Perfect for those who love the clean look of modern design but feel it just errs a little too far on the cold side (read: sterile), you might instead prefer the warmth and coziness of modern organic style.
The idea of bringing the outdoors in has taken root (quite literally) in modern organic style – and nowhere suits it more than the heart of the home. Not typically synonymous with kitchen design, this trend effortlessly blends organic materials, textures, and colors with the streamlines of modern kitchen design sensibilities. The result is a calm, soothing space infused with nature's beauty and all its imperfections.
'The modern organic look is one of my favorite timeless home design motifs!' says interior designer Kathy Kuo. 'This aesthetic is rooted in inspiration from the natural world, as well as the wabi-sabi sensibility of beautiful imperfections.'
For a space that fuses culinary delights with communal gatherings, a neutral canvas that creates an inviting atmosphere sounds like a win-win. So, how do you inject a little modern organic into your kitchen? We've asked the pros.
How to create a modern organic kitchen
Often seen as a sophisticated and minimal aesthetic, a modern organic space is rich in warmth, comfort, and soul. Sounds rather inviting, doesn't it?
Think of all the hallmarks of a modern kitchen: bright and inviting, neutral colors, black accents, and plenty of open space – and accentuate it with natural materials, from reclaimed wood to stone, leathers and linens, and even concrete.
The beauty of this trend is the way in which designers are so intentional with the use of raw materials and textures, bringing in elements from the outdoors and highlighting comfortability. We've sat down with expert interior designers to ask them all about the modern organic trend and to find out how you can achieve this refined look in your kitchen.
1. A warm, of-the-earth color palette
To emulate the modern organic trend in your kitchen, the first place to start is with a curated foundation of neutrals that reflects the outdoors. Color palette plays a crucial role, with a muted color scheme of off-whites, grays, and earthy tones setting the base tone with shades of browns, creams, taupes with soft greens, and terracottas as your accents.
'Select a color scheme that is neutral and earthy,' says designer Artem Kropovinsky. 'Calming, natural looks are made up by complementary hues such as soft whites, greys, and beiges interspersed with organic greens and browns.'
Merlin Wright, design director at Plain English Design advises: 'Colors from nature can then be taken through for the kitchen cabinets. We love incorporating a lush green or sumptuous brown alongside more elemental colors from our range of paints, creating a comfortable and relaxed space for cooking and living in.'
Pale tones and neutral colors shouldn't equal bland and boring. Add visual interest by layering up your accent tones with texture and lighting to cocoon the space in comfort.
Based in New York, Artem Kropovinsky, founder of Arsight, has a decade of extensive and considerable global design experience. Prioritizing minimalism, sustainability, and authenticity, Artem, alongside his team of professionals, works on projects in the US and worldwide.
2. Look to natural materials and textures
'Creating the perfect balance of natural and modern aesthetics in the kitchen is simpler than you may think,' advises Elizabeth Sherwin, creative director of Naked Kitchens.
The key is to achieve harmony by embracing both styles in a cohesive way and employing the organic feel of woods, leathers and linens. 'Natural light and organic elements like wood, marble, or stone will all enhance this organic look. For example, combine wooden flooring, rattan accessories, and open shelving alongside white countertops with raw edges and beautiful faucets in your favorite metal – this will instantly achieve a highly functional space that seamlessly blends an organic style with modern design.'
Designer Kathy Kuo agrees. 'Bringing in organic materials like reclaimed wood, natural stone, and woven fibers like rattan and cane. The element of modernism comes into play in how you style your pieces – opt for clean lines and a minimalist touch that still feels warm and lived in.'
'A reclaimed timber or stone floor creates a perfect base on which to create a more organic feel,' adds Merlin Wright. To make the room feel entirely more welcoming, design the room around furniture and feeling rather than fitted cabinets. 'Use classic proportions and incorporate stone, ceramic, or copper sinks set within hand-crafted timber or marble worktops,' says Merlin.
Kathy Kuo is a celebrated interior designer and international guru within the home and lifestyle space. She has 20+ years of experience in the design industry.
3. Be selective when choosing stone
Marble obviously springs to mind when thinking of organic materials for your kitchen, not only because it is super hardwearing but also because of its timeless elegance. Thanks to its so-called imperfections, every slab has its own unique patterns formed over time, and the variation of color and texture will add a natural charm.
'To create a contemporary organic kitchen, incorporate natural elements such as marble,' says Lauren Lerner founder of Living with Lolo. 'Enhance the aesthetic further by layering in soft textures through accessories and lighting choices.'
Instead of the shiny, glossy look that is deemed so popular in modern marble kitchens, opt for a marble or limestone with a tumbled or honed finish. This will provide a more natural, matte look to the kitchen that further enhances the organic feel.
Katie Winnington of C&E Furniture agrees. 'Marble, Marble, Marble! It's the OG organic material for any kitchen and will immediately elevate the modern organic look.'
4. Adopt a pared-back way of styling
Decor like gallery walls and heavy countertop styling are too maximalist for a modern organic kitchen. Instead, look to take a more minimalist approach with open shelving and a few carefully selected objects.
'When it comes to furniture and design components, choose simple lines,' advises Artem Kropovinsky. 'Modern Organic style thrives on minimalism as well as uncluttered spaces that enhance the beauty inherent in Mother Nature,' he adds.
It's the details that really make a kitchen, so consider one large-scale art piece or an oversized sculpture or vessel to accessorize your countertop in a way that creates impact without clutter. 'Think stained cabinets, natural stone countertops, organic accents like handmade pottery, branches, and color tones found in nature,' says designer Meredith Owen.
Shelagh Conway, founder of Triple Heart Design, agrees advising you to employ 'thoughtful storage to keep the counters clear, no hardware cabinets, and streamlined appliances will all maximize the modern organic kitchen.'
Austin-based Meredith Owen Interiors was founded in 2016. The firm focusses on high-end residential projects, including new construction, renovations and interior/exterior furnishings. Meredith and her team works diligently to create a custom design experience that helps to bring each individual project to life. Meredith believes that a home should not only function flawlessly but also reflect the people who live inside the home.
5. Bring the outdoors in
Modern organic incorporates a lot of the principles of biophilic design, aka the idea of creating connectivity to the natural environment from within your home. This can involve bringing in plenty of natural light, indoor plants, and other natural elements to introduce texture.
Merlin Wright says 'Designing with a combination of floor and tall cupboards allows wall space for things to breathe and ensures there is plenty of space for natural light from windows. Views through to a garden or greenery add to the organic feel of a kitchen, an alternative is to incorporate a magnificent plant or two.'
There can never be too much greenery in a modern organic kitchen space. This design trend often favors open and airy spaces with a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor areas.
Artem agrees: 'A kitchen can be given life and a feel of nature by adding plants and greenery. Ranging from small pots planted with herbs to large indoor plants, they all contribute towards an organic atmosphere.'
With its fluffy boughs and bright green needles, the Norfolk offers a refreshing vibe that’s suited to everything from Scandi-inspired to cozily rustic to even English cottage-style spaces. When properly cared for, they can add greenery year-round.
Clear a spot on a well-lit countertop or desk where you can enjoy the watermelon-striped leaves of peperomia argyreia up close. Slow-growing and easy to take care of, it will draw your eyes off your screen without getting in the way of whatever you actually need to be doing.
6. Incorporate handmade tiles
If you're considering switching up your backsplash, consider something like handmade zellige tile that will bring a rustic texture to your walls. Unique in color and size, they help to bring in that natural, imperfection of the outside into the space.
Or, take it one step further with tiles handpainted with organic verdant motifs. In this kitchen remodel in Portland, designer Jessica Helgerson founder of JHID (Jessica Helgerson Interior Design) opted for a palette of soft gray-greens to emulate shady forest light.
'The kitchen wall tiles are hand-painted by long-time JHID designer Mira Eng-Goetz with sword ferns; the most common variety in the area,' Jessica explains. 'Even the refrigerator door is tiled; a (small) feat of engineering as well as design.
'In contrast to all this earthiness, the furniture, lighting, and art is simple, which keeps the room feeling light and still modern,' she adds.
7. Try a plaster hood
Quickly becoming a hallmark of modern organic kitchens is the plaster hood, as seen here in a design by Abbie Naber of A.Naber Design.
'Here, we used plaster for the kitchen hood and incorporated an imperfect raw zellige tile on the kitchen island face,' Abbie explains. 'The key elements to creating a modern organic kitchen would be to include imperfect materials. Adding warmth and asymmetry to the mix can be effective as well.'
'Lastly, the pendants fabricated out of plaster add another modern organic element to the kitchen,' adds Abbie.
Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors is also a fan of including natural, handmade materials and eye-catching shapes. 'Think of natural, unstained wood, visible joinery, and unique handmade tile,' she advises. 'Eschew traditional forms and make a statement with a unique, sculptural range hood and textural lighting.'
Abbie Naber is the owner and principal designer of a NABER DESIGN, a San Diego based interior design firm. Focusing on renovations, new builds, interior design, and styling, Abbie strives to create spaces that are approachable, fresh, and inviting.
What is Modern Organic style?
The modern organic trend is a surprisingly eclectic blend of minimalism, mid-century modern decor, and bohemian design styles, layered together with organic elements, forms, and colors to form a refined but textural space.
Modern organic interior design style juxtaposes the sleek lines of modern interior design with organic shapes and textures by bringing the beauty of nature into your kitchen. If you're looking to create a space that exudes warmth, style, and sustainability, employ these tips and tricks from expert interior designers to inject your kitchen with the comforting charm of modern organic.
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Charlotte is content editor at Homes and Gardens, having joined the team the week before Christmas 2023. Following a 5 year career in Fashion, she found herself working at many women's glossy magazines including: Grazia, Stylist and Hello and most recently working as Interiors Editor for British heritage department store Liberty. Her role at H&G fuses her love of style with Charlotte's passion for interior design, and she is currently undergoing her second home renovation in Surrey - you can follow her journey over on @olbyhome
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