Although modern can mean "present-day," "contemporary," or "right-this-minute," in its current incarnation modern design is heavily-influenced by forward-thinking visuals of decades past. This includes shapes and linear detailing of the 1920s art deco period; futuristic, curvilinear midcentury modern accents from the 1940s and '50s; and groovy, galactic decor from the 1960s.
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Some defining characteristics of modern design include geometric, pointed, or curved silhouettes; unexpected materials like PVC pipe, manipulated textiles, and shining metals; and nods to the art world. These elements stand out the most in the kitchen, where artistic, avant-garde lighting takes center stage.
Whether you want to create a floor-to-ceiling contemporary cook space or you simply want to weave in some modern kitchen lighting, here are eight luminous ideas to get you started. And bonus: we'll even tell you where to buy these radiant masterpieces.
1. Elegant Glass
Shea of Studio McGee is famous for her rustic and farmhouse-inspired spaces, but she also excels at creating modern interiors. In this nearly all-white cook space, midcentury chairs are paired up perfectly with teardrop-shaped, glass pendant lights. We love how they act as just the right finishing touch in this bright and airy kitchen.
2. Geometric Chandelier
For modern kitchen lighting, don't be afraid to break a few rules. For example, hang that chandelier at the very top of the ceiling and embrace geometric shapes. In this space styled by Brady Tolbert and designed by Studio LIFE/STYLE, a lofty, black chandelier with glass shades serves as a piece of art.
3. Unique and Textured
You don't need to go with glass, brass, or conventional materials of any kind for your modern kitchen lighting. In fact, you can choose a textile, and it will likely look fabulous. Black netted fabric punctuates these sizeable pendant lights in a kitchen dreamed up by Brooke Wagner Design.
4. Articulating Sconces
Sure, wall sconces are practical and fairly trend-proof. They've been around for a while, and we're all for these traditional fixtures. But to mix things up and push your cook space in an oh-so-right-now direction, think about installing sconces with articulating arms that allow you to shine the light wherever you need it most. Emily Henderson chose these angular beauties for an otherwise-classic green kitchen, and they're undoubtedly eye-catching.
5. Circular Style
Globe-shaped lights have been a thing since the midcentury era, and they still look fresh and cool today. For a twist on the timeless-yet-modern trend, group together several orb-shaped pendants in your kitchen in varying finishes and sizes. That's what the team at Jette Creative did in this cook space and the result is brilliant.
6. Eclectic Mix
In this Italian kitchen designed by Massimo Adario Architetto, the modern kitchen lighting is decidedly diverse, and we love the look. To make your cook space look even more current, don't shy away from mixing it up. If you want to hang ultramodern gold pendant lights along with white track lighting, we say go for it.
7. Gleaming Brass
Brass feels very right now, and it's a spot-on choice for modern lighting — especially when it comes in the form of these big and bold fixtures in this kitchen belonging to Shauna of The House of Silver Lining. Want to give your culinary space an au courant makeover? Opt for extra large fixtures in a lustrous brass finish, complemented by black cabinets and wood shelving.
8. Artful Semi-Flush Mount
Flush mounts and semi-flush mounts can be quiet ways to bring modern kitchen lighting into your space. Even though they're not as flashy as pendant lights and chandeliers, they can still carry plenty of style, as proven by this modern semi-flush mount selected by Chris and Julia of Chris Loves Julia. It pairs beautifully with their gray cabinets and stainless steel appliances.
Where to Shop for Modern Kitchen Lighting:
Now that we've inspired you to incorporate modern kitchen lighting into your own culinary headquarters, we're sharing some beloved brands that excel at contemporary styles.
For chandeliers rendered in LED rods, fixtures that look like delightful little UFOs, and lights that resemble colorful balloons, look no further than West Elm.
This brand is a designer darling, and rightfully so. Shop here for modern kitchen lighting that displays surprising materials and shapes. Don't miss the amazing table lamps, too.
CB2 is a modern mainstay that isn't going anywhere soon. They tend to be the holy grail when it comes to modern kitchen lighting and offer an expansive variety of styles, including pendant lights, flush mounts, wall sconces, and chandeliers.
This brand might not come to mind immediately when you think of "modern," but trust us, it just might be your new destination for kitchen lighting. Go to Room & Board for handblown glass pendants, super-industrial fixtures, and more.