Welcome to one of our most popular kitchen design ideas gallery.
This is where we feature both contemporary and modern kitchen ideas – my hand-selected favorites as well as an extensive set of tips and images to achieve this style.
Please note, while “modern” in design is a very specific type of design, the fact of the matter is many people looking for modern are actually looking for contemporary kitchen designs. Therefore, this page features both modern and contemporary kitchens.
Modern Kitchen Style Statistics
10.62 per cent of kitchens are reported to be in the modern design style. Given the popularity of modern kitchen design that’s not very many given traditional (31.41%), contemporary (25.18%) and transitional (16.42%), make up quite a bit more.
What’s interesting about the trend based on online searches (we use software to determine this) is that “modern” is far more popular than “contemporary”. Yet, in the chart above, you’ll notice that “contemporary” is more popular.
Why the difference?
The reason for the difference is that in the chart and stats above, those numbers are self-reported mostly by industry experts (interior designers), whereas the trend numbers based on all online searches are done by lay people. Lay people tend to use “modern” when they really mean “contemporary”.
Great Modern Kitchen Photos
Here’s my favorite section which includes my hand-picked modern and contemporary kitchen designs that I think are the best.
Brown and White Contemporary
Stark White with U-Shaped Island
The above kitchen is all wood designed by yh2 architectes. You can’t tell by the photo above, but the kitchen is part of a huge great room that extends like a bridge above a small ravine. It’s a fabulous house – you can see the entire house here.
Floating kitchen island
Natural Wood with Dark Gray (plus 2 islands)
Long Single Wall with Island
L-Shape with Wood, White and Subway Tile
Small Black and White Modern Kitchen with White Brick Wall
Brown and White with Breakfast Nook
Contemporary Black and Light Wood
White with Marble Backsplash
Light Wood and White (and Bright)
Massive L-Shaped Island
Ultra Luxury Modern
Minimalist Modern Narrow Kitchen
Industrial modern hipster kitchen
When you’re upgrading your kitchen, a modern design is something you may wish to consider. However, your concept of a modern kitchen design is often much different than a designer’s. While you may think modern designs contain furniture, appliances, and colors which are popular now, they use ideas from the past.
Modern Design Definition
In interior design terms, modern designs involve a certain time period, the 1920s to the 1950s to be exact, which never changes. Some people include Mid-century modern kitchens. These designs contain clean lines, natural materials, and a minimalistic style. If this is the type of design that you want, then there are several modern kitchen design ideas you may find appealing.
However, most people when looking for modern, are really looking for contemporary kitchen designs, which is what this article technically is about. We debated for months whether to stick to the strict definition or open it to contemporary as well. Purists will not like our decision and I totally understand that, but at the end of the day, we chose to offer up what people want which is modern and contemporary designs.
In a study of over 1.78 million kitchens, researchers found that almost 11% of them were modern designs, yet this style falls in line with most other styles by having hardwood as by far the most common flooring material. Despite all the composite products out there for home improvement, good ole natural wood is still favored for petty much every style.
Cabinet Materials and Styles
The cabinet finishes in kitchens with a modern design aesthetic are often acrylic with high gloss or flat panel wood cabinets. In fact, approximately 66% of modern kitchens have flat panel cabinetry design. Since this design involves having clean lines, flat-panel cabinetry is usually found in these kitchens.
For contemporary design, wood is the most common, usually a flat-faced design. Ornate is sometimes implemented but that typically falls under another kitchen style such.
As for modern kitchen countertops, engineered quartz is the most common material with granite a somewhat distant second.
Any Kitchen Size
Modern kitchens suit any size kitchen, from small one-wall kitchens to large ones. In fact, some modern efficiencies make modern features a great style for small kitchen spaces. The use of a center island or a counter defining the kitchen area from the dining or living area is also common since open floor plan kitchens are very popular.
The islands or counters can also provide space for eating in the kitchen, which is something many homeowners want. Along with working well for any kitchen size, modern designs also suit different kitchen layouts.
Whether it is an L-shape kitchen or a single-wall kitchen, the clean lines and minimalistic style can be applied to most kitchens layouts.
If you like kitchens with an uncluttered, clean aesthetic, then you may find that a modern design is right for your home.
Modern Kitchen Lighting
Without a doubt, the two most used modern and contemporary kitchen lighting options are a combination of recessed and pendant. Recessed provides the the room-wide illumination while the pendants illuminate either the peninsula or island surface.
However, not just any pendant light will do. It must be a modern or contemporary design. Check out the many photos in this extensive article to get an idea of examples.
Modern Kitchen Appliances
When it comes to modern/contemporary kitchen appliances, there are 3 considerations. They are:
- Current cooking technologies: Examples of current cooking technologies that are popular include sous vide, air frying, steam oven, brewing, custom coffee preparation and water purification.
- Modern design: Modern appliance design can be black or stainless steel. In some cases something that pops like red or blue work as well. Some have stark bare faces while others no so much. The variety is broad. At the end of the day, modern appliances are used in all kitchen designs.
- Smart technology: Today’s appliances come with apps and hook into the internet so that you can control them remotely and/or by voice. We are at the early stages of this technology, but it’s already amazing and will advance very, very quickly.
Check out our in-depth modern kitchen appliances guide here.
Subway tiles work, but so too do regular white tiles and even colored tile. Mosaic isn’t a good choice for modern. You typically want a more stark, uni-color design that coincides with the simpler modern design overall. However, for the contemporary kitchen, the options are seemingly endless – grays, earth tones and even brigher colors work given a contemporary kitchen is merely one that is a current design.
Most contemporary kitchens have stool seating either at the island or peninsula. It’s a hallmark feature of today’s kitchens. You can go modern rustic, strict modern and everything in between. You definitely want the stools to be a stand-out feature as well as comfortable.
Sink and Faucet
Sink and faucet innovation is incredible with respect to design and features.
Features: In addition to providing water and catching water, they extend, operate via a sensor, offer instant hot water and more. The innovation is amazing.
18 Modern Kitchen Tips
1. Mix modern with craftsman
This kitchen is uniquely modern with a craftsman twist which makes it interesting. The wood trim gives it a craftsman vibe, but the high gloss cabinetry and simple design give it an overall modern look.
2. Use many materials in straight lines
There’s a lot going on here. Stainless steel, wood and acrylic finishes make up this kitchen design. The under cabinet lighting, which is not subtle gives an extra sheen not seen in most kitchens.
3. Mix acrylic high gloss with natural wood
The dark high gloss acrylic cabinets juxtaposes very nicely with the light natural wood countertops. You’ll see wood often used in modern designs to temper the coolness of acrylics and metals.
4. Be bold with red and embrace the steel
This screams modern. It’s a bold red with acrylic cabinetry mixed with plenty of stainless steel. Straight lines throughout. I’ll say this; the red tempers the stainless steel better than one would think without actually seeing it.
5. Gray, White and Chrome for Small Kitchen Spaces
I love this look. That warm gray is popular for kitchens; it definitely has a warming effect, which you wouldn’t expect gray to do, but the grain does the job. The high gloss white cabinets and modern chrome stools tip this kitchen into modern style nichely.
6. Modern isn’t always “sleek straight lines”
Sleek, straight lines describes modern, but modern isn’t always straight lines. Check this kitchen out with curves throughout combined with red, high gloss cabinetry and stainless steel.
7. Pour on the concrete
Perhaps modern industrial best describes this concrete kitchen. It looks very cool with the concrete wall and island in an overall minimalist design.
8. Skip the cabinet hardware
This design has flat-faced dark gray cabinets with no cabinet hardware. It gives off that “sleek” look. The consistent use rectangles provide the subtle texture this otherwise austere kitchen needs.
9. Toss in Geometric Shapes All Over the Place
Eye-catching geometric shapes is a modern design hallmark. Below is a terrific example of a kitchen filled with interesting rectangles and 3D cubes making up the design. It’s a very effective technique for a modern vibe despite the very un-modern color scheme.
10. The Modern Kitchen Cave
Many apartment kitchens are tucked away in te corner and are tiny. Many have no windows making it cave-like. That’s okay. You can embrace the darkness with a dark modern look like the example below.
11. Thick, open design
Take a look at the island. It’s a think, continuous open shape that gives off both solidness and openness at the same time. It’s fabulous (although the lost storage space is unfortunate). You’ll also notice the combination of 90 degree angles and spheres which make for an interesting look.
12. Crisp White Throughout
One way to achieve that uber modern design is to gowth high gloss, all white cabinets. Add white ceiling, walls and flooring and you have one cold, but staunchly modern design. The only texture in the design below is the checkered stool backs. Amazingly, those stools stand out in this kitchen whereas they wouldn’t in so many other designs with far more texture.
13. Use Lots of Glass
Glass-faced flat cabinets are a strong modern feature which is seen throughout the example below. It’s tempered with white stone which I think is a terrific combination.
14. Modern backsplash = modern kitchen?
This is not entirely a modern design, but I included it to show you how the backsplash choice can tilt a kitchen toward a particular design. The glass tile here gives it a very contemporary look. Imagine the backsplash a terra cotta or Mediterranean tile. This would be a very different kitchen.
15. Flat panel cabinetry and applianes
Flat panel appliances aren’t as popular as you’d think for good reason. Stainless steel appliances add variety in a kitchen. Specifically they cool down the extensive use of wood. You can see that here. I personally think stainless steel refrigerator would improve this kitchen yet not compromise the modern flat-panel cabinetry.
Another notable feature is how the cabinets extend to the ceiling. That exaggerates the minimalistic effect of the flat panel cabinetry.
16. Combine high gloss white with jet black
The black and white look is classic. It needs careful implementation, but when done well, it’s fabulous. The example below is mostly white, but tempered with a jet black ceiling, backsplash and floor. You don’t often see a black ceiling; usually the black is woven in other ways, but in this case I think it works.
17. Modern mixed with traditional
I know it’s crazy to suggest a kitchen is both modern and traditional but that’s the sense I get when analyzing the example below. The space doesn’t scream modern, yet the cabinetry and island are definitely modern. I think it’s those pendant lights, uninteresting ceiling, the failure of cabinets rising to the ceiling and wood floor that compromise the overall modern design. Nevertheless, one can understand how tempering modern to some degree is desirable.
18. White, black and… Glass?
I think this example is clever in how the warmly lit glass-faced cabinets provide the warmth to counter-balance the cool black and white cabinets and flooring. Speaking for floor, check out that black and white floor. It’s definitely effective.