A How-To Guide: Designing a Warm Yet Modern Kitchen

This how-to guide will help you look for what shapes and finishes to choose that can create a warm, comfortable, and an inviting space that is, at the same time, modern and contemporary.

There are many people that are drawn to crisp clean lines, cool color palettes, and minimalist shapes that define a modern kitchen decor style. But, at the same time, many of us want to have a cozy space that is more inviting than it is modern. We want a space where people want to come and gather. So how can you find that balance of warm, comfy vibes and crisp clean lines? We have put together a guide to help you navigate designing a warm and inviting, yet modern kitchen.

A Modern Kitchen: Find Contemporary Shapes

When you initially think of a contemporary kitchen, you may think of clean lines and not a lot of overly decorative pieces. The color schemes can vary a lot but the classic choices tend to include white, cream, tan, beige, gray and black, and sometimes a mix of these colors. Color palettes usually lead to more monochromatic designs, while patterns, you’ll find, tend to be very minimal and in many cases, uniform.

The secret to achieving a warm, contemporary modern kitchen is to build a foundation of shapes that embody contemporary style. After you have a solid foundation, you can start to add features, using different colors and material that will help you bring that warmth to the kitchen. You will want to pay a lot of attention to balance, using a combination of finishes and textures. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t achieve the right look on the first few tries. Designing a room takes work and a lot of trial and error. Fully expect to buy many pieces, trying them, and then returning them. It is only through this process that you will pick up the “knack” for finding pieces that work for your space and style.

To start, we have listed the basic shapes and elements that you’ll want to look for while creating your warm modern kitchen.

Cabinets

The quickest and most effective way to create a contemporary kitchen is to install contemporary cabinetry. Slab doors equal contemporary. Slab doors or drawers are flat, are only one piece and do not have trim or decorative frill. The slab usually is laid over the cabinet, but it can also be set into the cabinet frame during construction. Many finishes and colors can work here. You can opt for a glossy white finish or a flat and matte look. Also, many laminates like wood will work here as well. You can have fun working with something that inspires you while still working with a design structure that is aimed toward warm and modern.

Cabinet Handles

A contemporary kitchen usually lacks knobs and handles altogether. With modern design options that allow one to use press-touch technology or other no-handle options allow for a minimalistic, clean look. For a more decorative look, you can keep it modern with a stainless steel, matte black, chrome, or in some cases, white handles Another way to use pulls and handles and keep it very modern is to install horizontal pieces. This will add uniformity that will lend to your contemporary look.

Islands

A great way to achieve a warm yet contemporary style is to incorporate a countertop on your island that flows over the edge, those in the industry call this a waterfall edge.

Floors

When it comes to your kitchen flooring, using cool tones in concrete or materials that look like concrete is a great contemporary option. You will have many options that will fit this style and look. You’ll just want to stay away from anything that is going to cause a rustic look, like wood grains or something busy like Spanish tiles that are heavily patterned. Also, using hardwood, porcelain or concrete oversized tiles is a great option for a clean, modern look and feel.

Backsplash & Countertops

What you will usually will find in contemporary kitchens is that the countertops and backsplash are made of the same material. Most often this will be a man made material that does not have a lot of pattern to it with a shiny or matte finish. You can choose a backsplash that doesn’t match the countertop by using something with clean lines like glass tiles.

Fixtures & Appliances

Keep items like range hoods, faucets, and appliances sleek with minimal lines in stainless steel or a matte black.

Next, Warm Up That Contemporary Look!

Once you have planned the basic shapes for your contemporary style kitchen, you can start to warm it up by introducing wood, soft colors, and/or texture. As long as you are starting with crisp, uniform lines, adding in these not so contemporary style options, you will start to see a more inviting, yet modern design take hold.

If you add wood for an organic warm look, this can be done by using it in your cabinets or flooring or both! Just steer clear from wood that looks rustic like a pine. A designer favorite is something like rift-cut wood or a quarter-sawn oak. Using such wood allows you to achieve a very organic-looking warm style that practically glows, yet the shapes still provide that classic contemporary feel. The wood simply warms up the room.

When trying to achieve warmth through color consider something in the range of oranges, reds, and golds, something that has warm undertones. These colors can be deployed through a backsplash, a painted wall, and a few accent pieces on a countertop etc. Another color route to go in can be cool blues or warm-toned greys (so warm that it’s closer to a brown on the color wheel).

Another great way to warm up a contemporary kitchen is to add texture and/or depth wherever you can. This is a bit more of an advanced design strategy but a really great one. It can be the difference between looking like an average cool-toned coffee house versus a warm, inviting home.

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