getting it white

The No-Fail Shade to Help Your Kitchen Shine


The color white tends to have an ethereal effect: think puffy clouds, whipped cream, and angel wings. The shade is simple, sweet, and the definition of neutral. In a kitchen, white helps create a light, bright, and airy space in which to prep, cook, dine, and entertain. So it should come as no surprise that white kitchens stand the test of time despite fickle design trends. Today, there are plenty of ways to incorporate the classic shade into your kitchen to complement your style, be it traditional, modern, or somewhere in between. Here are some no-fail ways to brighten your kitchen with white.



Maybe you want to go the modern route with pure tones and glossy finishes or steer your style in a subtler direction with a distressed look inspired by the farmhouse trend. Either way, you might consider white flooring. Ceramic tile, painted original hardwood, or engineered hardwood can lay the groundwork for reviving a tired kitchen.

If you have dark cabinetry that feels too formal for the way you live or simply makes your space feel smaller, a fresh coat of white paint will make it pop. This budget-friendly update can make an entire layout visually live larger. Contrast can also work magic in a kitchen. Pair a white subway-tile backsplash with black floating shelves or a marble countertop with a navy-blue island.


Because it acts as a blank canvas, the color white leaves plenty of room for self-expression. Take neutral cabinets, for instance. You can dress up simple cabinetry with whimsical, eclectic, or chic hardware—whatever speaks to your style. White can also provide a nice visual break from a lively paint color or wallpaper; arrange a collection of white plates on the wall or on an open shelf to create the perfect juxtaposition.

Thankfully, a white kitchen doesn’t have to be costly to be eye-catching. Glossy cabinets from affordable retailers such as IKEA can often pass for custom, as sleek surfaces add a touch of glam. Builder-grade varieties can be enhanced with a textured backsplash.


From an iconic Saarinen table to a farmhouse sink, all you need is one white element to elevate your kitchen. This can also be achieved with molding and trim or a shiplap accent wall that sets a casual tone. Mixing rather than matching your cabinets lets your kitchen island sport the refreshing shade while the perimeter cabinets can be more colorful.

While stainless steel was the go-to finish for a good decade, white appliances are having a bit of a comeback. Introduce a new white fridge for a fresh look or add a vintage stove that’s the perfect showpiece for hardy, white enamel. When it comes to paint, you’ll want to test the colors and check the undertones before making a commitment. A professional expert can help you narrow down the selection of warm and cool tones to make sure you get what you envision. However you spin the color wheel, white can provide some breathing room for any other colors that make the cut.


A white backdrop easily supports accents like distinctive lighting and inviting rugs, which can add needed character. It also complements a variety of finishes, from brass to silver to bronze. The classic black-and-white color palette is dramatic, while the pairing of white and wood tones establishes a more natural habitat. Green is a colorful yet neutral complement that can be introduced with houseplants, chair cushions, or a majolica pottery collection. That’s the beauty of a pale palette: it’s adaptable.

Given the hustle and bustle that often happens in the hub of the home, a simple shade of white can help balance the energy. Ultimately, a white kitchen can be a peaceful and downright dreamy place for your friends and family to gather and enjoy foods in a rich assortment of flavors—and colors. Written by Jeanine Matlow. Photography by (clockwise from left) Zolga_F/iStock/Getty Images Plus, in4mal/iStock/Getty Images Plus, flyfloor/iStock/Getty Images Plus, AnnaPustynnikova/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Shannon Parberry

Shannon Parberry

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