Definitive Proof That Modern Kitchens Have Endless Versatility

From whimsical to sleek.

modern kitchens
Tamsin Johnson

Though it's often dubbed stark and cold, modern design is all about creating clean, open, functional, and calming spaces, with plenty of room for character and personal style. And that also happens to the recipe for a perfect kitchen. So we're spotlighting twenty modern kitchens below that exemplify the sleek, innovative aesthetic. So whether you want to something bright and whimsical or monochromatic and sophisticated, these modern kitchens will inspire you to think outside the farmhouse box.

Go For Gold
Jef Jacobs for Dries Otten

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
Felix Forest

Clean lines, sleek 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
Hecker Guthrie

Warm chocolate natural stone surfaces rule in this modern 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 cozy and intimate speak-easy effect.

Have Fun
Dries Otten

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.

Make It Disappear
Hecker Guthrie

Because this kitchen is exposed to the dining and living room area, Hecker Guthrie chose hardware-free cabinets and a sleek white color so it blends into the background. This way, the pretty baby pink cane chairs and pearly marble table get to shine in the spotlight.

Give It An Edge
Studio DB

Concrete floors brings an understated edge to this kitchen designed by Studio DB. While classic hardwood panels or fun colorful tiles would also work well in this family home, the sleek grittiness of polished concrete is a welcome surprise. That sculptural light fixture also earns this modern kitchen some style points.

Pick a Strategic Layout
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When you have a small kitchen, you need to be strategic. In this kitchen designed by Hecker Guthrie, the layout is perfect for cooking, there's plenty of story space since the cabinets reach up the ceiling, and the understated bar stools do a nice job transitioning the kitchen space to the dining living area. The modern circular hood and the countertop surface extending up the wall adds the perfect kind of intrigue.

Add One Pop of Color
Reid Rolls

You know the drill: whiter=brighter. Keep everything white, then add in pops of color from your serving ware to vases and flowers. The pops of red cookware break thing up just enough in this kitchen from Leanne Ford Interiors, and we also love the upcycled soup cans for an affordable decor solution channeling pop art.

Hide the Hood
Hecker Guthrie

If a classic stainless steel hood feels too commercial or stark in your space, you don't necessarily have to replace it altogether. In this kitchen, Hecker Guthrie found a clever solution: Hiding it behind a pretty glass encasement. This adds graphic fun and also polishes things off.

Take Risks
Arent & Pyke

Modern design is streamlined, sure, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for experimentation and bold choices. In modern kitchens in particular, lighting provides the perfect opportunity to play with design and scale. Arent & Pyke clustered a pair of long, narrow cylindrical pendants to offset the formality of this kitchen instead of going with a classic pendant light over the island.

Work With Quirks
Mikhail Loskutov

If you live in a space that has quirky interior windows (fun fact: Many old apartment buildings have them because they were built to increase air circulation as a preventative measure against tuberculosis), here's how to make them look intentional and incredibly stylish. In his Brooklyn apartment, Crosby Studios designer Harry Nuriev now gets to look through a rose-colored window every day. He used cut-to-size plexiglass from a shop on Canal street, according to Architectural Digest. It's like stained glass, but with a 21st century spin.

Inject a Touch of Warmth
Robson Rak

While white dominates this modern kitchen designed by Robson Rak, the warm wood surfaces and matte green stools inject the perfect balance of warmth and color.

Play With Asymmetry
Anson Smart

Designed by Arent & Pyke, this kitchen feels like an approachable, family-friend space while also being modern and fresh. The careful, asymmetrical balance is instantly draws our attention, with the hood leans to the right of the room. This creates a cool contrast with the rest of the neat, linear and symmetrical placements throughout, from the floating shelf in line with the hood to the light fixture, island counter, and sofa.

Use a Tile Backsplash
ETC.etera

To soften up an industrial, modern kitchen, opt for a subway tile backsplash. This kitchen designed by ETC.etera features edgy concrete floors, a retro red stool, classic black stained-wood cabinetry, an ultra-sleek island, and simple subway tiles. All together, they create an eclectic yet cohesive whole.

Keep It Simple
Alexandra Ribar

Keep it light and simple with light neutral tones. To add depth and dimension to an all-white kitchen, opt for texture-rich plaster walls, a statement light, and wooden cabinets, as seen in this space designed by Leanne Ford Interiors.

Install Interior Glass
Hecker Guthrie

When you can't decide between an open and closed floor plan, strike a compromise with interior glass. Here, Hecker Guthrie frames the kitchen with interior partial walls to spread light between both rooms also help transition the kitchen to the rest of the space.

Display Everything
Nicole Franzen

Opt for exposed floating shelves if you have a collection of glassware, tableware, or ceramic kitchen essentials pretty enough to keep out on display. Then leann some small scale framed artwork on the top floating shelf to keep up the gallery-like aesthetic.

Anchor With Classic
Studio DB

If you're drawn to more timeless and traditional design but also want to give your kitchen some modern touches, look no further. This example from Studio DB strikes the perfect balance. It's also making a strong case for gray, which, here, is cool and calming as opposed to dull and bleak.

Mix Styles
Dries Otten

Dries Otten mixes whimsical style with industrial features in this unique kitchen. The stainless steel hood and exposed piping pop against the navy walls while the striped blue fabric lightens the mood.

Renovate Strategically
Tamsin Johnson

Instead of redoing your entire kitchen, choose a few things you want to update for a more modern look. In this Tamsin Johnson-designed kitchen, the concrete accents, architectural lighting, and avant garde artwork help contemporize the more traditional roots of the space without clashing.