bridge faucet that sits on top of our farmhouse sink.

Quartz Countertops, Tile Backsplash, and Slab Backsplash

As well-designed and beautiful as they can be, European kitchens are known for their efficient use of space and great functionality. While this can be seen reflected in many aspects of the kitchen space, it is also definitely true when it comes to countertops!

Quality ranks super high as one of the most important elements of European kitchens, and this is often seen through the chosen materials for any specific design. When it came to our kitchen, we knew we wanted durable, quality countertops that would last us years while still keeping their aesthetic quality as well.

Popular countertop choices in European kitchens include marble, granite, wood, and quartz. While marble may be a popular pick for timeless European kitchens and granite might be considered the go-to choice by some Americans, quartz offers amazing quality and an appearance that won’t take on a patina (if that’s your concern with marble), and instead, it maintains its current look for years and years to come.

I’ll admit, I struggled between the question of marble or quartz? for a while, and if you love to browse different homes and kitchens, then you know that it can be hard to settle on a countertop when you see one great option after the other! After carefully considering a few different versions of our preferred look, white quartz with subtle veining seemed to be the right choice in a few different ways. 

Our decision to go with white quartz sourced locally not only gave us a great surface to work on functionally, but it also helped us to open up the room and infuse it with a slightly more modern touch. I also knew I wanted a ceramic tile backsplash with a slight sheen, and this flowed effortlessly.

Matching the white walls of our kitchen, this choice brought a lot more light to the space, balancing the darker tones of the wood and bringing real balance.

Recommended by our designer, we opted to carry the countertop onto the wall behind our oven for one smooth transition and I’m glad we did, as this slab makes cleaning up grease and spaghetti sauce splatters a whole lot easier!

Related: 12 Charming French Country Backsplash Tiles for Your Kitchen


Last but definitely not least: appliances. In the world of European kitchens, choosing the right appliances is a very important step in the process, helping us to create a space that is just as functional and efficient as it is beautiful and inviting. 

For us, appliances like the panel-ready Bosch dishwasher and a panel-ready Fisher & Paykel fridge were perfect for allowing a seamless integration into our kitchen, reinforcing the design aesthetic we wanted (especially in an open floor plan) while also streamlining this room to be totally functional throughout our days. 

Leaning into the European style, we chose an Italian range. Our Ilve 36″ oven range in antique white acts in a similar way, making for a beautiful addition to the kitchen that is equal parts functional and an aesthetic standout in the space. We swapped out the silver legs with these antique claw feet and it takes it to the next level.

Related: Transport Your Kitchen to Italy With These Tuscan Kitchen Decor Pieces

Achieving European Kitchen Designs

While we were definitely keeping design at the top of our minds, our biggest goal was making our beautiful kitchen feel like the heart of our home with an inviting atmosphere. Mission accomplished!

In European design, all the elements of a particular space tend to work together to merge functionality and aesthetic appeal, resulting in a refined yet very approachable space that pays close attention to details with touches of timeless elegance.

If you want to steer away from the modern-leaning finishes we see today, this design style prioritizes both the functionality and the aesthetic aspects of the space, resulting in both kitchen and interiors that exude a refined yet approachable ambiance, with careful attention to detail and a commitment to classic beauty at the same time. 

Does that sound like something you want? One way to achieve that is by finding the right color scheme for your new kitchen design; starting with the right paint color can totally set the tone for your project! For paint color ideas, here are 5 Must-Try French Country Colors for Every Room in Your Home


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making mychicobsession.com a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.