White kitchens. To some, they read classic and totally timeless. To others? Bland and without personality. It’s surprising how divisive a simple white kitchen can be!
For all the haters out there, we just want to say that a white kitchen can actually be pretty exciting—and functional. Beyond being light and bright, with white cabinetry, it’s easy to see dirt, so you can always stay on top of cleaning. Not exciting enough? Hear us out. White kitchens can also be a blank canvas, offering a perfect backdrop for you to play with more exciting and personality-packed textures, finishes, decorative accents, and furniture. You can even incorporate different (bold!) colors into your kitchen while still maintaining a white kitchen vibe.
Whether you’re a big fan of white kitchens or a long-time skeptic, we’d like to inspire you with some white kitchen designs we’re loving at the moment. We’ll also address some common questions about white kitchens and show you what design styles are actually super conducive to white kitchen designs.
Are White Kitchens Out of Style?
No! In fact, white kitchens are classic and timeless. Kitchens with bold-colored cabinets are definitely having a moment right now—but that doesn’t mean white kitchens are dated. It simply means they’re not the top trendy choice at the moment. The same goes for wall colors in any room of the house! White walls will always have their place in design, even if other colors are more trendy at different times.
WIth any kitchen—or any room in your home, for that matter—it all comes down to your personal preferences. If you want a kitchen that feels timeless or simply offers a clean slate for you to add personality with finishes, furniture, and decor, then white cabinets are a great choice. And even if you like dabbling in trends, you can always add a splash to a white kitchen by painting your kitchen island, painting the walls, or swapping out your hardware.
What Wall Colors Look Best in a White Kitchen?
White is endlessly versatile and can complement a wide range of wall colors—from a tone-on-tone look to something high-contrast and dramatic. But we definitely have some favorite combinations, which you can see below.
Shades of White (And Light Gray)
For a clean, streamlined look, pair white cabinets with white walls. We’d recommend avoiding the exact same tones for your walls and cabinets, however, which can make your kitchen look flat and one-dimensional. Instead, mix up the tonality. If your cabinets are a crisp, cool white, lean a little into warmer whites for your walls. And if your cabinets have warmer tones? Go for something a little cooler and a more pure white for your walls. Some shades of white paint we particularly love are White Dove, Chantilly Lace, Swiss Coffee, and Pale Oak by Benjamin Moore, as well as Pure White by Sherwin-Williams. You can also veer a step into gray with Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray and Revere Pewter or Agreeable Gray by Sherwin-Williams.
If you want a little more color and contrast without going too high-contrast, stick with light tones of pinks, greens, blues, or yellows. This maintains a light and airy vibe but adds a bit of vibrancy and life to your white kitchen. Some color options we enjoy are Palladian Blue, Breath of Fresh Air, Saybrook Sage, and Hawthorne Yellow by Benjamin Moore; Mint Condition by Sherwin-Williams; and Cinder Rose or Dayroom Yellow by Farrow & Ball.
Dark or Saturated Colors
Want to go big and bold? Go for dark and saturated colors. This creates a ton of contrast against your white cabinets and gives incredible depth and nuance to your kitchen. Alternatively, you could opt for dark, saturated cabinets and white walls for an inverse that hits at the same idea. (Dark and moody kitchen cabinets are having a major moment right now!) Colors we love, for dark walls or cabinets, include Hale Navy, Salamander, and Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore; Green Bay, Naval, and Rock Garden by Sherwin-Williams; and Studio Green, Railings, and Duck Green by Farrow & Ball.
What Floor Colors Look Best in a White Kitchen?
The type of flooring you choose—whether hardwood, tile, laminate, or something else—all depends on the look you’re going for in your kitchen. White kitchens can go with a variety of floor types, and to hone in on the right one for you, it’s easiest to think of flooring in terms of dark to light. Below, you’ll find some great options to consider.
Since dark flooring (whether that’s a dark hardwood stain, like walnut or espresso, or darker tiles) will create more visual contrast. As a result, you’ll get a bit more of a dramatic look. But it’s also warmer, which can be good for farmhouse, rustic, and traditional styles. Another way to add some contrast and personality? Black and white tiled floors!
Wood flooring in medium tones, which includes natural oak finishes and gray-toned finishes (as well as gray tiles) give white kitchens a more modern and contemporary look. The finish you choose will influence the final look of your kitchen, but in general medium-toned flooring compliments transitional, industrial, contemporary, and mid-century spaces. While cherry wood technically goes with white cabinetry, at this moment in time, that would result in a more dated look.
In a white kitchen, light wood finishes, painted white floors, or white tiling will create a light and airy feel. This is a great look for someone who loves Scandinavian modern design, prefers a minimalist look, or just wants to drive home a light, bright look, like in a coastal space.
Read Next: Not sure how to match your wood floors to your wall color? Read our wall and flooring guide.
What Hardware Looks Best in a White Kitchen?
Just about all hardware finishes look good with white cabinets. That’s the beauty and versatility of a white kitchen! But the hardware you choose will definitely impact the overall style of your kitchen. Below, we’ll outline some of the popular finishes and what styles they complement.
Brass adds warmth to white kitchens and looks beautiful with both crisp, clean true white cabinets, as well as warmer off-white cabinets. Brass is a great choice for traditional, coastal, and modern rustic styles.
Black stands in stark contrast to white, so black hardware against white cabinets will really pop. This is a great way to add a modern edge to a white kitchen, or to achieve transitional style. Black hardware also works in a modern rustic space if you’re not a fan of brass.
Silver or Brushed Nickel Hardware
Silver hardware adds a contemporary edge to a white kitchen. It also offers a clean, simplistic look that feels both modern and timeless. For an industrial look, brushed nickel is a great choice.
What Countertops Look Best in a White Kitchen?
A classic approach to countertops in a white kitchen is to go for a tone-on-tone look and stick with lighter-colored counters. We’ll be the first to say that’s a great option. But you can also go for something more high-contrast. Scroll down for a couple of great countertop options for a white kitchen!
For a more elevated and refined look in your white kitchen, opt for marble countertops. But white marble isn’t your only option! You could go for black marble if you want a bold, high-contrast look. Or pick white marble with heavy black, gray, or brown veining to add both contrast, pattern, and personality to your whtie kitchen. But if you want a minimalist or classic white kitchen, stick with a simple white marble.
Almost any color of granite goes well with white cabinets. But the particular color or style of granite you should choose depends on the hue of white you go with for your cabinets, as different styles of granite will look better with different shades of white. For a more timeless look, find granite with gray undertones rather than brown or red.
If you want a more down-to-earth and approachable vibe in your white kitchen, opt for wood countertops. Butcher-block countertops add warmth and are perfect for a rustic or traditional white kitchen.
What Appliances Look Best in a White Kitchen?
There’s no one right answer for what color of appliances you can use in a white kitchen. In fact, because white is so versatile, almost any appliance color will look great! But below you’ll find our three favorite options.
Stainless Steel Appliances
Stainless steel appliances have been the popular finish of choice for appliances for more than a decade. And it’s no wonder—they offer a modern look that goes with a ton of different cabinet colors and styles, including white cabinets! A white kitchen with stainless steel appliances is a classic choice and works best for contemporary, modern, and transitional styles.
In interior design, white on white will always look classic. White appliances have a clean, classic look, which is very fitting in a white kitchen. Depending on the countertops you choose, this white-on-white look can skew either modern or traditional. And if you love this look but want a splash of color, opt for a colorful tile backsplash.
Like a look that’s out of the ordinary? A white kitchen offers the perfect backdrop to bring in some personality with colorful appliances. Common colors like red, blue, or minty green can add a quirky and modern pop of color to an otherwise neutral kitchen.
White Kitchen Design Styles
As we’ve already mentioned, the finishes, countertops, and appliances you choose for your white kitchen can give it drastically different looks and bring to life a variety of different styles. Scroll down to explore 8 different white kitchen styles that can inspire you in your own kitchen renovation and design updates!
Coastal White Kitchen
This white kitchen embodies that Nantucket classic coastal style. White kitchens are always in style in coastal homes, since coastal style thrives on a crisp, clean color palette, punctuated with blues, greens, and natural materials. In this kitchen, white cabinets are paired with a white marble countertop and white tile backsplash—a combination which offers a clean and classic touch to this space. Ample natural light keeps this kitchen feeling fresh, while the rattan counter stools and natural wood accessories add moments of warmth that visually break up all the white surface space.
Traditional White Kitchen
Traditional-style kitchens can feature glass-door upper cabinets, and/or more ornate cabinet door details. In a white kitchen that’s designed in a more traditional style, you might find warm wood accents—whether in ceiling beams, the kitchen island, or butcher-block countertops, which add visual warmth to a space. Sometimes the cabinets will even be a warmer tone of white, like in the kitchen above. Elevated but approachable, it leans traditional through the use of wallpaper in the adjacent dining room, the details on the cabinetry, and the wood accents used throughout the space. Brass finishes serve to future warm up this white kitchen.
Contemporary White Kitchen
Traditional-style cabinets, a marble tile backsplash, and stainless steel appliances make this a classic take on a white kitchen. In this kitchen, the black hardware and light gray kitchen island adds just the right amount of contrast, giving the space some contemporary flair. To give this style of white kitchen a visual pop, add some plants or wall art for small moments of color.
Mid-Century Modern White Kitchen
A white kitchen can take on a very mid-century modern vibe simply by the lighting and accessories you choose. In this kitchen, the use of primary colors in the wall art and counter stools add a pop of energy—and that quintessential mid-century style—to this kitchen. The pendant light and Smeg countertop appliances also speak to the atomic age.
Industrial Glam White Kitchen
Having a white kitchen doesn’t always mean your cabinets are white! It can also look like a kitchen with white walls and countertops, paired with light-colored wood—like the industrial glam white kitchen pictured above. The wood cabinets and island are light and bright, adding warmth and a sleek, modern feel to the kitchen. And the modern stone countertops and backsplash, with bold gray veining, add striking, glamorous patterning to the space while keeping the look clean. Plus, since the cabinets and flooring are both lighter wood finishes, they feel almost like an extension of each other. This is in contrast to most white kitchens where the cabinets are white, since you’ll rarely see white flooring in a kitchen with white cabinets.
Modern Rustic White Kitchen
A white kitchen, with warm off-white cabinets, is perfect for a modern rustic-style home. Since modern rustic style has a warmth and approachability to it, brass pendants and hardware are the perfect choice. Warm leather counter stools and touches of natural wood help bring in more visual warmth while nodding to a rustic aesthetic.
Transitional Black & White Kitchen
In a white kitchen, using black accents adds contrast and a contemporary touch to the overall design. In this kitchen, the black hardware and pendant light offer a modern foundation, while the curved Windsor-style counter stools with caning lean a bit more traditional. As a result, the overall look of the space feels transitional and timeless. Want to add a little extra contrast? Hang white subway tiles for a backsplash, but use dark grout rather than white!
Scandinavian-Inspired White Kitchen
White cabinets with white walls (and a white subway tile backsplash) create a very clean slate—which is perfect for a Scandinavian modern or Scandinavian boho home. It’s the finishing touches that will help a white kitchen lean one way or the other. In this kitchen design, natural materials, like the jute runner and wooden stools bring in warmth and help add to the Scandi feel. These elements, along with the pendant lights and casual styling, give a nod to a boho aesthetic as well.
Farmhouse White Kitchen
A white kitchen is given a farmhouse-style spin with a rustic wood kitchen island and vent hood—plus those ceiling beams! Rustic wood is a great way to break up a white kitchen and give it a more old-world feel. In this kitchen, the off-white shaker cabinets help brighten the space and balance the large swaths of brown in the space. The black hardware and stainless steel appliances give the space a slightly modern spin that makes the whole design feel really fresh and approachable. And, of course, you can’t have a farmhouse-style kitchen without a beautiful farmhouse sink!