Details & Design Ideas to Borrow From Modern Kitchens (No Matter What's Your Style)

Details & Design Ideas to Borrow From Modern Kitchens (No Matter What's Your Style)

Adrienne Breaux
Sep 6, 2015

The word "modern," particularly when applied to kitchens, has gotten a bit muddled over the years as eclectic mixes of different styles have become the norm. And we're totally okay with that; using the word modern and all the great ideas that are associated with that style is a fast track to a good-looking kitchen that matches your personality. In that same spirit, here are seven kitchens of the modern variety that feature design ideas we think you could use in your own kitchen (whether it currently perfectly matches the definition of modern style or not).

Streamline the big and small stuff

No matter the style of your kitchen, you can cut down on the bulkiness of larger, main elements to give a room an airy feel, and you can take out smaller design details to make a room feel less busy (and give you more visual room for your kitchen stuff, whether functional or aesthetic). This kitchen spotted on Sfgirlbybay doesn't have big, bulky upper cabinets (instead uses open shelving) and there aren't drawer and door pulls on the lower cabinets.

In this kitchen they've used the visual space to display a curated collection of nice-looking kitchen goods, but this method of streamlining could work well in a small kitchen that has a lot of of functional items on display (like serving utensils on hooks, for instance) or on the counter. This method can be used when you need to lose some visual clutter to make room for stuff you really need, and create a kitchen that feels more balanced than busy.

Embrace the simplicity of the straight line

There's something so simple and wonderful about the force of the straight line that you often spot in modern kitchens. It makes visual sense to see a straight line on a cabinet, counter and wall, so using a lot of straight lines in a kitchen (no matter its style) means you'll be creating a space that feels confident, understandable and strong. To soften those straight lines if you don't want a super cold, distant feeling kitchen, use warm materials, like the kitchen above.

Contrast can be a showstopper

Because modern kitchens can sometimes be on the minimal end of furnishings and accessories, the ones that really pop are the ones that contain bold, contrasting material choices. Contrasting between the cabinets and the wall is a strong decision in the kitchen above. But contrasting between a dark grid and a white tile is a way to contrast on the micro scale. The above contrasting kitchen spotted on My Scandinavian Home.

High gloss can add glam

It's not seen in every modern kitchen, but sometimes you come across a modern kitchen with one or more surfaces covered in a highly gloss material. This adds interest in a space that might not have a lot of colors or visual contrast, and allows you to create excitement without having to fill it up. Though you might have to watch out for smudges, adding a high-gloss element to a kitchen of any style is a way to add glam.

(Image credit: Dwell)

You can use affordable materials stylishly

You do not have to splurge on the most expensive materials, whether you want a modern styled kitchen or something else. As the above kitchen spotted in Dwell proves, pulling off the use of more affordable materials can look unexpected and intentional when you lean on sleek straight lines and interior design principles like balance.

You can marry two distinct styles for a dynamic look

Even kitchens that are considered modern can have a few elements that might come from a different or older design style. Like the kitchen above, the architecture of the kitchen — thick and intricate plaster work — didn't have to be followed to the letter around the rest of the room to be respected; the sleek modern cabinetry, wall shelves, lighting and other understated design elements complement the existing architecture quite nicely.

(Image credit: Sfgirlbybay)

You can keep it simple and still have a good time

You don't have to settle for something boring if you want to also keep your kitchen simple and minimal. Adding interest to a space doesn't always mean adding "things" or "stuff." Sometimes a well-placed pop of color (or perhaps high-gloss or contrast) is just what you need. The above kitchen spotted on Sfgirlbybay shows this idea off.

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