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 which you can get from Simply Plastics. 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!

Kitchen Diners inspired by American TV

Sex in the City is my all time favourite American TV programme, but in second place I would have to put the first two series of Desperate Housewives. I loved the drama and intrigue and the glamorous wardrobes, but most of all I loved their homes, particularly the huge kitchen diners that were at the hub of so many episodes. These huge spaces were warm and cosy, a place to cook, to entertainment, and to drink wine and gossip, literally perfect spaces in perfect homes.




For me, the perfect kitchen would be spacious enough for the whole family to be in it at the same time. I love the idea of having a central island that can be used for everything from eating breakfast to doing work or homework on. The kitchen above belonged to the most iconic of the Desperate Housewives, Bree Van De Kamp, a woman who would cook a four course meal for ten and not have a single hair out of place. Her kitchen was both traditional, stylish and very practical – a real family space.

Fishpools have a brilliant range of dining tables and barstools that can help you create your own kitchen space. Some of their tables and chairs would suit an actual dining room, but others are perfect for that multi-purpose kitchen ambiance, in American Oak wood, with tables that can be extended to host up to 6 people – real family pieces. I love the Aries pieces, these are strong and sturdy with a rustic, farmhouse kitchen feel. The traditional feel of the table and chairs actually keeps them feeling bang up to date, and you can totally imagine a family growing up around this table.



If you are just looking to update your current kitchen area, you could do this by changing the seats or bar stools you have around your kitchen island. This could instantly change the look of your current space, with traditional wooden stools being replaced by something with a metallic touch, or with an upholstered chair for that luxurious, glamorous grown up feel.



What would be your ideal kitchen look? Are you planning any changes to your kitchen?

Loving IKEA’s new kitchen rules, as decided by kids

When it comes to funny  ad campaigns, IKEA always seem to come up trumps. Last year it was the frankly hilarious hypnotist who had people believing they were living in an IKEA world based in their store (you can check this out here.) and this year they have kids taking over in the kitchen – quite literally. From designing kitchen spaces to making up their own rules for cooking and spending time in the kitchen, I have to say that in this case, to quote The Who, the kids are alright.

I’m  guessing that part of the reason I love this is that, as a really bad cook who frankly hates being in the kitchen, these rules seem to be designed with me in mind. The mess is a given, I leave a total train of destruction whenever I attempt cooking – from pots and pans, to bits of eggshell, and, woe betide I’m trying to make cakes. There will be more flour on the worktops than you will find in any cake.  Then there is the point about not being worried if you lose interest. I nearly said an hallelujah to that point, I get bored to tears peeling spuds and have to take a break mid way through.  The more you watch the film, the more you think ‘this kid talks a lot of sense.’

Are there any current adverts or campaigns you are currently loving? Are you getting excited about the upcoming Christmas ad campaigns?