From cosy havens for family dinners to sparkling laboratories for culinary experiments, kitchens have taken on countless forms over the years. Regardless of how they have shaped up, though, one attribute has remained unchanged – the design of the kitchen is central to the design of the entire home. This is particularly evident in contemporary kitchens, which often set the tone for the overall ambiance of a house. Characterised by free-flowing spaces, unabashedly crisp forms, and decidedly neutral colour schemes, the heart of the contemporary home is set on subtle sophistication.
An open invitation to functionality
Sleekness and functionality are the key drivers of the contemporary design ideology. Despite the changing influences of the past five decades, contemporary architecture and design continue to draw their primary inspirations from pared-back modernism, giving rise to spaces where form follows function. Of course, there is room for artistic expression in the contemporary aesthetic as well, which is why its clean geometry and purposeful layouts have a more evolved and approachable bearing than their austere counterparts from the 1950s.
The kitchen is among the few areas in a house where functionality always takes precedence over appearance. For this reason, they are particularly adept at showcasing the defining features of the contemporary aesthetic. Sleek countertops, fuss-free cabinetry, and near-monochrome colour palettes are the building blocks of present-day kitchens. Open-plan layouts allow them to project this design language on to their surrounding living spaces as well, setting the tone for clean, clutter-free elegance that contemporary homes aspire towards.
Rooted in whites and neutrals
Neutral colour palettes are ideal carriers for clean geometry, making white, grey or beige colour schemes perfectly suited to contemporary kitchens. These non-polarising colours create a solid foundation for a function-oriented design, and embrace the metallic sheen of appliances and fixtures that are part and parcel of any kitchen. Kitchens sporting open plans and neutral colour schemes are particularly useful in space-strapped apartments, where they optimise and visually magnify the area available to them.
Neutral colour palettes also create room for occasional deviations from pure functionality, allowing atypical furniture or lighting fixtures to add interest to a kitchen without disrupting its fundamental ambiance. Contemporary kitchens often showcase these subtle interplays of form, wherein quirky elements or curvilinear profiles are introduced to the space to prevent it from appearing overly industrial.
Glimpses of the natural
In recent years, indoor greenery and natural finishes have become popular home decoration choices. As primarily functional spaces, kitchens rarely have the luxury of being steeped in green; nonetheless, they have managed to secure the next best thing. Natural finishes are becoming a trend in a growing number of contemporary kitchens. Wooden veneers, tactile feature walls and carefully placed houseplants are some subtle but effective ways to introduce a bit of the natural world to a present-day kitchen and soften its austerity to a friendlier level.
Wearing their sophisticated simplicity with confidence, contemporary kitchens illustrate how freedom and openness are often founded in structure and function. They offer a preview of a rapidly evolving design aesthetic that understands and respects organisation and detail.