Classic kitchens are timeless and flexible. This comes with other givens, such as neutral color palettes and simple, unfussy details. Sure, a classic kitchen can be deemed too safe for the individualist and too ornate for the purist, but for me it’s like jeans and a white t-shirt: add a beaded necklace and heels or tennis shoes and black blazer and you can make the look your own. (And so can the next homeowner if you’re concerned about resale value.)
Organic materials. Surfaces with a connection to the earth feel most at home in Asian-style kitchens. Consider woods, subdued stone or even butcher block. More contemporary materials, such as concrete or glass, have a place here as well, but be sure to balance them with natural ones so that the kitchen doesn’t feel cold or harsh.
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Simple lighting. Craftsman-style lighting is first and foremost about function, but its strong geometric lines also add visual flair. Mica is the classic material for pendants, chandeliers and sconces; Tiffany lamps suit the look as well.
Contemporary kitchens can be modern as well, but they can also have elements of other styles. When I think of what makes a kitchen contemporary, it most often includes cutting-edge design and technology and use of new trends and materials.
When I think of modern kitchen designs, I think of frameless cabinets, sleek and simple hardware, strong horizontal lines and a lack of ornamentation, with the natural beauty of the materials shining through.