White kitchen ideas – 22 sensational schemes that are clean, bright and won’t ever date

Looking for ways to wow with white at the heart of the home? Read on...
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • We’re dreaming of a white kitchen. But why? Because – quite simply – white kitchens will always be best sellers thanks to their timeless hue. The choice of white cabinetry provides a crisp, smart look for your new modern kitchen or a classic backdrop for a country kitchen.

    Dreaming of a new kitchen? Let’s get you started with our kitchen ideas

    White kitchen ideas

    Choosing a white kitchen could be the best decision you’ll ever make. 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 option.

    Take inspiration from our white kitchen ideas, to create the kitchen of your dreams.

    1. Create a contemporary vision with all-white

    White kitchen

    Image credit: David Giles

    From floors to walls, to cabinets and appliances a bold all-white 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 – a popular choice for the modern home.

    2. Keep the look bright and airy

    White kitchen with skylights

    Image credit: David Giles

    White is the ideal colour for small kitchens, 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 you don’t have the layout or budget use strong overhead lighting to help make the white walls and cabinets shine bright.

    3. Mix old with new for an eclectic finish

    white kitchen with Industrial lighting

    Image credit: James French

    To prevent your white kitchen from looking too pristine and polished add elements of vintage design. Industrial-style 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.

    4. Take a tonal approach

    Modern white handleless kitchen with black walls

    All-white units and worktops sit beautifully against alternative coloured walls and flooring. If deciding to incorporate colour options it’s best to stick to a tonal colour palette, so if using greys – use varying hues of the same shade up to black to keep the look uniformed. If using a more warmer neutral, such as stone flooring consider off-whites, taupe or Dulux’s Brave Ground as complimentary paint colours.

    5. Integrate an alternative island

    White kitchen with diagonally positioned metro tiles

    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 on an island, in this case used on the storage drawers, 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.

    6. Set the scene with wallpaper

    Whhite kitchen ideas with wallpaper

    Image credit: 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.

    7. Choose white for a timeless country look

    White kitchen ideas

    Image credit: 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.

    8. Warm up white with brass fixtures and fittings

    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.

    9. Stick to a classic monochrome combo

    wHITE KITCHEN IDEAS ADD MONOCHROME TOUCHES

    Image credit: Darren Chung

    Pairing black with white isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, design wise. Yet it will 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.

    10. Create space with white

    best season to sell house

    Image credit: 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 feel light and airy, therefore more spacious. Add a strength of character by way of black worktops, just ensure there is plenty of natural light to assure the space remains a sense of lightness.

    11. Team concrete for contemporary cool

    White-kitchen-ideas-country

    Image credit: Fraser Marr

    Polished concrete is a beautiful pairing for use 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.

    12. Warm up white with wooden touches

    White-kitchen-grey island and blue pendant lights

    Image credit: David Giles

    Make a feature of an engineered oak floor in an expansive room. In the kitchen area, different hardwearing flooring has been used. This is an effective trick for creating separate zones in an open-plan space. Meanwhile, 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.

    Another neutral backdrop: 16 grey kitchen ideas that are stylish and sophisticated

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

    White-kitchen-ideas-off-white

    Image credit: 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.

    Choosing the perfect shade: The best white paint – how to choose the right shade for your walls

    14. Add a splashback of marvellous white marble

    White-kitchen-marble-splashback

    Image credit: 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.

    15. Make your appliances match

    White-kitchen-ideas-appliances

    Image credit: David Giles

    White appliances have had a bit of a bad rep of late, so much so that we’re increasing likely to hide them behind closed doors. But the kitchen above demonstrated just how sophisticated they can look. Simple wooden worktops, unusual worn brass handles and a copper rail bring a rustic charm, and hexagonal tiles a hint of modernity.

    16. Mix in natural materials

    White-kitchen-two-tone-wood-cabinets

    Image credit: David Giles

    Here’s another technique for anyone concerned that all white might be too clinical – choose it either for wall OR floor units and then use a contrasting colour or material for the rest of the cabinetry. It’s smart but not too stark.

    17. Jazz up white with sunshine yellow

    White-kitchen-ideas-yellow

    Image credit: 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 white is so versatile that any bold shade would, whether it’s a bright blue or a vibrant red. Stick to key items, so the look isn’t over the top.

    Not keen on monochrome? Enjoy more Kitchen colour schemes

    18. Use white as a base for an eclectic look

    White-kitchen-eclectic shelving

    Image credit: 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.

    19. Choose a retro accent colour

    White-kitchen-orange pendants light

    Image credit: 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, to make the space feel more personal.

    More expert advice: The best white paint – how to choose the right shade for your walls

    20. Fill a large space with white

    White-kitchen-ideas-maximise-storage

    Image credit: David Giles

    Make the most of a big room with a huge island that’s packed with helpful storage, 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.

    21. Find space for a breakfast bar

    White-kitchen-ideas-small-island

    Image credit: 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 has opened up to the garden, it doubles up as a serving counter.

    22. Keep it practical

    White-kitchen-ideas-streamlined

    Image credit: 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.

    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. 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 it’s many different design aesthetics, from country to modern, any worktop finish sits comfortably alongside white cabinetry and walls.

    So the question is more, 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 natural wooden worktops, such as traditional oak or a wood veneer.

    Read more here: Kitchen worktops – everything you need to know to choose the right material

    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.

    All the latest from Ideal Home