White kitchen ideas – 11 ways to take a classic approach to cabinetry

Traditional or contemporary, a white kitchen is a timeless option you can't go wrong with

White kitchen ideas
(Image credit: Future)

If you're looking for white kitchen ideas, you are obviously already set on a timeless and versatile choice for your new kitchen design. And as our white kitchen design ideas below prove, they are adaptable to any style of space, from dark spaces challenged by a lack of space, to vast extensions crying out for character.

Right now, many designers are favoring an all-white look, where white cabinetry is combined with white tiling, white walls, and the palest of marble or composite countertops. But if you need to add warmth – or want to add personality to your space, using timber or flashes of strong color will bring vitality to the look.

Below, you'll find our favorite white kitchen ideas – plus tons of design advice. For more kitchen ideas – in all colors – visit our main kitchen gallery, too.

Is a white kitchen a good idea?

'There are lots of reasons why white kitchens are so popular,' says Daniel Bowler, Director of Eggersmann UK. 'They are sleek and modern and perhaps the best thing is that white is a timeless color that won’t date or go out of fashion.'

'Opting for white furniture also presents a blank canvas for elsewhere in the kitchen, enabling pops of color to be added, perhaps for a backsplash or accessories and making it easy to incorporate a mix of materials.'

'A white color scheme can make a small space appear bigger and equally won’t clash with the décor in a large, open-plan space,' adds Daniel. 'Creating a sense of light and natural freshness, a white kitchen will sit as comfortably in a contemporary home as it will in a country cottage.'

White kitchen ideas: the H&G edit

These are our favorite white kitchen ideas – they all offer brilliant ideas and clever tricks to inspire your remodel.

1. Play with texture

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(Image credit: Kitchen Makers)

Go all white in a kitchen and you could fall into the trap of creating a cold, clinical room. But there are some simple ways to avoid this. 'To ensure the space has character and feels inviting it’s important to incorporate a variety of textures and finishes,' says Ben Burbidge, Managing Director at Burbidge.

'Consider contrasting painted matte cabinets with a high-shine backsplash or pair an industrial stone worktop with contemporary gloss cabinets. When it comes to accessories and lighting add texture by mixing materials, such as rustic copper pendants and wooden furniture, for a modern look that will stand the test of time.'

In this case iridescent tiles and touches of timber bring the matte cabinetry to life.

2. Light up the dark

Common kitchen items you don't need

(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton)

A kitchen with little natural light – or perhaps dark-painted walls you love – really benefits from white cabinetry. Pale stone flooring accentuates the room's height, and pendants add plenty of artificial light and lots of character. But the ultimate saving graces are the simple Shaker cabinetry and crisp composite countertops.

3. Let the tiles do the talking

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(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Create an artful contrast between simple white handleless units and hand-crafted, artisanal tiles and ceramics. The former will allow the latter to take centre stage, and the modern door styling will elevate the look. Beautiful marble countertops provide a link between the two contrasting elements.

4. And breathe...

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(Image credit: Neptune)

‘If you’re somebody who appreciates quiet, simple settings, then white is undoubtedly a color that will help to achieve both of these things,' says Christina Parsons, Kitchen Designer at Neptune Reading.

'White is innately crisp – even more so when there’s something it can be contrasted against. Even without, in a kitchen with white walls, white cabinets, a quartz work surface and pale flooring, the room will take on a pure, clean character that’s much harder to create when using pigmented shades.’

5. Accentuate the view

White-Kitchen-ideas-Davide-Lovatti-May-17-Peters

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)

This cleverly designed, galley-style kitchen has been designed to draw one's gaze down the room and towards the garden. White units that blend into the architecture of the extension offer minimal distraction, and work in unison with wide floorboards laid down the room.

6. Head to the coast

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(Image credit: Jon Day/TI Media)

You can almost feel the sea breeze blowing into this fresh scheme, which hits peek coastal chic with its combination of tongue-and-groove wall panelling, aquamarine tiles and rustic open shelving.

Tiles are great for introducing a splash of color to an all-white space. This geometric motif can be laid in numerous ways to create different designs. Add crockery in complementary tones for an attractive display on open shelves.

7. Warm up with wood

White kitchen ideas from deVOL

(Image credit: deVOL)

Our cravings for the slick and minimalist has inevitably waned. One way to cosy up white is to combine it with a soft timber – a very pale ash or oak is ideal. We like the way the two have been fused together, with white worktops and wooden furniture, and the cabinetry in a soft, off-white.

8. Run through to the dining area

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(Image credit: TI Media)

Continue the monochrome theme through to your seating area, as these style savvy homeowners have done. Do be thoughtful in your choices of materials, however. Wipeable leather upholstery is ideal and also practical. Similarly for the tabletop – consider a treated finish that's impervious to scratches, or your sleep white look could soon start to look tired and tatty.

  • See more: Green kitchen ideas – cabinets, walls and more in shades of sage, olive and emerald

9. Let other elements pop

White-kitchen-ideas-Benjamin-Moore

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

When it comes to introducing pops of color, white is by far the safest choice as a backdrop. Here, units in Paper White by Benjamin Moore, white marble tops and a classic metro tile backsplash are boosted by a Caribbean Blue Water island (also Benjamin Moore) and a mustard yellow door.

10. It's all about the accents

White-Kitchen-ideas-June-18-Sanford

(Image credit: TI Media)

Here's another elegant white kitchen, with a neutrality that showcases some rather more quirky features. Like the coffee machine ingeniously tucked into the side of the larder cabinet. Transparent Philippe Starck stools don't break the flow of the look.

11. Use glazed cabinetry to add depth

Kitchen ideas

(Image credit: Future)

Glazing in cabinetry doors rather than solid doors creates various effects that are beneficial, particularly in a small kitchen. First, the glazing itself reflects light – a real bonus in a dark room. Then, it allows the eye to travel further than solid cabinetry, which can make a narrow or galley kitchen feel wider. Next, if lit from within, it adds depth, character and warmth when daylight fades. And, finally, it allows you to show off your best kitchen buys. 

What color white is best for a kitchen?

"For many kitchens, white is often the base colour that is accented by brassware, contemporary appliances and accessories or furniture that will add colour and texture,' says Helen Shaw, Benjamin Moore's UK Director.

'When it comes to choosing the perfect white, it's important to ensure the correct hue feels warm and maintains a bright and spacious feeling without being too stark. We would recommend a muted white, which has a subtle grey undertone and gives a softer, more contemporary feel.'

What colors go with a white kitchen?

'Consider painting lower cabinets or your kitchen island in a darker, bold hue,' advises Helen Shaw, Benjamin Moore's UK Director. 'This adds a point of interest to the space while maintaining a feel of openness by keeping the top cupboards in a muted white.'

'As homeowners become bolder with color choices and look to add accent colors, we have seen a trend for deep navy blues such as Hale Navy. They work particularly well on cabinetry and looks striking when anchored with white walls.'

What countertops go best with white kitchen cabinets?

'Combining white furniture with a metal or timber worktop will help take the edge off, ensuring that a white kitchen doesn’t appear too cold or sterile,' says Eggersmann's Daniel Bowler.

How do you make a white kitchen interesting?

'There are many ways to add character and interest to a white kitchen but the easiest way is with texture and pattern – what you choose largely depends on the style of the cabinetry,' says Homes & Gardens Editor in Chief

'I have a white kitchen with fairly traditional, Shaker style cabinetry, and have chosen white/grey marble countertops and a rustic wooden dining table and a wooden parquet floor to complement it. The rest of the room – and the majority of the accessories – are black or white, although I have added a splash of color and pattern with a rug I bought in Turkey when I was in my twenties. I love the mix of old and new – and that is what makes a white kitchen interesting to me.'