Kitchen Workbook: 6 Elements of a Contemporary Kitchen

As discussed in our story on contemporary kitchens, it can be difficult to distinguish between modern and contemporary. “Contemporary” typically means of this moment or current, the design of right now.

Contemporary kitchens can be contemporary too, but they can also have elements of other styles. While I think of what makes a kitchen contemporary, it often includes cutting-edge design and technology and application of new trends and materials.

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Heffel Balagno Design Consultants

1. Cutting-edge appliances. There has been a tech race in virtually every sector since we put a person on the moon, by spaceships to cars. Engineers are looking for much better performance, lighter fabrics, durability and innovative features. Gone are the pink ovens of the 1950s and the avocado or harvest-gold appliances of the 1970s. Now it’s about sleek, stylish and high-functioning electronics in the realm of appliances: built in coffee manufacturers, high-performance hoods, induction cooktops and more.

Studio m | layout

Appliances are not only getting more high work, but they are becoming thinner as well.

How to Remodel Your Kitchen

Beckwith Interiors

2. Old materials used in a new way. Contemporary design is often know to push the bounds of what we understand. Sure, everybody knows concrete sidewalks and glass windows, but what about glass or concrete countertops in kitchens? New and enhanced products are inserted to the market daily. From concrete to glass to solid-surface materials like quartz, which strives to attain the appearance of natural stone with no upkeep issues, there are more options for homeowners than ever before.

Divine Design+Build

Concrete countertops have gone from the standard gray, beige and putty to a wide variety of colors, inlays and designs. They’re also more lightweight and more durable, and have better spots than ever. What I really like about concrete is that it can be modern and very earthy and warm at the exact same moment. It works too in a purist contemporary kitchen as it will in a warm craftsman one.

Dunlap Design Group, LLC

3. Extensive options for backsplashes. In a pristine contemporary kitchen you may see a full-height marble or concrete backsplash with very little ornamentation, but in contemporary kitchens there’s often a lot of design. Glass tiles are a favorite, as are mosaic, ceramic and stone. Contemporary kitchens often exude character and allow homeowners really express themselves through the use of unique materials, and the backsplash is a great spot to do that.

Style Moe Kitchen & Bath / Heather Moe designer

Whether you operate the tile horizontally or vertically, whether you would rather rectangular, square or round, there’s a tile out there for each character.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

We are seeing a lot of small rectangular mosaic tiles nowadays, in addition to big, oversize tile like the ribbed contemporary ceramic shown in this kitchen.

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA

The ceramic tiles inside this kitchen are extremely uncommon, as is the full rectangular wall they are run across. The frame generated around the range hood and top makes this tile application more than just your normal backsplash.

Robert Legere Layout

4. Updated accessories and accents. From aluminum appliances and concealed outlets to new options in glass-front doors and under-cabinet lighting, now’s contemporary kitchen make the most of each new gadget, convenience and merchandise available.

Harrell Remodeling, Inc..

Pop-up concealed outlets are a terrific solution for islands.

Divine Design+Build

New and enhanced storage solutions are observed throughout most cupboard lines.

Mal Corboy Design

Dramatic decorative and practical lighting solutions.

Nic Darling

5. A mix of materials, scale and shapes. Among the greatest telltale signs of a contemporary kitchen is the use of multiple, layered materials with lots of texture and pattern. Modern kitchens tend to be more controlled and lack ornamentation. Here we have various sorts of stone and wood, changing planes of countertops, round lights contrasting the rectilinear components and even some pattern in the fabric on the seats.

Danenberg Design

The form of the dropped ceiling and how it plays off the shaped island that is raised, in addition to the mix of cabinet finishes and several countertop materials, put this distance firmly in the contemporary stylebook.

Janel Campbell, CMKBD, CAPS/Neil Kelly Company

This contemporary kitchen features all of the shapes available: a angular roofline and dividers, a curved hood and counter tops, wall cabinets with altering shapes and heights that improve the squares and rectangles. In addition to the various shape-related components, there are multiple layers of materials, such as natural and painted wood tones, stone tile, glass countertops and alloy. This form of mixing is a signature element of contemporary kitchens.

Atmosphere Interior Design Inc..

Mixing materials, like the timber, stone and metal here, can make a kitchen look contemporary, luxe and timeless all at the exact same moment.

David Sharff Architect, P.C.

6. Bar stools and decorative lighting. Every time a contemporary kitchen is much more adorned with texture and pattern, it goes contemporary. The glass tile, concrete countertops, recessed lighting and pub stools add yet another layer.

Contemporary can be tender, earthy and diverse as well. The amazing modern light fixture in the foreground contrasts with all the different tile materials onto the island and backsplash and the muted countertop surface.

In this series: How to Find Your Kitchen Style | How to Remodel Your Kitchen

So Your Style Is: Contemporary
Modern or Contemporary: What is the Difference?

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