Modern kitchen ideas: 17 contemporary kitchens to inspire | Real Homes

Modern kitchen ideas: 17 contemporary kitchens to inspire

Love contemporary kitchens? These modern kitchen ideas were made for you...

Modern kitchen ideas
(Image credit: Chris Snook)

We could scroll through modern kitchen ideas all day – there is just something about a contemporary kitchen that is so dreamy. The slimline handleless cupboards, marble worktops and funky appliances. Who wouldn't want a clutter-free, inviting and seamlessly functional modern kitchen design? 

We therefore put our scrolling time to good use and bring you a gallery of stunning modern kitchens to get you inspired. Think elegant, minimalist cabinetry, carefully selected colour schemes and a few select feature pieces too. You'll see that they are usually home to fitted storage and built in appliances, as well as fine grained materials, meaning that they are usually easy to clean, and keep in good shape, too.

So whether you are designing a kitchen from scratch or just looking for some swoon-worthy inspiration, here are our tips for creating a gorgeous contemporary kitchen design and you'll find plenty more kitchen ideas, handy tips and tricks in our feature. 

1. Opt for all white in a contemporary kitchen

contemporary kitchen with white scheme and marble kitchen island by meir australia

(Image credit: Meir Australia)

Nothing says contemporary kitchen quite like an all-white scheme. Simple, yet effective, this stand-out scheme makes a real design statement (as long as you can keep it tidy).

If you're concerned about the space feeling a little too clinical, try working different textures into your space to break up the use of one colour. For this modern kitchen design, fine grey veining throughout the white marble kitchen island is just what's required to add interest to the space.

For more white kitchen ideas, take a look at our stylish guide.

2. Or experiment with on-trend blue-grey pastels 

contemporary kitchen design: grey kitchen from original btc

(Image credit: Original BTC)

If an all white, super contemporary kitchen design is too much for your taste (or you can't trust yourself to keep it looking spotless) consider opting for cabinetry in an on-trend, blue-grey pastel shade, instead.

Grey tones are ideal in a contemporary kitchen, but with timeless appeal and have a slightly warmer, more homely feeling about them. Pair with copper accents – check out that kitchen tap – for an extra dose of contemporary style.

If (like us) you can't get enough of the moody interiors trend, you'll love our black kitchen ideas.

contemporary kitchen with shaker style cabinets and white metro tiles by breyers design

(Image credit: Brayers Design)

Shaker style kitchens have certainly stood the test of time; making them the perfect option if you want to design a contemporary kitchen with some longevity.

This classic style of cabinetry is particularly standout in modern kitchen designs when part of an on-trend dark and moody interiors scheme. Style with (equally stylish) white metro tiles to create some contrast and brass accents, if you're going all out.

Find more modern Shaker style kitchens in our design gallery.

4. Invest in sleek matt cabinetry for contemporary kitchens 

Optiplan contemporary Stratford kitchen Light grey and Gun powder grey

(Image credit: Optiplan Kitchens)

Cabinetry with a matt-effect finish is making waves in the world of contemporary kitchen design (and we can see why). Effortlessly sleek and sophisticated – particularly in this grey tone – it makes the perfect addition to modern kitchen designs.

Pair with a statement mirrored splashback, which makes a stylish alternative to more traditional tiles.

For more kitchen splashback ideas, take a look at our design guide.

5. Or opt for a gloss finish for a contemporary kitchen 

Contemporary kitchens: Roma Cashmere High Gloss kitchen by Optiplan Kitchens

(Image credit: Optiplan Kitchens)

Sleek, luxurious-looking surfaces are key to ultra-modern kitchens. This includes kitchen cabinets, which can work as part of a streamlined kitchen design if they match the other surfaces. 

This very chic minimalist kitchen benefits from having the same colour and glossy finish throughout, including the cupboards and the kitchen island drawers. It features the Handleless Roma Range kitchen cupboards in Cashmere High Gloss by Optiplan Kitchens. 

6. Maximise natural light in contemporary kitchen designs

contemporary kitchen with black metal doors and white internal doors by IQ Glass

(Image credit: IQ Glass)

The way we use our kitchens is evolving, with a desire to create open-plan spaces designed for entertaining taking precedent.

Maximising natural light is (arguably) the key to designing a contemporary kitchen that fits this new-found requirement. After all, light has the capacity to make a space feel brighter and more spacious – particularly when paired with an all-white scheme – which will make it a more pleasant place to spend time.

If you're designing a kitchen extension or your kitchen opens out onto a garden, consider investing in bi-fold, sliding or metal doors (or windows), which will instantly brighten your space, while giving it a distinct contemporary edge.

For more (dreamy) bi-fold and sliding door ideas, take a look at our gallery.

7. Use modern kitchen designs to create a socialable space

contemporary kitchen with white scheme and marble splashback by meir australia

(Image credit: Meir Australia)

As mentioned, designing a contemporary kitchen is about more than the fixtures and fittings you choose (thought these are important, too). What's at the core of a contemporary kitchen is a space that can function as the hub of the home with plenty of space for engaging and entertaining.

With this in mind, we love the idea of incorporating a kitchen island – complete with stylish bar stools – into your space. This provides the perfect spot for entertaining guests while you cook or catching up with a partner over a lazy weekend breakfast.

Browse our clever kitchen island design ideas for more inspiration. You might enjoy our kitchen island seating ideas, too.

8. You can have a small but contemporary kitchen

small kitchen with contemporary scheme by english blinds

(Image credit: English Blinds)

Don't write off  your dream of having a stylish, contemporary kitchen, just because you're working with a smaller space. Almost all of the tips and tricks we've shared can be incorporated into a small kitchen with a little thought and design know-how.

This modern kitchen design is a great example of how a small space can be used, with a stylish concrete poured floor and black, cast iron radiator making an understated design feature.

For more tips on small kitchen design, take a look at our guide.

9. Mix industrial-inspired pieces into your modern kitchen scheme

kitchen with contemporary scheme and standout concrete kitchen island by english blinds

(Image credit: English Blinds)

Industrial-inspired features make a unique addition to a contemporary kitchen and can act as a striking, yet understated, focal point if paired with an otherwise white scheme.

We love this statement concrete kitchen island, particularly when paired with more natural materials such as a solid wood floor and splashback.

Find more inspiration with our inspiring industrial style kitchens.

10. Work natural materials in to modern kitchen designs

kitchen with contemporary feel, breakfst bar stools and mix of concrete and wood by ligne roset

(Image credit: Ligne Roset)

Whether paired with – or without – stylish poured concrete, wood makes a warming addition to a contemporary kitchen. If you're looking to add depth to your space, consider opting for dark or red-toned woods or keep things a little lighter, brighter and more Scandi-inspired with beech and other light-coloured woods.

11. Add the timelessness of Mid-century into a modern kitchen space

Modern kitchen diner with open plan feel and blue interior by nest

(Image credit: Nest)

We're not sure we'll ever be tired of Mid-century modern interiors, which makes them the perfect point of inspiration when designing a contemporary kitchen.

We love the pairing of this stylish (and very Mid-century inspired) dining set with modern appliances and and otherwise sleek, minimalist interior. 

For more Mid-century modern decor ideas, take a look at our design guide.

12. Work in concrete for a bespoke modern kitchen design 

Leicht concrete modern kitchen

Concrete is the ultimate ultra-modern material – and it is more versatile than might seem. Go for a lacquered finish for contemporary kitchen designs that are both strong-looking and warm.

This Concrete-A kitchen by Leicht is made from lacquered concrete and has a rolled steel worktop. 

13. Create a multi-purpose space in your kitchen

Hub Kitchens - The Cut by Record e Cucine available at Hub Kitchens from £40,000

(Image credit: Hub Kitchens)

A stylish, modern kitchen that is clutter-free and sparkling clean has the potential to be used as more than just a kitchen. While a dining space is an obvious space, a mini home office or study would not be out of place in an ultra-modern, open-plan kitchen, especially if it has a large window with a view. 

This stunning The Cut can be used in a variety of ways, from dinner party to work meeting. Available at Hub Kitchens. 

14. Zone your contemporary kitchen with a monochrome contrast 

Black matt kitchen interior with wooden surfaces and houseplants on the shelf

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

Thinking of ways to make a large, open-plan kitchen look more modern and defined? A contrasting monochrome colour scheme is an easy way to visually divide the space into separate areas which is key to modern kitchen design. Simply separate the room as you want, then colour-coordinate each side. 

15. Create a focal point with a feature splashback

Life Kitchens Seamless Precision

(Image credit: Life Kitchens)

Think of your minimalist, modern kitchen as a blank canvas. Keep it as it is for the ultimate pure look, and introduce a playful design element with a graphic splashback mural. Check out more of these clever splashback ideas

16. Add some colour to a contemporary kitchen design

Modern kitchen with colourful chairs

(Image credit: Georgia Burns)

Contemporary kitchen designs don't all have to be monochrome, have fun with colour too! We recommend keeping you cabinets nice and simple but then add in colourful furniture (how fun are these  bar stool?!), prints and lighting. You will find loads more kitchen colour schemes over in our gallery – loads of them can be adapted for modern kitchens so check them out too. 

17. Mix concrete and wood for a unique modern kitchen 

kitchen splashback ideas

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

We love this modern kitchen – the concrete keeps it very contemporary and industrial but those pale wooden doors and the wooden shelves keep it soft and inviting. The glass bricks are a great idea too, they work perfectly in smaller kitchens or open plan kitchens as light can flow them. 

Looking for more kitchen design ideas and inspiration?