Elements from nature. Asian design places a strong emphasis on bringing the outdoors inside through plants and natural motifs. Consider adding touches of glass or acrylic that has bamboo, grasses or leaves embedded within it, as in the shoji screen–style panels that front this kitchen window. You could also line cabinet panels with split bamboo stalks or add potted bamboo plants or wheatgrass to infuse the space with a sense of life.
Style is easier to recognize with your eyes than with words: You know it when you see it, and the photo that inspires you most can often surprise you. Think you know your kitchen style? Check out these guides to a dozen favorite kitchen design themes, then tell us which one takes the cake.
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Flush inset or framed cabinetry. The type of cabinet construction can have a significant impact on the way a kitchen looks. Full overlay or frameless cabinets are associated with a more contemporary way of building a cabinet — the door overlays the frame of the cabinet, and you don’t see any exposed hinges. Flush inset or framed cabinets are associated with an Old World way or furniture-style way of building cabinets. With this sort of construction, you’ll see the frame around the doors, and the doors and drawers are set flush with that frame. You’ll also see exposed piano hinges in silver, oil-rubbed bronze or even antique brass.
You don’t have to be obsessively neat and organized for open shelving to look attractive, but you’ll want to make an effort not to let clutter build. Keeping dishware to a single color, as shown here, creates a striking effect.
Old materials used in a new way. Contemporary design is often know to push the boundaries of what we know. Sure, everyone knows concrete sidewalks and glass windows, but what about concrete or glass countertops in kitchens? New and improved products are added to the marketplace every day. From concrete to glass to solid-surface materials like quartz, which tries to achieve the look of natural stone without the maintenance concerns, there are more options for homeowners than ever before.