Minimalist Kitchens That Strike the Perfect Warm Balance


Don’t get me wrong: I love a good English country kitchen. But at heart, I am a minimalist, and what really gets my heart pounding is a beautiful, modern kitchen. I think a lot of people, when they think of a modern kitchen, think of something cold or sterile, but that doesn’t have to be the case. How to get around that? A mix of textures, and careful attention to detail. Here are five kitchens that get it right — and ideas you can steal from each one.

The space: The Swedish kitchen above, from Per Jansson via Residence.

Ideas to steal: The combination of open shelving and closed cabinets allows for display space, so you can show a bit of personality (and show off wood cutting boards and bowls, which help to warm up the space). But the real takeaway from this room is the seafoam color of the cabinets, which makes this modestly-sized modern kitchen definitely memorable.

The Space: The kitchen of this Australian home by Robson Rak Architects.

Ideas to Steal: A backsplash made of beautifully textured, handmade tiles instantly enlivens any space. The subtle reveal between the countertop and cabinets is a nice touch, too. But all the closed storage means your stuff stays out of sight and you can focus.

The space: This Australian kitchen from Concrete by Keenan.

Ideas to steal: There’s so much that’s good here. I love the combination of marble and concrete countertops, a mix of high and low elements that feels warm but still luxurious. The black faucet is perfect for adding a bit of contrast, and the fluted wood paneling on the side of the island really sets this kitchen apart. Again, there’s storage for days that extends all the way up to the ceiling.

The space: This white-and-wood kitchen from Australian firm Cantilever.

Ideas to steal: White makes for a bright and modern kitchen — one that feels wide open and clean — but all white can read a bit cold. To warm things up, this design adds touches of warm wood, most notably at the edge of the white laminate countertop. I bet you had no idea laminate could look this good. In lieu of the expected subway tile, a tile backsplash in a diamond pattern adds a bit of texture.

The space: The kitchen of Lincoln’s Black Label show home, spotted on SF Girl by Bay.

Ideas to Steal: Those Cherner bar stools are to die for — but there’s also a lot to see in the architecture of the space itself. The combination of wood, marble, and stainless, particularly with the extra-high marble backsplash and steel cabinets, is particularly striking. One takeaway for those on less-than-show-house budgets: if you love the look of marble but can’t afford to do a whole kitchen in it, choose marble countertops for just an island, and do the rest of the kitchen in a contrasting material.

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