7 Tips for Designing a Modern Kitchen
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March 24, 2021
Clean lines, exquisite finishes and a minimalist aesthetic are the defining features when designing a modern contemporary kitchen. Attention to detail is everything with this look; proportions are carefully considered, lines are crisp, and there’s just the right balance between light and dark. The result is a modern kitchen that sits beautifully within an open-plan space.
Kitchen designer Andrew Karavellas of Savas Kitchens in NSW recently created a stunning contemporary kitchen in his Chipping Norton home. Here, he shares seven tips for recreating a similar look in your own abode.
- Embrace your dark side
Black is a huge trend in kitchens right now, and it’s a sure-fire way to add drama and sophistication to your cooking space. Soften the look by choosing cabinetry with a matte or velvety finish. And bear in mind that not all blacks are created equal – the most liveable ones will have a touch of brown or blue.
Pair black cabinetry with timber and stone for a look that is warm and contemporary. Look to add punches of black elsewhere in your kitchen for a cohesive feel, such as black tapware, light fittings or upholstered bar stools.
- Choose luxe, high-performance finishes
All eyes are on your finishes in a minimalist kitchen, so make sure they’re up to the task. Seek out beautiful, hardworking materials that will stand the test of time. Natural stone looks great, but as it’s porous, requires ongoing maintenance and can be difficult to install, it’s not the most practical choice for a busy kitchen. Fortunately, there are stunning alternatives on the market that give you the look of real stone, with none of the maintenance or installation issues.
For my kitchen, I specified Cosentino Silestone® El Calacatta Gold in a polished finish for the island bench – it’s a luxurious white finish with delicate grey veining that mimics marble. It’s tough, moisture-, scratch- and stain-resistant, and incredibly easy to care for. To create textural contrast, I paired it with Dekton® Kreta on the rear benchtop and splashback – a concrete-look ultracompact surface with a wonderfully soft, matte finish that copes equally well in a busy cooking space.
- Create balance
Dark, matte finishes will absorb rather than reflect the light so balance them out with pale benchtops and a bright-white ceiling. Ensure the kitchen receives plenty of natural light; consider adding sliding doors, a servery window or a skylight. A mirror strategically positioned within your upper cabinetry can give natural light a further boost.
- Banish visual clutter
There’s no place for fussy detailing in a contemporary kitchen. Opt for handleless, flush-face cabinetry and minimalist benchtop set-ups to keep the focus on the beautiful detailing; for example, your beautiful surfaces, the way the splashback sits perfectly in line with the overhead cabinets or the elegant fall of a waterfall island edge.
- Design a hardworking island
Today’s kitchen island is the epicentre of the home; it’s where we cook, prep, chat, dine and more. Maximise your island’s potential by incorporating storage drawers and a dishwasher on the ‘working’ side of the kitchen, and cupboards, dining and seating space on the other. And don’t forget the little details, such as including power points and USB chargers within the design.
Ensure your island is a practical size too; at a minimum it should be 220cm in length, but 240cm is preferable if you want space to prep and dine comfortably. When it comes to depth, 120cm is ideal. If the benchtop is over 140cm deep, it becomes awkward to use and clean.
- A smart layout
A well-designed contemporary kitchen feels calm and functional, which largely comes down to a good layout. Position the fridge and pantry on the perimeter of the kitchen away from the prep and cooking space so anyone grabbing a cold drink or snack won’t get in the way of the cook; install the dishwasher and built-in bin near the sink and prep area to reduce travelling distance when you’re cooking and cleaning; and ensure there’s a minimum 100cm walkway space around your island.
- Light it right
Good lighting is a must, whatever your kitchen style. Create a layered lighting scheme with directional downlights to illuminate your prep and cooking areas and LED strip lights under overhead cabinets for atmosphere and additional task lighting. You may also want to add a pendant on a dimmer switch over the island that allows you to lower the lighting levels when you’re entertaining.
Explore Cosentino full range of colours and styles for your kitchen here.