Elements of the Modern Kitchen

by Lauren Busser Direct from the Designers™’ Editorial Director

The terms 'contemporary' and 'modern' are used almost interchangeably, and often incorrectly. Today, we'll show you just what is meant by 'modern' and see what makes a modern kitchen. Modern architecture refers to early-to-mid 20th century architecture that embodies the ideas of the machine age. Think Frank Lloyd Wright and 'form follows function.'

The result is generally a design that revels in the absence of ornamentation, with structures of steel or concrete and large expanses of glass. Here are just a few ways that you can incorporate some modern design tips into your new home.

Whirlpool’s® 6th Sense Live Technology™ brings appliances into the internet age by putting them online so you can monitor them from anywhere. Pictured here is the Whirlpool® Side-by-Side Refrigerator with 6th Sense Live™ Technology. This refrigerator has 26 square feet of storage space giving you plenty of space to store all your food, and with 6th Sense Live™ you can access specific functions from the Smart Assistant app and use 'smart stats' that lets you know exactly how your appliance has been running from your phone, tablet, or computer.

Whirlpool Side-by-Side Refrigerator with 6th Sense LiveTechnology


One of the first things that people think of when it comes to the modern kitchen is the technology. Appliances are very important in this case because they have to be sleek, durable and ensure performance with advanced features. The functionality of the appliances is important to take into consideration as well as integrating other elements including lighting components and hardware.

For a beautiful modern look, take a look at this recessed hardware from Contemporary Pull. A green-initiative company based in the United States, Contemporary Pull works to bring you hardware that is innovative and functional. Pictured here are the Round Two pulls.

Contemporary Pull Round Two Kitchen

Sleek Hardware

Another feature of cabinetry is sleek hardware that runs flush with the surfaces they're attached to. The look of the hardware is more integrated. Occasionally, you will find hardware that accentuates the horizontal lines of the cabinet by running the full length of the drawers and doors.

The best® Secret range hood is truly modern with its striking lines and geometric look. Underneath lies powerful technology including a 490 CFM internal blower and Heat Sentry™ technology that engages when excess heat is detected.

best Range Hoods Secret

Lack of Ornamentation

The lack or ornamentation is a signature of modern design. This is one of the best ways to distinguish a contemporary kitchen from a modern kitchen. A modern kitchen will have minimal texture, colors or patina.

The industrial pendant lights in this LAMPS PLUS® kitchen are just about the only ornamentation in the room. The Kichler Sayre Collection Olde Bronze Pendant Light brings a touch of industrial chic and rustic charm to this modern kitchen.

LAMPS PLUS Kitchen Kichler Sayre Collection Olde Bronze Pendant Light

Reliance on Natural Materials

Modern kitchens are not necessarily completely devoid of all ornamentation. But when it's there it tends to be from the natural beauty of wood grain or the veining of a marble top.

This KraftMaid® Contemporary & Dynamic kitchen adds a dash of orange color for interest. Bold horizontal drawer pulls and open shelves accent the Onyx Quartersawn Oak cabinets.

KraftMaid Contemporary and Dynamic Kitchen

Consistent Styling

Accent pieces should remain consistent in a modern kitchen. Unlike an eclectic kitchen you will need to plan elements like lighting, bar stools, tables and chairs so that they match the space and keep the sleek clean look that modern kitchens are known for. That is not to say that you cannot add a dash of color into your design, but you will want to pull it through. For example if you decide to go with a red countertop then consider red bar stools or finding some red bowls to display on an open shelf.

These elements will help you come up with a truly modern design for your kitchen. And please don’t feel that a modern kitchen belongs only in a modern home. You can incorporate this design just about anywhere with a little imagination.

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