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5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage
Written by Oana Schneider

If you really want to mark your cultural heritage, how about making some changes in your kitchen? We have 5 examples of things you can do for your kitchen. Take a look at them and tell us which one you like best. 

1. Mexican Style

The Mexican style is probably the most vibrant, dynamic and difficult to pull off, but with a little help and guidance from us you should be just fine. There are a few rules when going for a Mexican look: combine colors and shapes without making everything feel overwhelming. This can be achieved if you concentrate the color on the walls and choose a light color for the floors or vice versa.

Another rule is to make the backsplash really pop out with an intelligent choice of colors, but we’ll get to that soon enough.

Floor tiles – they are the real attraction of any Mexican kitchen and for good reason: an explosion of color and shapes that doesn’t come cheap. However, it’s like combining a fun rug and a tile floor all in one! Most Mexican tiles are hand painted and that’s why they are so expensive, but you can find similar colors at the Home Depot or on eBay.

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Backsplash – if you don’t like loud things, you probably want to go for something more subtle. In this case, choose a neutral color for the rest of your kitchen and choose a vibrant backsplash. The good news is that it’s way cheaper to just buy a few tiles for the backsplash than it is to cover the entire floor surface. If you don’t find anything to fit your budget online, try scrap materials depots, they usually keep tiles of many shapes and colors.

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Counter top – the best idea for the counter top is to choose granite. If not for the entire counter, at least for a portion of it. Again, it doesn’t have to be a brand new chunk of granite: look for a second hand one and try bargaining for it. If granite is out of your price range, try a wood board and a glass sheet on top of it.

Tableware – whatever you choose, make sure it’s colorful and don’t be afraid to mix and match colors like royal blue, orange, yellow-mustard and bright red. Don’t be dull when it comes to your dining sets, otherwise you’re ruin the good balance you’ve created with your style!

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Accessories – how about a cute salt and pepper set portraying a sombrero and a cactus? Add a live cactus, a huge sombrero hat, and some tequila bottles and crank up some good Mexican music- in which case you may want to look up Gloria Trevi and Pablo Montero. Now you can honestly say: Mi casa es su casa!

2. Spanish Colors

If your cultural heritage is Spanish, you are lucky! One of the most beautiful architectures in the world, Spain is the birthplace of so many great writes, painters, artists and let’s not forget the amazing recipes! How to bring Spain into your kitchen? Well, let’s find out together!

Floor tiles – although similar to the Mexican tile, the Spanish ones are more subtle and more focused on shapes and patterns than on the colors. Feel free to experiment with squares, stripes, geometric patterns and so on. The most common kind of tiles is the brown ceramic, irregularly shaped with a texture very similar to bricks. In fact, the making process is very similar: the tiles are manually shaped, then literally baked in a gigantic oven after which a thick layer of lacquer is applied.  Don’t forget to add a bright red/yellow rug and you’re done!

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Backsplash – use small and patterned tiles to create a great backsplash keeping in mind a few rules: make sure the tiles don’t have more than two colors, avoid circles and other round shapes and go for as many angles as you can. Of course, using the national colors of Spain (red and yellow) is probably the most popular thing to do, so take that into consideration. One last rule: also cover the ventilation above the stove with the same kind of tiles you used for the backsplash. Everything will look more rustic and hide the metallic appliance that could ruin your overall style.

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Counter top – believe it or not, Spanish people like to use marble for counter tops, but that can be very pricey, so try some tile instead. Many people argue that this is not a great idea, since the surface is less smooth, when the truth is that there really isn’t any reason to give it a try. All you have to do is level the tiles perfectly and that’s it!

Tableware – here’s what to look for: terracotta tapas bowls, ceramics vases and small cups made from the same kind of material. We’ve added an example to give you an idea of what your tableware should look like.

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Accessories – add some bras pots and a pot rack above your kitchen isle for some extra chicness, small wooden chairs, bull paintings, a toreador hat and play some good old Spanish music (just look up Camaron de la Isla and Paco de Lucia).

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

3. Italian Pride

Well, if you’re of Italian descendant and don’t really know anything about Italy, shame on you! Be proud of your heritage and bring your cultural identity into your home. This doesn’t mean you only have to bake a pizza pie every now and then and you’re done. In fact, here’s exactly what you should do:

Floor tiles – Italians don’t really like colorful floors, which is why they usually go for hardwood, rocks, cement or marble. The most popular choice is marble, but that’s highly expensive. Go for either very dark or very light colors, the Italians don’t give too much attention to floors because they cook a lot and the floor is more a practical thing than an aesthetic one for them and for good reason. In fact, people in Sicily still use river rocks to pave their kitchen floors, then level everything with some cement and that’s it! However, there are other areas in which they are very picky and we are about to find out!

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Backsplash – No backsplash! Just let the beauty of your walls shine by applying bricks on the entire wall or just leave it as it is. Italians don’t believe in putting up backsplash because they really like to clean everything and quite often, so adding some extra protection is nothing more than a proof of laziness.

Counter top – Wood. You’ll have to change it every now and them, it’s true, but nothing is warmer than this material, not to mention that cooking on this surface is way better than on granite or glass. When it comes to Italian style, you have to think of the absolute rustic: no unnecessary embellishments, no bald colors, and no fancy appliances. Generally, keep everything neutral and let the color come from your fruits and vegetables, because that’s what an Italian house is all about: green and yellow peppers, green basil, red tomatoes, dark grapes, bright yellow lemons.

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Tableware – Italian tableware is beige with a floral design, so anything that fits the description is good for you. The plates are very flat (for pasta and pizza), while the bowls are very deep (for soups, mainly).

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Accessories – here’s what you need: a Godfather poster, an Italian flag, a pasta machine, Tarantella Napolitana playing in the background and a picture of your nona (Italian grandma, anyone?).

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

4. French Chicness

If you’re of French descendants, chicness is probably in your blood. You sure have a taste of wine, cheese and baguettes, not to mention great architecture. If you fit the description, you’re only a few steps away from turning your kitchen into a real Haute Cuisine lair:

Floor – go for hardwood floors: they don’t have to be new, perfect or expensive. On the contrary, choose something old, maybe some thrifted wood boards, sand it, apply some stain and lacquer and you’re all set. Unlike tile, marble or cement, wood is a lot warmer, friendlier to your feet but also more difficult to maintain. However, it makes everything seem cozier.

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Backsplash – French people didn’t use to have decorative backsplash in the past, but they’ve changed their minds between the two wars. However, they prefer big chunky tiles mixed with small tiles in very similar shades. So any of the following combinations go: white and beige, grey and white, cream and light brown etc.

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Counter top – marble. Yes, French people like luxury and marble is pretty much as good as it gets. If that’s definitely out of your price range, there are many other types of rock you can find at the thrift material shop. Sometimes you find great and inexpensive slices or rock that you can make look like marble by applying some olive oil and lacquer.

Tableware – well, we are talking about the French culture and they invented gold plated tableware, but let’s not go there. Choose white and cream tableware, clear glass vases, classic silverware and steer away from bright colors.

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Accessories – a French flag, a few baguettes, a great coffee set, maybe an Edith Piaf CD and some steaming croissants in a basket.

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

5. Romanian Tradition

This one is too close to home not to talk about, so here I go. Romania is a small country situated in the middle of Europe. Although small, it has a great culture and identity that people overseas should look into. Here’s what to do if you’re of Romanian descendant and want to bring this cultural background into your home:

Floor – back in the days, Romanians used mud to polish their floors but that was hundreds of years ago. Recently, they moved on to hardwood floor just in time to discover how much they loved it. So go for a dark hardwood floor and don’t worry if it’s not perfect: the most beautiful houses in Romania have nails in the hardwood floor and that doesn’t make them less great.

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Backsplash – no backsplash, but come on, every kitchen needs one. So what to do? Well, copy a traditional pattern and paint it on your kitchen tiles or go for a neutral color. Unfortunately, there aren’t many companies able to customize your perfect set of tiles, so that’s going to be tough one.

Countertop – Romanians don’t like dark counter tops. They may be practical, but cooking on a surface that’s less inviting is just unthinkable. Go for granite, because it’s a good investment and practical, two things that Romanians appreciate.

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Tableware – not to brag too much about it, but Romanian ceramics are the best in the whole world and here’s why: they are colorful, inventive, classic, and the motifs are simply beautiful (roosters, flowers, stripes).

5 Traditional Kitchen Ideas to Mark Your Cultural Heritage

Accessories – a Romanian napkin, a Romanian flag, wooden spoons and forks, small cups for tuica (Romanian moonshine) and colorful bowls for soup.

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

7 Comments

  • I myself am half Asian and have always appreciated Japanese interior aesthetics (even though I’m Filipino, haha) for their minimalism and cleanliness. So I’d say that of these, French traditions are probably closest to my heart. I must say, I like the Romanian rustic/classic mix with pops of color and practical functionality. Each of these is lovely and inspiring in its own way.

    • That’s really wonderful to know. The fact that you can be proud of your heritage and are in fact passionate about such ideas. I think I like the french traditions too, or perhaps I shall say more European style, so not necessarily french in particular but something that is European, a lot of amazing traditional ideas.

  • I would have to say that Spanish and Romanian themed kitchens look the best by far on this list. I’m all for the classic American kitchen with no particular ethnic slant. Still, it’s hard to argue against a traditional Spanish or Romanian kitchen. I wouldn’t mind decorating my home’s kitchen as either of those styles.

  • My family had Swedish artistic tiles hanging on the kitchen wall all around near the ceiling. It was really beautiful. I don’t have any myself since I am a renter, but I really loved those decorations.

  • My favorite was the Romanian. The Romanian kitchen in the featured picture was a great balance of modern and traditional. I also absolutely loved the little fireplace. It had a lot of charm but it was still subtle. I am Romanian and I will definitely incorporate these tips when I decorate my kitchen. Now not only will my heritage be reflected in food and cooking style but in my house as well!

  • I really like the idea of incorporating your family heritage into your home decor, especially in the kitchen. If any family is like my family we all come together for food and laughter, and we usually congregate in the kitchen even if there is more space elsewhere. I think just simply filling your kitchen with heirloom dishes or vintage appliances passed down from family is a great way to instill your heritage. My grandma had a beautiful soup tureen that she always had displayed in her china hutch. I know it would look beautiful on one of my shelves displayed in her honor. We are from Polish decent so I don’t know how the decor would look, but incorporating family items seems the easiest way to do it.
    Great ideas!

  • Wow, great idea for decorate kitchen room with perfect way. I like that Spanish type as I am remodeling my kitchen now and have a cabinet that was purchased from builderoutletusa having the same color as the Spanish style cabinet have. So I will be trying to follow that things tips to fill up all requirements.

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