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July 7, 2020 – Published in Design & Decor Summer 2013 issue

Define your own modern kitchen

Words: James Dimech – Interior designer

The modern kitchen is not so easy to define these days. I can think of a variety of kitchen themes which could have the word or concept “modern” attached to it: the new traditional, modern/classic, eco-modern, modern, minimalist, even vintage modern.

Modern cannot be pigeon-holed into one particular “aesthetic”. Since some years ago kitchens were mainly either; traditional, rustic, or modern. Modern meant sleek, minimal and most often cold.

What is modern to you?

Whatever it is, it is a definition! “make your own modern”. Express yourself and define your own modern philosophy.

Colour is one of the most perfect ways to do that. In my experience, people have emotional reactions to colour; they feel it, they move toward or away from it. They want it all enveloping or as an easy-to-live with supplement to the design. Most of all, today, it’s a tool, an amusing element with which to experiment. I would always advise consulting with a knowledgeable professional on the use of colour in terms of balance and proportion and also to guide you defining the style. 

For example “Cool” colours are those that come to mind when you think of a metropolitan city such as blues, greens, grey, silver and even black and white. Using these colours in your kitchen definitely invokes a modern feel but still if you wish to add a pop of colour, consider reds, yellows, or even complementary colours such as lavender to make a more personal input minimizing the “Coolness” of the room.

Appliances are an easy way to impart some modern style into your kitchen, many refrigerators, freezers, stoves and the like come in stainless steel. If you don’t really like the look of metal, all black or all white appliances are also a good alternative. 

Appliances with colour can be great as a singular or mixed colour statement, but consider the volume/size. Choose your colours carefully and most of all choose the colour concept carefully.

Some other design points to consider when making your own modern style are the backsplash, cabinetry design and accessories.

When it comes to backsplash, most contemporary/modern kitchens use either tile, glass or metal; your personal preference will decide. A hot trend is using small tiles that make the backsplash look like a mosaic or the other extreme by using the same finish as the kitchen top.

As far as cabinets are concerned, hidden hinges keep things looking sleek with no hardware visible to disrupt the clean lines of your cabinet doors. The soft-close doors and drawers prevent slamming, saving both your cabinet finishes and your nerves. And the frameless cabinet construction and full-overlay doors give you the look of “just doors” without the older style face-frame behind the doors. Having a built in design also provides great storage (because if you like modern you don’t like clutter).

Accessories are another way to easily modernize and personalize your kitchen. Pot racks, knife blocks, coffee makers, teapots, and cookware with a vast range of designs can be found in a variety of stores. Accessories of this sort will only make your kitchen look functional, don’t think of kitchen accessories as clutter.

“A beautiful but poorly thought out kitchen will be completely dysfunctional.”

If you let your personality and preferences guide you when designing your new kitchen, you could end up with a space that’s both beautiful and functional – two qualities of great design.

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