Defined by straight lines and clean silhouettes, modern design gets a bad rap for being cold and stark. However, the functional and easy-to-navigate design style also happens to be a great style for kitchens. Modern kitchens are easy to navigate and always look fresh thanks to their neutral color palette and timeless fixtures. The signature qualities of any modern kitchen are an open floor plan (or an uncluttered space) and simple design elements. Less is more for this versatile style.
To make a kitchen look more modern, we recommend foregoing any trends (like open shelving, marble counters, or checkerboard backsplashes), and opting instead for sleek finishes like overlay slab cabinet doors and drawer fronts and white countertops. We're not saying you can't embrace the trends that bring you joy, but maybe just sprinkle in the fun in ways that can be swapped out easily when you grow tired of them, like cabinet pulls or lighting. You don't have to spend a ton of money or rip out all of your cabinetry to achieve a modern kitchen. The easiest way to get the look is through simple swaps like paint colors, lighting, and fixtures.
Don't feel boxed in by white cabinets or neutral hues. We promise that modern kitchen ideas can still be fun. In fact, it's one of the easiest styles to put your own spin on. Ahead, we're highlighting 36 modern kitchens to spark your inspiration and maybe get you started on your next home renovation.
Tie It All Together
To make the kitchen feel cohesive with the rest of this apartment, The Brooklyn Home Company opted for metal bar stools in the same finish as both the appliances and the kitchen's hardware.
Paint the Floors
An easy way to add personality is through paint. Instead of adding a wash of color to the walls, try the floors instead. This kitchen by Kureck Jones feels modern thanks to its sleek wood finishes, and the floor adds an unexpected pop of personality. Plus, it's easy enough to change when the color starts to wear.
Pair Marble With Steel
Stainless steel is incredibly durable, but it often feels more industrial than modern, especially when paired with wood. In this outdoor kitchen by Bonnie Edelman, however, the brightness of the marble island and backsplash adds a organic touch.
Natural light is the key to making a kitchen feel fresh, open, and clean. We love this kitchen by Mark Egerstrom for the wide open glass door that leads to the backyard for a sleek indoor/outdoor pathway.
Streamline the Vent Hood
Rather than an ornate metal range hood that will ultimately become covered in fingerprints, Lindsey Bond opted to cover this kitchen's appliance to match the surrounding shelving. Not only do the clean lines of the range hood cover feel more modern, but it also blends in with the walls, making the room feel bigger.
Keep the Materials to a Minimum
If a typical all-white modern kitchen isn't your cup of tea, simply pick one material and run with it. This kitchen by Commune Design is swathed in deeply stained wood that feels cozy while still looking streamlined.
Use Sculptural Light Fixtures
While modern design is all about natural lighting, you'll still need some light fixtures. Go for simple yet sculptural ones, like the brass pendant with two globe lights in this kitchen designed by Regan Baker.
Add Cushy Bar Stools
Offset cold white marble counters and cabinetry with sleek yet cushy bar stools. In this kitchen designed by Pure Salt Interiors, the curved stools with dark wood bases bring comfort and warmth into the space.
Hide Your Coffee Station
Keep your counters free and your kitchen looking uncluttered by hiding your coffee station. For the kitchen in HGTV star Alison Victoria's Atlanta loft, she hid a Miele espresso machine behind custom cabinetry that easily lifts up.
Create a Countersplash
Consider Dark Counters
Many modern kitchens boast bright white counters, but dark ones can add a moody touch without compromising the airy atmosphere. Take it from this kitchen designed by Linda Hayslett, which still feels bright thanks to the natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows and crisp white walls.
Make Stools Blend In
Maintain a clean look by using bar stools that blend in with your island. Here, designer Pam Schneider added backless bar stools that easily blend into the black island when pushed against it. Wood beams and a large plant add a rustic, welcoming feel.
Try Open Shelving Within Cabinetry
In an all-white kitchen designed by Barrie Benson, a section of open shelving in a warm wood tone sits between the cabinetry. It's ideal for displaying your favorite dinnerware while also giving the room much-needed warmth.
Use Glass Fronts
Cabinetry with glass fronts may seem counterintuitive to the clean look of a modern kitchen, but that makes them the perfect unexpected touch to make your kitchen stand out. Enhance the space with natural light, white marble counters, and a good range hood for good measure, as designer Summer Thornton did in this kitchen of a Chicago townhouse.
Go for Gold
Stainless steel is a modern kitchen staple, but we're also loving the edgy, high-shine look of mirrored islands. In this kitchen designed by Dries Otten, the gold mirrored surface brings some glamour to the playful elements throughout, like the single pendant light, swirls of pink marble, and cobalt blue loft railing above. Oh, and that built-in planter is genius.
Let the Light Pour In
Clean lines, graphic fixtures, a simple color scheme, and plenty of natural light... This space designed by Arent & Pyke features all the characteristics of a striking and modern kitchen.
Warm It Up
Warm chocolate stone surfaces rule in this kitchen designed by Hecker Guthrie. The smooth and seamless transition from surface to surface creates a soothing visual flow. This monochromatic and moody set-up is perfect in a kitchen with little natural light, as it embraces the existing space and creates a cozy and intimate speak-easy effect.
Since you have to spend most of your time at home, why not make it a fun place to be? Taking notes from this vibrant, playful, and geometric kitchen designed by Dries Otten is a good place to start. It's a bold and contemporary interpretation of classic Art Deco staples.
71 Kitchen Backsplash Ideas for Every Aesthetic
Are Kitchen Islands Useful or a Waste of Space?
33 Kitchen Countertops You Need To Consider
Shop Martha Stewart's Exclusive New Collection