6 ways to make a white kitchen dazzle

White kitchens? Why are we talking about them when the current trend is grey/blue/black kitchens? This post is actually inspired by one of my Instagram followers, who messaged me after I posted an image of a grey kitchen. She was lamenting her decision to go with a white kitchen a couple of years ago as it now felt a bit blah in the face of different colour kitchens that are currently trending.

I don’t like to think of kitchens in terms of trends because when you design one, it needs to stand the test of time, whatever trends come and go. If you go with the sort of kitchen you’ve always loved – whether grey or blue or white or whatever – the secret to making it amazing is in all the other design details.

It wasn’t long ago when white kitchens were all the rage, and I’m betting they will be again in the near future because, when done right, white kitchens feel bright, crisp, clean and serene, which makes them totally classic and timeless. They never go out of fashion.

Marbleicious! ♡ Would you swap your kitchen for this if you could? Image: Amber Interiors

If you have/want/love a white kitchen, read on to see how to make it dazzle. Even if a white kitchen isn’t for you, I hope you enjoy the inspiration as much as my sun-starved self has enjoyed pouring over bright white spaces. I’ve also included some of my favourite kitchenware picks in the post.

Caveat: a white kitchen is best located in a space with plenty of natural light. If you’ve extended the back of your house, for example, and choose to locate your kitchen towards the inside of the new space away from windows, a white kitchen is not the answer as it’ll look dull. White needs light to bounce off it.

1.  WARM IT UP WITH WOOD

Whether it is the floor (wood, engineered wood or wood-effect tiles), the worktop, wood cladding on an island or even just kitchen accessories on display, rich wood tones are a beautiful and warm contrast to white, and make it come alive.

Shop wood and marble kitchenware:

Large wooden bowl
Wood and marble paddle board
Green marble pestle and mortar
Wood and marble round chopping board
Olive wood pestle and mortar
Marble and acacia hexagon board
Large wooden bowl
Large wooden bowl
Wood and marble paddle board
Green marble pestle and mortar
Wood and marble round chopping board
Olive wood pestle and mortar
Marble and acacia hexagon board
Large wooden bowl

2.  SPARKLE WITH WARM METAL FINISHES

I think chrome finishes can look cold in a white kitchen, so opt for brass or gold finishes on handles, taps and lighting. If you prefer silvery finishes, go for polished nickel as it has a much warmer and richer tone than chrome.

Shop gold kitchenware:

Gold wire fruit bowl
Gold wire dish rack
Gold serving spoon
Gold measuring set
Gold spatula
Gold palm trivet
Gold trivet
Gold wire basket
Gold wire fruit bowl
Gold wire dish rack
Gold serving spoon
Gold measuring set
Gold spatula
Gold palm trivet
Gold trivet
Gold wire basket

3.  TANTALISE WITH TEXTURES

This is the big one. Different textures give depth to a white interior so it doesn’t look flat and boring. Wood (or wood effect), stone (or stone effect), metal, ceramic and porcelain are the expected materials in many kitchens, but what about a shell chandelier, or leather barstools, or rattan lampshades, or clear acrylic barstools? Bookmatched marble to wow, or glossy white tiles to bounce the light, or matt grey tiles to contrast the white? Decisions decisions… what would make a white kitchen beautiful for you?

A stunning combination of materials. Image: Designed by Marie-Laure Helmkampf, via Home Adore

Glossy tiles for a splashback, large rattan lampshades and acrylic barstools keep the eye moving. Image: Lisa Sherry Interieurs

4.  BRING IN COLOUR

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t recommend adding colour. If you have an island or peninsula and it isn’t clad in wood like in point 1 above, consider having it in a different colour. Soft muted greens and blues work particularly well for this, or try a dark colour like black, dark green or dark blue for a dramatic contrast. Have a look at examples of both below. Ok so this would mean that it isn’t an all-white kitchen anymore, but a bit of colour adds vibrancy and dimension to a white space.

Soft muted green on the island cladding is a gorgeous contrast to this dazzling white kitchen. Image: Emily Henderson

Dusky blue island in an otherwise white kitchen. Image: Domino

The black island looks stunning in this white kitchen, creating a beautiful balance of light and dark. Also, I will always love Cherner barstools ♡. Image: Heidi Caillier

Colour can also be brought in through kitchenwares, plants, fruit, books etc, which brings me to my next point…

5.  DISPLAY

Show off your pretty kitchen items by having them on the worktop, on open shelves or in wall cabinets with glazed doors. Things like cookbooks, wood and marble chopping boards, nicely bottled oils and vinegars, herbs and other plants, fruit basket, beautiful bowls and mugs all deserve to be seen and add personality to a kitchen. Also hang art if you have wall space, or lean it on the worktop like in the kitchen below.

Bags of personality. Image: Emily Henderson

I love how the open shelving is highlighted by the black tiles; a brilliant design detail! Image: Studio 125

Shop beautiful bar stools:

Brown goatskin bar stool
Rattan bar stool
Wood and metal bar stool
Nerd bar stool
Bamboo bar stool
Masters bar stool – sage green
Kartell Charles Ghost Stool 65cm
Brown goatskin bar stool
Rattan bar stool
Wood and metal bar stool
Nerd bar stool
Bamboo bar stool
Masters bar stool – sage green
Kartell Charles Ghost Stool 65cm

6.  EYECATCHING LIGHTING

Oversized pendants, a pretty vintage chandelier, or a cluster of pendants… lighting that draws your eye is always a winner.

Image: JJ

Bonus tip: Avoid a black worktop in a white kitchen. Opt for wood or pale stone. If you’re asking why, just do an image search for “white kitchen with black worktop” and you’ll get your answer. A black worktop totally takes away the bright airy feel of a white kitchen, it just doesn’t work.

What do you think of white kitchens? I know you wouldn’t call any of these kitchens ‘blah’, yes? 🙂 For more kitchen inspiration, follow my Pinterest board KITCHENS.


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10 Comments

  1. January 29, 2018 / 8:37 pm

    I love some of these images. If I was starting a kitchen from scratch I’ll go with white no problem at all and add pops of colour. As I’ve inherited a dated white kitchen which we’ve lived with for 3yrs we are going to go grey this time round for a change. Lovely post!

    • Meera
      January 30, 2018 / 4:36 pm

      What you’re doing with your kitchen sounds really good, Vicki! We’ll be tackling a kitchen renovation in the near future and I’m going to be putting in a lot of white and pale grey in it, and contrasting it with a dark colour somehow (you may have seen my ideas on Instagram). And of course a couple of happy accent colours. Just need to decide on a scheme that I feel I will love forever! xx

  2. February 4, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    Oh yes, now we’re talking!! I know what the trends are but I can’t help feeling – and in fact have already seen – people turning their dark kitchens (and other spaces) back to light again. I still love our dark grey home office but for me the kitchen is the heart of the home and as such works so much better to be bright and airy. I think the images you have chosen work perfectly to highlight how much you can do with different textures and furnishings etc X #HomeEtc

    • Meera
      February 5, 2018 / 4:46 pm

      Absolutely Lins, I too have seen a shift away from the dark side. Dark moody spaces may look good in photos but they’re not always easy to live with. I have yet to decide the design direction for our kitchen when we renovate but it’ll definitely have to have a light and airy feel. xx

  3. February 6, 2018 / 8:53 pm

    You’ve got some beautiful images on here. We have had a white kitchen since 2010 and I am still in love with it. It is so versatile. I change the look of it every so often with what I display or by moving chairs in from other rooms, sometimes painted, sometimes wood.

    • Meera
      February 6, 2018 / 9:44 pm

      Thank you Fionnuala, scouting for images for this post has really made me love white kitchens more than ever! You’re spot on about white kitchens being versatile, it’s easy to change up the look and feel when you want a little refresh. xx

  4. February 6, 2018 / 11:01 pm

    I love this post and all the imagery. And I think you are completely right, white kitchens are rather timeless and although maybe not on trend at the moment, they will cone back very soon. You definitely made me love them again

    • Meera
      February 8, 2018 / 9:30 pm

      Thank you, Anne Marie. Writing this post has made me love white kitchens too! 🙂

  5. February 20, 2018 / 2:39 am

    What do our clients want? White, white white!! We are also seeing our clients add a bit of color or a darker colored island too. Great kitchen list and images!

    • Meera
      February 20, 2018 / 4:20 pm

      Thank you very much for your comment! I agree, there will always be high demand for white kitchens, and with good reason. Getting them to look extraordinary is in all the other design details. I also love pale kitchens with a dark island and am leaning towards this for my own kitchen remodel. xx

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