How to use colour and clever design tricks to take white units from 'meh' to amazing
Start with a basic white kitchen – be it traditional Shaker or sleek and contemporary – and you can create all kinds of different looks with a little colour and design knowhow.
More expert advice: The best white paint – how to choose the right shade for your walls
1. Use tonal colour bands
Add a glass upstand in one colour with another tone of the same colour on the wall above.
2. Paint it black
Paint a feature wall black to make contemporary units really stand out – the quickest way to a high-impact look.
3. Add a funky pinboard
Cover the side of a unit with cork tiles with zigzags of masking tape to create a geometric board for your lists and reminders.
4. Use tiffany blue
This fresh blue-green shade instantly makes a white kitchen feel fresh. Bunting and colourful finds layer on a vintage look.
5. Play with pastels
Mix pastel tones of yellow, green, blue and pink – they’ll really pop against white walls and units and make your kitchen super-cheerful, too.
6. Try monochrome chic
Grey is the perfect sophisticated foil for white units. Add oversized black pendants and they’ll make the whole scheme three-dimensional.
7. Mix retro brights
Channel 1950s American diner style with a mix of rainbow brights against a pure white background.
8. Paint a blackboard
A chalkboard wall will give your kitchen a hipster, gastropub feel. Echo the black here and there on furniture and accessories, and it’ll make a simple country-style kitchen look sophisticated.
9. Mix pattern and plain
Add interest by painting three walls, then papering the fourth in a pattern in a matching colour. It’ll give your space detail and depth without breaking your budget.
10. Use spot colour
Adding colour in unexpected places will give your plain white kitchen a playful feel. Paint a border around a doorframe, paint your kitchen table or chair legs, or simply add a mix of bright, contrasting colours on kitchenware and accessories.
11. Be smart with blue
Pair your white kitchen with areas of navy blue to give it a crisp, clean look. Go for block colour if you dare, or break it up with a navy-print wallpaper or simple patterned flooring.