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The Essential Guide: Modern Kitchen Design

Change is in the air around here! If you’ve stopped by my Instagram feed, you might’ve heard the news that we’re taking a big ‘ol leap of faith and selling our house. (Or, maybe you noticed spaces like my bookshelf were extra clean -this would be why!) It’s been a long time in the works, a dream I’ve had for years, but now that the plan is in motion it all feels very new, exciting, and nerve-wracking! We’ve started our search for a home with a little plot of land we could make our very own. Given our budget and the market around here, we’re likely facing a much older, smaller house with a lot of projects. Even though it’s a tiny bit (whole lot!) scary, it’s also what I’m really ready to take on. I’m so excited for space to roam and starting from scratch and figuring out spaces like the kitchen design to make it feel like it really reflects us.

lower dark cabinets and brass pulls
battle creek hardware

I figure I can ward of some of the anxiety of the unknown by gathering up and detailing some of favorite kitchen design elements ahead of time. Goodness knows I’ve got enough kitchen design pins with inspiration for a few houses. So, I thought I’d share some of my favorites along with some of the design elements I’ve found so far. Am I putting the cart before the horse? Most definitely. But this is the same strategy I used with our beach house, so once we had a place secured, I could hit the ground running. Let’s do this!

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, which means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase -I am so thankful if you use my links!

modern and affordable kitchen design elements

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Dark Lower Kitchen Cabinets

I love everything Grit + Polish touches and this kitchen design is no different. I’ve long admired dark lower cabinets (maybe Hale Navy or a black) and open shelving above (of course, using our Cascade Iron Co. shelf brackets, wink wink). Mostly, I love how this kitchen feels both vintage and new all at once. Fresh but like you could really live here.

Mixed Metals in Kitchen Design

Although there are a lot of aspects of kitchen design I’m undecided about (subway tile or try something new?) I know I really like mixed metals and a combination of materials.

I’d rather see a mix of brass and black metal than everything all matchy-matchy. It’s sort of liberating to me and also feels natural and homey. I love how this kitchen has both brass lamps and black cabinet pulls along with a few different woods.

Kitchen Lighting

Studio McGee sort of has my heart. They’re chasing their dream, creating beautiful designs, and I could shop endlessly on their site (these are some of my favorite planters and vases). I really like how they use lighting as a main design element, something beyond just lights above the island. These black sconces add dramatic impact and I bet look pretty cool turned on in the evenings.

Open Shelving Kitchen Design

modern kitchen open shelving

Since I work for my brother at Cascade Iron Co. I pretty much have to put shelf brackets in every single room. Can’t stop, won’t stop. The kitchen of my dreams is no different. There will be open shelves of some sort. Can you imagine my freak out moment when Becki Owens (the Becki Owens) used his Black J Brackets for her kitchen design???!!! I’m so proud and honored she chose my brother’s work – the entire kitchen is amazing.

Natural Wood

kitchen coffee nook

I love me some good rustic natural wood in any space. Especially mixed with metal and other materials like ceramic and painted cabinets. And the fact it’s a coffee nook? Yes and yes.


I might even look back at my kitchen gift guide and add some of those pieces in. But for now, back to house hunting! Let me know which of these kitchen design elements you love too.

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