What is contemporary kitchen design?

Open plan contemporary style

Open plan contemporary style

Contemporary and modern kitchen designs are commonly confused - when, in fact, they offer an entirely different feel to a space. Inspired by a period that has already passed, modern design incorporates styles that were popular in the early to mid 20th century. Whilst modern design reflects a specific era, contemporary design does not attribute itself to a particular period. Rather, it is constantly changing, whilst being influenced by other points in time. Combining current trends with minimalism and diversity, a contemporary kitchen is an all-round one which incorporates many style inspirations whilst being a reflection of the user’s personality.


A popular feature in contemporary kitchens, an open-plan layout invites the dining area, lounge and kitchen to be connected to create a social, living zone. A contemporary design, above all else, should burst with individuality; this can be achieved through statement pieces, such as sculptured lighting, ornate furnishings and a combination of your favourite textures. Contemporary design takes inspiration from the second half of the 20th century, with streamlined, geometric cabinetry being amongst the top contenders.


Contemporary kitchens should be highly functional, yet minimalistic. This look can be achieved through the cabinetry and splash-back, which, when paired with identical finishes create a streamlined appearance. Clean lines are important in this kind of kitchen design; try to line up the splash-back with wall cabinetry, and ensure that drawers within cabinets have symmetry. This creates a sleek aesthetic that falls in line with a simplistic yet sophisticated style. Additionally, ensuring a design has clean lines creates a sense of harmony and tidiness, therefore allowing you to experiment more with other aspects of the design. Cabinets are also commonly installed without pull handles or knobs, with designers installing press-touch technology that allows draws to be opened with the push of a finger.


Flooring is an important part of the design process. Contemporary kitchens avoid materials that are heavily patterned, and incorporate floors that are made of subtle natural materials – such as concrete or wood. These can also be used to warm up an otherwise cool-toned design. Textures such as stone and quartz are also commonly used throughout the kitchen, creating tactile interest.


Modern kitchen appliances are essential for a contemporary kitchen design. These should be streamlined and sleek, whilst integrating well into the kitchen. Additionally, the sink area should be subtle; with stainless steel or matte black being some of the most popular finishes. The idea of contemporary design is to create a space that looks less like a typical industrial kitchen, and more like a work of art.


At Contour, our team can work with your personal needs and preferences to help you create a contemporary design in your kitchen. To speak to one of our team, please click here.


Meet the team

Meet the team

This month, our Junior Designer, Alex, tells all about her average day at Contour.


What is your name and role at Contour?

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 My name is Alex, and I’m the Junior Designer at Contour. My role is to produce the initial kitchen designs and to organise visual information for customers and trades accordingly.

Tell us about your background, and how you got to where you are now.

 Whilst studying a BA (Hons) in Interior Design, I worked on various projects with the Architecture Centre in Bristol, where I helped local communities build their social spaces. Alongside my studies, I worked as the designer for an independent kitchen company who specialised in traditional handmade cabinetry.

What are your favourite parts of the job?

 My favourite parts of working at Contour and using Leicht cabinetry is that I get to use an array of skills, such as architectural planning, graphic design and interior design. However, I also enjoy the practical elements of measuring an empty space and making it beautiful.

Tell us about your favourite kitchen project that you’ve worked on.

 My first kitchen was my favourite! It was a very small kitchen in a small property that turned out to have a massive impact. By knocking through one internal wall, we expanded their storage considerably and made their kitchen a feature of their living room and garden. It was nice to see the customer get excited about the demolition (that they hadn’t initially factored in!) which rejuvenated and modernised their 1960s property.

Do you have any top kitchen tips when re-designing or re-furbishing a kitchen?

Kitchen design merges considerably with interior design. My top tip would be to put your ‘interior design head’ on and not only think practically, but conceptually. Your kitchen needs to bring a sense of atmosphere to your home. Ensure your designer knows and becomes familiar with the way that you operate in your kitchen – as well as your personality, lifestyle and hobbies. This way, the designer can help create that perfect ambience for you with use of lighting, colours, textures and cabinet functionalities.

Currently, what is the most popular kitchen trend amongst your customers?

As even more kitchens become open-plan, customers are wanting to blend their kitchens with their home and lifestyle. In terms of materials, customers are now starting to play with more textures in their kitchen, which interact more with the senses whilst also working to soften the room. We are also seeing an increase in the use of smart home devices, such as the Home Connect. This is where customers are able to control their appliances with the use of a mobile phone app and the Amazon Alexa, helping them to organise their home life in advance.

Finally, what makes Contour so unique?

The customer journey is our focus. Our aim is to make the process of designing a new kitchen a stress free experience, whilst filling the space full of innovative designs for living.

Top 10 mistakes to avoid when designing a kitchen

Top 10 mistakes to avoid when designing a kitchen

Whether you’re designing your kitchen for the first time or giving it a much-needed renovation, it’s important to plan your design carefully to avoid making costly mistakes. The best place to start is by researching online for inspiration, through trusted websites such as Pinterest and Houzz. Here, you’ll find countless ideas based around your personal preferences that will transform your mindset into a creative one.


At Contour, we’re well aware of the numerous aspects of kitchen design that can go wrong if not planned properly. The kitchen is, arguably, one of the most important yet difficult spaces in the home to get right. So, to help you along with the renovation process, we’ve pulled together a list of mistakes to avoid.


1.      Not making efficient use of space

Making the most of the space you have is one of the most fundamental aspects of the planning process. Make sure to take into account manoeuvrability, and this includes ensuring that kitchen aisles aren’t too narrow. The space between kitchen islands and wall cabinets should be wide enough so that multiple chefs can cook and move around comfortably. Countertop space is also a fundamental part of the kitchen, as this is where most of the preparation takes place. If you’re re-designing, be mindful that you don’t give up valuable counter space.


2.      Not using a variety of materials

Incorporating a design that’s predominantly stainless steel is a mistake commonly made, and can give a kitchen a more commercial  rather than homely feel. Be sure to include a variety of materials and textures; this could include pairing marble countertops with matte black cabinets.


3.      Confusing functionality and aesthetics

Open shelving is a great way to display your favourite cookware and cook books. A recent trend, when used correctly, open shelving can replace bulky wall cabinetry with a more minimalist, streamlined and Scandi-style appearance. However, when incorporating these into your design, be careful not to overload them with too many items. Use these shelves to present your favourite items, whilst keeping your bulky and less aesthetic items for under-counter storage. It’s also important not to forget about functionality, including that of cabinets. It’s not ideal to find that, once the kitchen is finished, several cabinet doors can’t be opened simultaneously. It’s vital that you take measurements and plan this part very carefully.


4.      Not installing enough electrical sockets

Once the design is finished, there’s nothing worse than realising that there aren’t enough plugs to accommodate all of your kitchen appliances. Make sure to strategically plan where these sockets can be placed – and how many you need.


5.      No variety of lighting

A kitchen that features solely overhead lighting is one that tends to lack character and atmosphere. It’s a good idea to include accent and spot lighting, too – whether this be over-island pendants or LED lighting across cabinet borders.


6.      Not having sufficient ventilation

Odours quickly surface when cooking – and are not pleasant when using the kitchen as a shared, multi-functional space. Ensure that you have ample ventilation installed to avoid this. The Bora Venting Hob integrates both a cooking hob and streamlined extractor, eliminating the need for bulky extractor hoods.


7.      Misplacing kitchen hotspots

The refrigerator, sink and stove are arguably the most-used appliances in the kitchen. It’s therefore important to place these so that they’re within short distance of one another and easily accessible.


8.      Not sticking to a budget

Deciding on a budget before designing is crucial. This way, you can make the best design decisions for your kitchen based on how much you are investing.


9.      Not utilising spaces efficiently

It’s important to ensure that the cabinetry is going to be used efficiently. Being creative helps to achieve this; you might, for example, choose incorporate larder units, le mans corner units and pull out systems to help maximise storage space, thus allowing additional space to be given over to dining or relaxation.


10.  Not enlisting the help of an interior designer

Designing your kitchen can be an exciting yet daunting process. To create a space that’s both identical to your vision and functional is a difficult task when attempted without the help of a professional.


Here at Contour, our expert designers have experience in helping clients create their ideal kitchen that’s aesthetically pleasing, functional and long lasting. To contact one of our team, please click here.


How to Create a Modern yet Classic Kitchen in 2019

How to Create a Modern yet Classic Kitchen in 2019

It’s the beginning of a new year, and we’re already showcasing timeless designs that are set to increase in popularity throughout the coming months. Some of the most popular 2018 trends, including all-white kitchens and rose gold finishes, are predicted to be replaced with pops of olive green and nature-inspired textures. Interior design in 2019 will aim to create a space that’s modern whilst incorporating classic finishes.

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Whilst white veined quartz and composites are set to continue being incorporated into many kitchens, navy blue, hunters green and light colour palettes are expected to emerge as some of the most popular colour choices this year. Additionally, whilst rose gold is expected to decrease in popularity, industrial rusty copper will provide a more modern alternative that will be seen across sinks and taps, and surface finishes. Whilst not adding a statement colour, natural textures, such as wood, can provide warmth and depth to a monotonous scheme.


Introduced in 2018, the combination of contrasting textures is expected to rise in 2019. A simple way to mix modern and classic designs, incorporating different textures can create an interesting space that’s unique to you. This could be something as simple as combining matte cabinet finishes with leather pull handles or pairing a stone splashback with high-shine marble surfaces. Splashbacks are now expected to upgrade to statement pieces (especially for kitchens without wall cabinets). Now expected to appear in stone, mirror and marble finishes, tall splashbacks will add an area of interest to an otherwise plain backdrop. Similarly, when this is combined with open shelving above, a Scandi-inspired, timeless design will emerge.


Streamlined, concealed storage is predicted to continue being a focus of interior design this year. Providing a tidy, minimalist appearance, storage walls are the perfect way to avoid bulky cabinets using up unnecessary space whilst still allowing you to hide away appliances. The Scandinavian-inspired butler sinks are also expected to rise in popularity and are great for storing and hiding away pans and dishes that need cleaning.


Digital technology, of course, is continuing to develop, creating smart kitchens that make the cook’s life easier at the touch of a button. Including sous vide cooking methods, 2-in-1 hob/extractors and coffee machines that remember your favourite drinks, the kitchen is literally becoming more intelligent – and is definitely something that the avid chef needs in their home kitchen. Say goodbye to bulky, unsightly extractor hoods with Bora’s integrated venting hob. Seamlessly fitted to a work surface, this hob is accompanied by a flat extractor that vacuums steam and odours as soon as they leave the pan. Additionally, NEFF’s coffee machines are ideal for the caffeine enthusiast. Offering the ability to remember eight different coffee beverages, you can literally have your desired drink served up at the click of a button. Siemens’ coffee machine, on the other hand, can be controlled wherever you are thanks to its compatibility with the Home Connect app.


At Contour Kitchens, our expert designers can help you create a kitchen that incorporates modern trends and timeless features – whilst staying true to your personal preferences and needs. To speak to one of our team, or to visit us in store, please see here.