5 Original Modern Kitchens and Trends

The modern decor style bridges form and function.

Modern kitchen with light gray cabinets, stainless steel appliances and black furniture

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

There are kitchens that you can call modern. They have a few modern touches--steel, glass, high-end appliances--yet mortal beings still use them.

Then there are kitchens that rise to a different level. These are the untouchable kitchens you see in Dwell or Architectural Digest. These can be so sleek and pristine that it appears that their owners never step foot in them for fear of sullying the microbe-free surfaces with a crumb of food. But that's a whole other story.

Ultra-Modern Features You May Expect To Find

  • Bold lines, flat planes: Straight, unyielding lines abound. 
  • Stark color contrasts: White against black, black against white.
  • Monochromatic: Sometimes, the kitchen hews to one color as much as possible, often white or black. If not this, colors are different but stick close to the same tonal range.
  • Hugely vibrant colors: A third color scheme employs one shockingly bold color--red, orange, blue--and uses this in great quantity throughout the kitchen.
  • Synthetic materials: Melamine, steel, glass vs. real wood.
  • European: Scratch the surface of any ultra-modern kitchen design and you'll find European provenance, usually Italian. 
  • Minimizing the natural look: Often, melamine surfaces will mimic the look of real wood, and some kitchens have flat, hard-edged panels of wood as accents. But this is about as far as it goes.
  • Clean and spare: De-emphasizing clutter and junk that most people hate in their own kitchens.
  • 01 of 05

    Kitchens So Modern, They Deserve Another Adjective

    Ultra modern kitchen design

    Shown here is Aran Cucine's Volare cabinet collection. It has all the delicious hallmarks of a modern kitchen, from its stark monochromatic look to its minimalistic flat cabinetry.

    Aran calls this surface brushed thermotreated oak, and it's a material found in many modern wood Italian furnishings: Wood is heated by steam to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours to give the wood an attractive finish.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Lighter Shades of Tan

    Aran Penelope modern kitchen cabinets

    In this kitchen, the tonal range is limited. The light grays of the steel, the tans of the cabinets (Montano Larch, a matte finish), and the off-white of the walls coordinate to keep everything in a uniform, pleasant, unprovocative range.

    This is Italian cabinet maker Aran's Penelope line of laminate-faced cabinets.

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  • 03 of 05

    Bold Lacquered Purple

    Bright purple super modern kitchen design

    Can anyone claim that this kitchen is not super-modern? What really turns up the flame on this are the purple cabinets from Italian cabinet maker Scavolini. And the only way to inject this kind of color onto a cabinet surface is by lacquering them. This vibrant, glossy color essentially becomes the main stylistic element in the kitchen, so that color is the star of the show.

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  • 04 of 05

    High Color Contrast

    High color contrast ultra modern kitchen design

    From Scavolini, what makes this one an ultra-modern kitchen is the high-contrast color scheme: the glossy black of the peninsula stands out against the light grays and whites.

    Note, too, that super-modern kitchens love the flat, uninterrupted look as much as possible. The generously large rectangular undermount sink lies flat in the peninsula, with no interruption from counter to sink. The two wall ovens are perfectly flush with the cabinets.  Handles do not protrude--they are inset.  

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  • 05 of 05


    Iconic ultra modern kitchen from Ernestomeda

    Add a Klieg light to your kitchen? Why not? It's ultra-modern, designed for showing and shocking and yes, for cooking too.

    In fact, one more comment about the character of these ultra-moderns is that they usually have an air of commercial kitchen about them. The stoves are big, often with as many as eight burners. Two wall ovens, not just one. Tons of floor space. Stainless steel everywhere.

    There's even a smoked Plexiglas splatter screen around the sink.

    This one comes from Ernestomeda, a maker of high-end kitchen elements based in Italy.