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The Characteristics of Modern Style Kitchens

Modern-day kitchen design is about creating a comfortable, functional, and personal space. A new kitchen can be designed in traditional or modern styles, and choosing the style direction for your project is one of the first design decisions that you will make. This decision will be influenced by a number of factors, including your preferred style and the architecture and decor of your home. While it could be assumed that traditional kitchens would be better suited to period homes, and contemporary styles to modern homes, this isn’t necessarily the case. With the right design approach, both traditional and contemporary kitchens can look perfectly at home in modern or character properties.

In previous articles, we have explored traditional style kitchens in more detail, delving into beautiful shaker kitchens and their benefits. In this article, we focus on modern style kitchens. We explore the principles and characteristics of contemporary kitchen design and share some examples to inspire you when designing your own modern kitchen with a professional designer.


Cosy & Family Friendly Modern Kitchens

A common misconception is that contemporary style kitchen designs can be clinical, cold, and lacking in character; however, this could not be further from the truth. Contemporary furniture enables designers to create a kitchen that is in harmony with the current architecture, interior design trends and everyday living habits. The versatility of modern kitchen design paired with advancements in manufacturing offers additional flexibility and durability benefits, expanding the design genre beyond just the textbook examples of contemporary design style.

As the two kitchens below demonstrate, contemporary style kitchens can be minimalist, featuring flat colours and high gloss materials, or they can be bold, full of pattern, texture and rich colours. Finding your own interpretation of a modern style kitchen is an exciting and creative journey and a professional kitchen designer can guide you through the process.

rustic industrial kitchen

Read on to learn what makes a kitchen design modern in its style and see examples of modern style kitchens designed by KCA for real family homes.

Clean Lines

When looking at modern kitchens, you can see an emphasis on linear designs favouring clean straight lines. Clean, uninterrupted lines within a design have an impact on both aspect and depth perception. As a result, there are numerous ways to incorporate lines into a kitchen design depending on the space, design brief and kitchen layout.

For example, kitchen designs that use strong horizontal lines widen our field of view whilst vertical lines within a plan can make a space seem taller. Using a mix of tall cupboards, wide drawers, and thin-profile work areas help create seamless lines that can accentuate the size of any room whilst creating a minimalist look.

Slab/Flat Panel Cabinetry

Modern style kitchen cabinetry tends to take a minimalist form, favouring flat panel doors over more traditional designs such as Shaker. Often a design will feature two or more cabinetry finishes, to create zones and depth. These doors can be handleless or paired with modern handles, depending on the desired look.

Some transitional kitchen designs feature both slab doors and traditional doors, adding a traditional twist to a modern design. 

Handleless Designs

Handleless designs enhance the linear aesthetic. In smaller spaces, handless kitchen designs can make a room feel bigger whilst in kitchens with a lot of cabinetry handless designs create an unfussy and modern look.

The handleless look can be achieved by incorporating handle rails into the design. Alternatively, push-latches enable handleless doors and drawers to be opened without an integrated handle rail.

Engineered Materials

Whereas traditional kitchens feature painted or natural wood finishes, modern style kitchens make use of manufactured materials.

The modern manufacturing process offers great flexibility when it comes to materials. Laminates and veneers provide excellent durability and come in a range of finishes imitating the appearance of wood, stone, concrete and metal. This diverse range of materials means that modern style kitchens offer lots of room for personalisation. 

Glossy and reflective materials such as high gloss cabinetry, polished stone, mirror, and metallic finishes are perfect choices to create an ultra-modern look. While, dark colours, matte materials and soft-touch finishes are gaining in popularity with industrial and urban interior design trends. 

Kitchen Lighting

Lighting in modern kitchens enhances the physical features of the design and creates atmosphere. Lighting can emphasise vertical and horizontal lines, curves, materials, colours and the textures of the design scheme.

A combination of under cabinet lighting, shadow gap lighting, backlit stone and plinth lights can be used to create ambience within a modern kitchen design. Lighting design is especially important for open-plan kitchens. Lighting zones ensure that the lighting complements the many functions of the kitchen, from task lighting to prepare meals to atmospheric lighting for family movie nights.

Intelligent Storage Solutions

Kitchens are no longer simply a space for cooking but also dining, entertaining, working and relaxing with family. The multiple functions of the kitchen have made smart storage solutions integral in order to maintain a clean, clutter-free and intentional space.

Modern kitchens and manufacturing techniques offer a wealth of storage possibilities. Internal storage solutions such as pull out larders and corner caddies help to maximise and organise your kitchen.

For a more informal aesthetic, open shelves follow linear design principles whilst offering room for adding personality through curated accessories.


Modern style kitchen designs can be achieved with any worktop material, from natural stone to human-made laminates and ceramic. The key to creating a modern aesthetic is not the materials but the way that it is designed and fabricated. A modern style kitchen is achieved by opting for simple, unfussy worktops. While traditional-style kitchens may feature details such as bullnose edges, modern designs favour linear alternatives.

Human-made worktop materials such as porcelain and laminates are engineered to be consistent and can offer additional durability compared with some natural materials. The consistent paterrn of materials such as ceramic makes it an ideal material for book-matching.

Modern Appliances

Appliances in a contemporary kitchen design can be integrated, hidden or celebrated. Minimalist designs will keep sightline clear by hiding as many appliances as possible. This can be achieved in a number of ways such as integrating appliances behind doors, positioning appliances at low level on the reverse of islands and designing hidden utility and larder spaces.

For appliances that can’t be hidden, many modern appliances are available in a range of finishes such as stainless steel, black or anthracite to complement the design scheme and maintain a contemporary aesthetic. Alternatively, contemporary kitchens with a rustic or industrial style may lean into a more eclectic look with a traditional or commercial-style range cooker.

For expert guidance designing your very own contemporary kitchen, contact our award-winning team of designers to arrange a complimentary design consultation. Call us on 01344 883777 or book an appointment online.


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Welcome to our new Blog
Since 1993 we’ve been designing kitchens and bedrooms for prestigious properties and learnt a wealth of hints and tips along the way; knowledge we would like to share with you here on our Blog.

Welcome to our new Blog