The right modern kitchen ideas can really make your re-model. While the word modern might have you thinking of sleek, shiny spaces, the truth is that modern design is leaning towards more interesting, textured spaces right now, from the rustic to the colorful.
That means our gallery of the best modern kitchen ideas is an eclectic bunch, from farmhouse style spaces with a contemporary aesthetic, to playful pastels kitchens full of geometric design.
'The biggest thing I'm seeing happen in modern kitchens is a trend towards paring sleek fittings with vintage-style furniture,' says Livingetc's editor Pip Rich. 'Cabinetry tends to be handleless or smooth, countertops are gleaming stone, but then the furniture is rattan or wood, the lighting colorful and soft. This blend takes a functional space and makes it feel like home.'
21 modern kitchen ideas to uplift the most hardworking room in the home
1. Mix and match woods for a modern rustic look
Timber is a beautiful material for your modern kitchen ideas, but if you start your scheme with a wood floor, you might feel like you can't include it in the rest of your space. Actually, mixing wood tones can create a sophisticated, nuanced scheme with lots of warmth and character.
'Start with choosing one wood tone to be the dominant finish,' explains Kelsey Leigh, principal designer of Kelsey Leigh Design Co (opens in new tab), 'and make sure the undertones of the woods complement each other.'
However, it's not just the wood cabinet versus wood floor color that's important. 'Pay attention to the grains of the wood too, as you don't want them to compete with each other,' Kelsey adds. 'I'd suggest not mixing more than two or three different woods in one space.'
2. Bookmatch stone for a near seamless splashback
Marble and other decorative natural stone can make a big impression in a modern kitchen, but where coverage is key in a large kitchen, you're at the mercy of the size your local marble yard can source (and fit through your home's doors too).
The solution for a beautiful marble kitchen idea? Bookmatching.
'This splashback is natural stone,' says interior designer Sabrina Albanese (opens in new tab). 'It's bookmatched so that there are multiple pieces but the patterns line up in a very unnoticeable seam giving a mirrored effect.'
'The challenge for large stone is choosing the right scale and fit to suit the space,' she adds.
3. Try a modern take on the checkerboard floor
Checkerboard flooring might be more associated with traditional kitchens than modern ones, having incarnations in both period homes and mid-century style. However, it's a kitchen trend that's returned with a vengeance this year in a slightly more rustic guise.
In this property designed by Lucas Interior, a beige and black color scheme gives this classic style a new twist, while the characterful timber cabinetry and clashing wall tiles breath fresh life into the design.
'Using eclectic tiles in this home was a way to bring interesting patterns and colors into the palette,' says David Lucas, creative director at Lucas Interior (opens in new tab). 'We purposefully set up this type of opportunity throughout this home so that we could explore different patterns and color combinations in an organized and cohesive way.'
4. Try this alternative to a concrete floor
Poured concrete floors are a popular look for a kitchen with a luxe yet industrial style. However, they're notoriously difficult to install, compared to alternatives like tiles. When it comes to your kitchen flooring ideas, if you love the poured concrete look, why not consider an alternative like these concrete floor tiles, which also introduce pattern into the mix.
'These concrete floor tiles were produced in the Bisazza factory – part of the Lunas Bilbao A collection,' says Jenya Lykasova, founder of JL STUDIO (opens in new tab). 'While Bisazza specializes in glass mosaics, they released this special concrete collection. Each drawing has its character and looks unique.'
5. Install oversized lights for an eye-catching kitchen
Kitchen pendant lighting ideas might be a finishing touch for your space, but they can certainly set the tone, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the kitchen design of this Californian home.
An oversized design will not only add interest to your home, but pendants in unique shapes or materials will enrich the design scheme of your interiors. Since the kitchen is the heart of the home, use this opportunity to showcase eye-catching elements.
'We wanted our clients to walk in through the front door and have something wow them,' says Raili Clasen, principal designer at RailiCA Design (opens in new tab). 'Our inspiration for the oversized pendants came from a much smaller light fixture that we asked Buzzell Studios to supercharge. The dark and moody palette of the kitchen begged for a dramatic, strong light installation.'
6. Don't be afraid of color
Sometimes a complete remodel may not be on your mind, in which case, a fantastic paint job can do all the work for a stunning refresh. Use color to demarcate areas if you have an open plan. Experiment with kitchen cabinet color ideas to make your storage units look new. Consider palettes that are reflected around your home to create cohesion and a theme.
'In this traditional Madrid flat, a system of load-bearing walls run parallel to the facade,' say Gonzalo Pardo and Ana Torres, principal designers at Gon (opens in new tab). 'Enclosed within is a set of rooms of different sizes that are isolated and at the same time connected by a corridor. The home's most unique characteristic is the length of the house – nearly 70 feet of free and fluid domestic space. To design it we created marked different areas for cooking, sleeping, resting, working, and socializing through visual elements of color and lighting.'
7. Use terracotta
Committing to one hue in a space can have a glorious effect, and terracotta is an easy color to work with. Thanks to its connection to nature, it is just a small step away from a neutral. Terracotta is carried well by numerous kitchen materials, so why not go all in and embrace it across your kitchen countertop ideas, worktops, paint, cabinetry, and accessories for a soothing-yet-statement cook space.
'Terracotta is a key trend as we continue to look to our homes for comfort and sanctuary,' says the designer Kelly Wearstler (opens in new tab). 'The shade is not only versatile but is inherently warming and effortlessly complements handcrafted objects made from natural materials, such as rattan, seagrass and linen. I love using terracotta in the home. It’s an easy-going color characterized by softness, like morning sunlight.'
A hugely versatile color for the kitchen, terracotta combined with complementary shades, such as dusky pink or cerulean blue, creates a tonal look with a backdrop of muted white and cream tones. 'Introduce the shade subtly through tiled flooring or worktops, or create a full monochromatic terracotta look with rich materials, such as marble, terrazzo flooring, and tiles in the same hue,' Kelly says. 'When it comes
to terracotta, integrating local stones can create an emotive link between the home and its surroundings – designs that play upon the raw, natural beauty of an environment are the most beautiful.'
8. Choose multi-functional furniture
Blending a modern kitchen with your dining room ideas creates an informal and relaxed space and lets whoever is cooking join in with conversations. ‘A kitchen that includes both island unit and dining table is an increasingly common request, especially in sociable, open-plan settings,’ says Annie Ebenston, lead designer at Blakes London (opens in new tab). ‘However, this room is relatively long and narrow (30 feet x 16 feet), which didn’t leave sufficient room for both.’ Incorporating banquette seating into the island is always a significant space saver because it takes the circulation space required around chairs out of the equation. ‘And we could then add drawers under the seat for storage.’
Done well, an island with a banquette attached can also form a striking focal point in your interior design. ‘Here, we used deeply veined Green Guatemala stone with incredible book matching and a waterfall edge, alongside leather or faux leather seating in verdant Forest Green,’ Annie says. ‘For comfort and ease, we always recommend manmade leather, which is more durable and easier to clean than real leather.’
9. Pair pastels with brights
Russell Whitehead and Jordan Cluroe of London-based 2LG Studio (opens in new tab) used vibrant colors to divide their kitchen into different zones – knowing what colors go with green, they used it in their dining space, then added blue for work, and pink for cooking.
'Our kitchen is the center of our life and the colors of the kitchen lead on throughout the entire house,' says Russell. 'Don’t be afraid to fill your kitchen with personality – color is a great way to do this – then you can layer up with textures of tiling, wood, flooring, and brushed metal finishes.'
10. Blend wood and metal
Danish kitchen company Garde Hvalsøe is all about celebrating craftsmanship. Their latest collaboration with Copenhagen-based designers OEO Studio – Kitchen of Love – takes inspiration from cabinetmaking traditions and Japan’s artisanal heritage.
The modern kitchen is built using light oil-treated oak timber and stainless steel with a Pietra di Fossena marble countertop, and the stunning finger jointed timber drawers shine a spotlight on the craftsmanship. It's the contrast which stops this from seeming either too rustic, or too much like industrial interior design.
11. Celebrate robust materials
This home in Melbourne, Australia by Bryant Alsop (opens in new tab) embraces a palette of hardy materials, such as the brick and concrete used for the kitchen island ideas. Tierras terracotta tiles by Patricia Urquiola for Mutina were used for the splashback, a modern kitchen idea that gives the space a graphic accent.
'The materials were selected for their honesty and robustness, with a clear directive from the owners that finishes needed to be durable and suitable for real family life,' says architect Sarah Bryant. 'Embracing the existing red brick was central to the bold palette.' There’s also a large window to the outdoor deck to extend the kitchen outside.
12. Go monochrome
Black, white and shades of grey kitchen ideas form a classic and sophisticated color palette that works beautifully to create a modern kitchen idea that will stand the test of time. 'The use of a palette of different black textures and materials in this kitchen achieves a masterful lightness in the space,' says Gary Moor, designer at DesignSpace London. (opens in new tab) 'The inset wet zone, clad in white Statuario marble and Glacier White Corian, draws the eye as if it were a work of art.'
13. Make a statement with metallics
Open plan kitchen extensions are a popular choice, allowing you to inject some real air and light into the space. This modern kitchen is positioned opposite an open lounge area, so the kitchen cabinets have been designed to resemble standalone pieces of furniture that blend into the interior scheme.
'The owner had a very definite vision for her whole apartment that included rich colors, mid-century furniture and metallic accents,' says Charlie Smallbone, founder of Ledbury Studio (opens in new tab). 'As such, our Metallics Collection kitchen – which harnesses the beauty of solid copper but in a contemporary kitchen setting – was the perfect fit.'
14. Shine a spotlight on a single material
Paonazzo marble sourced directly from the quarry in Italy is the star of this modern kitchen idea by Blakes London. The deeply veined marble kitchen island is set against a subtle backdrop of simple white cabinetry, allowing it to take center stage - the most wonderful of white kitchen ideas.
'The natural tones in the veining of the marble are complemented by unlacquered brassware, including custom-designed brass recesses, handles and bespoke dipped hot water and sink taps,' says creative director, Jamie Blake.
15. Channel retro vibes
Give your kitchen a touch of vintage charm with quirky design details – like the patterned tile splashback and mismatched brass pendant kitchen lighting ideas lights in this eclectic space.
'Warm metallic tones were chosen alongside materials including antique brass and concrete to add texture and interest to the space,' says Alex Main, Director at The Main Company (opens in new tab). 'For the splashback, we opted for vintage-inspired tiles to create a real statement that brings the entire look together.'
16. Make the most of a small space
The kitchen is literally the heart of this small Melbourne home by Kirsten Johnstone Architecture (opens in new tab) – and clever design details help make the most of the space - utilizing some of the best small kitchen ideas.
'It’s quite a small house and the small kitchen is interconnected to all spaces,' says Kirsten. 'The dining ‘table’ is an extension of the kitchen island bench, and a wall of built-in cupboards with two depths maximizes storage.'
The splashback is formed from a horizontal window that lets plenty of natural light into the small space.
17. Be more eco with your modern kitchen design
Sustainable living should be one of the most important considerations when it comes to any building project these days – and there are plenty of suppliers creating quality, on-trend finishes that are also kind to the environment. Take the luxurious aluminum-based panels by AluSplash, used in this kitchen as a splashback in Forest Green.
“The panels are produced with recycled aluminum material and the manufacturing process uses less energy and water to produce than a glass alternative,” says Nikhita Sejpal of AluSplash (opens in new tab). 'It’s the perfect option for homeowners looking to add a green and eco-friendly finish to their kitchen scheme.'
18. Be bold with brass
Beautiful brass details stand out against a stark backdrop of black joinery in this rustic kitchen of this home in rural Victoria, Australia.
'Brass was chosen for the bench and splash-back as it will patina over time, telling a subtle story of human habitation and also linking the home back to the era of cabins and sheds, which was important in its design,' says architect Ben Shields. 'Along the southern wall, there is an almost invisible bank of seamless joinery that hides pantry, fridges, and storage, as well as an entry nook with drawers for clients to throw mobile phones, helping to disconnect after arrival from the city.'
19. Add a breakfast bar
The black marble and bronze-framed breakfast bar ideas at play in this modern kitchen contrasts with the grey units and white marble worktop, creating a sculptural centerpiece at the heart of the kitchen.
'Incorporating a breakfast bar with the island has grown in popularity hand-in-hand with the trend for open-plan living,' says Richard Atkins, Design Director at DesignSpace London (opens in new tab). 'It also provides an opportunity to include different materials and details into the design, creating a focal point in the kitchen.'
20. Make the lighting a feature
The focus of this home in Toronto, Canada, by Reflect Architecture (opens in new tab) was to create a fun space for the young family to come together – and this contemporary kitchen planning is the centerpiece.
A large circular light fixture from Delta is a playful reference to the hearth around which families gathered in the past. 'The clients wanted this space to be a center point of gathering for the family, where the kids could participate in the cooking and food,' says architect Trevor Wallace. 'The oversized island allows the parents and their three girls to all have a place around the table.'
21. Consider storage carefully
Pantry ideas are much sought after at the moment. There’s a place for everything in this pared-back, minimalist kitchen, thanks to the clever storage solutions concealed behind sleek pantry doors.
'The owners of this kitchen have hectic lives and wanted a streamlined space with a large multi-purpose island,' says John Davies, a designer at Martin Moore (opens in new tab). 'The milky cream walls, pale grey cabinetry and white granite worktop on the island create a calm impression and a sense of freshness. The kitchen island is painted in our beautiful ‘Prussian Blue’ color, giving warmth to the room.'
What modern kitchen trends should I look out for?
Trending in modern kitchens in 2022 are the colors terracotta and mint green, wood paneling, curved edges, and textured white finishes.
According to the experts, the main trend is less to do with color and style and all to do with creating something unique. 'We’ve seen an increase in the number of people investing in the luxury of a completely customized kitchen, which incorporates unique textures and finishes, to give the space more personality,' says Alex Main, Director at The Main Company (opens in new tab). 'We expect this trend to continue to grow as technology evolves and people become more creative in finding new ways to make their space work most efficiently for them.'
What colors work best for modern kitchens?
The big colors in kitchens for 2022 are terracotta, soft white, mint green, and the oaky brown of natural woods.
'Terracotta is warming and creates a welcoming environment, which is perfect for the kitchen as it’s often the place where you spend the most time with the people you love,' says Kelly. 'Color is the spirit of a room, its heart, and soul – it defines the space and determines its character. Terracotta is such a quietly uplifting hue.'
Amy Moorea Wong is a freelance interior design journalist with a decade of experience in contemporary print and digital editorial, previously News Editor at Livingetc. She writes on a broad range of modern design topics from news and interior zeitgeist to houses, architecture, travel and wider culture. She has a penchant for natural materials, surprising pops of colour and pattern and design with an eco edge.
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