With their sleek cabinetry and sophisticated color schemes, contemporary kitchens blend modern design with a minimalistic aesthetic to create a distinctive look that transcends trends. Contemporary kitchens include any combination of flat-front cabinetry, sleek fixtures, stone features, wood accents, and stylish tile.
The main difference between a modern and contemporary kitchen is based on definitions. The two have a lot of similarities, but the term "modern" refers to a period of design spurred on by the Bauhaus movement after the late 1800s up through the 1960s.
The term "contemporary" refers to the preferred style of kitchen favored at the moment. Other kitchen styles besides modern that are contemporary during the 2020s include Shaker, farmhouse, cottage, traditional, and transitional.
Here are 20 contemporary kitchen designs that can inspire your own cooking space.
01 of 20
Dark Wood Cabinets
This gorgeous contemporary kitchen by Lucy Interior Design features dark wood cabinetry that resembles living room furniture, as well as a spectacular 3D backsplash. Unique pendant lighting not typically found in cooking spaces adds to the kitchen's luxurious feeling. And the rich teal of the chairs adds a pop of color.Continue to 2 of 20 below.
02 of 20
Pops of Color and Pattern
Colorful cabinetry and an eye-popping backsplash are the two primary features that give this contemporary kitchen by Honeycomb Design and Build a playful vibe. To make sure the space doesn't become too chaotic, both the walls and countertops are a simple white. The dark floor helps to anchor the space.Continue to 3 of 20 below.
03 of 20
Slab Door Cabinets
Slab doors—as shown on the two-toned cabinets in this gray-and-white kitchen by Idea Space—are a hallmark of the contemporary style. The marble-patterned quartz countertop and matching backsplash add both timeless beauty and practical function. Cool-toned kitchens can feel a little chilly, so the walnut shelves add a splash of warmth.Continue to 4 of 20 below.
04 of 20
White Kitchen With Waterfall Island
This white kitchen by Soda Pop Design feels thoroughly contemporary thanks to its sleek cabinets and quartz waterfall kitchen island. The gray tiles, a marble stove backsplash, and dark wood cabinetry break up the mostly white space with interesting texture and pattern. And the lighting adds a bit of a playful touch.Continue to 5 of 20 below.
05 of 20Continue to 6 of 20 below.
06 of 20
Natural Wood and Sleek Glossy Features
Natural wood features, such as shelving or countertops, are often paired with sleek glossy cabinets in contemporary kitchens, as shown in this bold kitchen by Atticus & Milo. Besides being attractive, the slick cabinet surfaces are easy to keep clean. And they can be fabricated in nearly any color you can dream of.Continue to 7 of 20 below.
07 of 20
Contemporary Kitchen Shiplap
Who says bead board or shiplap is only for modern farmhouse kitchens? This small cooking space designed by Colombo and Serboli Architects feels both contemporary and inviting. The blue color of the cabinet paneling gives it a fresh, modern vibe. And it plays nicely off the blue archway that connects the kitchen to the rest of the apartment.Continue to 8 of 20 below.
08 of 20
Flexible Kitchen With Rubber Floors
Lovely birch-faced plywood cabinets, blue rubber flooring, and stainless steel appliances are the essential contemporary ingredients in this family-friendly kitchen by The Paper House Project. All of the cabinets are movable, which add loads of flexible function to the cooking space. And the rubber flooring is soft on your feet.Continue to 9 of 20 below.
09 of 20
Interior designer M.J. Lanphier created this stylish contemporary kitchen in an open-concept apartment that pops thanks to its decorative accents. The black sculpture and table lamp are unexpected touches. And the marble front on the kitchen island enhances the elegant vibe.Continue to 10 of 20 below.
10 of 20
The design team at Idea Space added contemporary flair to this bright cooking space by installing colorful brick tile. Taking the tile from the counter to the ceiling makes it the focal point in the room. So it was key to keep the rest of the space fairly simple with coordinating blue cabinetry and sleek white countertops.Continue to 11 of 20 below.
11 of 20
Cozy White Kitchen
Contemporary kitchens that feel more like living areas than cooking spaces are a welcoming decorating trend. This chic and inviting kitchen by Alys Design combines a cozy dining space with custom cabinetry. The pristine white doors hide some of the appliances, as well as a sizable pantry.Continue to 12 of 20 below.
12 of 20
Quirky and Colorful Contemporary Kitchen
If sleek lacquered cabinetry is not your thing, take in this colorful contemporary kitchen by Vidal Design Collaborative. The multi-toned cabinets and warm wood give the cooking space a mid-century modern appeal. Yet the space still has a streamlined and simple contemporary vibe as well.Continue to 13 of 20 below.
13 of 20
Warm Wood Kitchen Cabinetry
Kitchens are often the focal point of open concept spaces. But if you want your cooking space to blend in, consider slab front cabinetry in a warm wood tone that coordinates with your furniture and flooring. The cabinets in this wood-filled kitchen by Vidal Design Collective match the home's living room furniture, creating easy flow between the spaces.Continue to 14 of 20 below.
14 of 20
Bold Colors and Patterns
Bold patterns and exciting colors can enliven any kitchen. This fun kitchen by interior designer Annie Grierson gave a traditional cooking space a huge contemporary lift by combining contrasting patterns with bright hues. The key is to pick the spots where you want to go bold—in this case, it's the backsplash—and keep everything else simple, so the look isn't overwhelming.Continue to 15 of 20 below.
15 of 20
Warm White Kitchen
White contemporary kitchens can sometimes feel a little cold or sterile. But this white kitchen by Synergistic Development solves that problem. It uses natural stone features, such as the soapstone counters and slate backsplash, to warm up the entire space. And there's plenty of lighting to keep things bright and cheery.Continue to 16 of 20 below.
16 of 20
Family-Friendly Contemporary Kitchen
The best family-friendly kitchens, such as this contemporary cooking space by Rachel Madden Interiors, blend durable materials with inviting features. Sturdy quartz countertops and natural wood tones give this kitchen a crisp appearance. Plus, the white upper cabinets seemingly disappear into the white tile backsplash. This visual trick enhances the room's relaxed and uncluttered good looks.Continue to 17 of 20 below.
17 of 20
Warm Wood Features
Maybe you like the look of sleek white cabinets but also prefer some warm wood tones. You can do both in your contemporary kitchen. The custom paneled oven hood and wood shelves add natural warmth to this contemporary kitchen by CM Natural Designs. They're a nice contrast to the cool cabinets and countertops.Continue to 18 of 20 below.
18 of 20
Tiny Contemporary Kitchen
White walls, tall ceilings, and glossy cabinetry make the tiny kitchen in this small home by interior design firm Suba feel much larger. The marble countertops and matching backsplash lend polish to the place. And the matching materials also help to make the whole space feel larger and more cohesive.Continue to 19 of 20 below.
19 of 20
Blue and Black Contemporary Kitchen
Black and blue are the primary colors in this urban kitchen by Black Lacquer Design. The marble countertops seep with a dramatic pattern that's sleek and modern. Another exciting feature is the modern glass door refrigerator, which puts its contents on display. That's one way to force you to keep your fridge organized.Continue to 20 of 20 below.
20 of 20
Black Contemporary Kitchen
Black paint is what separates this dark contemporary kitchen by Ban Architecture from the rest of the light living space. The contrast is stunning and gives the kitchen presence in the overall space. Plus, the wood features, including the maple countertops, provide even more striking contrast.