11 Modern Kitchen Cabinets That Are So Much More Than Sleek Panels
Cool and collected but not at all sterile.
Published Mar 24, 2021 12:13 AM
Modern kitchen cabinets tend to fall flat—and not in the traditional sense. The thing that separates this style of cupboard from old-school Shaker or antique inspired is the unadorned doors. And while that is a defining characteristic, it doesn’t mean modern cabinets have to be simple wood or glossy white.
Our favorite takes on the look involve loads of color, ultra-functional configurations, and, yes, even really smart interior organizers, because what is an of-the-moment space if not one that actually serves your everyday needs? Ahead, we rounded up 11 examples of modern kitchen cabinets that we love.
The Flintstone-esque One
So your doors are super-sleek—the framing that holds them in place doesn’t have to be. Australian designer Tamsin Johnson surrounded hers in plaster. (Psst: Tadelakt and micro-cement are textured options that aren’t porous and don’t stain, so you can chop, slice, and dice away.)
The Graphic One
Imagine a feeling or place and let that mood inspire your cabinet design. Latham Thomas says she wanted her kitchen to “make you feel like you’re on vacation,” so she brought in tropical hits of pink and purple and arranged them in a color-blocked system. (Pro tip: If you’re not up for a DIY, HomeAdvisor makes it easy to find a subcontractor near you to tackle the project).
The Two-Tone One
You don’t have to go with rainbow brights for your space to exude getaway vibes. Keep half of your cabinets natural wood and paint the rest in a dark hue (the hunter green in this small kitchen was inspired by the outdoors).
The One That’s All About Hardware
Flat panels can look one-dimensional, so ditch dainty knobs and install extra-long pulls that (nearly) extend to the floor. A variety of wood such as ash absorbs tint with no trouble.
The Groovy One
A little touch of texture doesn’t always equal traditional. Keep beaded doors feeling cool and collected by opting for quirky handles. Bonus: Oversize half-moon pulls tell guests exactly where the integrated refrigerator is.
The Family-Friendly One
Modern kitchen cabinets are ones that streamline your space from the inside out. Take it from designer Regan Baker’s San Francisco home: Hiding bulky kitchen tools and appliances in a Calacatta Oro marble–clad appliance garage offers the best of both worlds. You don’t have to stare at your ugly metal microwave or baking sheets when you’re not using them.
The Double-Duty One
Do you know what’s really a step above the rest? When your cupboards double as a stairwell. These mint green ones look totally seamless because there’s no distracting hardware in sight (you push on the doors to open them).
The Classic Contrast One, But With a Twist
A quintessential kitchen design move is to paint the uppers white and the lowers a darker hue, creating the illusion that the ceiling is taller than it really is. Put an updated spin on it by incorporating a third color into the mix. This red, white, and blue scheme is playful without feeling patriotic.
The One That Makes You Look Twice
London designer Clare Gaskin’s kitchen cabinets only look like your typical contemporary ones, but she spiced up the white by lining the sides of the drawers with Farrow & Ball’s punchy Charlotte’s Locks, a nod to her husband’s favorite color, orange.
The Edgy Traditional One
If you’re set on committing to a single hue for your cabinets, make it a bold one. A supersaturated navy can have a big impact on a tiny galley kitchen. Take it a step further by painting the wall space between the bottom of the uppers and the backsplash the same color.
The Solid Wood One
In an all-wood kitchen, spice up the millwork by going up and around the vent hood (see how it’s discreetly hidden in the middle-upper cabinet). No one can say this head-to-toe look is sterile.
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