Modern Kitchen Design

contemporary chic kitchen

A modern design style, along with traditional kitchen design,  transitional kitchen design, and contemporary kitchen design, is one of the most popular choices among people remodeling their kitchen. Despite this, many cannot identify what particular aspects make up a modern style. Many people struggle to identify the differences in kitchen design styles, especially when comparing modern with similar looking approaches, such as contemporary. 

When it comes to modern vs. contemporary, many tend to use the terms interchangeably, when in reality there are some stark differences. "Contemporary" refers to the current style of the times, whereas modern is a specific design type that diverged from the 'traditional' style. 

While the two terms are not synonymous in the design world, a kitchen, or any room for that matter, can be both contemporary and modern. While the differences and similarities may seem overly complicated, each style has specific attributes that make them unique and identifiable. There are notable differences in kitchen cabinetry style, in addition to differences in hardware. In her Houzz article, found here, Rebekah Zaveloff details the elements that make up a modern kitchen. In her work she describes 8 elements. Below we have listed some of those that we felt are directly applicable to our work as a Long Island kitchen design business. 


1. Flat-panel door style. This is sometimes referred to as a slab-door style and is a signature element of modern kitchen design. You might see a modern kitchen using a Shaker door style, but that often falls into transitional rather than modern — which is not to say it can't be used; it's just not a purist's perspective. 

2. Frameless, full-overlay cabinet construction. A bunch of terms are thrown around to describe this type of cabinet construction: frameless, Euro frameless, overlay, full overlay. They all mean the same thing, that the door overlays the cabinet box. This style is the most often used in modern kitchens because it's sleeker than a flush-inset cabinet, which is often associated with more traditional kitchen, cabinet and furniture design.

3. Sleek and simple hardware. In modern kitchens you'll most often see C-channel hardware that's integrated into the cabinet, as well as tubular pulls or flat linear pulls. Lots of times the horizontal lines of the cabinets will be accentuated by cabinet hardware running the full length of the drawers and doors.

4. Lack of ornamentation. Always a signature of modern, this is often where contemporary and modern stop being similar. Whereas you might see patterned tile shapes or multiple materials with texture, color and patina in a contemporary kitchen, you won't see much of that in a modern kitchen. Flat-panel door styles and sleek hardware are joined here by a simple full-height glass backsplash and countertops without any pattern or veining.

5. Reliance on the beauty of natural materials. It's not to say that modern kitchens can't have a little bit of ornamentation, but when they do, they get it from the natural characteristics in a material, such as the horizontal grain of oak when it's rift cut or the natural beauty and veining of marble.

6. Emphasis on horizontal lines. You might not notice at first, but many modern kitchens share a tendency toward the horizontal: long, wide lines, stacks of drawer cabinets lined in a row, hardware set long and horizontal to accentuate the lines of the drawers. In this kitchen the floating panel of the back wall and the cutout accentuate the horizontal theme.

Alicia Friscia