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20 modern kitchen design ideas 2021


Tamsin Johnson

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

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Go for gold

Stainless steel is a staple in the modern kitchen, but we also love the bold, shiny look of the mirrored islands. In this kitchen designed by Dry Otten, the gold mirrored surface brings a bit of glamor to playful elements, like the unique pendant light, pink marble swirls, and the cobalt blue loft railing above. Oh, and this built-in planter is awesome.

Let in the light

Clean lines, graphic layouts, a simple color palette and lots of natural light … This space designed by Arent & Pyke has all the characteristics of a striking and modern kitchen.

Warm up

Hot chocolate stone surfaces reign supreme in this kitchen designed by Hecker Guthrie. The smooth, transparent transition from one surface to another creates a calming visual flow. This monochromatic, moody setup is perfect in a kitchen with little natural light, as it embraces the existing space and creates a cozy and intimate conversational effect.


Since you have to spend most of your time at home, why not make it a great place to live? Taking notes in this dynamic, playful and geometric kitchen designed by Dries Otten is a good place to start. It’s a bold, contemporary take on classic Art Deco basics.

Make it disappear

Because this kitchen is exposed to the dining room and the living room, Hecker Guthrie choose cabinets without hardware and a sleek white color to blend in with the background. The pretty pale pink rattan chairs and the pearly marble table shine in the spotlight.

Give it an edge

Concrete floors bring a sober touch to this kitchen designed by Studio Database. While classic hardwood panels or fun colored tiles would also work well in this family home, the sleek gritiness of polished concrete is a welcome surprise. This sculptural light also gives this modern kitchen some style points.

Choose a strategic layout

When you have a small kitchen, you have to be strategic. In this kitchen designed by Hecker Guthrie, the layout is perfect for cooking, there’s plenty of story space as the cabinets reach up to the ceiling, and the understated bar stools do a good job of transitioning from the kitchen space to the dining-living room. The modern circular hood and the countertop surface that extends to the wall add the perfect intrigue.

Add a splash of color

You know the exercise: whiter = brighter. Keep it all white, then add pops of color via serving items, vases, and flowers. The bursts of red burst just enough in this kitchen of Leanne Ford Interiors, and we also love the upcycled soup cans for an affordable decorating solution that channels pop art.

Hide the hood

If a classic stainless steel hood seems too commercial or austere in your space, you don’t necessarily have to replace it completely. In this kitchen, Hecker Guthrie found a clever solution: hide it behind a pretty window. It adds graphic fun and polishes things up as well.

Take risks

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

Working with quirks

If you live in a space that has original interior windows (fun fact: many older apartment buildings have them because they were built to increase air circulation as a preventative measure against tuberculosis), here’s how their. make it look intentional and incredibly elegant. In his Brooklyn apartment, Crosby Studios designer Harry Nuriev looks every day through a pink window. He used custom-cut plexiglass from a store on Canal Street, according to Architectural Digest. It’s like stained glass, but with a 21st century twist.

Inject a touch of warmth

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

Play with asymmetry

Conceived by Arent & Pyke, this kitchen feels like an accessible and family space while being modern and fresh. The careful, asymmetrical balance instantly catches our eye, with the hood tilted to the right of the room. This creates a cool contrast to the rest of the neat, linear and symmetrical locations, from the floating shelf aligned with the hood to the light fixture, island counter and sofa.

Using a tile backsplash

To soften an industrial kitchen, opt for a subway tiled backsplash. This kitchen designed by Etc features bold concrete floors, a retro red stool, classic black stained wood cabinets, an ultra-sleek island, and simple subway tiles. All together, they create an eclectic but coherent whole.

Keep it simple

To add depth and dimension to an all-white kitchen, opt for plaster walls rich in texture, remarkable light, and wood cabinetry, as seen in this space designed by Leanne Ford Interiors.

Install interior glass

When you can’t choose between an open and closed floor plan, find a compromise with interior glass. Here, Hecker Guthrie frames the kitchen with partial interior walls to diffuse light between the two rooms, as well as to help with the transition from the kitchen to the rest of the space.

Show all

Go for floating shelves on display if you have a collection of ceramic glassware, tableware, or kitchenware pretty enough to display. Tilt a few small-scale framed artwork on the top shelf to create a real (and unexpected) gallery aesthetic.

Anchor with classic

If you are drawn to a more timeless and traditional design, but also want to give your kitchen a modern touch, look no further. This Studio DB example strikes the perfect balance. It also makes a case for gray, which is cool and calming as opposed to dull and dark.

Mix styles

Dry Otten mixes a whimsical style with industrial features in this unique kitchen. The stainless steel hood and exposed piping stand out against the navy blue walls, while the blue striped fabric brightens the mood.

Renovate strategically

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

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