Is a Contemporary Kitchen Design Right for You?

Design trends evolve all the time, and kitchen design is no exception.  Since a kitchen renovation is a significant undertaking, not only in expense but in the temporary upheaval of your home, you want to make sure your design will stand the test of the time and fit your family’s needs for the foreseeable future.  For this reason it is a good idea to educate yourself on the latest design features available, consider what your own requirements are, and consult your kitchen design professional for advice as you begin to look at options. 

There are so many styles available, some with overlapping features, that picking the best fit for your home can be confusing.  This blog will explore the elements of a contemporary design, how it differs from modern design, and whether it may be right for you.

What is a contemporary design?

It would be easy to confuse contemporary with modern design, as there are many common elements.  While modern design is an actual design movement that has very specific criteria, contemporary design refers to a simple style that incorporates clean lines and a clutter free environment.  It combines the sleek appearance of modern design with some of the comforting elements of a traditional kitchen.  Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?  As the center of activity in your home, a clutter free, yet warm, welcoming kitchen is the perfect place to manage day-to-day family activities and special occasions.  What exactly makes up a contemporary kitchen design?

It sticks to sleek, clean lines: while contemporary designs my not be as minimalist in their approach as a modern design, it still emphasizes simplicity.  Countertops tend to be square-edged, kitchen cabinets are generally more flat-front or simple recessed panel like those picture here.  Cabinets lack the adornment you might see in traditional designs, and the space generally keeps extra embellishment to a minimum.

It uses simple color schemes, but with accent colors: contemporary designs generally stick to one or two basic colors.  White or gray cabinets really evoke a contemporary style, but some contemporary kitchens also incorporate dark cabinetry or even warm wood tones.  When paired with sleek lines and stainless appliances and accessories, any of these basic color schemes exemplify a contemporary style.  Color contrasts, such as dark cabinetry paired with white countertops like the design below left, and possibly a bold pop of color can liven up a contemporary design. For example, colorful artwork, backsplash design, or even barstools like the ones shown below right provide a point of visual interest in a contemporary kitchen.

It incorporates the latest materials: Traditional materials like warm wood colors are still popular in this design style, but contemporary designs also make the most of other materials and textures by using glass, concrete, stone, and more.  Where a modern kitchen will stick to a very simple, monochrome backsplash for example, a contemporary design might liven up the kitchen with a glass mosaic tile design.  Concrete countertops or sinks are becoming increasingly popular and add another layer of texture to your contemporary design. 

It makes the most of technology, storage, and accessories:  All new kitchen designs may incorporate useful storage accessories, but these elements are critical to the contemporary design where they ensure your sleek kitchen remains clutter free.  Make sure every small appliance, spice jar, and cutting board has a home in your cabinetry so that surfaces remain clear.  It exemplifies the contemporary design style, and makes life simpler by keeping your kitchen neat and making sure you can always find these things when you need them.  Hidden or pop up electrical outlets or even pop up knife storage like the one below left will also keep your sleek design looking clean.  Additional accessories like the stylish light fixtures seen below right add another element to a contemporary design.

Is this style right for you?  Review your priorities for your new kitchen and consider the style of your home and personal tastes.  Talking to your design professional can also help as they are experts at taking your list of requirements and translating it into a beautiful design.  For more remodeling ideas, visit our kitchen design gallery here.