Our individual kitchen style is as unique as our personality. If you love current style trends and the latest in design innovation, then there’s a good chance that a contemporary kitchen is the style for you. From design to functionality, our tips, along with our team of professional kitchen design experts, can help you make informed decisions to create an amazing contemporary kitchen in your home.

Contemporary kitchens are in the now. Simple, clutter-free style that boasts high functionality in a liveable space. And when talking design, ‘contemporary kitchen’ does not necessarily mean ‘modern kitchen’. In fact, although they have many similarities, there are some differences between the two. So before we dive into all the details, let’s get the basics set.

What is the Difference Between a Contemporary Kitchen and a Modern Kitchen?

The quick breakdown of contemporary kitchen design versus a modern kitchen style goes a little something like this.

  1. A contemporary kitchen is a design style we refer to, which is current, on-trend and ever-evolving.
  2. Modern kitchen design, on the other hand, is related to a design movement from the mid-twentieth century and will no longer change or evolve.

Contemporary kitchens’ functionality and crisp, clean surfaces are highly influenced from those of modern design, however contemporary kitchen style typically also showcases some traditional and industrial ideas. Contemporary kitchens also appear to be more layered in finish than a modern kitchen.

When we put it all together, a contemporary kitchen typically demonstrates the following elements. You can follow these to achieve the backbone of a contemporary kitchen design in your home. But remember, at the end of the day, the contemporary theme is constantly evolving, there is no strict rule book, so feel free to experiment and inject your own preferences and style for a truly unique contemporary kitchen that you can be proud of.

Contemporary Kitchen Finishes

Cabinet Finishes

 Flat panelled, high gloss cabinet finishes are commonly used in a contemporary kitchen, as are mid-sheen and matt surfaces. Kitchens true to this style usually opt for cabinetry in a simple white or solid colour, with clean lines and minimal to no hardware; whilst the use of texture and warmth is reserved for other elements to help soften any “clinical feel”.

Open shelving and cabinetry that is fitted with a glass or translucent frontage are also very fitting for contemporary kitchen styling.

Tip: for more help with choosing your kitchen cabinets, see our article which kitchen cabinet suits your style.

Benchtop Finishes

To compliment the gloss cabinetry, natural timber benchtops or stone with deep hues are often used. Thanks to the advancement of thinner finishes and decorative elements in concrete, it is another popular choice which can be used to embrace more of an industrial vibe in contemporary kitchens.

Splashback Finishes

Subway tiling, natural stone or timber panelling are popular choices for a contemporary kitchen splashback. However, glass and other manufactured materials, such as stainless and concrete, may also be used. Tiles can either be small or large in design depending on the feature effect that you are trying to create.

Colour and Additional Texture

Contemporary kitchens offer more play on colour than you would see in a modern kitchen as contemporary kitchen style allows for brighter, bolder trims and accents.

Colour and texture can be introduced through natural timber flooring, the kitchen splashback, breakfast bar stools, cushions, and furniture trimmings, as well as lighting covers such as pendants, and general kitchen décor.

Contemporary Kitchen Appliances

A contemporary kitchen will generally embrace technology and it is not uncommon to see on-trend gadgets ruling the, once humble, space. This can include induction cooktops, high-performance rangehoods, in-built barista coffee machines, integrated music and entertainment systems, and other catering aids such as warming drawers.

Recently, a lot of appliance colours have transitioned back to simple white or stainless steel as, opposed to black, they tend to offer a greater balance against the warmer tones used throughout contemporary kitchen design. Full integrated appliances further help to maintain the sleek, clean lines that are synonymous with contemporary kitchen design.

Don’t forget to include ample power outlets for all those contemporary kitchen appliances too. Consider outlets for your island bench/benches as well as inside the pantry if you intend to make use of the space for a charging or entertainment nook, for example.

Uncluttered Space

Uncluttered, clean space is the golden rule to good contemporary kitchen styling. As mentioned previously, smartly integrated appliances and workspaces help to continue to uncluttered functional and aesthetic characteristics of this type of space. The premise of keeping the space appear uncluttered also transfers to the use (or overuse) of colour, as too much colour can make a kitchen look overcrowded and messy.

From kitchen décor to fittings and textures used, it is important to adhere to a 60-30-10 guideline for contemporary kitchen colour;

  1. Focus sixty percent for use on a dominant colour
  2. Thirty percent for a secondary colour
  3. Reserve ten percent for an accent colour

To minimise clutter, keep kitchen gadgets that are not in use and small appliances in dedicated storage spaces. And you can find plenty of great kitchen storage tips in our article ‘innovative kitchen storage solutions with Hettich’.

By nature, the signature elements of Contemporary kitchens are constantly evolving, and they will continue to transform over time. Contemporary kitchens embrace the top style and design trends of the current moment resulting in amazing kitchens that are at the forefront of style and design innovation.

To keep up to date with contemporary kitchen design, as well as many of other popular kitchen design styles too, be sure to follow our Harrington Kitchens blog which is full of helpful design tips and information to help with your dream kitchen project. To discuss how we can bring your dream kitchen to life, contact the Harrington Kitchens team of experienced and professional kitchen designers by calling 1300 662 112 or submit an online enquiry.

Don’t forget to visit our online inspiration gallery to check out our extensive range of completed kitchen projects, across a range of styles.