Contemporary Kitchen Remodels 101

Contemporary kitchens are defined by clean lines, lighter tones, and a sleek approach. Learn more in our guide to this style and see examples of contemporary kitchens in our portfolio.

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Contemporary Kitchen Remodels 101

Contemporary kitchens are defined by clean lines, lighter tones, and a sleek approach.

The terms contemporary and modern are often used interchangeably, but there are a few common characteristics that define the contemporary aesthetic. This style is popular among Gallery clients, so we’ve learned a thing or twelve about how to expertly craft it in New York City apartment renovations. Keep reading to explore and be inspired by the kitchens in our own portfolio that exemplify contemporary design. 

Clean Lines

Simplicity is key in contemporary design; almost nothing communicates simplicity more than the concept of clean lines. They can be boxy or curved, vertical or horizontal, and can refer to everything from high ceilings to architectural details such as millwork. A preference for clean lines puts an emphasis on form. 

Lighter Colors

While contemporary style can definitely be achieved with bold colors, it’s much more common to stick to a monochromatic, neutral palette: whites, grays, and/or tans. Warm or cool tones are both equally satisfying in contemporary kitchen remodels; warmer tones create a slightly more transitional feel while cooler tones bring in ultra-sleek contemporary appeal. 

Shaker-Style Cabinets 

The cabinets are often an ideal way to employ clean lines into contemporary kitchen remodels. The no-frills Shaker-style conceptually complements a minimalist approach to design, with a low-profile Shaker offering an even more modern style. Additional elements such as sleek hardware or glass panels can also further the contemporary feel of Shaker-style cabinets.

Shaker-style cabinets in a Yorkville townhouse we renovated.

Waterfall Edges

Another cornerstone of the contemporary kitchen is waterfall edges on kitchen islands and peninsulas. Waterfall edges are seamless countertops, where the material extends down the side of the cabinetry, clean lines flowing like their namesake. Waterfall edges help cohere the design aesthetics as well as create striking visual focal points.  

Learn the lingo: the main difference between an island and a peninsula in the kitchen is a lot like their geographical differences! Islands typically stand free in a kitchen, while one end of a peninsula is usually attached to the wall.

Waterfall edges in a kitchen we renovated in Fort Greene.


Minimalism is also popular within contemporary design. The less visible clutter, the better; if there is no visible clutter at all, you’ve achieved peak contemporary. In the kitchen, there’s no way around the appearance of appliances… unless you panel them, of course! Paneled appliances are the epitome of clean lines in contemporary kitchen remodels, creating the ultimate design cohesion between the cabinets and paneling. Another popular option for the appliances in contemporary kitchens is to go the stainless steel route –  just as sleek, with natural design contrast to boot. 

In our own projects, contemporary style is easily one of the most beloved aesthetics. Explore some of the most contemporary of all the contemporary kitchen remodels in our portfolio.

Prohibition House – Landmarked Townhome

This landmark townhome in Hudson Square is a quintessential example of the contemporary kitchen remodel. Our designers crafted a custom kitchen with fully custom flat panel base cabinets in a white high gloss finish and an absolute matte black appliance/pantry wall, as well as a white quartz countertop and backsplash with a waterfall edge island.

Tribeca Grand Kitchen

In this kitchen we remodeled in Tribeca, white Shaker-style cabinets and a contrasting teal island set the contemporary scene. White quartz was used for both the countertop and the backsplash, with black knobs and pull handles in a matte finish for additional contrast.

Bright & Brooklyn

Another stand-out contemporary kitchen remodel in our portfolio is the gleaming white one in this BellTell loft. The original kitchen was in decent shape but with a more traditional design aesthetic; our client wanted to modernize the space. To bring their vision to life, our design team paired fully custom gray Shaker-style cabinets with a white quartz countertop and a handpainted tile backsplash. 

Silk Loft Soho

In this Soho loft, we created a stunning contemporary aesthetic with one of the most truly monochromatic palettes in our portfolio. From the traditional column found in many New York lofts to the countertops to the cabinets and backsplash, everything in this kitchen gleams white – except for the sink and oven in contrasting black and gray. 

This may be a primer on contemporary kitchen remodels, but our renovation expertise at Gallery touches all types of design styles. If you’re considering a home renovation in New York City, contact us now for your free consultation!




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