What Makes a Kitchen Modern?

While the definition of “modern” quite literally says “relating to the present or recent times,” did you know that modern design actually traces its roots back to World War I? According to HGTV, design elements “generally featured flat surfaces, geometric forms, and little or no ornamentation or adornments.”

Flash forward to today, and many of these modern design elements still reign supreme. Sleek angles, simplistic design, sharp angles, flat surfaces, and little hardware all are elements that you might see in modern kitchen design ideas today.

But what else is it that makes a kitchen modern?

Characteristics of Modern Kitchens

Just take HGTV’s word for it. Right now, modern kitchen design ideas are part of a larger trend that embraces midcentury modern design and furniture. Often this looks like bold angles and curves, granite countertops, hardwood floors, and specially designed wooden furniture.

Accessories allow homeowners to build on a modern kitchen theme, customizing and making it their own. You might see glass or wood veneer cabinet doors and minimal hardware. Modern kitchen decor also is minimal, and accessories like blenders and coffee makers and other accessories are available in unique designs and colors. Stainless steel appliances still are in, but they aren’t trademarks of the modern kitchen.

As far as flooring, you’ll notice that it tends to follow the space’s general aesthetic. Slate and granite are popular choices for tile floors and backsplashes. Additionally, a neutral color palette is almost quintessential to the modern kitchen.

Modern Kitchens vs. Traditional Kitchens

Modern Kitchens vs. Traditional Kitchens

Traditional kitchens tend to have characteristics such as natural materials for cabinets, countertops, floors, and furniture. This could be wood, stone, marble, or granite. However, modern kitchens are using more and more man-made materials such as laminate and molded plastics.

Traditional kitchens also tend to be darker in color palette than modern kitchen styles. Their cabinets might be bulkier and open outward with doorknobs or handles. Traditional cabinetry often uses earthy colors, like browns and reds.

Modern cabinets often look sleeker, less bulky and more compact. They’re also often made from a combination of materials rather than wood, such as laminate or glass. They typically lack physical hardware such as handles.

The modern kitchen “formula” tends to be clean, open, minimal and functional. Typically, people associate traditional kitchens with family-friendliness, coziness, and overall character.

The Best Modern Kitchen Designs

When all is said and done, everyone has a different idea of what the best modern kitchen design in. That’s because the design is subjective to your personal taste! Don’t paint yourself into a corner when designing your dream kitchen; instead, make it your own. Here are a few simple kitchen design ideas to get you started.

1) Super Simple

Simple kitchen designs

When it comes to creating the perfect modern kitchen, it’s hard — or even impossible — to be “too simplistic.” Keeping it simple is a trademark of the modern kitchen era we are currently in. Not only does a simplistic design help reduce clutter and lack of space in the kitchen, but it also looks clean and sleek. Simple kitchen designs might seem sparse, but you can see some dimension to an all-white kitchen with wooden counter stools and a plant for enhanced aesthetics.

2) Characteristic Curves

Dune kitchen design

Just like PEDINI Miami’s signature Dune kitchen design, you cannot go wrong with curves. Modernity isn’t just about angles — add some curves in for a unique-looking and aesthetically pleasing kitchen that is sure to be a conversation starter. Curvature draws the eye, so spice up your curved countertops with some modern kitchen decor such as a nice vase or sculpture for all eyes on your space.

3) Striking a Balance

modern kitchen designs

Another one of PEDINI Miami’s modern kitchen designs, the Artika kitchen is all about finding your perfect balance. Its pedigree is finding equilibrium, and the design “reworks its shapes to live within the space with harmony and simplicity.” This design mixes modern with traditional elements to create a family-friendly space without sacrificing aesthetics.

4) Splashes of Color

White Kitchen Design

Who said that modernity has to nix color from its palette? As House Beautiful states, whiter is brighter. If you keep your cabinets, countertops, and floors white, the possibilities for adding pops of color from your serving ware, appliances, and other modern kitchen decor are endless.

5) Chic Industrial

kitchen appliances

If the connotation associated with the word “industrial” throws you off, hang tight and hear this out. The industrial design actually can look elegant and clean — and it’ll be easy to clean, too. A stainless steel backsplash, slate-colored countertops, and stainless steel appliances pair well with wood barstools and potted plants.

Modern Kitchen Design Ideas

Modern Kitchen Design Ideas

If you’re not ready to commit to one overarching theme or aesthetic yet for your modern kitchen, don’t worry. Here are some other modern kitchen design ideas to ponder as you decide what your version of a modern kitchen will look like.

  • Open and airy — Use an open-floor layout paired with a dedicated breakfast space or island.
  • Choose a color palette — Whether you want to keep things simple and minimal with a neutral color palette or brighten it up with pops of color, this is one of the first things you should do when planning out your kitchen design.
  • Layering textures — Don’t be afraid to layer textures such as quartz and wood, or stainless steel and concrete. Adding wood countertops also adds warmth to your kitchen, and polishing your concrete floor adds the industrial dimension.
  • All about the lighting — you want your kitchen to be well lit. Choose your task lighting, aka your ceiling-mount fixture. Then, choose dining-area lighting. Don’t forget about ambient lighting to set the tone of the space.
  • Choose your hardware — Do you want visible hardware on your cabinetry? If so, decide whether you want doorknobs or handles. Then, go for the ones with stainless steel, brushed nickel, bright white or brass finishes, depending on your kitchen design.