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Is a Contemporary Kitchen Style Right for You?

Determining the overall style of your kitchen is an important step. Where traditional kitchen provides elegant symmetry, a contemporary kitchen style is simplistic with clean straight lines. For those of you who have only one picture of a contemporary kitchen in their mind, think again. Contemporary styling can actually provide a wide range of variety that appeals to a number of different personalities and lifestyles. A contemporary style kitchen can present itself in an assortment of flavors. It may have a functional commercial kitchen look, a bright bold colorful look or one of streamlined elegance.

Functional Simplicity

For the practical cook who has functional efficiency as their top priority, easy to clean matt finishes with brushed nickel hardware may fit their contemporary tastes. Top grade stainless steel appliances are a must for the serious chef of the home. Plenty of storage space, both in upper and lower cabinets will make sure that everything has its own space and the work areas of the countertops remain uncluttered. Proper lighting of the cooktop and food prep areas will be another important priority. Undercabinet LED’s will illuminate the countertops and the dropdown lighting over the island may be specially selected to provide a bit of extra style in the center of the clean lines of efficient practicality.

Bold and Energizing

On the other end of the contemporary personality spectrum is the individual or couple who wants their kitchen to be bright and vibrant, a fun place to be. Black and white with bright color accents will always be a favorite with this crowd. The color accents may be minimal, such as the bright red pendant light fixtures, or they may be big and bold, with a whole wall of bright yellow cabinetry.

Retro minimalist furnishings will add to the fun look. Stainless steel or brushed nickel finishes will be common in both the furnishings and the kitchen fixtures. You will also be more likely to find fabrics or décor items with bold patterns in these kitchens than some of the other contemporary kitchens. These kitchens will be designed for entertaining with seating areas to accommodate guests at the center island or along a peninsula. These kitchens are for the hip, fun crowd who want to make a statement with their home décor.

Low Key and Comfortable

The choice of cabinet materials and their finish colors are very important in setting the tone for the contemporary kitchen. To create a relaxing atmosphere that is comfortable and calming, lighter wood tones combined with metal accents works well. Subtle monochromatic color schemes create a peaceful atmosphere that is very different from the energetic flair of the bold contrasts mentioned above. Natural fibers and a bit more texture will add to the relaxed feel of this contemporary styling. Open shelving or glass panels on cabinet doors may also add to the comfortable, yet practical sense that you will find here.

Sleek Elegance

It may be just a satin finish or it may be a high gloss, but there will definitely be some shine in this kitchen. This kitchen is all about style and showing it off. Crisp clean lines and absolutely no clutter will be found here. The lighting will be layered to allow for setting just the right atmosphere for entertaining. This kitchen is likely to include a wine cooler and comfortable seating for a small gathering of people. Everything in this kitchen will be sleek and polished. Cylinders and other geometric curves will be incorporated into the furnishings and décor items to accent the straight lines and uniform finishes. Appliances in the elegant contemporary kitchen will seem to blend right into the cabinetry and countertops.

Charcoal grays, satin finish black and rich smooth wood tones are likely to be chosen for the cabinet faces. Brushed nickel or stainless steel may be used for the clean trim lines and understated cabinet hardware. Glass will also be used to add to the glamorous look, perhaps as a tabletop or raised serving bar, in addition to its use in overhead cabinet doors.

European Flair

You will also find many contemporary style kitchens that incorporate certain modern European elements into their streamlined look. These might include things like furniture style legs under the cabinetry that gives it a more mobile look. Open shelving rather than upper cabinets is also a European element that has gained some popularity. This is a feature that can create a much more spacious feel to a small kitchen, particularly a narrow galley style.

As you can see, when someone uses the term ‘contemporary’ when referring to their kitchen style, it can have a very broad interpretation. A good way to assist your cabinet designer in determining exactly what your contemporary tastes look like is to provide magazine photos of kitchens that have some of the elements of style, color and layout that you are looking for. That way the designer has some great visual references to work with in developing a kitchen design that will fit your flavor of contemporary design.