For many people, the kitchen is the heart of the home. So when they begin to look a little dated, it’s only natural to want to transform the room into a modern space. A streamlined, contemporary kitchen design, combined with integrated appliances, thoughtful lighting and a mix of levels that helps to keep your room clutter free whilst leaving you more space to relax and entertain might sound like a dream – but it can be a reality.
The in-frame construction of handleless cabinets gives your kitchen an edge on some flat fronted designs and makes it extremely durable. In smaller kitchen spaces, the absence of handles helps to make a room feel bigger, while in a kitchen with lots of cabinetry, it prevents an overload of steel handles. If you don’t want to commit to all handleless doors then you can give a run of classic cabinets a modern edge by dressing them with sleek bar handles, adding modern built-in appliances and topping with cool composite worktops. For added contemporary chic, mix and match styles incorporating flat-fronted wall cabinets.
While we all might want that statement – and often used – KitchenAid mixer on show, that doesn’t necessarily work for all the other kitchen paraphernalia it’s so easy to collect. The key to maintaining the clean lines in your kitchen is keeping it uncluttered. Hiding kitchen clutter, particularly in open-plan kitchens is essential, so plan in plenty of storage with deep pan drawers, tambour units to keep small appliances, crockery and china out of site. Floor to ceiling handleless cupboards can hide a multitude of sins so if you have space, they’re a good investment. Remember, though, for your kitchen to work efficiently, you’ll want easy access to all these things when you do need them, so we recommend siting pan drawers by ovens, larders close to prep areas and china close to the dishwasher.
When it comes to your worktops, material, colour and pattern is dependent on the overall look that you want to achieve. Plain white worktops compliment modern cabinetry beautifully, and can be perfect for contemporary designs, but if you want a slightly less clinical feel then manufacturers such as Silestone and Ceasarstone are now producing man-made composites that look like natural materials. Of course, while they can look just like marble or concrete, the real benefit of these surfaces is that they are much easier to look after than natural stones, particularly very porous ones such as marble. They’re also fabulous for creating feature splashbacks – for instance book matching a faux marble – with less of a financial outlay than, say, Carrara. Kitchens have evolved and as their colour and any pattern are consistent, the choice has grown over the past few years to include everything from pure brilliant white to zingy orange.
If you think of yourself as the next master chef, you might have your heart set on a range cooker, so choose one of the more modern steel models from Mercury, Smeg or Rangemaster. Integrate as many appliances as you can as clean lines must continue across appliances too. If possible, place items such as washing machines and tumble dryers in utility rooms. Keep sightlines clear by installing simple below cabinet, in-ceiling or pop-up extractors rather than fancy hanging pendants, keep fridges and freezers behind closed doors and invest in good-looking, hardworking built-in cooking appliances and a sleek glass zoned induction hob. Finish off with a few modern-day luxuries, such as a boiling water tap, pop-up power points and cool lighting.
Modern design tips
Pick simple surfaces
Keep your design sleek by choosing glass or composite for a splashback and large-format floor tiles with a matching grout.
Play with levels
Think about adding a high breakfast bar to an island for relaxed eating or create several levels on a peninsula with a raised area to hide the washing-up from dinner guests.
Ultra-thin worktops are great for creating the illusion that your units are more like pieces of furniture. Or try wrapping a composite work surface in a contrasting shade or material around cabinetry on islands and at the end of runs.
Trip the light fantastic
Why not get creative with your lighting? Use plinth lights to make base units look like they are floating or adding LED strips to the interior of wall cabinets or shelves to highlight favourite accessories. They can create the perfect mood in any kitchen.