Considering a modern kitchen renovation but are unsure whether the style is one hundred percent right for you? LuxDeco Studio’s Senior Interior Designer Joanne Quinn unravels the aesthetic, covering materials, colour schemes and lighting so you know exactly what you’re in for with a modern kitchen in your home.
1. Modern kitchen finishes—from under-the-radar to high shine
Thought that a modern kitchen was a vision of the high gloss ilk? Guess again. That unmistakable lacquered finish has indeed been long associated with contemporary kitchens but it’s by no means the only choice, as international kitchen crafter LANSERRING comments: “We are continuing to see an appetite for experimentation with strong figured marble, contrasted against metallic details and rich textured timbers; these tend to be a strong motif in the language of our work.”
Painted kitchens are very much part of the modern kitchen conversation too. Choose an ultra matte finish rather than traditional eggshell. While the finish will be that bit less practical (only you can say just how practical you need your cabinets to be), on aesthetic terms, the result will be as modern as it gets.
Or, think about a cabinet finish that could be mistaken for a wall treatment. Cabinet fronts that are beaded or boarded to look like panelling produce a finish that blurs the line between furniture and the room’s architecture, helping the space to appear more minimal, more spacious and more intriguing. Another favourite approach in the modern kitchen game with bespoke kitchen makers Blakes London leading the way.
2. Modern kitchen colours—because white isn’t the only way to roll
Modern white kitchens are a common visual where the room is pristine, minimal and a vision of purity as this Laura Hammett kitchen scheme perfectly presents.
Sleek and chic white is by no means the only colour palette option for a contemporary kitchen however, whether for kitchen wall colours or cabinet tones. Deep and sultry hues such as charcoal grey are just as likely to result in a modern kitchen aesthetic. It is the relationship between shade and material that is important to understand.
See the LANSERRING deep emerald kitchen as a case in point. Here, the coloured aspects are in a completely smooth timber that feel anything but country, and in combination with strikingly veined marble as well as both metallic and tan leather accents, the kitchen is the definition of edgy, modern design.
Be sure to explore the full spectrum of colour then, and be ever mindful of just how much cabinetry and worktop material will influence the colour’s character. Even the most traditional colours, such as burgundy or forest green, can be made contemporary with the right furniture silhouettes, style of cabinet and finishes.
3. Modern kitchen island ideas (or breakfast bar ideas if space is limited)
Imagine as a kitchen breakfast bar idea an expanse in natural stone, be it polished granite or marble, where work surface and the body of the cabinet meld into one. Include the sink as part of the modern kitchen island equation and you’ll receive even more contemporary kitchen points—the sink is sculpted as part of the worktop.
It’s an indulgent move in interior design, but the product will be the most eloquent of modern kitchen island statements. See Laura Hammett, Alix Lawson for inspiration as well as LANSERRING who adds a brushed brass panel at the base for extra panache.
4. Modern kitchen lighting: think sculpturally but also functionally
One word: pendants. The quickest, easiest and most impactful of ways to make an immediate impression is to hang low at least one orb pendant, asymmetric chandelier or oversized shade. Position it over a kitchen table or several over a modern kitchen island—two locations where pendant lighting in a kitchen is best suited.
Any kitchen though, modern or traditional, has to have a balance between task lighting and ambient. So don’t overlook the functional side of kitchen lighting, but instead ask your designer how you can be crafty with positioning, because a modern kitchen is all about quiet consideration as much as clean lines.
Can you recess any small, multi-directional fixtures below shelves or LED strips at kickboard height? How about having one large glazed cabinet that’s backlit (be picky about the light temperature here as a cold, blue LED light will never create a laid back, soft atmospheric glow). Or perhaps cover architectural and task lighting in one swoop with a long bar fixture whose individual lights can be angled exactly as you need them.
5. Modern kitchen features: time to get technical
Unsurprisingly, modern kitchen design is where the technology bar is seriously raised. Why have just a wine chiller when you can have one that can be configured to the optimal temperature for the specific grape? Any why have a freestanding coffee machine when you can choose one that’s an in-built, bean-to-cup model that frees up your counter (vital in a modern kitchen’s look)?
LANSERRING has begun to find, however, that there’s a move away from the complicated, contemporary gadgets, with the focus being about back-to-basics living that’s effortless and heralds simplicity (again, traits that are intrinsic to contemporary kitchen design).
“Many of our clients are steering away from appliances that are overly complex or high tech, instead wishing to go back to basics," the brand's team explains, "For example, cooking on gas, simple powerful ovens, knobs rather than touch screens. It implies more emphasis on instinct and skill rather than a reliance on technology. This seems to chime with a growing attitude to home baking, developing skills and experimenting in food preparation as a sign of contemporary sophistication.
“This is driving the overall kitchen aesthetic towards an appetite of informal luxury, a place where this theatre of food can play out, and therefore practical but also detailed, in terms of the language of the furniture and the selection of materials.”
So, ask yourself this, which modern kitchen camp do you find yourself in? That of the new-age, futuristic and tech-centric? Or the less-is-more, back-to-basics, ultra-zen contemporary community? Either way, the modern kitchen is always going to be there to make daily living that bit breezier and brighter. Sign us right up.