What has metallic accents, impeccable attention to scale, and is completely clutter-free while still boasting a personal touch? The contemporary kitchens of our dreams. When it comes to striking a balance between form versus function and tradition versus modernity, we have a lot to learn from interior designers.
As such, we compiled our 40 favorite contemporary kitchens from style-savvy professionals. These spaces offer plenty of fresh ways to show the heart of the home some on-trend yet timeless love. So if you're renovating and want to feel out your options before committing to one design direction, or you simply want some inspiration, take a peek at these next-level contemporary kitchens (and our tips on how to achieve the look).
Install Subway Tiles
With crisp white paint and subway tiles, simple silver knobs, classic hardwood floors, and subtle black countertops, this is one of the kitchens that's impossible to get tired of. From New York-based designer Elizabeth Roberts, the kitchen's simplicity lets the great architectural bones of the room do most of the talking. The flood of natural light doesn't hurt either.
Introduce a Bold Color
Midcentury perfection meets modern minimalism in this unique space. It has a futuristic cabin feel to it that could only be achieved by West Coast firm JH Interior Design. The use of warm chestnut brown wood in everything from the floor to the ceiling—and even the appliances like the refrigerator—creates a cohesive, one-of-a-kind environment. Even better, it allows us to focus on the striking textured orange facade, which is lit up nicely by the gold pendant.
Add a Vintage Flair
This kitchen has a ton of personality without feeling over-the-top. We love how Open House LA chose leather bar stools that don't quite match the blue-painted cabinets—the room is a bit more offbeat this way, creating an intrigue that we wouldn't get otherwise. While the vintage wall art, avant-garde photography, and hidden hood are easy highlights, our favorite part is the counter nook since it's reminiscent of an Art Deco Italian coffee bar.
Say Yes to Marble
You can always count on designer Catherine Kwong to decorate flawless San Francisco homes with a sense of place. This kitchen is proof that you should use marble and bulbous light fixtures whenever you can.
Plus, the stone backsplash is sleek, elegant, and a bit more unique than your classic subway tile aesthetic. We love how the fancier elements are toned down with the minimal black leather sling chairs and surrounding light wood grain to keep things approachable.
Opt for Minimalism
What would a roundup of contemporary kitchens be without a quintessentially modern one in the mix? If you appreciate the austere elegance of minimalist spaces, this kitchen by Scandinavian designer Annaleena will be up your alley.
The lone suspended light bulb is the perfect piece to illuminate this kitchen and dining space, and that matte black dinnerware piled on the geometric white lacquered island is the finishing touch.
Use a Few Traditional Elements
Traditional styles can still look creative and on-trend when paired with modern elements. Case in point? Elizabeth Roberts' masterpiece of a kitchen with this elaborate French statement range. To make it pop, it's nestled against a backdrop of gorgeous marble counters, hood, backsplash, and shelving. The slate grey-painted cabinets help soften the contrast between the bright white stone surfaces and the deep black-and-gold stove.
Don't Be Afraid of Color
Here's proof that a deep ocean blue hue is the ideal paint color for a contemporary kitchen. This bold color packs a lot of punch in the dine-in kitchen. Plus, the exposed shelving and lone leaning painting really personalize the room for a laid-back feel that doesn't take up any valuable surface space.
The gold wall sconces, hardware, and faucet also elevate the space without clashing with the lightly-worn brown table and flooring.
Honor the Architecture
We're impressed with how this kitchen takes a cue from the Victorian bones of this home while also introducing some contemporary elements, like the Mediterranean floor tiles, exposed beams, white hidden range hood, and sassy brass pendant lights. Though we wouldn't know it if we saw each item on its own, they complement each other beautifully thanks to Portland-based JH Interior Design's expertise.
If your space is big enough for a kitchen island, consider thinking outside the box and opting for an antique work table instead of a traditional block-shaped island.
For something a little moodier, we love these dark gray lacquered cabinets and backsplash in a kitchen from the Scandinavian firm Fantastic Frank. The gold hardware adds a touch of glam to the space, making a small kitchen still feel sophisticated and fancy.
Create a Unique Layout
First of all, we love the actual layout of this kitchen, designed by Los Angeles designer Amber Interiors. The island does a great job of breaking it off from the rest of the space since it bleeds into more formal settings like the living room and dining area.
Personalize Where You can
Tailored yet livable, this Long Island home was perfected by BHDM Design. With plenty of storage space, sprawling countertops, and comfortable stools at the island for casual dining, this is the ideal family kitchen. The framed artwork above the stove adds just a touch of personality without creating clutter, and even better, those tile floors are super durable and easy to clean up, so no one will be crying over spilled milk.
Try Something Unexpected
Here's another contemporary kitchen that feels fresh and new but also incorporates classic pieces like an extravagant chandelier. The oak flooring, crisp white walls, and stainless steel stove peaking out from behind the kitchen island creates an easy balance between casual and fancy.
Separate the Space
We simply couldn't resist one more kitchen from JH Interior Design. It's the perfect guide for how to refresh a kitchen without doing a full-on renovation. For example, if you need more cooking space in the kitchen, bring in a tall farmhouse dining table instead of an island.
You can use it as additional dining space when you aren't utilizing it for cooking purposes. The linear gold pendant adds a touch of modern style to make the room feel a bit more elegant.
Work With One Color
Though we love a classic white kitchen, there's something cool and unexpected about a mostly wood space with a pop of color. In this Naked Kitchens space, the use of a jewel-toned green feels warm and inviting without sacrificing that cool vibe that comes with contemporary kitchens.
Play With Pattern
We can't decide which element we love more: the pearly backsplash or the patterned tiles along the island walls. Both elements give this space a delightful coastal feel without getting too beachy. The best part about going for this look is that you have so many patterns to choose from, so you can set whatever mood speaks to you.
In this Pure Salt Interiors kitchen, there is a slew of different styles that somehow all work together. For instance, we're loving the delicate cane chairs under industrial brass pendants. Plus, the contrast between light and dark is unparalleled.
Give Black Paint a Try
Like we said, we're really into contrasting hues, and this Katie Hackworth kitchen is a perfect reason why. The bright white upper portion perfectly compliments the glossy black cabinetry down below, and, of course, the marble countertops with grey veining provide the perfect transition between light and dark.
Maximize a Small Space
Especially if you live in an apartment, you probably won't be blessed with a huge kitchen. Case in point: this New York space by Desiree Burns. Here, she brilliantly added her own twist on a classic all-white kitchen by keeping the walls and cabinetry white but added a super-pale blue tiled backsplash. She didn't stop there: She also painted the bar the same charming shade. The rattan pendants add a fun quirkiness that's always much-welcomed in a small space.
Until recently, we associated terrazzo with school cafeterias and doctors' offices. That said, the speckled material has made a serious comeback, showing up in the world's most luxurious hotels and spas. Here, this kitchen by Dzek, is a shining example of how terrazzo can seriously elevate any space. After all, it's a fun alternative to a traditional tiled backsplash.
Take a Page From the Parisians
If there is one look we'd gladly steal from the French, it's a classic black-and-white tiled floor. However, this Erin Williamson kitchen adds a fun American twist: colored cabinetry. The best part about this look is that literally every color goes with black and white, so you really can't go wrong.
Choose Soothing Shades
The cool tones and organic materials (namely the rattan pendants) give this kitchen a unique coastal vibe, and we're all about it. Don't worry; you can still snag this look even if you don't live on a coast. The easiest way to master the beach vibes without going overboard is to stick to a palette of grays, blues, and whites with pops of natural textures—especially wood. The farmhouse sink doesn't hurt either.
Opt for a Unique Backsplash
Subway tile backsplashes are classic for a reason: They work every time. That said, if you're in the market to try something different, skip the tiles and opt for a marble slab backsplash. Extra points if it has beautiful veins running through it.
Industrialize the Kitchen
Industrial style can get a bad rap for sometimes feeling a bit cold, but we beg to differ. There's a way to incorporate industrial elements without making the space feel like a factory. For example, matte black pendants. No matter which finish you choose (shiny chrome or muted brass), industrial-style pendants add a sense of style to just about any kitchen.
Buy a Cool Light Fixture
Ample lighting is an essential feature of any kitchen, so getting a beautiful and unique light fixture is a must. Even if you have low ceilings, you can opt for a flush mount or low-hanging chandelier. There are so many options that you're bound to find something special that suits your space.
Make the Most of a Narrow Space
As anyone who's ever lived in a studio apartment knows, you do not have to sacrifice having a stylish kitchen because it's extremely small or narrow. In fact, small kitchens provide a fun challenge that we definitely accept! Get creative and build food prep stations along one wall and cabinetry along the other. If you're renting and can't exactly change the layout too much, you can always buy freestanding storage units with counter space.
Go Bold on Color
Painting your whole kitchen a bright shade like fire-engine-red or hot pink can get old quickly. However, choosing an equally as alluring color in a much less aggressive tone, like sky blue, is easy on the eyes, and you'll never get sick of it. If blue's not your color, try a minty green or buttery yellow.
Commit to One Shade
Like we said, swathing your kitchen in one shade that you won't want to change in a few months is key. Plus, you can take it a step further and choose decor in the same shade for a bonus. In this Naked Kitchens space, the same soothing ocean blue appears on the walls, cabinets, island, and even the pendants.
Don't Feel Obligated to Match
Interior design does not follow the same rules as fashion when it comes to color. For instance, we probably wouldn't pair a grayish blue with a rich aqua in our outfit, but, somehow, it works in this sunny space. If there are two colors that you absolutely love and can't decide which one to change, just use both.
Go Back in Time
Everything in this bright and fun kitchen looks like it's quite a few years old, and we're seriously into it. From the slightly chipped black-painted island and cabinetry to the distressed mis-matched stools to the retro-looking Smeg refrigerator, this kitchen is a case study in the coveted perfectly imperfect look.
Paint the Walls Pink
Yes, there is a way to use pink in a big way without it feeling too feminine. Case in point: this punchy kitchen. The walls, painted a delicious dusty pink, almost look neutral—especially against the bright pop of teal on the cabinetry, drawers, and island. When it comes to pink, fear not.
Try Chevron on for Size
If you like the idea of an all-white kitchen, but want to incorporate a splash of color, try installing a colorful tiled backsplash in a chevron pattern (another fun take on a traditional design). The great thing about white is that it goes with every color, so whether you choose something soft and demure like pale pink or for something a bit bolder, like bright blue, you can't go wrong.
Consider a Monochromatic Scheme
Monochromatic color schemes are the way to go if you're not big on colorful design. As long as you're mixing different shades and tones of the same color, you've done it right. In this space, beige looks luxe when paired with simple wood stools and a matte black hood above the oven.
Take Note of New Palettes
If you like the idea of color but don't want to go too bold, consider opting for a more earthy palette of cognac brown, olive green, and creamy beige. There's something so soothing about these mid-century shades that make us feel instantly calm.
Open the Concept
Open-concept kitchens are always in style, and this Katie Hodges-designed space is proof. Here, she masterfully separated the dining space from the kitchen without doing too much. The larger piece in the kitchen (the island) is the darker element, and in the dining area, the larger piece (the dining table) is the lighter element, creating a beautiful contrast between the two spaces.
Focus on the Floor
At first glance, this bright and airy space looks like a classic white kitchen. However, the brick floors add a totally unexpected (and super cool) element, making this one of our favorite spaces. The muted red tiles give this albeit modern kitchen a more rustic feel, and we can't get enough.
Contrast Your Colors
There are few better color combinations than black and white. In this small kitchen, the glossy backsplash and matte cabinets pair perfectly with the black cabinetry. Plus, the shiny gold-toned hardware makes this space feel glamorous in all the right ways.
Look to the Past
Kitchens of the past—we're talking '60s, '70s, and '80s—were full of unpainted wooden cabinetry. There's a way to bring that style back without it feeling, well, outdated, and this Bespoke Only kitchen is basically offering a tutorial on how to bring that look into a more contemporary space. The rich and rustic woodgrain feels too cool against contemporary marble walls and countertops.
Pick Your Favorite Material
Marble reins over all other materials in this sleek black-and-white kitchen. Few textures are as cool and contemporary as marble, so outfitting as many surfaces as you can in the timeless texture is totally okay. Plus, there are so many varieties and colorways, so you can go as bold or quiet as you want.
Sometimes, metallic accents can overpower the space—especially if most of the materials are a bit quieter than shiny metals. Use your metallic accents sparingly, and opt for a more muted finish to keep the pieces from standing out in the wrong way.
Thrift When You Can
Vintage furniture is always a good idea, and these Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs are helping us explain why. The distressed frames wear their age proudly and totally up the cool factor in this ultra-contemporary space.