Traditional white kitchen ideas – 12 timeless period spaces

This round up of the best traditional white kitchen ideas will inspire your own design

traditional white kitchen ideas: pullen campbell white kitchen farmhouse table beams
(Image credit: Future/Kasia Fiszer )

Traditional white kitchen ideas will always be highly sought-after. No matter which color is on trend at the moment, there is always a love for the clean lines and effortless style that a traditional white kitchen brings. 

Endlessly versatile, white kitchen ideas provide the perfect base for a myriad of styles – from industrial chic to farmhouse charm. Prevent your space feeling clinical by accenting with pops of color, texture and warm wooden furniture – they'll sing all the more sweetly against the white backdrop.

Traditional white kitchen ideas

Traditional kitchen ideas are usually inviting, cozy and laid-back. Decorating with white can add a more elegant, airy feel.

Think farmhouse kitchen ideas and rustic kitchen ideas at one end of the scale, and more formal Shaker kitchen ideas at the other. Add a splash of white and you have a space-enhancing design that will suit any room. Below, we showcase our favorite traditional white kitchen ideas.

1. Use white to brighten a dark kitchen

traditional white kitchen ideas - neptune kitchen with white cabinets and black aga

(Image credit: Neptune)

If you are looking for kitchen color ideas that will flatter a small space, think white. 

'Color and light are two of the most important things to consider when designing and decorating a traditional white kitchen, as they add depth and character' says Nerine Vacher, kitchen designer at Neptune (opens in new tab)

'Making use of the natural light will go a long way in creating a harmonious flow in your kitchen, and matching your cabinets to suit the light of the room, like Neptune's Snow or Salt white shades in a well-lit kitchen, will offer a whole new level of serenity.'

The white kitchen backsplash ideas in this kitchen only serve to exaggerate the feeling of space.

2. Opt for open shelving to add interest to your white space

traditional white kitchen ideas with open shelves and blue aga

(Image credit: Future/Brent Darby)

The adage 'out of sight, out of mind' used to be a driving force in kitchen design but too many matching cabinet doors and empty countertops can make your space feel unlived in. 'Storage doesn't have to be about closing items away in cabinets. Bespoke joinery can be designed to display personal belongings in their best light' says architect Amos Goldreich (opens in new tab).

Opting for a traditional white kitchen provides a neutral backdrop that is ideal for pairing with open kitchen shelving ideas, as it lets your kitchenware or other trinkets take center stage without feeling cluttered or overwhelming. 

And if you love the idea of green and white kitchen ideas without committing to a change in color scheme, this is the way to do it.

3. Contrast white cabinets with a colorful range cooker

traditional white kitchen ideas - colored range cooker in white kitchen

(Image credit: Future)

If grey and white kitchen ideas appeal for their timelessness, and your room is north-facing, you might like to consider adding a touch of color. This can be done with appliances. Not only will the warmth from the range will make a traditional white kitchen feel cozy and welcoming but the bright color make your space warmer all year round.

4. Add a pop of color to a traditional white kitchen with a pretty blind

traditional white kitchen ideas - with wooden cabinets and wooden worktop with red blind over the window

(Image credit: Future/Kasia Fiszer)

Small white kitchens don't allow for much decor, so soft furnishings are often the best way to add character. Cost-effective and straightforward to change, they are an easy way to completely reinvent the look and feel of a space.

Traditional white kitchen ideas give you total freedom in the colors of your soft furnishings as it goes with any color, pattern and texture – so you can choose blinds, cushions and throws that not only complement your kitchen but also reflect your personality.

5. How to find the right paint for a traditional white kitchen

traditional white kitchen ideas - with breakfast bar and green bench

(Image credit: Future/Jody Stewart)

'White shades appear to vary depending on what they are seen next to' says Ruth Mottershead, the creative director at Little Greene (opens in new tab). 'So it’s important to sample in situ, next to one another and alongside other surfaces and decorative elements in your kitchen, in order to compare the different effects this produces.' 

'For kitchens, it’s essential to choose the right finish too. Select a hard-wearing, washable finish such as Intelligent Satinwood for cabinets which providing protection as well as a smooth satin feel without being ‘too glossy’.

6. Use white cabinets to make your home's original features the star

traditional white kitchen - period home with beamed ceiling and white kitchen

(Image credit: Future)

For timeless appeal, let your home's original features take the lead. Opting for just base cabinets means they don't distract from the stunning wooden beams in this beautiful cottage while the warm white shade makes the room feel light and airy.

7. Make a traditional white kitchen feel warmer with terracotta tiles

traditional white kitchen ideas - terracotta-tiles-in-a-kitchen-with-black-aga-kasia-fiszer

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

Capture the laid-back essence of Mediterranean style with terracotta tiles. Working well with clean white interiors, their copper tones evoke the warmth of the sun – perfect for brightening up a cold kitchen. The tiles can be machine or handmade and offer an affordable flooring choice. Look for pretreated versions, which are treated with a primer and durable sealant to give them longevity and durability, especially if you are planning to lay in high-traffic areas. 

8. Create a rustic feel with a tiled backsplash

traditional white kitchen ideas - with white aga range cooker and rustic patterned tile backsplash

(Image credit: Life Ceramica)

Reclaimed or artificially aged tiles are a great way to achieve that signature, artfully distressed look. Setting the delicately patterned Antic Décor tile alongside the white backdrop of the Antic Blanco tiles both by Life Ceramica, creates a band of color that pops against a traditional white kitchen. Pair kitchen backsplash ideas with dark-toned grout to add to the time-worn feel. 

9. Use white to create the illusion of space in a small kitchen

traditional white kitchen ideas - with white cabinets and cream aga

(Image credit: Devol)

'A traditional white kitchen needs a freestanding cooker, a sink looking out into the garden, a pantry cupboard and a table in the middle.' says deVOL (opens in new tab)'s Creative Director, Helen Parker 'That's the ideal and worth trying to fit them in if at all possible.'

If you've got a small kitchen then dark colors are a big no-no. Instead opt for a white kitchen as it will help to reflect light back into the room, making it feel brighter and more spacious. 

10. Create an on-trend Scandi kitchen with white cabinets

traditional white kitchen - blonde wood table and white cabinets in scandi style

(Image credit: FutureJames French)

Just as when you're designing for modern white kitchens, the priority is in enhancing space. Scandinavian kitchens are all about creating bright and airy spaces that are as light as possible, and that means white features heavily.  Pair white cabinets with a blonde wood flooring and complementary wooden table and chairs to evoke the serenity of Scandinavian design. 

11. Choose Shaker-style cabinets in matte white for timeless charm

traditional white kitchen - white standard tongue and grove shaker kitchen with pots hung above the stove

(Image credit: British Standard)

Team traditional Shaker-style cabinets with tongue-and-groove panelling for the perfect amount of rustic charm, as in this kitchen by British Standard (opens in new tab). Paint cabinets and panelling in a matching pale, neutral shade to emphasise detailing and make the space feel fresh and airy. 

12. Make a statement in a white kitchen with a bold island

traditional white kitchen with purple kitchen island

(Image credit: Douglas Gibb)

While black and white kitchen ideas are a classic, you may want to be more adventurous. Your kitchen island is the stand out part of your kitchen. Located right at the heart, the rest of the design revolves around this point. So let it take centre stage. Paint your island in a bold color – perhaps one that you love but are nervous to use across a whole wall – which will pop against the rest of your white cabinets and walls, instantly adding interest and personality. 

Is a traditional white kitchen a good idea?

A traditional white kitchen is definitely a good idea. Whether you love farmhouse chic, minimalist elegance or Scandi-style it provides the perfect versatile backdrop for your interior style – whatever that may be.

A traditional white kitchen is guaranteed to look great no matter what color you decide to pair with it. Create a bold statement with primary colors which looks great when used on appliances or accents. Alternatively, opt for aquatic greens and turquoises for a more natural inspired feel that works brilliantly with patio doors leading straight on to the garden. 

If you're a lover of vintage, then white is the perfect foil to pastel shades, for this, paint an accent wall in your favourite color to add a touch of charm to your space.

What is the best backsplash for traditional white kitchen?

Ceramic or porcelain tiles and natural stone are all great backsplash ideas for a traditional white kitchen. The backsplash provides the ideal opportunity to add a splash of color to your kitchen and you have the entire rainbow to choose from - everything will go. If you don't want to make a bold statement, the veining in natural stone like marble or granite can add subtle interest without overwhelming the space.

Holly Reaney
Holly Reaney

Having graduated with a first class degree in English Literature four years ago, Holly started her career as a features writer and sub-editor at Period Living magazine, Homes & Gardens' sister title. Working on Period Living brought with it insight into the complexities of owning and caring for period homes, from interior decorating through to choosing the right windows and the challenges of extending. This has led to a passion for traditional interiors, particularly the country-look. Writing for the Homes & Gardens website as a content editor, alongside regular features for Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors magazines, has enabled her to broaden her writing to incorporate her interests in gardening, wildlife and nature.