Cream kitchen ideas – all beautifully classic and sure to stand the test of time

Neutral shades are a far cry from ‘boring beige’ and with these smart cream kitchen ideas you can bring a sophisticated, low-key look to your kitchen

Looking for cream kitchen ideas? For many years now all shades of cream and magnolia have been shunned for brilliant white and hues of grey. But for 2021 the tide has turned, and those creamy neutrals have been brought up to date with a new, sophisticated colour palette, offering a wider choice of soft neutrals.

Cream kitchens are the ideal choice for those looking for a safe neutral shade, but a colour warmer than white and not as outspoken as grey.

This steadfast neutral colour lends itself to a number of kitchen ideas and decorating styles, from rustic to contemporary. Harvey Jones kitchen designer Leisha Norman tells Ideal Home, ‘Cream is a versatile shade that looks beautiful in both traditional and contemporary settings. It is light enough to make the room feel more spacious, yet it’s not as stark as white can be.’

As a new kitchen is a huge investment, it's no surprise that so many of us opt for kitchen colour schemes that will stand the test of time. Cream kitchens are one of the most popular styles, with colours such as ivory, off-white and buttermilk proving popular choices.

You might choose an ultra-modern glossy cream kitchen that combines streamlined cabinetry with the latest appliances, or perhaps use painted cream cupboards to transform a cottage kitchen that has low ceilings. However you use this versatile shade, here are our cream kitchen ideas to inspire your design.

Cream kitchen ideas

1. Make cream feel contemporary

kitchen with cabinets and worktop

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Cream doesn't have to say 'country-style', it can be highly effective as the backdrop in a more contemporary setting. In a modern home, choose a cream kitchen to create a bright and summery feel. Combine cream units with black metro tiled walls and practical kitchen worktop ideas, such as granite, for a busy family kitchen.

Choose statement glass pendant lights to add a living room vibe to the space – a design feature which is very on-trend for 2021. Add contemporary wireframe barstools to amplify the modern style credentials.

2. Give neutrals a new lease of life

kitchen with cabinets and drawers

(Image credit: Polly Eltes/Future PLC)

If you prefer your kitchens pale but find that white kitchens are too clinical, opt for a palette of off-whites and buffs - imagine shades of vintage paper. Cream cabinetry feels fresh and modern teamed with white fittings and chalk-white walls. Matching stone worktops and floors help to keep the look cohesive. A warming cream AGA adds a classic country finish.

3. Go for splashes of on-trend grey

kitchen with cabinets and hanging lights

(Image credit: Mark Bolton/Future PLC)

Warm cream cabinetry is an ideal backdrop for sophisticated grey kitchen ideas such as worktops, lights and accessories. Choose a shade of grey with warm undertones to help retain the warm qualities of cream, avoiding blue-toned greys. Finish the look by painting the walls with a putty colour, to meet the two tones of cream and grey halfway.

4. Factor in freestanding furniture for flexibility

kitchen with cupboard and dining table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Bevan)

Why not opt for freestanding furniture instead of fitted kitchen units? Choose pieces such as a painted cream sideboard for storage, a dresser where you can display your favourite china and glassware, and a large farmhouse table surrounded by spindle chairs for family meals.

If you're looking for shabby chic decorating ideas, fit shelves instead of wall cupboards to store items such as Kilner jars, cookware and serving dishes. Touches of copper, pink and stone bring this country kitchen scheme to life.

5. Play it safe with an off-white scheme

white attic kitchen with worktop and hanging lights

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jamie Mason)

If you want to create the perfect family kitchen, be inspired by this modern kitchen idea. This open-plan design has ample worktop space for food preparation, a stainless-steel range cooker and chic white metro tiles. Built in an extension, the cream units curve round to form a breakfast bar for a casual eating space, with stylish pale blue pendant lights above.

6. Create a café-style kitchen

kitchen with wall shelves and dining table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

For a café-style kitchen combine cream walls and cabinetry with an area decorated with blackboard paint and you'll never forget anything on your shopping list ever again! Keep the look light and cheerful with cream painted base units and a practical wooden worktop.

Continue the warm wood tones with dining furniture, then add black and copper accessories as a finishing touch.

7. Create a classic scheme you'll love for years to come

kitchen with cream cabinets and dining table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

A cream painted kitchen is the perfect choice for a cottage with low ceilings, as it makes the space feel light and open. Create this look with Shaker-style base cabinets, cream wall tiles and pale flagstone flooring. If you have space, an Aga will suit a cream country kitchen perfectly.

As an alternative to wall cupboards, install a kitchen island in the centre of the room to provide plenty of storage.

8. Invigorate with strong blue accents

kitchen with cream walls and blue cabinet

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Parmiter)

If you're looking for ways to add colour to an all white kitchen or you want to inject some personality into your cream space, use one strong accent colour. In the case of this neutral kitchen scheme, cream walls play the perfect backdrop to display midnight blue storage and shelving. For extra effect the main kitchen island is also blue.

The delicious shade of mushroom on the tiles adds a subtle layer on from the cream, to create a harmonious palette of neutrals to compliment the punchier blue accents.

9. Create focus with a feature wall

kitchen with cream cabinets and red wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Like with all good neutral schemes, a hit of strong accent colour can go a long way to uplift the spirit of the room. If red kitchens are too strong, this shade paired with cream is a trusted colour combination, especially in a country-style kitchen like the one shown above.

In this compact U-shaped kitchen idea, one striking red wall helps to add a focal point of interest within the cream colour scheme. The painted wall anchors the red accent colours dotted around the kitchen, from the appliances to textiles it all flows seamlessly.

10. Offset cream with dark flooring

kitchen with cream cabinets and gas cookpot

(Image credit: Future PLC/Douglas Gibb)

Maintain an all-cream colour scheme with the cabinetry and walls and instead use the floor to add a statement shade. A dark tiled floor helps to add depth to the room, ideal for small kitchens because it highlights the amount of floor space, which when the rest of the room is bright and airy, it can give a greater perspective.

Natural wooden worktops help to break up the look further, without drawing the eye away from the two contrasting tones of cream and black.

11. Team with green to create a country classic

kitchen with cream cabinets and fridge

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

12. Compliment with cream in a country kitchen

kitchen with wooden beams and cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Still)

In a farmhouse choose a kitchen design that complements the original features in your home. In this country kitchen, cream cabinetry and pale stone flooring blend seamlessly with the vaulted ceiling and exposed wood beams.

The island unit has been painted in coordinating stone and accents of colour with fuchsia pendant lamps, glassware and pretty artwork.

13. Keep it classy and sophisticated

kitchen with cream cupboard and dining table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

In this beautiful kitchen, a cream palette keeps the look fresh, while the dresser and vintage wooden table create a charming country feel. A combination of antiques, vintage accessories and salvaged pieces give this kitchen a sense of grandeur.

Does grey go with a cream kitchen?

We can hear the whole nation asking, because grey is a firm favourite for the modern home. All will be pleased to hear the answer is yes, the key is keeping the tones similar in warmth. Grey and cream can offer an ideal soothing colour combination to create a strong neutral base, avoiding the starkness of brilliant white. Thanks to the undertones in both colours, they work together in unison to add warmth and depth.

What colours go with a cream kitchen?

Thanks to the warmth of cream it works best with colours on the warmer scale of the spectrum, such as red. The colour combination of red and cream is a particularly popular painted kitchen idea in a country kitchen, which teams well with natural woods and stone worktops and flooring.

While warm colours are the most welcome, green and blue can work just as well despite being colder in tone. It's about choosing the right depth of colour, which can compliment the cream. For instance sage green has an earthy quality that helps to bring warmth.

‘As cream is a soft, neutral shade, it works really well with a multitude of colours’ explains Leisha Norman, kitchen designer at Harvey Jones.

‘Consider having your cabinets or walls in a different tone – perhaps a deeper blue-grey or a forest green – as this will add more of an edge to the final space. Another good idea is to add some interest with standalone pieces, such as an old AGA in a black shiny finish.’


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.