Colourful kitchens aren’t for everyone, but every kitchen can include some colour. Adding colour to a white kitchen is a perfect compromise between quiet and loud.
While white kitchens have restrained, crisp, clean feeling, they can tend to feel a bit sterile or bland if not carefully considered. A small splash of colour can elevate otherwise white kitchen ideas to a more joyful, personality-laden space.
Ways to add colour to an all-white kitchen
From warm touches of neutrals to bold pops of brights, there are many ways for you to get adding colour to a white kitchen.
1. Colour your lower units
Cabinetry tends to take up rather a lot of space in the kitchen – and in an all-white scheme you’re looking at row upon row of plain white doors. A pretty way to get adding colour to a white kitchen is to tackle some of these cabinets slightly differently.
Leave upper cabinetry and work surfaces white. Then choose another colour altogether for the lower storage units. Go for a pale or pastel tone for subtlety, or a bright colour for impact. Whichever of the many kitchen colour schemes you opt for, due to the height it won’t feel too in your face, or even be visible from all angles.
2. Add contrast with work surfaces
A gentle way to add a little something to otherwise white kitchen ideas is to choose a dark, contrasting worksurfaces to sit above the white cabinetry and below the white walls. Choose a deep wood for a more rustic touch, or a black stone for a more contemporary style.
Make these elements feel at home by linking the colour elsewhere in the kitchen, for example with chairs, window treatments and small appliances.
3. Choose a colourful splashback
An easy way to get adding colour to a white kitchen is to rethink your kitchen splashback ideas. Tiling is one of the most practical ways of doing this, so choose a bright patterned option for added interest. When going for patterns, stick to one new colour, keeping some white included for a cohesive feel.
You may have one large or several smaller wall areas which require this extra protection form daily life. If the latter, you have the choice of whether to keep the areas the same, or choose a different tone or colourway for extra drama in one spot.
4. Paint stand alone cabinetry
A lot of kitchens will have stand alone storage units in addition to the built-in cabinetry. Use this as an opportunity to add a pop of colour. Either buy a bright unit, or paint the one which you already have. If opting for the latter, make sure to check out the best paint for kitchen cabinets, to make your life that bit easier.
When it comes to choosing a colour, consider linking with any other shades already in use. Look to window treatments, small accessories or even your tableware for inspiration.
5. Include natural tones and textures
Look to rustic kitchen ideas and add both colour and depth to your white kitchen by integrating natural materials. Wood, raffia and coloured metals all add natural textures and patina without detracting from the neutral space.
Look for natural materials to use in your hardware, too. Perhaps leather handles or brass taps.
6. Invest in a statement cooker hood
Rather than trying to hide your cooker hood, make a statement of it and get adding colour to a white kitchen. A bold metallic choice with add a serious punch of luxe to the space, and you can link in the metal through handles, plug sockets and even your cutlery.
If you’re looking for some more fun, look for a bright coloured option – either a painted metal or wood.
7. Create a blackboard space
Use blackboard paint on the strip of wall above on open shelf up to the ceiling for a touch of cafe chic. Use white chalk to stick to your theme, or keep some coloured chalks to hand so you can add extra rainbow colours as and when you desire.
8. Decorate the insides of your cabinets
The backs of cabinets and shelves, as well as the insides of drawers are a tailor made way of adding colour to a white kitchen. Use these otherwise ignored spaces to add unexpected impact and personality.
Either wallpaper or paint these nooks. It’s always worth learning how to paint kitchen cabinets so that it’s easy to re-do for when you feel you need to freshen things up.
9. Include coloured light shades
We love a statement pendant light in a kitchen, so use this as an opportunity to add a little extra colour. You don’t need anything wild – go as dramatic or restrained with your kitchen lighting ideas colour choices as you see fit.
Do be aware that the light cast from coloured shades does vary. Glass and material shades in oranges, pinks and reds cast warm glows, while you get a cooler effect from blues and greens. Metal options tend not to affect the light too much as they tend to be kept white inside.
10. Add a pop of black
Update an all-white cooking and dining space with black and white kitchen ideas. This timeless duo of black and white doesn’t have to belong to a modern space alone; it’s just as much at home in a classic or country kitchen.
Matte black finishes rather than anything too glossy works with this look, so go for ceramics with an artisan feel, traditional spindle-back chairs or a simple pendant light.
11. Invest in colourful appliances
Don’t be put off by brightly coloured appliances. Just ensure you’re happy with the colour you choose as they’re such a big investment. For a country style, pastel tones are perfect for a subtle injection of colour. Go with bold brights for a contemporary or retro style kitchen and strong heritage tones for a traditional kitchen.
12. Add warmth with wood
Since wood is a neutral itself, it’s a natural accompaniment to otherwise white kitchens. Choose one tone of wood and use it liberally. You could have it as you table and chairs, and even integrate it into your cabinetry and lighting, too.
Lighter shades of wood will create a warmer look against the white, while darker options will create a more dramatic contrast.
13. Choose contrasting panelling
Upgrade your kitchen on any budget by using stained, panelled wood as a splashback. Take this further up the wall behind open shelving to create a rustic-style display.
You don’t just have to go for brown, either. Wood stains come in all manner of colours, so you have plenty to choose from. Remember that stains affect different types of wood differently, so always test stain an area or a spare plank.
14. Paint sections of the wall
Even in the smallest of kitchens, there are bound to be sections of wall separated from the rest. This could either be from cabinetry or just alcoves from how the room has been built.
Paint these smaller sections in a colour other than white for a splash of colour without committing to changing the scheme of the kitchen. This is also a great way to include grey kitchen ideas, if you can’t say goodbye to that trend just yet.
How do you add warmth to an all-white kitchen?
All white kitchens don’t have to be cold and sterile. A few simple additions can warm them right up. Woods and other natural materials help bring in a calm warmth. Similarly, greenery – fresh or faux – will add a fresh feeling. Lighting has one of the biggest impacts, however. Make sure you’re using the right kind of white paint in your kitchen to offer a warm, rather than cool, feeling. This will be affected by the natural light available, what direction this light is coming from, as well as the size and shape of the space.
What colours go with a white kitchen?
White is the most neutral of all the neutrals, and for this reason there’s not a colour it doesn’t go with! That said, there are so many different shades of white out there, and different tones of white are better matched with other colours. Always look, or ask, about the undertones. These will help suggest where on the colour palette might be a good match for you. It’s important to always test out when adding colour to a white kitchen as the combinations can look different at different times of the day, too.