Which kitchen floor for white cabinets? The must-know combinations

Complement white kitchen cabinets beautifully with these expert recommendations

white kitchen with white and wooden bar chairs around a large island with brass pendant lights
(Image credit: MBC Interior Design / photo Lauren Pressey)

White cabinets are a favorite in the kitchen. They’re a great fit for every style of kitchen, and their light-reflective qualities visually stretch the space. 

But if you are putting together kitchen ideas that include white cabinets, you might be wondering which kitchen floor makes the best partner to them whether they’re matte or gloss, pure white, or a shade with undertones.

Here, we’re showcasing combinations to inspire your white kitchen ideas and sharing expertise on getting the look right.

Which kitchen floor for white cabinets?

White cabinets offer great latitude when it comes to kitchen flooring ideas. ‘The beauty of white cabinets is the flexibility they provide for other details,’ says Erika Jayne, a DC designer, general contractor and owner of Erika Jayne Design.

However, you do need to bear two things in mind for design success: any warm or cool undertones in the white of the cabinets, and the style of room you want to create. 

1. Opt for a warm wood floor

tonal white kitchen with warm wood flooring

(Image credit: Georgia Zikas Designs/Jane Beiles)

A mid-toned wood floor is an appealing and timeless choice for a kitchen. It can complement a variety of different whites for cabinets but consider it especially if the color of the cabinets has a warm undertone, as the two will harmonize beautifully.

Which whites are we talking? A warm white has yellow or pink undertones, and a wood floor is a great partner.

The Perfect Kitchen, Barbara Sallick | From $21.87/£30.45 at Amazon

The Perfect Kitchen, Barbara Sallick | <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=107655&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FPerfect-Kitchen-Barbara-Sallick%2Fdp%2F0847867919%2F%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">From $21.87/£30.45 at Amazon
Learn more about the fundamentals of kitchen design in this bestselling book. Find practical advice as well as hundreds of images to inspire your own remodel

2. Keep the floor crisp 

White kitchen ideas with traditional cabinetry

(Image credit: Charles Yorke / Darren Chung)

Chosen a pure white for kitchen cabinets? Then be aware of the effect a warmer natural stone floor finish could have on your color choice. ‘A crisp printer-paper-white cabinet set can easily look too sterile on a yellowish limestone or travertine floor,’ says Dustin Gerken of Dustin Gerken Design of Columbus, OH.

Instead, go for a cleaner white natural stone tile for the floor which won’t make the cabinet color look cold and clinical but instead keeps the ambience welcoming but modern, too.

4. Combine grays

White kitchen with stainless steel countertop and island with quartzite countertop

(Image credit: Brayer Design)

If the white you fell for when selecting the kitchen cabinet color has a gray tone, then think gray-toned natural stone – or porcelain – flooring for a harmonious atmosphere in the room.

Be sure the paint color of the cabinets is truly gray, however. ‘A bluestone or gray marble with a cooler cast will quickly make an ivory white look dated and yellow,’ says Dustin Gerken.

5. Create character with terracotta

White kitchen with contrasting dark kitchen island worksurface and floors

(Image credit: deVOL)

Want to make a white kitchen feel warm and welcoming? Think terracotta underfoot. ‘Terracotta-look porcelain may feel Mediterranean or Spanish colonial,’ says Erika Jayne. 

The reason you might want to choose a porcelain tile is that it’s easy to clean and maintain. Natural terracotta is porous so needs regular sealing to prevent it from becoming stained.

6. Fall for limestone

white kitchen with Shaker cabinetry

(Image credit: John Lewis of Hungerford)

Limestone is a fabulous choice for a kitchen floor since it’s highly durable. It’s also a timeless option and won’t go out of style. Limestone is available in a wide range of tones, so before you commit to a particular tile, check the combination in situ.

‘Select your white first, and then look at flooring samples in the actual room so you can analyze it well with the daylight conditions the room will receive,’ recommends Dustin Gerken.

7. Enjoy traditional style

white kitchen cabinetry and island with dark wooden floor dressed with red and black turkish rug and statement white and gold pendant lights above island

(Image credit: Roe Kitchen/Haylei Smith)

Searching for a kitchen floor that will work with white cabinets in a traditional kitchen? Then think dark for the floor. ‘Medium or dark-toned hardwood can lean more traditional,’ says Erika Jayne.

Dark hardwood has a rich, luxurious look and is perfectly complemented by warm metallic details like handles, faucets, and island seating in this kitchen.

8. Add detail with veining

All white kitchen with white and gray marble countertops and flooring, kitchen island with upholstered bar stool, large glass chandelier over island,

(Image credit: Ti Archive)

A kitchen floor tile with extravagant veining is a great way to introduce detail to a white kitchen to avoid the flatness that could be the result if a white kitchen design is not well executed. 

You might want to consider it if you’ve selected slab style white cabinets which don’t provide the occasion to add interest with hardware. You can combine the flooring with a beautifully veined countertop, too.

9. Choose classic black and white

Black and white vinyl kitchen flooring costs

(Image credit: Future / James Balston)

A black and white checkerboard floor is natural for a kitchen with white cabinets. It can bring vibrancy to the room while maintaining a restrained palette that looks sophisticated. It’s also a worthwhile investment because it won’t go out of fashion.

Decide between a diamond pattern or the classic checkerboard shape. The former creates a sense of movement and is an elegant combination with white cabinets. The latter can make the kitchen look more informal and relaxed. 

Do dark or light floors go with white cabinets?

Dark or light floors can be equally successful choices with white cabinets. A dark floor dials up the contrast with the cabinets so can create a more dramatic look, while a light floor creates a more subtle tone-on-tone effect.

If you are teaming white cabinets with a light floor be aware that white paints can be cooler or warmer, so focus on floors that don’t create a stark difference with the quality of the particular white.

Which floor tiles go best with a white kitchen?

Floor tiles in natural stone, porcelain or ceramic can all be suitable for a white kitchen. Natural stone has individual beauty since every tile is unique, but will have particular maintenance requirements depending on the material.

Porcelain has the benefit of replicating the look of other materials. Consider it if you like the look of wood underfoot as well as for an easy-care alternative to natural stone. It’s a dense material and doesn’t need periodic sealing as some stone choices do.

Sarah Warwick
Contributing Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.