Guide to Modern Kitchens

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What Essential Things You Should Look For to Design a “Modern Kitchen”?

Modern kitchen — You may wonder what it is after all. Well, as with architecture and the overall interior of any home, kitchen designs have changed a lot over the past hundred years to give it a modern look. Sure, we can attribute some of that to the advancements in kitchen appliances—but truly, it’s the aesthetics that contribute a lot to this concept of a modern kitchen. Nowadays, everyone is opting for more minimalist designs: straight lines, not too much colour and sleek-looking appliances that really pull the look together. Of course, with design comes function and you’ll find plenty of modern-looking, yet totally efficient kitchenware in the market these days. From hands-free tech to cooking with the use of convection heat, putting a modern kitchen together is certainly going to be a treat.

The Evolution of Modern Kitchen Design

Before we dive into redesigning things in the kitchen to make it look fashionable, it is just as important to look back and gain inspiration from the past. It can be said that minimalism has its roots in retro design; this is how people back then envisioned how in the future design would look like. Let’s start with the 1950’s. This is really that point in time where aesthetics became a big part of the picture in terms of designing the different areas in a modern home. In fact, we still take inspiration from this point in time today to design a home and of course its kitchen in a modern shape. The 1950’s placed a high value on the functionality of a kitchen, but they never forgot that it MUST be pleasing to the eye as well. (A modern kitchen can’t be an ugly place, you bet!) Pastel colours were the trend, along with linoleum floors, which was a new material back then to build a kitchen with. The L-shaped space with an island (usually a table) was the most common setup in designing a good-looking kitchen. Cabinets and cupboards were often made of steel and the countertops were made of high-pressure laminates or tiles. Even then, clean lines were prevalent. The same can still be seen in today’s many modernist kitchens.

New Ideas Emerge for Kitchen Design

Fast forward to the 1980’s, this is when people became more open to new ideas in terms of designing their kitchens. Eventually, they began to deviate from the usual L-shape and opted for ordinary I-shaped or the U-shape to create a better workflow within the space of the kitchen. New materials and appliances were also introduced; many of which were designed with both function and aesthetic in mind—a take away from the 1950s, surely. So where does that bring us now? One can say that the Modern Kitchen design took all the best elements of these different eras and put them together in a neat package. It also accommodates the needs of a modern household, one that requires efficiency (time is of the essence) as well as flexibility (the kitchen should be able to transform into a bar or a dining area as needed). As for aesthetics, the basic concepts of a modern-looking kitchen tend to remain the same, but with a few tweaks.

9 Important Things to Consider in a Kitchen Designed for Today’s Needs

  1. It is better to install under-cabinet lights, so that light pours directly on countertops.
  2. For a stainless-steel countertop, you should get integral sinks custom fabricated for better functionality and appearance.
  3. To choose countertop material, keep in mind that stainless steel gets highly visible scratches, while grouts used in tiles are difficult to maintain. To change, you can opt for Quartz.
  4. Is it good to put a smooth, stainless steel garbage container in a corner, or is it better to go for cleverly disguised built-in bins behind a cabinet door? In any case, choose wisely (and consult with your designer).
  5. Get the best use of all the vacant space in your kitchen. Before changing the cabinets, make sure that precise measurements are made. Otherwise, there may be unutilized space in the drawers, cooking dishes may not fit, or may waste space in between.
  6. It is critical to have enough power outlets and space to put all appliances and avoid a mess in your kitchen.
  7. A range hood makes the weather in kitchen—and in all your home—better! Consult with your designer, then go for purchasing the one that is stylish, efficient, and vented outside your home.
  8. It is important for your kitchen to be safe and family friendly. Indoor play areas and the backyard are better to be visible from the cooking area. Furthermore, give attention to safety elements such as slip-resistant flooring, rounded countertops, and stove placed in a way that they are out of reach from children to prevent accidental burns.
  9. Even in a modern kitchen, functionality comes before aesthetics. Make sure to properly plan the sink, cooking range, and fridge in a way that there is enough space between them for easy movement.

The Basics, But Better: Investing in High-Quality Kitchen Components

Because of the high-functionality requirement of today’s kitchens, the equipment and materials used in it should also be able to keep up. We’re talking about durability and convenience here—not only does this add to the kitchen’s aesthetic value, it also improves efficiency, especially if you’re the type to whip up huge lunches or dinners. For this purpose, it is recommended to hire a kitchen design studio that specializes in modern kitchen building and renovation, rather than the usual builders and renovators. This is due to the fact that, since it is their specialization, they have way more resources and expertise when it comes to picking the right appliances to fit the need. Will it be costly? Yes, but consider this as an investment in the lifespan of your kitchen. There would be very little need for repair or renovation if you have quality appliances in place. In the long run, you’ll be able to save money on maintenance as well—the fewer things you need to replace every year, the bigger your savings.

Getting Started

First, the shape. This is important because it needs to match your needs when it comes to workflow. There should be enough room for you to move around in the kitchen, but not too much that you end up losing your breath just trying to get from one station to another. Designers are very thoughtful when it comes to this, so always talk to them about your preferences. Make a list or put together an inspiration board; the clearer you’re able to express your ideas, the better they’d be at making it a reality in your kitchen.

5 Different Kitchen Stations

  1. Storage area. This is where the ingredients are placed in the kitchen. Most of the cabinets where you stock your food should be in this spot. The fridge should also be here—basically, it should be a one stop for everything you need to cook a dish. Has to have plenty of storage space and a way of organizing everything.
  2. Food preparation area. This space is designated for the prep of food items; like dicing the onions, skinning the potatoes, and so on. All your cooking tools should be here in the kitchen, along with other appliances that you need to prep food. Blenders, grinders, and food processors should be arranged neatly in this area. It would be best if it’s located near the sink and a recyclables bin.
  3. Cooking Area. The first thing people need to keep in mind for this area in the kitchen is safety. Is it well-ventilated? Are the stoves at a good distance away from anything that might get burned while you’re cooking? Aside from the basic safety precautions, this is where most of your cooking tools should also be in. The pots and pans you use daily should be hung within arm’s reach. The same goes for the condiments you use as well as any other thing you utilize regularly whenever you cook. However, don’t clutter the space too much. A modern kitchen is a neat place, remember?
  4. Cleaning and Washing Area. In some kitchens designed nowadays, especially if the available space is smaller than usual, this station is integrated into the food prep area. You only really need enough room for your dishwasher or a double sink. The trash should always be kept away from children’s reach and properly tucked away.
  5. Serving Area. This station is optional for your kitchen. Some larger households prefer having this in order to avoid cluttering up the dining table; this is where meals could be placed and kept warm until dinner begins.

Choosing the Best Materials: Things to Consider

Based on the working areas outlined earlier, the modern kitchen should be made of good quality of materials that can last longer and are less prone to accidents. After all, it IS a kitchen, with a lot of fine and pointed tools stored which can actually hurt someone if not utilized properly. Below, each part of the modern kitchen will be discussed, along with the good material to use and safety precautions needed to increase the longevity of the material.

Countertops

There are 3 basic requirements when it comes to countertops:

  1. They must be easy to clean and should be stain-proof.
  2. They shouldn’t be susceptible to molds.
  3. Durable and must be able to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use.
  4. Wood is nice, but the best material for this would be Quartz. This would give you a smooth and sturdy surface; it would not easily crack or develop fissures should you drop something on it. This popular countertop material can also endure high temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204.4 degrees Celsius). Quartz is also resistant to stain and scratches, and are easy to clean: soap and water can do the trick and make your kitchen look pretty beautiful and modern again!

Sink

Stainless steel is probably the best one since it is very easy to clean up. Aside from that, it is heat-resistant, so you can put your spill hot water or place hot pans on it without worry. Experts recommend opting for a brushed or satin finish in order to lessen the visibility of scratches and marks (although both can be removed by using the right cleaning tool). Cleaning is pretty easy to do as well. If scratches are seen, it can be removed through an abrasive pad. By using this, you can make your sink look clean again.

What to Look for in Modern Kitchen Appliances

Refrigerator

For this one, size is a major consideration. It has to fit everything you need to feed the household, but should also be just enough so that it doesn’t take up a good area of your kitchen space. There are plenty of options, but we suggest going for a brand that you fully trust. For the exterior, however, just like with the sinks, a stainless steel surface really lends it a more modern look. Not only that, this also makes it much easier to clean—and is better at resisting stains. Silver and black are common colors for modern fridges, but if you want a pop of colour in your modernist kitchen, you can have a bit of fun by choosing something flashier.

Range

This is the heart of any kitchen, and as such, special care must be taken when choosing the right setup for your space. Size, is again, another important consideration. Allot a decent amount of space for this, especially if you’re looking to go for a full set. It isn’t just the oven and gas ranges you should be leaving space for, however, these also come with a slew of other accessories so keep that in mind as well. As for material, stainless steel still tops the list. The finish would work well with any modern-looking kitchen and highlight the minimalist lines you’re going for. It also lends a more industrial look to everything, especially if you continue this theme with other appliances as well (think smaller ones such as toasters, coffee machines, and so on). Burnished steel, bronze and copper are other options you can look into. All of which are very durable and will last you years of use—very easy to maintain and clean as well! TIPS: In purchasing new furnishing for your kitchen, aside from all the aforementioned details, it is also important that you opt for a lifetime warranty on your purchases. Yes, you don’t expect them to break anytime soon, but accidents may happen along the way. Your countertop could get chipped or your stainless steel appliances might need some sprucing up; since you’re investing a good amount of money into this, it would be wise to protect that investment through the warranty.

Safety First: 3 Top Tips to Keep Your Kitchen a Safe Place to Be in

  1. Always have smoke alarms installed in your kitchen. Some people find this to be troublesome, but the truth is, it can come in handy in the event of an actual accident. Make sure you check and maintain these regularly. Keep a fire extinguisher handy as well.
  2. Install a fume hood. Placing one at the top of your gas range not only keeps the kitchen odors and smoke from entering other parts of your home, some even come with notifications that alert you when there’s too much smoke coming from what you’re cooking.
  3. Lastly, keep your kitchen well-ventilated. Make sure there are enough windows or exit points for the smoke to pass through. Remove anything that might easily catch on fire—this includes flammable materials as well as liquids.

Bottom Line

Designing and building your kitchen in a modern shape need not be a tedious task. It all boils down to how much you’ve researched and put together your ideas—regular contractors may not be able to provide you with the finer details of this as they are often focused on the structure and technical aspects of the building. This is why you should opt for kitchen design studios. These people specialize in doing kitchen makeovers and turning your ideas of a modern kitchen into reality.

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