Strong lines, very subtle ornamentation, clean, simple, and sleek – these all describe a modern style kitchen. If any of those descriptions have captured your fancy, read on for our 10 essential tips for designing your very own modern style kitchen.
Modern Is Not the Same as Contemporary
First things first: just what exactly is the difference between modern and contemporary? These two styles have enough similarities that distinguishing between them can be confusing. The main point to remember is that the modern style typically refers to “mid-century modern”.
Unlike contemporary, which is more evolutionary and current, modern is locked into a particular span of time that placed great emphasis on clean, unadorned interiors. Contemporary design is more “in the now” and draws from a number of other design styles. In that way, you can say that modern is more “pure” than contemporary.
Tips for Designing a Modern Kitchen
Keep your eye on the horizontal – If there’s an element that truly represents the modern kitchen style, it’s a marked preference for strong horizontal lines. This can clearly be seen from the drawers and cabinets all lined up in a neat row to the simple, horizontal hardware that accentuate their subtle vertical lines.
Stay sleek with flat doors – One of the signature elements of modern kitchen design is the use of flat-panel or slab doors. These solid, flat doors don’t have frames or panels, making them a good fit for the sleek and simple modern style.
Go frameless for your cabinets – Using frameless, full-overlay cabinets is another way to achieve the sleek look of a modern kitchen’s surfaces. Look for true frameless cabinets that have consistent spacing between all the doors and drawers.
Glam up your cabinets with glass – Glass cabinetry is a great way to display any collectibles and other kitchen accessories, letting you spot whatever it is you need to find quickly and easily. Glass is also a highly visible element in mid-century modern design, which makes it a perfect fit for the modern kitchen.
Keep hardware simple and sleek – C-channel hardware is a staple of modern kitchen cabinets, with tubular or flat linear pulls rounding out the combo. Since the cabinetry in modern kitchens have strong horizontal lines, they’re most often accentuated by cabinet hardware that runs the full length of the drawers and doors.
Skip the ornamentation – This is one of the biggest differences between contemporary and modern kitchens. Whereas contemporary kitchens will indulge in some ornamentation, modern kitchens eschew them almost entirely. Whatever ornamentation is left is kept simple, such as full-height glass backsplashes and pattern-less countertops.
Add flair with wood – Wood panels, sidings, and cabinetry add a simple and rustic visual flair to the otherwise stark and highly linear design of a modern style kitchen. If solid wood isn’t in the budget, you can cheat a little by using more affordable wood veneers, which come in a wide variety of wood species and colors. Position the grain so it’s horizontal and you can further enhance the strong lines of your modern kitchen.
Break up the monotony with natural stone – The natural beauty and veining of marble complements the simplicity of the modern kitchen style perfectly. Use it in conjunction with wood to create interesting textures in your kitchen without sacrificing the modern style’s strong lines.
Use unadorned, industrial elements – In a modern kitchen, a natural and untreated concrete wall can create as much interest as boldly patterned wallpaper would in any other design style. These exposed industrial elements can add a sense of “modernity” to any space.
Dress your kitchen up in neutral colors – Whereas a contemporary kitchen can swing from one end of the color spectrum to another, the modern style tends to stick closer to natural and neutral color palettes. Don’t mistake the modern color palette for cold, however –smooth, clean lines and a relatively muted color scheme can be made warmer by elegant use of natural materials.