Kitchen Workbook: 8 Elements of a Contemporary Kitchen

It can be challenging to distinguish between modern and modern, and for good reason. Many spaces are both modern and modern, and people frequently use the terms interchangeably, but there are gaps in look and terminology. “Contemporary” normally means of the moment or present, the plan of appropriate now. “Modern” refersto a particular design style from the early to mid 20th centurythat broke with the conventional styles of those days before the Industrial Revolution.

“Modern” may be a tricky term because sometimes it’s used to refer to something that’s the reverse of conventional, which varies based on the period of time. The choice of women in the 1920s to swap corsets to get flapper dresses was contemporary at the moment, but today these clothing are now antiques.

Once I think of contemporary kitchen designs, I think about frameless cabinets, sleek and simple hardware, strong horizontal lines and a lack of ornamentation, together with all the natural elegance of the substances shining through.

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1. Flat-panel door style. This is sometimes referred to as a slab-door style and can be a signature part of contemporary kitchen design. You may observe a contemporary kitchen employing a Shaker door style, but frequently falls into transitional rather than contemporary — which is not to say it can not be utilized; it’s simply not a purist’s perspective.

2. Frameless, full-overlay cupboard construction. A lot of terms are thrown around to describe this kind of cabinet construction: frameless, Euro frameless, overlay, full overlay. They mean the same thing, the doorway overlays the cupboard box. This style is the most frequently utilized in contemporary kitchens since it’s sleeker than the usual flush-inset cupboard, which is frequently associated with more conventional kitchen, cabinet and furniture design.

In an actual frameless cabinet you won’t see a face framework at all, and you’ll receive consistent spacing between all of the drawers and doors, even between two closets. In what’s known as a framed overlay, you will still have a face frame and varying distance between doors and cabinets.

Diagram courtesy of Kitchens Made New


VÄRDE Glass-door wall cupboard – $199

If the doors are closed on a mirrored cupboard, you can not see the framework whatsoever except for approximately a ⅛-inch shadow line between cabinets.

Cary Bernstein Architect

3. Sleek and simple hardware. In contemporary kitchens you will most often see C-channel hardware that’s integrated into the cupboard, in addition to tubular pulls or flat linear pulls. A great deal of times the horizontal lines of the cabinets will be highlighted by cabinet hardware running the full length of the doors and drawers.

Webber + Studio, Architects

4. Lack of ornamentation. Always a touch of contemporary, this is often where modern and contemporary stop being comparable. Sometime you may see patterned tile shapes or multiple substances with texture, colour and patina in a modern kitchen, then you won’t see much of this in a contemporary kitchen. Flat-panel door designs and sleek hardware are combined here with a simple full-height glass backsplash and countertops with no pattern or veining.

Chelsea Atelier Architect, PC

5. Reliance on the beauty of natural materials. It’s not to say that contemporary kitchens can not have a little bit of ornamentation, but if they do they get it from the natural features in a substance, such as the horizontal grain of oak when it’s rift cut or the natural beauty and veining of marble.

Jennifer Weiss Architecture

The grain of the walnut on this island is this contemporary kitchen needs in terms of ornamentation.

David Wilkes Builders

6. Emphasis on lines that are horizontal. You may not notice at first, but a lot of contemporary kitchens discuss a tendency toward the horizontal: long, wide lines, stacks of drawer cabinets lined in a row, hardware place horizontal and long to accentuate the lines of the drawers. In this kitchen the floating panel of the rear wall and the cutout highlight the horizontal theme.

These cabinets have horizontal grooves in addition to the grain being horizontal on all the cabinet fronts. In a conventional kitchen the grain may be run vertically on doorways or center panels using a vertical orientation.

Mal Corboy Design

In this kitchen the island makes a strong statement that is horizontal.

Croma Design Inc

In this kitchen the tile’s natural grain is like rift-cut timber, and also the tiles are set and stacked on a horizontal grid.

Melissa Miranda Interior Design

Even in a kitchen which skews toward transitional, a conventional 3-by-6 Cararra marble set in a stacked pattern as opposed to a brick layout can make it even more contemporary.

Amitzi Architects

7. Consistency in style of accent pieces. Accents such as lighting, tables, chairs and bar stools have to be considered when designing a kitchen. In a contemporary kitchen these elements will remain consistent rather than deviate as if you would see in an eclectic kitchen. The bits here reveal simple, clean lines and lack of ornamentation.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

Sleek bar stools and pendant lights are consistent with contemporary style, but this contemporary kitchen is in a Victorian home complete with leaded glass windows and arches with columns. There is no rule that says the architecture and the kitchen have to be contemporary — hundreds of century-old flats and farmhouses with contemporary kitchens in Italy, France and Spain can attest to this.

Cre8tive Interior Designs

There is nothing to say that colour can not be introduced into a contemporary kitchen, while it’s from the accents or the cabinets.

Elad Gonen

8. Industrial elements. There is something about the unadorned elements of industrial details which are instantly contemporary. This natural and untreated concrete wall includes a visual interest and also patina all of its own and is equally as intriguing as patterned wallpaper for your modernist. What resembles epoxy-painted concrete flooring as well as the complete lack of ornamentation on the cabinets complete the look of the modern kitchen.

In this show:
How to Remodel Your Kitchen

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