Is a Contemporary Kitchen Right for You?

by Jane VanOsdol on August 15, 2011

Contemporary is a favorite look in kitchens among designers and homeowners alike. If you’ve been thinking about remodeling your kitchen into a more streamlined workspace, then contemporary may be the style for you. Let’s look at a few ideas that you can incorporate to transform your kitchen into a contemporary, hip space.


When deciding upon a color palette for your contemporary kitchen, designers often stick to neutral shades such as brown, taupe, cream and white. However, if you love color, don’t despair, because you can also add a shot of color to a contemporary kitchen in the form of a rug or piece of artwork. Some designers are also adding shades of muted yellow to a contemporary kitchen, particularly to the cabinets, to help warm up the space.

Appliances and Furniture

Above all, a contemporary design is all about sleek, non-fussy lines.  Stainless steel appliances are the norm in a contemporary kitchen. A gleaming refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and range hood do make a commanding presence in a kitchen. For furniture in the contemporary kitchen, you can use stainless steel, chrome, frosted or clear glass, nickel and light-colored woods, such as maple and birch. The wood should be of simple design with no carving or other adornments. You can combine the elements to help balance it all out. For example, if you have stainless steel bar stools at your island, combine that with a wood table and upholstered chairs to help keep the look from becoming too severe.


Granite countertops are still popular in a contemporary kitchen. For a different look, you can also try concrete countertops, which give your kitchen a sleek look and are also quite durable.


To help warm up the space in a contemporary kitchen, a wood floor is a popular choice. From reclaimed pine to Brazilian cherry, a wood floor helps balance out the starkness of stainless steel. If you want a more formal feel, slate tile is a perfect choice. Slate will last for years, but you need to be sure the prep work is done correctly. Since slate is extremely heavy, your sub floor needs to be strong enough to support it, and it needs to be installed correctly so that the floor won’t shift, which would cause the slate to crack.


Industrial-style lighting looks chic and modern in a contemporary kitchen. Look for industrial-style stainless steel pendants, industrial-style glass pendants, swing-arm sconces and caged sconces, any of which will illuminate your contemporary kitchen to perfection.

As a final touch, add a touch of greenery to a contemporary kitchen. A plant or flower arrangement in a polished vase will inject softness and life and keep the space from feeling too stark and cold. It’s all about finding the right balance between sleek and soft and wood and steel. Finding this balance will help make your contemporary kitchen home improvement project a success.

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