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Contemporary Kitchen Design

Kim Stone

If you're planning a kitchen remodel or building a new home, consider a contemporary kitchen design for an updated, refreshing look. Not only are modern style kitchens beautiful, they are designed to be user-friendly and functional for the whole family.

Basics of Contemporary Kitchens

Kitchens with a modern or contemporary flair are usually minimalist in design and feature linear, geometric themes. The use of asymmetrical balance is also a trend in modern kitchen décor. Cabinets and molding are very simple and feature only modest embellishments.

Contemporary kitchens often use man-made materials developed during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries such as steel, plastic, linoleum, chrome, molded plywood, laminate, acrylic, concrete, or glass. Natural materials are brought in for many modern kitchen makeovers, especially when a less industrial feel is desired. Granite, slate, stone, and wood are the most commonly used natural materials which complement a modernly decorated kitchen. These natural materials also serve to warm up the color palette and create a more inviting kitchen.

Contemporary kitchen design is characterized by the following style elements:

  • Cabinets which are frameless and use large, simple hardware
  • Door styles which are basic slab or horizontal lift
  • Frosted glass panels or door inserts
  • Geometric angles and lines
  • Laminate surfaces in clean white or bold colors
  • Lighting that is abundant and adjustable, such as track lighting
  • Metal components including stainless steel, copper, or chrome
  • Sweeping curves in countertops or cabinetry
  • Woods with a delicate grain like maple, birch, or ash

Modern Kitchen Ideas

Some of the newest trends in contemporary kitchen design involve the use of universal design principles and eco-friendly materials. Universal design is great for kitchens because it is a room that almost everyone in the family uses on a daily basis. This approach is not just about accessibility issues, but also strives to make spaces beneficial for all ages and all abilities. The main principles of universal design include flexibility, intuitive use, accident prevention, and minimizing fatigue.

Here are a few universal design ideas for contemporary kitchen design:

  • Make cabinet storage items easier to access with pullout shelves, sliding drawers, or spinning lazy susans.
  • Choose surfaces that are easy to clean like glass cooktops and smooth counters.
  • Mount a single-lever faucet on the side of the kitchen sink to reduce reaching.
  • Choose large cabinet and drawer pulls such as stainless steel bars.
  • Install lighting under cabinets for increased visibility during food preparation.
  • Mount a faucet or pot filler over the cooktop to eliminate the carrying of heavy pots.

Green design is a trend which makes use of ecologically safe materials while emphasizing energy efficiency and recycling. The kitchen area is a big energy user in most homes, so green design principles present a prime chance to decrease energy needs. Green design will also provide peace of mind with regards to environmental impacts and family health concerns.

Green design ideas for modern kitchen design include:

  • Energy Star® appliances or induction cooking technology
  • Flooring made from sustainable hardwood, reclaimed wood, or rapidly renewable sources like bamboo
  • Materials and paint with low-VOC emissions
  • Recycling management system

Resources for Contemporary Kitchen Design

Ikea - Affordable, modern kitchen - Great photos of modern kitchens and lots of design info.

KraftMaid - Simple Elements™ cabinetry features clean lines and modern sensibility.

Contemporary Kitchen Design