Definitive Proof That Modern Kitchens Don't Have To Feel Sparse And Stark

Clean lines? Good. Cold and bare? Hard pass.

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Karyn R. Millet

You know the modern formula already: clean, open, minimal, functional. But you may not know how to make the sleek design aesthetic have character, be family-friendly, or even a little bit colorful. Whether you want to go full-on mid-century or have something a little more contemporary, let these modern kitchens inspire you to think outside the farmhouse box.

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1 Stupid Simple
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Courtesy of Tessa Neustadt

Keep it sparse and simple. All you need to add some dimension to an all-white kitchen is wooden counter stools, and maybe a solitary plant leaf.

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2 Who Invited You, Cabinets?
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Zan Passante

Skip wall cabinets and opt for open shelving (in clean, unfinished wood) for a more modern feel. Add a matte black KitchenAid, and we're totally swooning.

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3 I'm Bringing Sexy Back
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Courtesy of Tessa Neustadt

Black kitchens can be seriously sexy and modern, but they can also feel a little too sleek for hanging out everyday with your fam. Combine it with light wood and it'll feel a bit more homey.

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4 Gray That's Not Totally Blah
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Karyn R. Millet

This kitchen is a lesson in how gray can be cool and calming, rather than dull. The minimalist cooking space blends statement lighting with a geometric backsplash to keep it feeling fresh, modern, and fun.

5 Color, Color, Color
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Courtesy of Sugar & Cloth

You know the drill: whiter=brighter. Keep everything white, then add in pops of color from your serving ware, or even a SMEG fridge.

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6 Industrial, But Chic
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Joshua McHugh

Don't let the connotation of industrial turn you off. It can look totally elegant and clean (start with some fresh flowers on your island), and a stainless steel backsplash will take all those oil splatters like a pro.

7 Rustic Meets Modern
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Courtesy of Bethany Nauert for Emily Henderson Designs

Think rustic and modern can't be mixed? This raw wood island is proof they totally can.

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8 All The Warm & Cozy Feels
elena frampton kitchen
Joshua McHugh

Dark wood cabinetry and floors can make a modern kitchen feel warm and inviting. Forgo hardware on cabinets for a more streamlined look.

9 Pump Up The Party
amanda nisbet kitchen
Tara Donne

The oversize glass tiles on the backsplash are backed in silver leaf to brighten the already light and fun cooking space. Silver pendants give it party vibes for days.

10 Backsplash Goals
caroline beaupere
custom tile backsplash

Though the stools are mid-century modern and the design is overall very minimal, the climbing vines backsplash gives this kitchen some life and color.

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