10 white kitchen ideas that prove neutral is never going out of style

From rustic farmhouse to sleek Scandi, a white kitchen can adapt to suit any style. Here's why this chameleon of the color wheel will always be a classic...

White kitchen with large island and marble backsplash
(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

White kitchen ideas are a classic. Timeless, elegant, versatile you really can't fault this neutral hue, and therefore it's hardly surprising it's one of the most popular kitchen colors. We all pretend to fall for those on-trend deep navy blues, and the gorgeous forest greens, hey we've even seen mustard yellow kitchens we've been tempted by, but really, if you want to create a space with longevity, you can't go wrong with white.

And white may have a rep as being one of the more... reserved hues on the color wheel, but as all these gorgeous white kitchens prove there are so many ways to make this color sing. You can layer up the textures to create a warm and welcoming rustic kitchen, or create an incredibly chic and surprisingly bold, totally white minimalist space. With white the options are endless. Which is why we have pulled together all our favorite kitchen color ideas, plus plenty of tips from top designers to prove that white is far from boring. 

10 white kitchen ideas to suit all styles 

From rustic farmhouse kitchens filled with wooded textures and soft furnishings to super chic marble kitchens where a white palette reigns, here are all the best white kitchen designs to suit all styles.

1. Mix and match styles in a white kitchen

house in south London

The beauty of white and what makes it such an easy and effortless choice for a color scheme is its versatility. White suits any style. It can be the perfect backdrop for any color, any pattern, any material plus you can find a white shade that's going to work in a room of any aspect, any shape, and any size.

And thanks to its versatility, white is ideal for kitchen ideas where you want to blending styles too. Rather than picking just one look – rustic or modern, minimalist or maximalist, vintage or contemporary – mix and match elements from all the styles you feel reflect your tastes. Create a kitchen with personality. 

This white kitchen is the perfect example. It elegantly blends old and new with the minimalist white cabinetry, simple sleek marble island, antique chandelier, and quirky vintage prints and decor. The clean white backdrop prevents the mix from looking cluttered or overly fussy, and instead, the older accents just add the perfect amount of character to a simple space.  

2. Balance a white kitchen with darker tones

A white kitchen designed by Marie Flanigan

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan)

Admittedly, and we think you are going to hear us mention this a lot, an all-white scheme does risk looking a little stark. But there are so many simple ways to prevent that clinical vibe, one being to introduce a few darker tones to ground the room. 

In this space designed by Marie Flanigan, it's the kitchen flooring that adds depth, but you could go less dramatic with a darker countertop or a feature island in a moodier hue. 'A great way to keep a kitchen light, bright and welcoming, is to complement a light palette with depth and character.' explains Marie. 'If your cabinets are white, change up your flooring, countertops, and accent pieces to include additional color and textures.'

'In a white kitchen, I love adding natural elements like a beautiful stone floor, stained wood accents, and interesting hardware. All of these elements combine to ensure the kitchen reads white but isn’t too stark or formal.'

3. Create a tonal effect with layers of different whites

Scandi white kitchen

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)

And if you don't want to part with your all-white scheme, another way to make a white kitchen more interesting is to layer up different shades of white. Now for anyone who has ever Googled, the best white paint before will know, there are literally endless versions of white. This may be frustrating when you are looking for just one particular shade but is a huge benefit when you want to bring together layers of different white to create a lovely tonal effect with a ton of interest. 

'A white kitchen is classic, and the best results are by using various hues of white and in different textures and materials so it doesn’t fall flat by dousing the entire kitchen in the same shade of white paint.' explains Meg Lavalette, founder of LAVA Interiors.  

'Try using a slightly different white on the walls than the cabinets to give a subtle difference, and bring in materials that will add interest, like a white marble, white linens, milk glass lighting, and white wool window treatments. The effects are ethereal and timeless.'

Order plenty of samples and swatches, it's so important you see what different whites look like together. As a general rule, stick with shades that have the same undertone so you aren't clashing warm whites with cool. 

4. For a classic look pair white cabinetry with wooden accents

Rustic white kitchen

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Wood goes so well with a white kitchen, it's a classic combination that can work with so many styles, bringing an instant warmth to the cooler shades. 

As  Melissa Klink, head of design at Harvey Jones says, 'A variety of woods work well in a white kitchen scheme, and the most popular of these are oak and walnut. However, these create more of a traditional kitchen scheme, so consider using heart ask or wenge (so either a really dark or light wood) to create a more contemporary scheme. Some people choose to incorporate cross sawn pieces and a rough ‘riverwashed’ effect to create a contemporary finish.'

'If you would like to incorporate wood in a subtler sent then using it as a color accent is really effective. Consider having wooden accessories on display, such as chopping boards and knife blocks.'

5. Bring in marble slabs for natural pattern

White kitchen with marble splashback

(Image credit: Photography: Nick Kane Photography Architect: 23+GS/318)

Marble kitchens remain one of the most luxurious, most covetable of kitchen designs. With the natural shapes, textures, and even color it can bring to a space it's the perfect material to introduce to an all-white kitchen, whether that be in the form of a backsplash, counter top or island. Again, it's all about adding texture and balancing the lack of color with plenty of different tactile finishes and materials. 

And it's not just the marble here that's adding the interest. Note 

This stunning space was a collaboration between 23+GS/318 and Samantha Todhunter Design. And it's not just the marble here that's adding the interest. Note the delicate fluted glass door of the kitchen cabinetry, something so subtle can give a white kitchen all the texture it needs.

Guy Stansfeld of 23+GS/318 comments: 'The cabinet is both a functional piece and an elegant way to end the long run of kitchen. We love the fact that you can see what’s in the cabinet but not in so much detail that it becomes necessary to constantly arrange everything perfectly.  We also love the simplicity of the color palette.  Just white and brass with a little texture provided by the marble splashback and the polished concrete floor.'

Samantha Todhunter adds 'we devised a sharp modern interior full of punch. The result is high octane and of the moment in a powerful combination of materials; bold concrete and seductively veined arebescato with flashes of brass and ribbed glasswork create an utterly sophisticated yet simple kitchen.'

6. Break up the monochrome with decorative shelving

White kitchen with large island and marble backsplash

(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

Row on row of white cabinetry can get a bit monotonous, so break up that block with some open kitchen shelving. Or if you can afford to lose the storage space, ditch the wall cabinets altogether and replace them with shelves. This will provide the perfect space to bring in a ton of character and personality, not to mention that all-important texture. Layer framed prints, stack your best crockery and line up your favourite cookbooks to create a display that's the perfect balance of form and function. 

This white kitchen was designed by Roundhouse Design, and perfectly proves how an all-white color palette can still be filled with intrigue. 'We started by selecting our core neutral, Hardwick White by Farrow & Ball,’ says Ben Hawkswell of Roundhouse Design. ‘This clean off-white can look grey in some light, but in a sun-filled room, appears much brighter and more contemporary.’

‘Tonal variation is key; a total white-out will look flat and bland,’ Ben says. ‘Switching textures can also enliven a white kitchen. Here, we used matt lacquer on the cabinets, while the splashback is polished. It can really add an extra layer of interest to a neutral scheme.’

7. Have fun with playful details

Small white galley kitchen with black and white penny tiles

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Going simple with your color scheme means you can go as bold as you like elsewhere in your kitchen, and there's no easier way to add a splash of fun color than with kitchen lighting. Opt for a fixture that's really going to pack a punch and become the focal point of your room. And it doesn't have to be all about color either, a statement chandelier, a trio of striking pendants or a pair of elegant antique sconces will add just as much interest. 

And while on the topic of lighting, something to note is that the type, hue, and quality of lighting you choose can have a hugh impact on making a white kitchen feel warmer and more welcoming. To avoid a stark, cold feel, stick with warm LED lights and have plenty of different light sources too, for a soft all-over glow. 

8. Keep the color scheme simple and let the textures be the focus

White and wood kitchen

(Image credit: Photographer: Matt Clayton Architect: 23+GS/318)

This beautiful wooden kitchen is filled with inspiration, but the main thing we notice with this space is that no surface is the same. The floors are polished concrete, the walls are a subway tile, the work surfaces are marble slab and the cabinets are wood. So while the overall look of this kitchen is simple and neutral, its tactile nature makes it so much more. 

'The materials palette has been kept very simple. White walls, a mix of polished concrete and oak parquet on the floors, black Crittal windows and subtle details highlighted in brass.' explains designer and architect Guy Stansfeld.  'The idea was to make calm, beautiful spaces and to let the owners’ collection of beautiful art and furniture shine.  We were lucky enough to have a client with a fantastic eye for style and color.  We worked very closely together to ensure a seamless continuity between the architecture and interior design.'

9. Liven up a white kitchen with terrazzo

White kitchen with terrazzo backsplash

(Image credit: Interior Fox)

A kitchen backsplash is prime real estate for adding color to an all-white kitchen. It's a relatively small space, easy to switch up without having to totally remodel, and can have a huge impact on the look of your space. A bold patterned tile is an obvious option, but just look at this fabulous terrazzo design – a huge interior design trend that looks like it's here to stay. 

'Terrazzo in the home is having a moment – and for good reason. Consider using it in the kitchen to spruce up a white or modern kitchen that might otherwise lack a little personality. Use it across the worktops and continue up the splashback for the ultimate kitchen statement, not to mention the added practicality. Fantastic for adding texture and tone, this look makes the work surface appear much larger while making a great alternative to traditional tiles.' explains Jen and Mar, Co-Founders of Interior Fox.

10. Lift an all white scheme with a hint of warmth

White and yellow kitchen by deVOL

(Image credit: deVOL)

This all-white kitchen by deVOL is the perfect example of how 'adding a pop of color' in the form of a kitchen island can be a far more subtle and chic addition than it sounds. Introducing a deep mustard yellow island might sound bold, but actually, rather than 'pop' against the soft white cabinetry it just adds a sunny inviting warmth to the whole space, it doesn't look too striking or overwhelming.

No kitchen island? No problem. Bring in those deep yellow tones with a feature wall of kitchen wallpaper or create an on-trend two-tone kitchen by painting the wall cabinets and leaving the floor cabinets white.

What colors go with a white kitchen?

White is such a versatile shade, and by not technically being a color itself, it can pretty much be paired with any color. Popular combinations are deep navy blue and white, which may sound a bit... coastal, but there are plenty of stylish blue and white kitchens that prove this combination can suit any style. When pairing white with blue, we'd say stick with a very clean true white, avoid any yellow undertones as a creamy white can clash with the coolness of the blue. 

Warmer shades like yellows and terracotta can be lovely to warm a white kitchen, and these bold but earthy shades are a real color trend this year.

Are white kitchens still in style?

White kitchens will always be in style. If you are designing a kitchen with longevity in mind it's one of the best colors you can go for. A white back drop allows for you to adapt styles and change the space as trends change so no matter what's new in kitchen trends you can switch up your space to reflect them. 

Hebe Hatton

Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.