As a country, Italy is well known for its food and wine, its
fondness for the good life, and its sense of style - all of which have
given rise to two popular looks in kitchen cabinetry that couldn’t be
Americans in general and Californians in particular have something of
a love affair with Tuscany for its quaint rustic villages, relaxed
lifestyle, delicious local cuisine and beautiful scenery. This often
finds expression in a Tuscan country kitchen, a warm and welcoming
space that favors the functional over the fancy. The walls are often
painted in rich, golden tones; sponged-on faux finishes and colored
glazes are used in new Tuscan country kitchens to mimic the look of
their antique counterparts in Italy.
Tuscan country cabinets have a worn, rustic look and may be painted in
warm colors, but are often dark wood. They’re more on the casual end
of the spectrum than formal or French country, and also heavier
and sturdier; wood is distressed to give that well-used look. Ceramic
or wrought metal knobs and pulls work well here. Glass-fronted doors
may be used to show off dishes, though the Tuscan style also favors
chicken wire or metal-panel insets for that real farmhouse look. The
layout is informal and unstructured, with lots of open shelving and
But there’s more to Italy than the countryside, and modern industrial
cities like Milan have developed another notable style that shares
Tuscan country’s emphasis on the functional but takes off in another
Italian cabinet designers are masters of a sleek, uncluttered modern
look. Cabinets are usually frameless, i.e. the doors and drawers cover
the entire front of the cabinets in a continuous surface. Hinges are
invisible, and knobs and pulls, when used at all, are very simple. The
cabinets may be set a bit higher off the floor than in other styles,
possibly on legs that allow open space underneath; if toe kicks are
used, they’re likely to be wider than those seen elsewhere.
If wood is used at all in this style, it’s very simple with nothing
but its grain for adornment; however, you’re more likely to see lots
of stainless steel and other metal used on cabinet surfaces, often
combined with melamine or thermofoil finishes. This style makes
creative use of every shade from brilliant to pastel, and indeed the
cabinets may be the most colorful things in the kitchen. The look is
stark, clean, simple and efficient; utilitarian but also very
There’s a lot to love about both these styles, and your kitchen cabinet contractor or designer can help you decide which one might work well for
Italy is known best for food and wine, fondness for the good life, and cutting-edge sense of style—all of which have given rise to two popular looks in kitchen cabinetry. Whether you long for the look of Tuscany or the sleek, smooth lines of Milan, these types of cabinets can give you exactly what you want. Here’s what you need to get started.
The cost of Italian-style cabinets depends on the scope of design, materials chosen and cabinet size. The solid wood used to make Tuscan country cabinets, for instance, will most likely cost more than the metal commonly used to make Italian-contemporary cabinets. Talk to a local contractor to get more specific price quotes for your kitchen.
Tuscan country creates a warm and inviting feel, while Italian cabinets offer a sleek and uncluttered modern look.
Both types offer lots of functional shelving, pull-out drawers and niches.
Available in a variety of colors, designs, materials and finishes.
Italian-contemporary cabinets are set higher off the floor than other styles, and are often not made from wood like many homeowners prefer.
Tuscan country cabinets may create a farm-style or worn look not suited for every home.
The durability of both cabinet styles depends on the materials used. However, Tuscan country cabinets are known for being heavy and sturdy because of their solid wood construction, so they are likely to last longer than regular Italian cabinets.
Again, the maintenance required usually depends on the materials of your cabinets, but most only require an occasional wipe-down with a clean, damp cloth. For tougher stains, use a cleaning solution of dishwashing detergent and warm water. Always dry afterwards and try to avoid abrasive cleaners that can damage the finish.
What do Tuscan country cabinets generally look like?
Tuscan country cabinets vary from elegant and high-end to worn and rustic-looking. Thus, they may be painted in warm colors or dark wood finishes. Wood materials chosen for these cabinets are typically heavier and sturdier, like
What do Italian cabinets generally look like?
Italian cabinets are usually frameless or Euro-style, i.e. the doors and drawers cover the entire front of the cabinets in a continuous surfa
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