Designers are always writing about trends but it is great to have a design element in the home that is a classic and a white kitchen is truly one of these. Whether contemporary or traditional in style, a white kitchen is timeless. I love to introduce colour into kitchens and do get excited when clients want something different in their kitchen design, but guess what? I have a white kitchen! And I love it!
I want to show you how to create a classic white kitchen but also to draw your attention to all the styles available with pointers to make them different. You will see from this collection of imagery that although classic, there is certainly nothing boring or outdated about a white kitchen. They have the benefit of being both classic and on trend.
A contemporary white kitchen
A contemporary white kitchen that is the same white as the walls and trim in a modern home is a timeless classic. With clean lines, no handles and a simple mirrored splashback, this space will look good for years to come. With a Caesarstone Ocean Foam bench top, the look is one that will endure the test of time.
A traditional white kitchen
Here is a more traditional kitchen which is another timeless classic but still with the white cabinets the same colour as the walls and trim. Clearly designed to suit an older home, these white cabinets will work well with the house forever. It is a classic and again, although so different from the contemporary style featured above, it is perfect for the house and will definitely stand the test of time.
How to add your own style to a white kitchen
As with a house that is painted a fresh white throughout, a white kitchen is the perfect backdrop to bring in colour and texture with accessories. Some timber shelving, books, ornaments and natural pendants have transformed this very simple white kitchen. This room has heaps of personality with minimal expenditure and these styling elements can be updated when trends and individual tastes change.
By adding statement lighting and greenery, you elevate the look of the kitchen.
Related: Kitchen Styling – My 5 top tips
Do you have a plain white kitchen that you feel needs a touch of personality? Then consider changing the door hardware and tapware. Elegant gold accessories have transformed the look of this white kitchen and taken the look to a whole new level.
Related: How to choose kitchen door handles
A splashback can also completely change the look of a simple white kitchen. Rather than introduce another colour, white hexagonal tiles outlined with black grout is an extremely effective design statement. This elevates this simple space to one that is a stylist's dream.
Related: How to choose the right kitchen splashback
Matt or gloss kitchen cabinets?
Don't forget to consider the gloss level of the kitchen cabinets too. Matt finishes are all the rage at the moment, for both contemporary and more traditional style kitchens. However, the more classic style can only ever be matt or at the most semi-gloss. If you do love a crisp, modern style, you may still love the appeal of high gloss which will bounce the light around the room and give a sparkling finish to the cabinets.
Adding a natural touch to your kitchen
Individual styling is a great way to bring personality into your space. So if you have a simple white kitchen but feel you need more colour, then consider using some greenery to achieve this. Introducing colour in a natural format ensures that you maintain a great organic feel to the room and ensures that it is ever-changing.
Related: How to incorporate the greenery trend
Keeping a white kitchen sophisticated
Black, at the opposite end of the tonal scale to white, is its classic partner. As we are talking about timeless styles, you can't go past a white kitchen with touches of black.
In the image above, the black kickboard, handles and grout are a very small element of the scheme yet they completely transform the look.
In the image below, the contemporary black sink, matched to the styling in the artworks, introduces a fabulous contemporary element whilst retaining a classic look.
My final points for selecting the right white for your kitchen:
- As with paint colours for walls, there are many different whites to select from, for both your joinery and benchtop and the same rules apply here. For example, if you have a benchtop with a touch of grey, you will need to partner this with a cool, crisp white or one that is just slightly grey.
- Take your lead for the right white from the whites that are already in your colour scheme. Consider whether you have a cool palette or a warm one. If you are using a paint finish for your kitchen joinery you can select any white and it makes sense to use one that works with your wall and trim colour. If possible I really like to keep the kitchen cupboards the same as the trim throughout the house.
- Consider the ceiling colour. If your cupboards go right to the ceiling, you will need to ensure that the white you select for the joinery is the same as or works with the white that you use on your ceiling. So always look at the kitchen whites together with the overall white palette for your home.
- If you are selecting from a melamine or laminate range, compare all the whites together so that you can see the underlying colour as they will have cool blue whites and warm creamier ones to select from. Again, look at these in relation to the other whites in your house and ensure that you stay within the similar range.
- For a classic white kitchen, the bench top will either be a very similar white or one that just has a touch more colour and/or design. The same rules apply here, so if you have a creamy white kitchen, ensure that the benchtop white is similar. Don't make the mistake of falling in love with a marble that is icy white and grey and then partnering it with a very warm, creamy white. This is where a mood board is so important. Use a large piece of black card and place all your samples on it. Include the benchtop, kitchen cabinet colour, splashback, walls, trim and ceiling. This way you will easily see if one is standing out too much and spoiling the effect.
- Don't forget the styling tips above though and introduce all the finishing touches to make the classic white kitchen your own.
Related: Kitchen Styling – My 5 top tips
If you want more inspiration, explore my Pinterest Boards on Classic and Contemporary style kitchens and remember – a white kitchen is not a trend – it is classic!
Don't forget that I have a FREE resource library. If you are planning a kitchen renovation then I have resources there that will help you to define your style and to put your project into motion. CLICK HERE
Love reading about kitchens? Then you may also be interested in my in-depth article which tells you all you need to know about selecting the right kitchen bench top.
Planning a classic white kitchen and want to find out the 5 mistakes to avoid when selecting white? Then read this post too:
Still need to know more about selecting the right white – this article gives you more in-depth information and will help with choosing your classic white kitchen: How to find the right white
19 thoughts on “How to create a classic white kitchen”
really cool site
We have really enjoyed your website!
We are just about to renovate of 1920’s red brick home which will include a new modern kitchen. We live in a cold Victorian town and while we get some natural light it is limited.
Our plan is Essastone Crystallite benches and splashback, some Blackbutt timber legs/shelving, and Dulux natural white cabinetry which is floor to ceiling. Our walls will also be Natural white (trims 30% gloss) and ceiling Dulux Vivid white. The existing hardwood floors (a medium brown) will be pollished and retained.
With the renovation due to start soon we are getting nervous!! Can you please let us know if any of the above seems inappropriate to you? Thank you.
Hi Paul and Belinda I think you are absolutely on the right rack with your colour palette to combat a darker house in a cold town – I am sure it will look great! Samantha
Hi Samantha, I’ve been reading your blogs and enjoyed reading the advice you have provided. I’ve just signed on the dotted line for a new kitchen and am now quite perplexed about wall, ceiling and trim colours. I have noted your advice is to use the same colour on doors, skirting and architraves as the colour of kitchen cabinets. Having said that, I have chosen Dulux lexicon quarter for cupboards with silestone benchtop colour is Eternal Statuario. The cupboard profile is “shaker style” with matt black simple handles and black gooseneck mixer tap. My kitchen/family room face east are not big rooms and ceilings are only 2.4m heigh. I’m calling my style modern Hamptons/australian! I would love to know your suggestions for ceiling and wall colour given that I use lexicon quarter for all trims. The floor will be vinyl planks (not chosen yet but liking Genero Euro brand, Maison oak colour from Choices flooring. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Many thanks, Tanya
Hi Tanya Dulux Lexicon Quarter is a lovely crisp bright white trim and works with a lot of whites and greys. Your wall colour really depends on whether you want a white or a pale grey which works well with the Hamptons look. For a pale grey you could look at Dulux Narrow Neck Quarter which suits this look perfectly or for an off white something like Dulux White Exchange Half or Quarter could work. Try out samples and consider your flooring and benchtop when you look at which one you prefer. Good luck Samantha
Hi Samantha, we have an Edwardian single fronted house. We have just installed a new kitchen, 2.7 mt vivid white shaker cupboards bulk headed to 3.3 ceilings and we have spotted gum flooring.
We have chosen either Snowy Mts 1/2 or 1/4 for our walls with our white ceiling.
Our dilemma is,we are very uncertain of which Caesarstone top and tile splash back would give us a classical warm look
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Hi Sandra I’m a fan of Caesarstone Frosty Carina – it has just enough grey detail without being overpowering and the background white seems to work with many white schemes – Look at a large sample from your stonemason or kitchen supplier with your whites to check you like the effect. Good luck Samantha
Just looking for a bit of advice, I really want to update our kitchen with a splash of paint, the cupboards are black butt I think, an then the tiles are brown, it’s a big room which has windows on eastern an northern sides. I’m looking at half white exchange for walls an half lexicon for trim an ceiling. To continue the flow would I then be looking at doing the cupboards half lexicon also? I’d appreciate any ideas
Hi Monique Yes, if you continue the trim colour onto the joinery this will work well as you are not introducing another white into the equation. Check what prep you need to do with the Blackbutt cabinetry before you paint it so that it doesn’t bleed through the white. Hope you like the end result Samantha
I have recently installed antique white shaker kitchen door fronts
I have used stonehenge laminex for benchtops.
What colour wall paint and kitchen splashback would you recommend ..
So the door fronts ts dont appear yellow..
Hi Mary If you stick with the same colour for the walls as you have used on the kitchen cupboard doors then you won’t see the creaminess in the door fronts – it’s only when you put a different white next to it that you can often see the underlying colour. Perhaps a white subway tile could work but take a sample of the kitchen door colour with you so that you select one that matches rather than contrasts – keep it simple and add colour with decorations and you can’t go wrong. Good luck Samantha
Okay, for some reason I had never thought of changing hardware to help my kitchen look unique. Such a great idea, Samantha! I am turning my kitchen from dark cabinets to white, and I know N-Hance does a great job, for those wanting to make the big white cabinet plunge!
I am renovating my kitchen. I have chosen Caeserstone Ocean Foam for the bench top. I was going to go with Lexican half for the 2 pac cabinetry but I am worried that it will be too white or have blue undertones. When I was in the Ceaserstone showroom the consultant recommended Wattyl Moody White or Calcium. I am really confused about which colour to go with. My kitchen is on the dark side which makes choosing colours difficult. My other issue is that the adjoining dining area is in something similar to Dulux Natural White so I don’t know if I will need to paint this area again (only painted a few months ago). Any advice appreciated. Regards, Anne.
Hi Anne Lexicon half strength will have a blue undertone which will certainly be at odds with the Natural White. Wattyl Moody White is nice – fresh and clean and a little cool but without the obvious blue and Calcium is lovely too – a bit softer and warmer which could work well for you. Hope this helps Samantha
Your tips about having a classic white kitchen and using complementary colors for places like the ceiling or the benchtop really helped me out. After spending a lot of time in my kitchen, I figured that my current kitchen setup feels too old and outdated for the kind of family that I have, so I wanted to update it somehow. Your examples really helped me form a cohesive idea of what a modern white-colored kitchen should look like, so I’ll definitely follow these tips when talking to a home renovation contractor and asking them for help.
I have chosen Caeserstone Ocean Foam for the bench top already installed and have used gloss cabinets doors which have made the bench top look cream against the stark white gloss which I hate what colour tile should i use to try and bring it back or do I bite the bullet and change the doors.
Hi Moira I suspect the cabinet doors are a very crisp cool white if they have made the Ocean Foam look cream. Rather than throw another white into the mix you could possibly pull out the pale grey from the flecks of the Ocean Foam for a tiled splashback. If you borrow some tile samples you could place them next to the bench and the cabinet to see whether that balances it out and pulls it together for you. Good luck Samantha
We are renovating a Californian bungalow and going for a classic white kitchen with the shaker style cabinetry and silver cup handles, etc. We will have Blackbutt hardwood floors…I’m dreaming of a white bench top but with light grey veins (nothing too dramatic)… do you have a Caesarstone bench top you can recommend please? I am so lost…
Hi Kisha You also need to consider with your benchtop the underlying colour as well as the grey vein. Some of them are fresher whites and some greyer. So this is something you need to consider too. The grey veins can also differ between warm and cool tones. You might like to look at Caesarstone Frosty Carina for a very understated marble look which works really well with the Hamptons style. If you can get to a local stone supplier they often have much larger samples for you to view next to each other so you can decide whether you want a fresher white or a greyer one. Hope this helps Samantha