Modern design aesthetic at once feels organized and almost effortlessly clean all at the same time. The focus is on man-made materials, clean lines, and austerity. This doesn’t mean, however, that modern design needs to feel impersonal or cold. It can be warm and inviting if done correctly. This is especially important when it comes to the kitchen, a space you need to be both functional and warm.

We love the lived-in warmth of our grandparent’s kitchens because of the memories, not the design. A kitchen filled with knick-knacks and clutter might be pleasant as a child, but it’s not aesthetically pleasing. Modern design principles forego clutter and decor for bright, clear, focused precision.

Let’s take a look at the elements and decor that make a modern kitchen stand out without trying.

My standard disclaimer: Please note, some of these items may be offered through affiliate links which means I could get a small commission if you order. That will never influence what I find lovely and want to share with you. I always offer suggestions I would buy for my home or recommend to a client. Also, rest assured it won’t affect the price you would otherwise pay.

Modern design for the kitchen

When thinking about selecting decor for a modern kitchen, the first thing to pin down are the elements that make up modern design. It’s all about intentional, industrial simplicity. Because your kitchen won’t be filled with frills, each material and color you choose will have a big impact.

Colors for a Modern Kitchen

Black, grey, white, and wood tones are all common colors in a modern kitchen. Additionally, the design will center on one single color largely throughout – including appliances you won’t want to hide away. This makes the natural color of your fixtures or wooden elements stand out.

Using Lines

Horizontal lines give a sense of uniformity and continuity that makes your kitchen look clean and crisp. You can add to this aesthetic by using simple horizontal bar hardware on cabinets. A kitchen island also adds to this concept, while giving you an opportunity to use beautiful natural materials, like a marble countertop.

Flat-panel cabinetry

Flat-panel cabinetry is a great choice for modern kitchen design because it gives a seamless look; the doors overlay the cabinet itself. Again, this creates a sense of unity and continuity that makes your kitchen flow.

Minimal design elements

Because modern design eschews clutter and traditional decor, you want to have as little on your counters as possible. With that said, a single piece can look amazing, especially if it matches your color palette.

Tatine Ancient Brass Hinoki Candle

For example, this candle with its simple metallic design and smooth lines marries function and form. You can keep this out on your counters without it feeling out of place or cluttered. Naturally, it smells wonderful as well, with notes of cedar, shiso, ginger, and pine.

Modern Kitchen Lighting

Glass, metal, and simplicity are focal points for modern lighting options in your kitchen. Geometric shapes fit perfectly because they feel intentional – avoid track or recessed lighting. Pendant lights are some of the most beautiful, functional pieces you can use that soften a modern kitchen. Clear or smoked glass with visible, industrial bulbs are clean and sharp options as well.

Sphere #2 Pendant, by Hudson Valley Lighting

When clad in soft distressed bronze or aged brass, this pendant light will complement any modern kitchen.


Aim for simple, flowing geometric designs. Chef or professional faucets are wonderfully functional additions to any kitchen, but they look especially good in modern designs. Brushed metals, especially copper and brass, pop beautifully in a monochromatic or minimalist color scheme.

Sleek Single Handle Kitchen Faucet

This model combines simple geometric shapes with minimalist designs. The single, pull-down handle and sprayer adds professional function with a gorgeous, simple aesthetic, and it comes in five different finishes. If brass is not your thing, consider stainless, matte black, or chrome.

Minimalist hardware

I talked about horizontal hardware, but in general with handles, less is more. Aim for tubular or horizontal pull handles in brushed metallic colors. Longer hardware that accentuates the lines of the kitchen work well with flat-panel cabinets.

Kitchen Backsplashes

Your backsplash is a great place to add texture and warmth to your kitchen. Keep the tiles in the scheme of your overall palette, but you can also add brick and natural colors as well. Consider stacked subway or split-faced tiles to add variety and curiosity to your kitchen.

Simple, man-made seating

Minimalist seats are perfect for a modern kitchen. Consider metal barstools with geometric, flat, monochromatic tops. Additionally, polypropylene molded chairs are simple and clean and fit perfectly with this aesthetic.

Kitchen Countertops

Concrete and metal are two beautiful, clean, industrial options for a modern countertop. Quartz composite poured concrete, and stainless steel all look amazingly sharp and crisp.

On the other hand, a natural marble or stone countertop can be a great place to inject some natural tones and textures. This is especially true if you’ve not used natural elements elsewhere in your kitchen.

Less is more in a modern kitchen

Focusing on less clutter and less decor, a modern kitchen exemplifies austerity and cleanliness. Horizontal lines dominate without being overstated, and flat-panel cabinets make everything flow seamlessly. To heighten the effect of these lines, consider adding a long kitchen island.

Glass and metal pendant lights feel inviting while creating a clean, simple look. Aim for brushed brass, copper, and stainless as opposed to polished chromes, nickels, or stainless steel.

Your countertop and backsplash are wonderful places to add texture and natural stone elements. Split-faced and subway tiles, along with brick, are good choices here.

Natural wood tones can be used in flooring or cabinets, but should not dominate the space. Modern design often opts for machine-made, intentional and industrial designs. Natural elements are great complementing contrasts.

Finally, aim for minimal clutter and decor. A simple candle or individual focal point on a counter is enough to add some dazzle.

Modern kitchens feel clean and crisp while still being inviting and comforting. The appeal is the clean, orderly presentation of the space. This design can make your kitchen stand out without effort – an oasis that exemplifies the beauty of simplicity.