White modern farmhouse kitchen ideas –10 ways to achieve a bright and timeless space

Discover how to channel the popular modern farmhouse kitchen look with these beautiful white schemes and expert tips

White modern farmhouse kitchen ideas
(Image credit: Bungalow 10 Interiors, Angela Newton Roy Photography / Herlong Architecture and Interiors, photograph Katie Charlotte / Olive & Barr)

White modern farmhouse kitchens are a popular choice for interior designers and homeowners looking to create uplifting spaces with timeless appeal. Combining rustic, characterful features with sleek lines, crisp, light-reflecting cabinets, and all the latest appliances, this kitchen look is the perfect balanced space that is neither too modern nor too dated. 

If you're embarking on a new kitchen design, or simply fancy some beautiful kitchen inspiration, we gathered together some of our favorite looks for white modern farmhouse kitchens to get you inspired along with some handy tips from interior designers.

White modern farmhouse kitchen ideas

The key to creating a successful white modern farmhouse kitchen is balance. Too many rustic features and traditional farmhouse kitchens can feel dated; likewise, introduce too many cold white surfaces alongside each other and a kitchen can feel stark and sterile. 

'Farmhouse kitchens have a comfortable feel that resonates with so many people. My favorite farmhouse kitchens mix in natural, rustic elements with more modern surfaces and appliances for maximum functionality,' says Allison Babcock.

As the busiest space in the home, modern kitchens can benefit from having a calm, serene atmosphere - opting for a white kitchen design is a wonderful way to create a restful backdrop to modern life, plus opting for white kitchen cabinets is a go-to way to make a small kitchen look bigger.

1. Create a timeless look with Shaker cabinets

Classic white shaker kitchen with a large island and integrated appliances

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

With its clean lines and pleasing proportions, timber shaker cabinetry has become synonymous with the modern farmhouse kitchen look, offering subtle detail with its simple frame door design, but not so much that it feels dated. In this space the team at Sims Hilditch chose integrated appliances to achieve a unified look plus they paired the classic cabinetry with a mix of modern and traditional fittings and accessories to create a balanced space.

‘In this country home, the kitchen is kept simple with a classic Shaker kitchen door and no decorative moldings. We used timber kitchen flooring over stone to create warmth in the room but it also allowed the cabinetry to pop from the richer tone on the floor,' explains Gemma Holsgrove, studio director at Sims Hilditch.

‘The pendant light and timber flooring feel authentically country, whilst modern elements have been included to enhance the kitchen such as the metro tiles behind the Aga, the Original BTC wall lights within the cooking area and the ironmongery.’

2. Try cabinets with decorative detailing for a traditional look

White farmhouse kitchen with traditional cabinets, marble splashbacks and antiques

(Image credit: Kristin Mullen Interiors / photograph Nathan Schroder)

Modern kitchen cabinets which are sleek and standardized can feel cold and clinical in a farmhouse setting. Often a traditional cabinetry design with extra decorative details can make for a softer look more suited to a farmhouse. 

Interior designer Kristin Mullen’s kitchen mixes glazed wall cabinets with solid paneled-style cabinetry for variety, while decorative carved details on the corner of the kitchen island and on the cooker hood bring additional character to the space. Kristin is renowned for her masterful use of antiques and this space is no different, displaying an array of characterful finds.

'When we moved in, the kitchen was already installed and painted a lovely white but the backsplashes needed to be switched out from an aqua glass tile to the more classic Carrara stone that I selected,' says Kristin Mullen

'The paint is Snowbound by Sherwin Williams and I added a lovely pale blue to the glass-fronted cabinets to add depth to the space. I added many antique elements in the decor with antique breadboards, English ironstone, and some of my mother’s silver.'

Kristin Mullen headshot
Kristin Mullen

Based in Dallas, Texas, Kristin Mullen founded Kristin Mullen Designs in 2007 after renovating and decorating her own home sparked a passion for a new career. Working on projects across the US she aims to create timeless spaces that work in harmony with the architecture and her clients’ lifestyles. Her elegant style is influenced by her travels in Europe, England and Asia, and while it is rooted in classic design principles, she isn’t afraid to introduce modern elements and a touch of whimsy. 

3. Balance rustic features with sleek lines

Modern white farmhouse kitchen with large kitchen island and pendant lights

(Image credit: Tracy Morris Design / photograph Greg Powers)

The key to creating a modern farmhouse look is blending characterful rustic features with modern design to ensure the space doesn’t feel dated. Here Tracy Morris of Tracy Morris Design has teamed wooden beams and flooring with sleek lines and metallic and black finishes to create a timeless aesthetic. 

‘This kitchen was created for a busy family of four with two young boys. The goal of the kitchen was to be clean, streamlined with touches of warmth,’ says Tracy Morris. ‘We knew that we were planning to add wood beams to the space to fit in with the farmhouse feel. We modernized the space with chrome detailing at the hood, slab marble, and oversized kitchen lighting. The white works well in this home because it allows for contrast with the wood beams and black counter stools.’

4. Go all-white for a serene feel

White shaker kitchen with subway tile splashback

(Image credit: Victoria Balson Interiors / photograph Raquel Langworthy)

Pairing crisp white cabinetry with white countertops and white kitchen backsplash tiles is guaranteed to keep a kitchen feeling fresh and uplifting across the years. Using light-reflecting white over all surfaces, especially with glossy finishes, is a fail-safe way to make a space feel larger, too. The key to a white modern farmhouse look is to mix in different textures and design details to prevent the space from feeling flat and lifeless, as done here by Victoria Balson.

'Our goal with this kitchen was to create an effortlessly light and bright aesthetic that would last the test of time. We went with a classic white shaker cabinet and polished nickel finishes but used a reflective small subway backsplash that layered in texture and a fresh feel.  We added wooden accessories to warm up the space as well,' says Victoria Balson, founder of Victoria Balson Interiors.

5. Design around the architecture

Small white shaker farmhouse kitchen by Olive & Barr with exposed stone wall

(Image credit: Olive & Barr)

If you’re lucky enough to have a historic property with characterful original features such as exposed brick or stone walls, beams or wooden floors, then these should be preserved and celebrated as part of a modern farmhouse look. Opting for a bespoke kitchen design is a wonderful way to ensure your kitchen makes the most of the space and its architectural features.

‘Kitchens which are designed within period properties often require extra thought and planning, but quirky shaped rooms and odd proportions can result in a unique design with an abundance of personality,’ explains Al Bruce, founder of Olive & Barr.

‘Here, a traditional Shaker kitchen provides a compact L-shaped layout, a focal point was created by placing a large customized cooker hood on the exposed rustic brick wall which contrasted beautifully with the sleek off-white cabinetry.'

‘So not to distract from the high-pitched ceiling and authentic feel of the property, wall cabinets were avoided and a bespoke shelf and harvest table were introduced, adding a touch of farmhouse charm.’

6. Pair white cabinets with natural materials

White modern farmhouse kitchen by Bungalow 10 Interiors

(Image credit: Bungalow 10 Interiors , photograph Peak Visuals)

If you love natural materials like wood and marble then opting for simple white kitchen cabinets is a lovely way to let them shine in a kitchen design. Used together white cabinets and natural materials are a great recipe for a kitchen with timeless appeal. 

'The best part about white cabinets, is that they look incredibly beautiful paired with natural materials,’ says Kirstin Harrison, founder of Bungalow 10 Interiors. ‘One of the reasons I gravitate towards marble kitchen countertops is because it elevates the entire look of a space. The color variations you get really cannot be replicated by anything man-made. When you layer in a beautiful, rich wood you create a timeless design. These things never go out of style.’

7. Create cosy seating areas

White farmhouse kitchen with a built in window seat by Herlong Architecture and Interiors

(Image credit: Herlong Architecture & Interiors, photograph Katie Charlotte)

Working with a kitchen designer on a bespoke design is the best way to make the most of your space, plus you can integrate features specifically designed around your family's needs and the architecture of your home. In this space by Herlong Architecture & Interiors, designers built in a snug window seat to create space to relax and enjoy lovely views. 

To keep the white kitchen feeling warm and welcoming the design team added rustic beams and the space was finished with warm metallic hardware and vintage kitchen rugs.

‘This was a 1905 historic cottage on Sullivan’s Island. Original flooring and beams were salvaged and reused to preserve as much of the history and character of the home as possible,’ says Abigail Botero of Herlong Architecture and Interiors. 

8. Introduce pops of color and pattern

White kitchen with a green island, green patterned wallpaper and wooden bar stools

(Image credit: Susan Sutter Interiors / Mary Pat Collins)

Decorating with white in a kitchen can make a great backdrop for brighter pops of color. Opting for a green kitchen island paint color in a white farmhouse kitchen is a lovely way to connect the space with its rural surroundings as done here by Susan Sutter, founder of Susan Sutter Designs.

‘White cabinetry is timeless and goes with many traditional and transitional kitchen looks,' says Susan Sutter. 'Pairing a bright green island with the classic white perimeter cabinets in this project allowed for a fun pop of color, tied in with bright green floral wallpaper in the adjacent dining space and the lush greenery surrounding this property, allowing the outside to come in.’

Susan Sutter
Susan Sutter

Based in Arlington, VA, Susan Sutter founded her interior design studio with the aim to create functional family spaces full of personality and joy. She has worked on an array of residential properties across the US and has become renowned for her ability to create sophisticated, timeless spaces infused with pops of vibrant color and pattern.

9. Choose a contemporary worktop

White Shaker-style kitchen with an island and black vintage pendant lamps

(Image credit: Interior Allison Babcock, photograph)

Choosing dark countertops or a countertop in a contemporary material such as concrete or steel is a fun way to add a modern edge to a classic white farmhouse kitchen, as done here by Allison Babcock. The interior designer also added oversized rewired vintage pendant lights to create a striking feature. 

'Bright, white cabinets anchored with dark stone countertops, layered with rustic wood stools with antique lighting create a beautiful juxtaposition of cozy yet practical,' says Allison Babcock.

Allison Babcock
Allison Babcock

Allison Babcock is known for her sophisticated aesthetic: a modern sense of elegance that is fresh, crisp, and comfortable, imbued with warmth and enhanced by sumptuous textiles and organic materials. She and her team at Allison Babcock LLC have worked on a wide range of projects from coastal residences to renovated historic properties and modern urban residences. The firm collaborates with architects and builders to seamlessly integrate architecture and interior design.

10. Add in freestanding kitchen furniture

White farmhouse kitchen with a freestanding Chester island from Cotswold Company

(Image credit: The Cotswold Company)

Freestanding kitchen furniture is a staple of the relaxed farmhouse look. Freestanding islands or worktables provide additional preparation space and serve as clever devices to separate social and practical areas of the kitchen, plus they can be easily moved to give you flexibility over the kitchen layout. If you love the rustic farmhouse look there are some lovely characterful designs such as this Chester design with its crate-style storage drawers and oak and granite top.

'The classic farmhouse aesthetic remains one of the most popular styles when it comes to kitchens,' says Lisa Coppin, chief creative officer at The Cotswold Company. 'Freestanding painted furniture is essential when recreating this look at home, whether it's a classic larder, kitchen island, or farmhouse table. Using freestanding pieces of furniture in a kitchen allows you to create a unique space, which can sometimes be difficult to achieve with fitted units.'


How do I add warmth to my white kitchen?

White kitchens can run the risk of feeling cold without care and consideration to the design details. Combining white cabinetry with natural materials across other surfaces such as flooring and splashbacks will instantly soften the look. Wooden planks, and rustic terracotta or stone floor tiles add organic warmth to floors while handcrafted ceramic tiles or marble are popular materials for bringing color and texture to splashbacks. 

When selecting a white shade for kitchen cabinetry consider a slightly warm shade, especially if you have a north-facing room that receives cool light. Painting a kitchen island in a bold color is guaranteed to bring a joyful color pop, or try a warm neutral for a more subtle look. Alternatively, you could simply paint the inside of a cabinet or dining chairs for a hint of color.

You can also try incorporating pieces of antique freestanding furniture and vintage accessories to bring character and patina. Switching hardware and kitchen lighting for designs with aged brass finishes is another easy way to bring extra warmth. 

And white kitchen and modern farmhouse style go hand in hand. White works with the modern side of the look being fresh and crisp but it also works perfectly as part of a neutral tonal scheme that so many farmhouse kitchens embrace. Plus, there's the benefit that both this color and style are timeless so a great choice if you are looking to design a totally timeless kitchen.

Pippa Blenkinsop

Pippa is a contributor to Homes & Gardens. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.