The classification of channel styles has to date proved difficult, with most schemes having been constructed around a series of geomorphological end-members which are inherently unable to describe the continuum of channel morphologies. We present a framework that accommodates all possible channel-interchannel configurations and facilitates the continued use of existing channel classification schemes. By considering the relative rates of channel and interchannel accumulation, a model has been derived with the potential to predict bed geometry and preservation potential for the entire spectrum of aggrading and eroding channels. The model identifies stability fields for all potential configurations of channel and interchannel areas. Significantly, the model predicts that the transition from aggrading to eroding systems need not be accompanied by a change from raised to incised channels.