Contemporary kitchens have a sleek and timeless appeal that never goes out of style. Blending elements of modern design with traditional, mid-century, and even industrial, it’s a look that is sleek and minimalist without being cold, trendy without a time-stamp, and enormously easy to achieve.
What is Contemporary Kitchen Design?
Contemporary design, though often confused with modern, means “of the moment.” It’s a broad term that evokes different approaches depending on what decade we’re talking about. Unfortunately, this makes defining contemporary design a bit of a challenge, but let’s give it a shot.
Since contemporary design evolves, it tends to borrow elements from other design approaches, which means that nothing is set in stone. Today, what we would call a contemporary kitchen features clean, unblemished lines, gentle curves, and functionally minimalist décor. A few years from now, this description might be way off the mark, but let’s stay in the now and see where it takes us.
Contemporary Kitchen Design Ideas
If you are thinking about contemporary kitchen design for your next remodel, here are a few of our favorite ideas to get you thinking.
1. White Countertops and Cabinets
Crisp, clean, and bright, glossy white countertops and cabinets evoke a contemporary look and feel. Set against a darker backdrop, for example with shades of grey or black, the white delivers a freshness that is equally at home in the city or the suburbs.
2. Stainless Steel Accents
Stainless steel appliances look both modern and industrial, but they are an ideal addition to the contemporary kitchen. Beyond appliances, think about where else you could accent with stainless steel: barstools and chairs, pendant lights above your island, the backsplash, or the hood fan are all possibilities.
3. The Warmth of Wood
Contemporary design can be a little sterile if you don’t add some warming elements to soften it up. Wood achieves this nicely, and you can introduce it in several ways. Wood flooring lends a classically Scandinavian look, but you might also choose to do teak flat-fronted cabinets throughout. Wood panels on the island echo or accent, as do wooden chairs or stools for your island.
4. Industrial Touches
When used sparingly, industrial design elements complement contemporary kitchen design very nicely. Industrial isn’t all wrought iron and matte black, either; it can be sleek, simple, modern, and very interesting without looking overly dark and somber. For example, concrete is very trendy in contemporary design these days. You might do concrete tiles, countertops, or floors, but the result is always unique and eye-catching. Other industrial/contemporary ideas include black metal hardware, or black matte-finish cabinets with chrome hardware. Or, try doing exposed brick on the backsplash. Choose just one or two industrial elements to make sure it doesn’t take over.
5. Natural Stone or Quartz
Choose a natural stone for your countertops, island, or backsplash in a pattern that accents your gleaming floors. If you have children or if you are generally looking for something a little more durable than natural stone, quartz is an excellent option. Quartz is an engineered product that can be fabricated and cut in any shape or size for a seamless look. The variety of patterns and colors is virtually endless, so it’s easy to mix and match, no matter what colors you prefer.
6. Pops of Color
A splash of bright color against a monochrome kitchen adds dimension and draws the eye. Bright teal, yellow, orange, or gold adds drama to your black, white, or grey kitchen. Use color on your furniture, an accent wall, the shelves on your island, or the backsplash.
7. Sculptured Lighting
Lighting fixtures of the mid-century are often a work of art on their own. In a modern contemporary kitchen that favors straight, unbroken lines, choose fixtures with a soft curve and a metallic finish in gold or chrome. The rounded features can be subtly echoed in your bar stools or kitchen chairs.
8. Matte Finishes
While doing the whole kitchen in a matte finish might not be entirely practical, adding matte accents is a great way to frame other aspects of your design. For example, you might do a range hood in matte black or brushed metal. The base of the island is another good place to add a matte element, generally in a color that is darker than the countertops or stools.
Simplicity is the secret to a contemporary kitchen design. The elegance of unbroken lines and uncluttered surfaces speaks to the modern, practical aesthetic of today.
If you are looking for more inspiration, reach out today to speak to our kitchen designers. We would love to hear your ideas and show you a few of ours!
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.