Modern kitchen ideas for chic and sleek style

Bring your cooking and entertaining space up to date with contemporary good looks

Give the heart of your home a refresh with up to date trends and styles. Using modern kitchen ideas will help to bring contemporary vibes to your space, while adding efficiency and personality. After all, since we spend a lot of our time in our kitchens, if anywhere deserves a facelift, it's here.

While contemporary kitchen ideas are of course perfect in modern homes, even traditional and rustic houses can benefit from the latest trends and innovations. The only issue will be trying to pick your favourite...

Modern kitchen ideas

From the trending colours (deep, rich tones) to popular materials (natural and earthy) and significant features (no handles, high-gloss cabinets), read on for easy ways to give your space a stylish upgrade.

1. Choose sleek storage

kitchen with wooden flooring and breakfast bar

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

Minimalism and keeping things clutter-free is one of the most simple ways to work modern kitchen ideas into your home. Busy cabinetry and appliance-laden surfaces tend to look rather old-fashioned. Instead, use a streamlined cabinet design, utilising handless cupboards for an ultra-modern look.

Sleek cabinetry can also create the illusion of more space, making it perfect for small kitchen ideas, too. Conceal fridge-freezers and dishwashers behind for cohesion.

2. Look for unique materials

kitchen with cabinets and countertop

(Image credit: Future PLC/Anna Stathaki)

One of the most popular ways to look at modern kitchen ideas is to use it to express individuality. These days we're not as constrained with brands, suppliers and materials. Use your kitchen to display unique materials for a thoroughly contemporary feel.

Think about unusual materials you could work in. For example, instead of a stone island choose a metallic finish. Copper makes a great facade as its patina will age and change over time and doesn't overwhelm against the rest of the kitchen.

3. Be bold with colour

kitchen with pink cabinets and gas counter

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

There are no rules for what colour you should be painting your kitchen anymore. That said, you can achieve a truly modern kitchen by choosing a colour which you love and using it liberally. Stand out from the mass of greys, whites and blues by having some fun with your palette.

Colour doesn't have to go everywhere - limiting it to cabinetry means you're less likely to grow tired of your choice, as you can change smaller pieces or tiles for a refresh.

4. Think masculine

kitchen with storage shelves and breakfast bar

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Snook)

Choose typically masculine colours for a sleek, contemporary feel. Soft blacks, charcoal greys and warm browns add a sophisticated tone.

Stop the look from feeling too harsh by choosing softer finishes, like mottled paints, aged leathers and textured materials.

5. Break up your cabinetry

kitchen with wooden flooring and grey cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

While floor-to-ceiling cabinetry offers plenty of much-needed storage, it can sometimes feel a bit bland. break up the cabinets with an array of reeded glass frontages. As well as adding interest, this works in softening the overall look.

A quirky alternative is to use a sheet of chicken wire in place of the textured glass.

6. Layer materials

kitchen with window seating

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

Seating nooks in kitchens are the perfect place to add individual personality and a bit of 'wow'. Steer away from traditional and into more modern kitchen ideas by upholstering the bench or seats in luxe fabrics.

Mix and match sumptuous materials for an elegance and interesting look. Keep the fabrics all within the same colour palette to keep the style feeling contemporary.

7. Add a breakfast bar

kitchen with wooden flooring and grey cabinets and wooden top stool

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

As open-plan kitchens are one of the more modern kitchen ideas, and we veer away from formal dining spaces, make sure you include a breakfast bar.

You can achieve this by using a nook, peninsula or window seat. However, adding onto an island is the most convivial and contemporary of breakfast bar ideas. Break up the linear, slimline surface with a chunky breakfast bar to add contrast and create a delineated dining area.

8. Add texture to your walls

kitchen with pink storage shelves

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

While many think of modern kitchen wall ideas equalling only sleek, seam-free surfaces, texture can add a serious amount of contemporary cool.

Brick feature walls have a hint of industrial chic about them, and you don't even need an existing brick wall to make them happen. Instead, look to brick slips - lightweight brick 'tiles', around 20mm thick.

9. Have fun with your splashback

kitchen with wooden flooring and wooden rack

(Image credit: Future PLC/Davide Lovatti)

Splashbacks aren't simply a practical element to a kitchen - they're an opportunity to add interest and style.

Stay away from traditional glass or basic tiled walls. Instead choose a look which adds impact. Perhaps an unusual shape, colour or material. Selecting one material in several varying, but similar, shades, creates a cohesive but stylish finish.

10.  Show things off with open shelving

kitchen with white cabinets

(Image credit: GoodHome/B&Q)

If you’ve ever needed convincing to expose what’s in your cabinets, now is the time as statement shelving becomes ever more popular in modern kitchen ideas.

From open shelving to glazed doors with integrated lighting, experiment with stacking bowls and plates, as well as neat arrangements of ornaments and books for good measure.

11. Go bold as brass

kitchen with black washbasin

(Image credit: GoodHome/B&Q)

Dark kitchens and brass accents go hand-in-hand when it comes to modern kitchen ideas and cool design.

You can off-set stormy shades with industrial kitchen lighting ideas or use taps and handles to give fixtures some depth.

12. Celebrate the concrete jungle

concrete shelf

(Image credit: Habitat)

The raw earthiness of concrete is still a huge trend, and the look is perfect for anyone searching for modern kitchen ideas. You can get professionals to create a polished concrete kitchen for you, or opt for concrete-effect tiles.

13.  Work with wall-hung appliances

kitchen with wooden flooring and wooden platform

(Image credit: Wickes)

There's something that feels a little luxurious and forward-thinking about not having to put your back out every time you want to put something in or take something out of the oven. Opt for wall-hung appliances for a sleek and modern look that's also perfectly practical.

14. Indulge in a little merlot magic

kitchen with wine colour wall

(Image credit: GoodHome/B&Q)

Wine-inspired kitchens are a warm, bold choice, especially for non-wallflowers looking to make a statement.

Popular looks for this type of modern kitchen ideas include pairing charcoal kitchen cabinets with deep, plummy tones or adding extra dramatic flair by giving your whole kitchen a bold refresh with cabernet-inspired cabinet paint.

A deep carbon design packs extra punch when partnered with plum-toned walls. If you're looking for budget kitchen ideas to give your space a quick refresh, simply pick a shade of cabernet and paint your existing cabinets.

15. Lighten up with all-white everything

kitchen with wooden flooring and white wall and white cabinets

(Image credit: Howdens)

There's nothing that says modern kitchen ideas more than a glossy, light, bright, all-white space. Pair with copper metallics, handle-free cabinetry and wall-hung appliances for am ultra-modern finish.

16. Back to the Stone Age

kitchen with white wall with rack and white cabinet

(Image credit: GoodHome/B&Q)

It might be a new decade, but a kitchen inspired by natural materials will never date. Stone accessories and natural kitchens aren't going anywhere.

17. Channel on-trend Art Deco with statement geometric lighting

kitchen with blue cabinet

(Image credit: Wickes)

Mix a modern-finish kitchen (think no handles, deep inky colours) with a so-now geometric light fixture for a contemporary look that gives a nod to the past. 

Art Deco-inspired influences are sweeping the nation. Get the look with pendant spheres and a brass frame fitting.

18. Get a high-gloss finish

kitchen with wooden flooring and cabinets and refrigerator

(Image credit: Howdens)

Want an ultra-modern finish? Go for high-gloss kitchen cabinets. Not only does it look super-sleek and rather cool, it can also make a smaller kitchen look bigger than it is.

19. Install under-cupboard LED lighting

grey kitchen with plant pot

(Image credit: Wickes)

Create the ultimate ambience by adding under-cupboard lighting. It offers a lovely soft light for socialising and preparing meals that don't require spotlights. Pair with high-gloss cabinets and handle-free doors for that modern kitchen ideas finish.

20. Enjoy a bit of clay time

loaf pantry kitchen table in earthy red

(Image credit: Loaf)

Modern kitchen ideas don't always have to mean no country elements allowed. Team contemporary features, like Crittall-style windows, with country-chic beams and furniture for a cool modern rustic look.

Clay, rust and earth tones are completely on-trend yet timeless and work well with natural materials, too. Use paint to create the look on the wall, or invest in rust-toned furniture. Earthy tones are also the perfect complement to a whole host of cream kitchen ideas.

One material that's currently seeing a surge is the chic microcement. 'We’ve seen a huge rise in its popularity as people are starting to recognise it as great alternative to tiles in modern kitchen ideas,' says Sally Hotchin, director of Relentless Microcement (opens in new tab)

'A major benefit of a microcement kitchen surface is the ability to have a continuous surface with no joins, making it hygienic and easy to clean. Microcement can be applied seamlessly across worktops, sinks, drainage grooves and even end panels.'

What colour kitchens are in for 2022?

Although no colour is seriously out of trend right now, there are a few stand-outs in the modern kitchen ideas and trends. 'Wellness, sustainability and interiors with a distinct sense of personality have been prominent trends,' says Tom Howley, Design Director, Tom Howley Kitchens (opens in new tab)

'Whilst we continue to move in this direction with our interior schemes, people are also becoming increasingly brave with colour, opting for adventurous earthy tones and brilliantly bold hues. Look towards serene pinks, nourishing greens, versatile yellows and tranquil blues that promise to resonate with homeowners and interior designers alike. It’s these statement colours that are set to dominate with their ability to transform our homes.'

Thea Babington-Stitt
Thea Babington-Stitt

Thea Babington-Stitt is the Assistant Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for nearly 10 years. 

She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.