Modern, Sleek, and On-Trend: The Contemporary Kitchen + Designs
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Modern, Sleek, and On-Trend: The Contemporary Kitchen + Designs

Contemporary kitchens feature minimalist cabinetry, neutral color palettes, and metallic accents. This kitchen style blends industrial, modern, and traditional design to arrive at a trendy and sleek look. With frameless cabinetry and simple color schemes with bold accents, contemporary kitchens distinctively blend modern design with a minimalistic aesthetic – think flat-front cabinetry, sleek fixtures, stone and wood accents, and stylish tile. The furniture, minimalist decor, and natural features create a welcoming feel in a contemporary kitchen.

What is a Contemporary Kitchen?

“Contemporary” is a style term often interchanged with ‘modern’ – both design styles make ample use of exposed metals and stark, straight lines.

An authentic contemporary aesthetic involves little to no decoration. One goal in contemporary design is that everything has a function. Every cabinet, piece of furniture, or appliance is there for a reason and placed or arranged to achieve optimum efficiency.

Contemporary style cabinetry refers to a modern look achieved through minimalist design and manmade materials. The contemporary kitchen in 2021 is clean and stylish, incorporating stainless steel, glass, laminate, concrete, lacquered surfaces, and chrome. The uncluttered look gives it a modern feel, while a mix of manmade and natural elements makes it livable.

Contemporary cabinets are also incredibly practical. With innovative cabinet accessories that save space, a contemporary kitchen can be minimalist, spacious, and full of light. Attractive fresh looks in tile, laminate and stainless steel are features you’ll want to show off to your family and friends.

Modern vs. contemporary kitchen

The differences between contemporary and modern kitchens can be subtle. The term contemporary means current or “in the now” design. Modern refers more specifically to a design movement from the early to the mid-20th century.

Modern kitchen cabinets

A modern kitchen cabinet will have a flat-paneled door, also referred to as a slab door. Modern kitchen cabinets will have a frameless cabinet construction that is fully overlaid. This characteristic gives modern cabinets their sleek, smooth, and simple look.

Modern kitchen cabinets may or may not have knobs or pull; any hardware will be simple and sleek. A modern kitchen will also have simple countertops. Modern kitchens rely entirely on natural materials and the simplistic beauty they bring. Most modern kitchens have little ornamentation and minimal decor. In many modern kitchens, your eye is drawn horizontally around the room. The cabinets form broad lines and neatly stacked rows. A modern kitchen will often have a full-length marble or concrete backsplash.

Contemporary kitchen cabinets

Contemporary kitchens add more cutting-edge elements compared to the sparse, modern design. Contemporary kitchen cabinets will have flat-paneled or Shaker doors, with clean lines to give the kitchen a simple and sleek look. The slab doors are installed on frameless, fully overlaid cabinets—to bring the contemporary kitchen its minimalist feel. Any hardware will be sleek and streamlined.

All appliances are sleek and stylish; stainless steel or matte finishes are enduringly popular; With commercial range hoods, induction cooktops, and smart appliances, the contemporary kitchen is about performance. Countertops will be concrete, single-color granite or quartz, or even glass. You’ll see tile backsplashes in glass, stone, or ceramic placed in a mosaic pattern to add some visual excitement. Contemporary kitchens will feature all the updates like hidden outlets, under cabinet lighting, and glass-front doors.

Contemporary Kitchen Design Ideas

The key to a successful contemporary look? Steer clear of ornamentation – stick to minimalist design and decor. That doesn’t mean you need a monochrome kitchen with stark walls. This is your home, and you want it to please your senses and your personal aesthetic. Choose neutral, contemporary colors and express your style and personality with a few distinctive accents.


bright white contemporary kitchen,

Photo Credit: Pieter Estersohn

In this bright white contemporary kitchen, you see glossy frameless cabinets accented by sleek hardware and pops of color brought in with the flowers and bar stools.

Dark wood with dramatic color accents

dark frameless cabinets

Photo: lucyinteriordesign

This contemporary kitchen features beautiful dark frameless cabinets with simple hardware. The unique pendant lighting and a 3D backsplash add movement, and rich teal counter chairs introduce an appealing, up-to-date color accent.

Neutral all the way

white and grey frameless cabinets

Photo: ideaspacead

This contemporary kitchen’s neutral two-tone color scheme makes the perfect backdrop to this minimalist design—bright green dining room chairs and a shiny chrome light accent the white and grey frameless cabinets.

Related – Is the two-toned kitchen cabinet trend right for your kitchen? 

Frequently asked questions about contemporary kitchens

What is a modern contemporary kitchen?

A modern contemporary kitchen will blend the clean, minimalist look with other trendy styles. Today’s contemporary kitchen is often airy and open-concept with a streamlined look, cutting-edge technology, and a warm ambiance.

Is contemporary modern or traditional?

The contemporary design introduces current and trending colors, textures, accents, and other innovations while still honoring clean, uncluttered lines of modernism. Contemporary kitchen cabinets can be flat-front, a more modern design, or Shaker-style, which leans toward a traditional design. The typical traditional kitchen reflects elegance and symmetry and welcomes added adornment in moldings, layers, and beveled edges.

Update your kitchen today with modern, sleek, and on-trend contemporary cabinets

These inspirational examples only scratch the surface of potential contemporary kitchen designs. At Simply Kitchens, we can help you design your dream kitchen, selecting from any of the frameless or Shaker cabinet lines in a variety of shades to coordinate with flooring and countertops. Check out the many choices in cabinets available now to inspire your kitchen renovation.

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