White kitchen ideas – 27 sensational schemes that are clean, bright and won’t ever date

Looking for ways to wow with white at the heart of the home? These smart white kitchen ideas will show you how to use this shade on its own or with bright pops of colour
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  • Quite simply, white kitchen ideas will always be best sellers thanks to their timeless appeal. The choice of white cabinetry provides a crisp, smart look for a new modern kitchen or a classic backdrop for a country kitchen – classic white is a practical choice for all settings.

    Choosing a white kitchen could be the best decision you’ll ever make. It can add brightness to your cooking and dining space, or it can act as a blank canvas onto which you can add splashes of colour in the form of decorative plates, soft furnishings and artwork.

    White kitchen ideas

    Although white is sometimes considered to be a safe option where wall colour (or lack of it) is concerned, white cabinetry is a stylish and fashion-forward kitchen idea.

    White is a winning colour choice for kitchens, from cabinets and floor tiles, to white walls and accessories it offers a contemporary, clean and crisp design that never dates. Meaning essentially that white is a safe investment to consider for the long term, as it’s a colour that will always be on-trend and sellable.

    1. Choose open shelving

    white kitchen with stainless steel splashback

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Brett Charles

    Choose white to open up a narrow gallery kitchen, to make the space feel airy and bright. Rather than choosing bulky wall cabinets on all walls you might choose to feature open shelves to keep a more open-plan feel to the layout. Paint the floating shelves in the same shade of white to that of the walls, so they ‘disappear’ into the wall.

    Be sure to keep the stored items minimalist in design, simple white crockery and glassware, to avoid defeating the object of making the pace feel less cluttered.

    2. Create a contemporary vision with all-white

    A white kitchen with double islands

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    From floors to walls, to cabinets and appliances, a bold all-white kitchen colour scheme creates a stunning contemporary look. Simple chrome handles and sockets are enough to add a hint of colour without breaking out of the ‘colourless’ scheme.

    All-white everything is ideal for making the space feel bright, airy and gleamingly clean, making it a popular choice for the modern home.

    3. Add interest with a patterned floor

    kitchen makeover with white units and bifold doors

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    Break up an all white colour scheme by using an alternative colour with white on the floor. This zig zag patterned tile example shows how the use of white on the floor is broken up with strips of wood-effect colour to add depth to the colour scheme.

    The pattern is subtle enough that it doesn’t distract from the serene colour scheme, but prominent enough that it adds a layer of interest to the design. The block of white from the kitchen island is grounded thanks to the interesting floor, thanks to the continuation of white it feels cohesive – not jarring.

    4. Welcome warmth with exposed brickwork

    compact contemporary kitchen with black fridge

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Brent Darby

    Welcome a backdrop of exposed brickwork to give your white kitchen idea a contemporary industrial edge. The natural shade of the brick adds an element of warmth to the white colour scheme. Stainless steel or concrete worktops will enhance the vibe of this modern-meets-rustic style.

    Imperfectly painted white floorboards helps to anchor the colour scheme from floor to ceiling, perfectly framing the characterful brick detailing.

    5. Divide the colour scheme

    white kitchen with gold

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Veronica Rodriguez

    Go for a white kitchen in essence, but add a bolder colour on the bottom half of the room. In this  compact kitchen space the walls, worktops and kitchen island are bright white to open up the space, while the base cabinets are painted in a striking gunmetal grey. This is a great alternative to an all grey kitchen idea, that could overwhelm the small space.

    The darker tone on the lower kitchen cabinets and the walnut wood flooring help to anchor the decorating colour, almost pushing the white walls away – to create a sense of space.

    6. Keep the look bright and airy

    White kitchen with skylights and wooden worktops

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

    White is the ideal colour if you’re looking for small kitchen ideas, especially where windows providing natural light may be sparse. An all-white colour scheme illuminates, helping to make the space feel bigger by bouncing light around.

    Skylights are a fabulous option to flood the room with light and enhance the white. But if your kitchen layout or budget don’t allow for skylights, use strong overhead lighting to help make the white walls and cabinets shine bright.

    7. Mix old with new for an eclectic finish

    A white kitchen with industrial lighting above an island

    Image credit: Future PLC/ James French

    To prevent your white kitchen from looking too pristine and polished, add elements of vintage design. Industrial-style kitchen lighting and distressed ceramics can help to inject a hint of timeless vintage style to a modern finish.

    The elements are still white, to keep the look cohesive, but thanks to the heritage feel of such pieces the space retains an air of eclecticism.

    8. Take a tonal approach

    A modern white handleless kitchen with black walls and white bar stools

    Image credit: Future PLC/Veronica Rodriguez

    Smart grey kitchen ideas, such as the coloured walls and flooring shown above, look beautiful when paired with all-white units and worktops. If deciding to incorporate colour options it’s best to stick to a tonal colour palette. So if you’re using greys, use varying hues of the same shade up to black to keep the look uniformed.

    If using a warmer neutral, such as stone flooring, consider off-whites, taupe or Dulux’s Brave Ground as complimentary paint colours.

    9. Integrate an alternative island

    A white kitchen with herringbone metro tiles and wooden worktops

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    Integrate an island in an alternative finish, such as natural wood, to break up the starkness of everything being white. By using white as a reverse colour, as shown on the storage drawers of this kitchen island idea, it seamlessly intertwines the two-tone finish.

    Using wood as the alternative finish helps to keep the look minimal, allowing for a further accent colour to add more personality.

    10. Set the scene with wallpaper

    A white kitchen with a wallpapered splashback

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    Add interest to a white kitchen with a statement wallpaper. The calming white background helps to enhance the decorative design. This characterful paper decorated with birds and branches welcomes a hint of nature indoors, which ties in the wooden worktops perfectly.

    When used between the lower and head-height white cabinets, a patterned wallpaper is a great way to add an alternative to a tiled splashback. Just be sure to use a hardwearing paper that can withstand the elements of a working kitchen, with heat and sink splashes etc.

    11. Choose white for a timeless country look

    A white kitchen with white metro tiles above an oven and below a cuisine sign

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Darren Chung

    For a timeless look in the kitchen, go white country. Here, the owners have chosen white for almost everything from accessories, such as ceramics, to fittings.

    It goes to show that a white room can still feel warm and welcoming as long as you include delicate details like fresh foliage, whitewashed floorboards and brass handles. The added decorative touches help to inject a touch of personality.

    12. Warm up white with brass fixtures and fittings

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    If you’re sticking to an all-white colour scheme consider ingratiating brass tones to add warmth. Instead of traditional chrome taps and sockets choose fashionable brass alternatives to warm the shades of white. This richer metallic tone will avoid making the white shades feel cold and steely.

    13. Stick to a classic monochrome combo

    A sink area with metro tiles behind a brass tap and wooden chopping boards

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Darren Chung

    Pairing black with white isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, design wise. Yet black and white kitchen ideas always look modern, provided you pick the right little details.

    Team an all-white kitchen with black painted furniture and statement accessories to create an effortlessly chic look.

    14. Create space with white

    A white kitchen with green plants and decorative boxes

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    Open up a smaller kitchen space with the help of a primarily white colour scheme. The choice of white will help keep the space feeling light and airy, therefore more spacious. Add a strength of character by using black worktops. Just ensure there is plenty of natural light to assure the space retains a sense of lightness.

    Add touches of natural greenery with houseplants to give the space a well dressed feel.

    15. Team concrete for contemporary cool

    A white kitchen with three small pendant lights above an island with white bar stools

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Fraser Marr

    Polished concrete is beautiful when used in a contemporary white kitchen, particularly with statement lighting. Use it sparingly to create an organic/industrial look and it will lend a splash of natural colour to subtly stop the space from being an all-white scheme.

    16. Warm up white with wooden touches

    A white kitchen with a large grey island with wooden bar stools and statement lights above

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

    Make a feature of an engineered oak floor in an expansive room. Using different hardwearing flooring as an effective trick for creating separate zones is a clever open-plan kitchen idea.

    In this kitchen, wooden accents appear throughout as the perfect complement to the flooring, and pastel-coloured pendants add a sense of fun to a grown-up scheme.

    17. Not sure if white will be too stark? Try off white

    A white kitchen with a wooden dining table and red kitchen appliances

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    You might be daunted about going white, particularly if you want a cosy kitchen. If that’s the case, take inspiration from cream kitchen ideas and go for an ever-so-slightly-off white for your furniture.

    In this scheme, the cook’s table has made a welcome return. It perfectly suits this light room, as it’s less heavy than a traditional island, and has an unfitted feel, which keeps the look informal and current.

    18. Add a splashback of marvellous white marble

    A white kitchen with a marble splashback and pendant lights

    Image credit: Future PLC/ James Merrell

    Marble is a beautiful option. Use it subtly to create an organic look and it will benefit from being at the centre of an all-white scheme. It’s an elegant and stunning choice for a kitchen.

    Look for distinct patterns and variations in tone for an entirely unique splashback or worktop. Marble isn’t cheap but with its tactile charm, it’s a luxury investment that will stand the test of time.

    19. Make your appliances match

    White kitchen cupboards with a wooden worktop next to a white Smeg fridge

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    White appliances have had a bit of a bad rep of late, so much so that we’re increasingly likely to hide them behind closed doors. But the kitchen above demonstrates just how sophisticated they can look.

    Simple wooden worktops, unusual worn brass handles and a copper rail bring a rustic charm, and the hexagonal kitchen tile idea add a hint of modernity.

    20. Mix in natural materials

    A white kitchen with wooden cabinets, yellow pendant lights and green dining chairs

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

    Here’s another technique for anyone concerned that all white might be too clinical. Choose the best white paint for walls or neutral floor units and then use a contrasting colour or material for the rest of the cabinetry. It’s smart but not too stark.

    21. Jazz up white with sunshine yellow

    White kitchen cabinets with a yellow splashback, yellow pendant lights and black bar stools

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Fraser Marr

    Inject some personality into a white kitchen with just a couple of accent pieces in a bright colour. The yellow works really well here and warms up the look, but vibrant red kitchen ideas along with other colours such as a bright blue would do the same, as white is so versatile.

    Stick to key items, so the look isn’t over the top.

    22. Use white as a base for an eclectic look

    A white kitchen with eclectic shelving, a yellow lamp and a wine rack

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    It’s easy for an eclectic look to start out stylish and end up plain messy. Avoid this by building up your look on a white canvas – we’re talking white walls, white flooring and white units. You can then add your flea market finds and pops of colour with confidence.

    23. Choose a retro accent colour

    A white kitchen with orange pendant lights above a wooden dining table

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    Tailer the look to suit your own personal taste by adding one key accent colour. For a more retro vibe incorporate bold splashes of orange, with either statement pendant lights and artwork or simply through your tableware and accessories.

    The accent colour rule can apply with any colour, so make the space feel more personal with your favourite shade.

    24. Fill a large space with white

    A white kitchen with wooden flooring and a grey splashback

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    Make the most of a big room with a huge island that’s packed with helpful kitchen storage ideas, and floor-to-ceiling cupboards. As well as spotlights, this kitchen has industrial-style pendants suspended on long cables to create a cosy glow at the breakfast bar.

    In a space as big as this, an all-white scheme could feel empty and stark. But the low-hung pendants break up the wide gap between the island unit and ceiling, while citrus coloured accessories and an engineered wood floor add warmth and charm.

    25. Find space for a breakfast bar

    A white kitchen with a small island and metal bar stools

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    A breakfast bar is the perfect way to transform a kitchen into a family and entertainment space. This room might not be the widest, but by slimming down the island the owner has managed to fit one in, in a prime position near the bi-fold doors. In summer, when the space is opened up to the garden, it doubles up as a serving counter.

    26. Keep it practical

    White kitchen with skylights and wooden worktops

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    Consider handleless cabinetry so surfaces are absolutely free of adornment, creating a bold and minimalist look. This elegantly simple design is enhanced with wooden trims that create an elegant grid effect.

    Plan the wall and floor units in regimented banks for super-organised storage.

    27. Dress white kitchens with colourful accessories

    white kitchen with open shelving

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Kazia Fraser

    This white kitchen doesn’t rely on colour to inject personality, it’s got oodles of that just from the characterful layout. The white Kitchen design features white tiled walls and floor, white units with wooden worktop and white open shelves filled with crockery and books.

    The abundance of colourful accessories adds enough vibrancy without having to break from the white kitchen decorating scheme.

    What colour goes with a white kitchen?

    The usual design rules apply where white is concerned. It’s generally acknowledged that a totally white colour scheme can look clinical, reminding us of an operating theatre rather than a warm, welcoming room that is the ‘heart of the home’.

    Therefore an accent colour is always a welcome addition to inject warmth and a touch of personality. Whether through furniture choices, a statement splashback or appliances and accessories, the choice is yours.

    Strong primary colours, such as yellow or red, are ideal for making an impactful contrast. Such bright colour accents are best used through freestanding appliances, lighting and accessories – all less investment and commitment. While more tonal colours, such as silver chrome, grey or black, are ideal or adding depth on a more permanent basis.

    Two-tone painted kitchens with grey on the low level cabinets or a tiled splashback is a contemporary way to add an accent colour, without jarring with the brilliant white blank canvas.

    Are white kitchens out of style for 2021?

    White kitchens will never be out of fashion. in fact white kitchens proved to be the most Googled kitchen colour of the year! The timeless colour option is still the most popular choice for kitchen colours, despite the prominence of on-trend greys. White is a safe but sensible option that is great for re-sale value, because it can suit all tastes. White creates a blank canvas, which allows for almost any accent colour to stand out.

    What countertops go best with white kitchens?

    The beauty of white is that it’s the ideal colour to suit any era and style of house, which is why it makes such a good blank canvas, especially in the kitchen. Thanks to its many different design aesthetics, from country to modern, any worktop finish sits comfortably alongside white cabinetry and walls.

    So the question is, what look would you prefer? If you wish to take your white kitchen in a more contemporary direction, pair the elements with a white marble or quartz countertop to keep the look slick and streamlined. Alternatively a black marble-effect worktop will retain a modern feel, while welcoming a less stark monochrome accent.

    For a more classic country look white kitchens are best offset with wooden kitchen worktops, such as traditional oak or a wood veneer.

    Make the most of recessed LED lights for cupboards and shelving. Install them on the wall beneath the cabinetry, under the units themselves or even inside so finding ingredients is easy.

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