Combining Rustic & Modernist Design with Your Kitchen Cabinets

Here are nine beautiful design ideas to guide you in creating the perfect blend of earthy, yet contemporary appeal that will bring you the best of both worlds. Read on and get inspired!

If you love the look of a sleek, modern kitchen, follow trends with a passion, but also are drawn to rustic charm and the beautiful charisma and warmth of natural materials, you don’t have to choose between the two design styles — with a bit of creativity you can infuse them both for an eclectic appeal in your home interior. There’s nothing keeping you from designing your kitchen with a bright, modern touch while also incorporating interesting rustic touches. If you have a soul that coexists peacefully with wood, stone, and natural elements with a modern flair, there’s no reason not to incorporate both in your dream kitchen. Careful designing, attention to detail, and a cohesive palette will go a long way in creating an elegant, modern aesthetic with a charming with a touch of rusticity in it.


The Natural Grandeur of Stone and Brick

When you think of rustic decor, the first thing that often comes to mind is stonework and brick. From unique white-washed brick walls to uniquely-shaped clinker-brick to river rock, the applications are endless, even in a modernistic kitchen design style. The beauty of stone is that it is durable, adds texture, and blends brilliantly with the modern decor. The key to keeping it from looking fussy it to make sure your cabinets have a simple design. For a perfect pairing, try cladding a wall with natural stone below your minimalist cabinetry.

stone wall kitchen


Divide Your Kitchen Cabinetry In a Modern Way

If you have wood floors, and a farmhouse sink, a few tricks with cabinetry can give your kitchen a distinctly modern character and style. Instead of a heavy wooden or marble-topped island, opt for an island that combines a pop of contemporary colour with stainless steel. Instead of a bank of sleek, white cabinets, break it up by mix-and-matching open shelving with cabinets with doors in an interesting way that opens the space. Instead of rustic island chairs, why not go for clear acrylic?


Best of Both Worlds

A good design rule when meshing modern and rustic styles is to let one be the major player and resisting the urge to add too much of both details. Trying to balance both will end up looking confusing. If you have classic shaker cabinets, why not install a concrete countertop? If you have a clean line of teal lacquered cabinets, why not top them with a pale blond bamboo counter? This is the perfect merger of the contemporary style with rustic charm.


Hold the Ceiling

One thing that works well in both contemporary and rustic kitchen designs are wooden beams overhead. Whether they are rough-hewn and give a lodge-like feel, or are painted to match your modern cabinetry, they bring the eye up and lend an air of spaciousness. For the most impact, keep the lines clean — coffered ceiling beams won’t work here!

custom cabinets for the kitchen


Blend Your Materials

When thinking about how to give a warm feel to your modern, sleek cabinetry, don’t forget about the variety of materials that are available that also have a linear, seamless, clean aesthetic, such as cork and bamboo. Underfoot, they wear very well, are easy to clean, and even work well for backsplashes. They will add a rustic tone without really changing the modernity — feel free to add beautiful stainless knobs and pulls on your cabinets and drawers without affecting the earthy feel.


Mix Your Metals

If you have an unfussy cabinet style that doesn’t have hardware, you can go to town mixing and matching metal accents in your kitchen. Pair stainless steel appliances with a hammered copper sink and a bronze oil-rubbed hanging pot rack. Don’t forget your lighting — add rustic copper hanging pendants featuring Edison bulbs. Little touches like vintage bulbs add to the charm.


Small Things Can Make a Mighty Impact

You don’t have to change much to make an impact in blending modernistic rustic design. Simple Mid-Century Modern inspired wood doors add warmth to a bright contemporary interior while adding a variety of plant-filled rustic baskets to the top of crisp white cabinets can bring in a little feeling of the outdoors without being overpowering. Little details such as pops of trendy colour in the form of pottery or dishware can add a more modern feel to cabinets with a more traditional flair.

Combining White Kitchen Cabinets With Other Colors | Kitchen Art Design

Add Interesting Wall Accents And Backsplashes

From copper penny walls to woven stainless steel backsplashes, there have never been more options to add a punch to your kitchen design. For the best effect, pair modern rustic kitchen cabinets with stainless steel accents and warmer tones like copper or bronze with starker cabinets. For tiling, pair warm honey-coloured cabinets with pale, cool grey or green glass tiles and sleek, trendy-coloured cabinets with earthy botanically inspired art-nouveau tiles. Add an interest wall to a kitchen with rustic cabinets by covering a wall with a bright, modern print featuring metallics.


Add a Niche Or Two

Wall niches were originally used for storage. Modern homes feature cabinets and shelves to serve that purpose. To add a more rustic old-world feel, consider removing some of your modern shelves and replacing them with a few artfully placed niches covered with wood or stone and add a candle or flowering plant to give a more traditional twist to your modern décor.


Marrying Modernist and Rustic Decor

There are many other factors that can influence the final appearance of your kitchen. Your cabinet style, colour, and hardware, as well as the colour and texture of your walls, combined with your flooring material, fabrics, lighting, furniture, appliances, and even accessories, have an important role to play in determining how well the two styles get along. At Kitchen Art Design, we understand home design. We have years of experience designing interiors, building unique designs, and installing custom cabinetry. Give us a call today to find out how you can achieve your ideal blend of rustic and modernist styles with the perfect kitchen cabinets.