The Characteristics of a Contemporary Kitchen Design
There is a notable difference between contemporary kitchen design and modern kitchen design; although these terms can be used interchangeably. Typically, contemporary means current or “of the moment”. On the other hand, modern means a specific design style ranging from the early to mid twentieth century that did away with the traditional styles of the days prior to the industrial revolution. While a contemporary kitchen can be modern, it can also adopt other styles too. For instance, it can have vintage accents and details without necessarily being a vintage kitchen. Below is a look at the characteristics of contemporary kitchen design.
Cutting Edge Technology
A key characteristic of contemporary kitchen design is the presence of cutting-edge technology. In this case, appliances are of great importance. They should be sleek, durable, possess advanced features and ensure great performance. Functionality and style are also important aspects to take into consideration. A contemporary kitchen usually features a variety of materials, patterns and textures. Contrasting materials add an important design element – giving a visually opulent look. Variations in the type of wood or stone, contrasted with complementary benchtops made from contemporary materials will give a striking and stylistic appearance .
Eye-catching light fixtures are another notable characteristic of contemporary kitchen design. Lights are usually streamlined and minimalistic; however, current trends in material, size and shape give an up-to-date and sophisticated look. Lighting should be considered for its decorative and functional elements – with particular attention paid to the way they bring out the textures and colours of the kitchen benchtops and cabinetry.
Colours & Patterns
Considering that most contemporary kitchens usually have crisp white walls, splashbacks are a common way of introducing colour and pattern into the décor. Kitchen design that feature mosaic, glass tile, ceramic or stone splashbacks will add a distinctive element that represents your personal style. Additionally, contemporary kitchens include old materials utilized in new and creative ways. Customers have the freedom to use existing materials in unique and interesting combinations – taking basic elements and combining them in creative and contemporary ways. In other words, clients have the opportunity to be at the cutting edge of kitchen design.
Flat Panel Door Styles
Many contemporary kitchen designs usually feature flat-panel door styles. In some cases, these are known as slab-door styles and are signature elements in the contemporary kitchen design. Contemporary kitchen design also utilises full-overlay frameless cabinet construction. There are several terms used to describe this cabinet construction type: frameless, overlay, Euro frameless and full overlay. All these terms essentially mean the same thing: the cabinet box is overlaid by the door. Most often, this style is used in contemporary kitchens as it is sleeker when compared to a flush-insert cabinet. The face frame cannot be seen in a true frameless cabinet, and consistent spacing is found between all the drawers and doors, even between two cabinets. In what is referred to as a frame overlay, the homeowner will still get a face frame together with varying space between cabinets and doors.
Simple and sleek hardware is another distinct characteristic of contemporary kitchens. In such kitchens, C-channel hardware integrated into the cabinet will most often be seen, together with flat linear or tubular pulls. In many instances, the cabinet’s horizontal lines will be accentuated by cabinet hardware that runs the full length of the doors and drawers. Also, these kitchens usually rely on the beauty of natural materials. This does not mean that they cannot have some ornamentation. It is just that detail and ornamentation comes from a material’s natural characteristics such as the natural veining and beauty of marble or the horizontal oak grain after it is rift cut.
Although it may not initially be apparent, contemporary kitchen design places emphasis on horizontal lines. This can be seen in the textures, patterns, cabinet design and hardware. For instance, contemporary kitchens often have multiple sets of stacked drawers that are placed adjacent to one another, rather than distributed throughout the kitchen. Long and streamlined cupboard handles can be set horizontally so as to accentuates the drawer lines. Cut-outs and floating panels on the back walls also accentuate the horizontal theme. In addition, horizontal grain and horizontal grooves on all cabinet fronts add to a sleek kitchen design. Our Modern Kitchen Gallery offers a number of examples of horizontal design.
Consistency in accent style is a notable characteristic of contemporary kitchens. Accents like tables, chairs, bar stools, lighting and decorative items all have to be taken into consideration when a kitchen is being designed. In an eclectic kitchen, decorator items and accents are often drawn from multiple styles and have contrasting textures and colours. However, in a contemporary kitchen the style of various design elements remains consistent. There is no rule stating that both the kitchen and the architecture have to be contemporary. Many centuries-old farmhouses and apartments in France, Spain and Italy incorporate contemporary kitchen design into their original styling. While there is no hard and fast rule that states that colour cannot be introduced into a contemporary kitchen design, consistency remains the key.
Streamlined Surfaces and High Functionality
Contemporary kitchens usually borrow design elements like streamlined surfaces and high functionality from the modern design movement. However, their style often includes traditional ideas to give a sleek and liveable feel. The underlying philosophy for these designs is “clean and simple“. While the approach may differ from homeowner to homeowner, simple white cabinetry with clean lines is recommended. Texture and warmth is then added with elements such as a dark hardwood floors and interesting tiles.
White and stainless steel appliances usually make it possible to transition easily to a contemporary kitchen look. This is because they balance well against warm wood tones. The list of detail that can be accommodated by a contemporary kitchen is almost endless. A homeowner can include funky or “retro-style” appliances, and is practically unlimited when it comes to colour choices. However, clutter will undermine a contemporary look and small appliances should be either very streamlined or should be stored in a cupboard when not in use. Advanced storage systems are a great way to eliminate clutter!
Wonderful Kitchen Design
Wonderful Kitchens is a Sydney-based company that offers high-quality contemporary kitchens. We also supply a full range of provincial and custom-designed kitchens. We manufacture kitchen components in our own factory and they are constructed to the highest standard – with the quickest possible turn around. Site supervisors are there for every job and each of our kitchen designers have over ten years of experience.
Contact us today for more information!