Styling a Contemporary Kitchen

Creating a chic and contemporary kitchen is a simple and effective way to set a sophisticated tone for your home. There is so much choice when it comes to modern kitchen cabinetry, so how do you create the perfect clutter-free room for relaxing and entertaining?

We have teamed up with Harvey Jones, specialists in bespoke fitted kitchens to find out how to create the contemporary kitchen look.

Contemporary worktops

Modern cabinetry is all about uncomplicated colours. Bright white worktops are too ‘clinical’ for some people, but for others, they’re a simple and effective way to create an ultra-modern kitchen for family and guests to enjoy! Many manufacturers, including Silestone and Caesarstone, are now producing man-made composites that look like natural materials. Of course, while they can look just like marble or concrete, the real benefit of these surfaces is that they are much easier to look after than natural stones, particularly very porous ones such as marble. Material like faux marble is also amazing for creating protective splashbacks with less of the financial outlay than real marble, such as Carrara. The consistent colours and patterns of the latest composites are perfect for contemporary kitchens, and choice for these have taken off over the past few years to include everything from brilliant white to zingy orange.

Perfect order

We all dream of having a well-organised kitchen. So thankfully, modern kitchen designs revolve around the ‘uncluttered look’ that helps us stay calm and cool as we cook. For most of us, the main problem in keeping our kitchens pristine is our work surfaces. While we all might want that statement — and often used — KitchenAid mixer on show, that doesn’t necessarily work with all the other kitchen paraphernalia we collect over time. Hiding clutter in open-plan kitchens is essential. So, plan plenty of storage areas such as deep pan drawers and tambour units to keep small appliances, crockery and china out of sight. Floor-to-ceiling cupboards with no handles can hide a multitude of sins. So, if you have space, they’re a good investment. But remember, for your kitchen to work efficiently, you need easy access to appliances. Place pan drawers by ovens, larders close to prep areas, and china close to the dishwasher.

Crisp-clear lines

How do you get that sleek, aerodynamic look that creates a stand-out, modern kitchen? The best way is with handle-free cabinets. The in-frame construction of kitchen cabinet doors with no handles is both modern and extremely durable, which gives this design feature an edge on others. In smaller kitchen spaces, the absence of handles helps to make a room feel bigger, while in a kitchen with lots of cabinetry, it prevents an overload of steel handles. If you don’t want to commit to all handle-less doors, then you can integrate a run of classic cabinets a contemporary edge by dressing them with sleek bar handles. For an all over modern effect, add modern built-in appliances and top with cool composite worktops. Or, mix and match your kitchen style by incorporating flat-fronted wall cabinets.

Kitchen utensils

Creating a modern kitchen is simple once you get the basics right. But if it’s all about minimalism and clean lines, what do you do about your cooking appliances? Today, there are plenty of contemporary-looking utensils and gadgets for you to choose from that give a complementary look to your modern kitchen. For example; if you have your heart set on a range cooker, choose one of the more modern steel models from Smeg, Mercury or Rangemaster. Integrate as many kitchen appliances as you want, and if possible, place items such as washing machines and tumble dryers in utility rooms. Ensure your fridge and freezer are stored behind closed doors, then keep sightlines clear by installing below-cabinet, in-ceiling or pop-up extractors. Investing in built-in cooking appliances with a sleek, glass zoned induction hob is another good move for a contemporary kitchen. Give the ideal finishing touch with a few modern-day luxuries — such as a boiling water tap, pop-up power points and cool lighting!

Advice for a contemporary kitchen:

  • Vary your levels

A tall breakfast bar next to a lower-lying island is great for providing a relaxed but modern-looking place to eat in your contemporary kitchen. You can create several levels on a peninsula with a raised area to hide the washing-up from dinner guests, or even get a stool that sits just below your breakfast bar to add an extra level to your kitchen and maximise the seating area available.

  • Simple and effective surfaces

A quick way to keep your design modern is to opt for glass or composite for your splashback. Laying large-format floor tiles and securing them with a matching grout gives the much-loved modern look, too.

  • Customise your worktops

Install very thin worktops that help your units look more like furniture. Wrap a composite work surface in a contrasting colour, or place material around the cabinetry on your kitchen islands and at the end of runs.

  • Brighten up your modern kitchen

If you played it safe until now, get creative with your choice of kitchen lighting. Plinth lights almost make base units look like they are floating above the floor, while installing cool LED strips to the interior of wall cabinets and shelves work to highlight favourite kitchen accessories in a contemporary fashion.

Going for a sleek and contemporary kitchen style with neat worktops and modern appliances not only makes your house look amazing, but it also keeps your room free of clutter giving you much more room to cook, relax and entertain!

Traditional Kitchens with a modern touch

“My family and I cook at home almost every day together. The kitchen is the central and most important room in the house; it’s a great way for us to connect.”

Jose Andres Puerta

For many families, the kitchen is totally the heart of the home, a warm, welcoming environment that is constantly filled with hustle and bustle. In recent years, decor for kitchens has moved towards the ultra modern, with bright coloured high gloss units that are stylish and functional, being wipe clean and hard wearing, combining the practical with the tasteful. I think an element in this move has been the abundance of kitchen gadgets that we all seem to be putting in our kitchens, these look modern and space-age and generally suit a kitchen in this style too.

We had a new kitchen a few years ago and went for a sleek, modern design in ecru. This was bright and made our rather small kitchen seem a little lighter, and as all the units were wipe clean, and we had a rather messy little boy, it was a good choice. But recently I have been looking at the more traditional style kitchens on the Betta Living website and have been lusting after designs that incorporate the features of Shaker Style, or have cupboards with impractical but oh so pretty glass doors. I have fallen in love with kitchens that frankly look they should be in a large farmhouse, and generally feel that these kitchens may not have the glossy shine, but the vintage glamour of styles like the Heritage Alabaster just seems to be more adult, more grown up. Less about dirty hands and sticky fingers and more about entertaining friends, coffee and chat and serious attempts at cooking up a storm.
Beautiful and traditional kitchens
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My absolute favourite is the Cranford Design below, just look at the charcoal colour against an Art Nouveau backdrop.
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What is your kitchen like? Do you favour the traditional or modern designs?