25 white kitchen ideas – classic designs to give your space a 2021 refresh

Get inspired by these white kitchen ideas and give your space the clean, crisp and classic update it deserves

White kitchen ideas
(Image credit: deVOL)

We're as obsessed with white kitchen ideas as much as the next person. While we love the idea of a classy blue kitchen, a dramatic black kitchen or a sage green kitchen like we're seeing all over Instagram right now – white just keeps drawing us back in. 

White kitchens are an absolute classic. They are clean and crisp and just uplifting spaces to be in. Plus on a more boring note, when it comes to selling your home, a neutral kitchen is one of the top things buyers look for, so you're looking out for future you too. 

So, since our love of this 'color' is clearly going nowhere, we, of course, had to dedicate a whole gallery to white kitchens so you can get inspired too. Whether you are planning a whole kitchen makeover or just looking for all tweaks you can make to your current space, we have covered it all...

1. Looking for white kitchen ideas? Nail your style first

L-shape white kitchen with oak worktops, black pendant light and rugs

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

Consider whether you favor modern kitchen ideas or a more traditional family kitchen. Timeless designs include Shaker kitchens, with paneled doors and in-frame options, while handless or recessed handles give contemporary slab furniture a flowing, uninterrupted finish. 

Once you determine the style of cabinetry (take a look at our handy kitchen cabinet design guide for ideas), think about the worksurfaces – do you want complementary or contrast – and then the finishing touches such as wall tiles, splashbacks, flooring, appliances and accessories. 

Wood tones and matt black accents inject a touch of Scandi style to the room while metallics and raw, unfinished materials enhance industrial-style kitchens. Monochrome is modern and stylish while pops of vibrant color keep it playful and fun.

2. Create a rustic Scandi look in an all white kitchen 

White Scandinavian kitchen

(Image credit: China Cooper)

Nope, white kitchens don't have to be stark and minimalist, you can create a lovely cozy, inviting space and still have the all white kitchen of your dreams. Take some tips from the Scand-inspired space and warm things up using wooden accents and house plants. The curtains over the cabinets instead of doors is a fab idea you could easily DIY for cheap too. 

3. Add leafy greens to bring the kitchen to life 

white kitchen with metro tile wall and white cabinets and island by deVOL

(Image credit: deVOL)

Bring the outside in with plenty of greenery in the form of hanging plants, succulents and fresh herbs – our handy guide to common house plants will help you choose the right ones for your home.

A quick, easy and inexpensive way of adding fresh natural color to a white room scheme, this is shown beautifully in deVOL’s bespoke Classic English Kitchen, features glazed cabinets, porcelain pendant lights and pale crackle metro tiles along with Carrara marble sink and brass hanging rails.

4. Use accents of wood and black 

white scheme kitchen with light woods and hanging lights by schiffini

(Image credit: Schiffini)

Create a calming atmosphere by opting for a Scandinavian influenced design complete with white cabinetry, worktops and wall tiles, furnished with black built-in appliances, pendant lights and cookware alongside blonde wooden dining furniture. 

For more advice on how to choose the best dining room furniture check out our guide. 

5. Invest in layered lighting 

Davey Lighting School Light

(Image credit: Davey Lighting)

You can inject plenty of warmth into a cool white space with layers of lighting. As well as the all-important task lights to highlight working areas such as worktops, the hob and sink, you can also have feature lights underneath wall cabinets, on top of tall units and around the perimeter of a kitchen island. Lights on dimmers will also help you create different moods at different times of the day.

We've got a full guide to kitchen lighting so go and have a read if you are after any more advice. 

6. Keep surfaces clear with savvy storage 

Small kitchen storage ideas

(Image credit: Ikea)

White kitchens look even better when they are clutter-free. Whether you’re going bespoke or off-the-peg, most kitchen companies will offer a wide range of storage solutions, from pocket doors that slide back to reveal the contents inside to pull-out larder units, cutlery drawer dividers and deep pan drawers for pots, pans and crockery. Our kitchen storage ideas offer plenty of inspiration, too.

7. Give a modern twist to classic cabinets

white kitchen with distinct scandi feel by neptune

(Image credit: Neptune)

By choosing an off-white shade, you can give a contemporary twist to traditional timber furniture. Pale greys, pebble shades and chalk tones are ideal for adding a warmer feel to a cool white scheme, especially one with natural stone flooring and doors leading on to the garden.

If you are doing up your kitchen on a budget and don't fancy pulling out your whole kitchen just to nail this all-white color scheme, then you can always paint your kitchen cabinets. Coincidentally, we have a handy guide to painting kitchen cabinets to help you out. 

8. Pick patterned flooring to add interest underfoot 

To celebrate the original features of their Victorian terrace, Karla and Andy have created a modern family home with plenty of period character

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

When you furnish the kitchen with white walls and white cabinetry, it can be tempting to stick with a neutral color for the flooring, too, but why not be bold and go for a checkered tile design. This rustic look brings loads of texture into this simple white kitchen and contrasted the sleek, contemporary cabinets perfectly. 

If you still need some help picking out the best kitchen flooring, have a read through our guide for some tips. 

9. Accessorise regularly to keep it fresh 

White kitchen with black pendant light

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

If you’ve had a simple white scheme for some time and you just want to give it a swish new look, choose a selection of new accessories, gadgets, small appliances, seating or lighting to inject glamour or a pop of color. These boho style rattan pendants look stunning hung in a row of three over the island unit. 

10. Go all out with white appliances

(Image credit: Steel)

White appliances are having something of a renaissance right now, with many manufacturers introducing just the right shade of white to their large and small appliance collections. 

This Genesi 90 range cooker from Steel has cast iron pan supports, an electronic oven programmer and a triple glazed door.

11. Create a focal point with a colourful cooker

white kitchen with loww hanging lights and mint green/blue stove by smeg

(Image credit: Smeg)

Add your own touch to a simple white scheme with splashes of your favourite color. This tongue-and-groove paneled kitchen design is cute and country in style but is given a modern update thanks to a pastel green induction range cooker from Smeg (P.S Find out more in our guide to the best range cookers).

12. Select tiles with texture to make a white kitchen more interesting

Stove with white herringbone tiles

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

If you want to keep to an all-white kitchen scheme, there are some clever ways of adding interest without detracting from the clean, crisp look. Think of walls as a way to add texture with a ridged or surface patterned tile – our guide to choosing the best kitchen tiles provides plenty of inspiration.

13. Paint a feature wall in a white kitchen

Farrow & Ball kitchen ideas

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Offset a seamless white scheme by covering an entire wall with a contrasting color or patterned wallpaper design – our pick of the best kitchen wallpapers ideas is a great starting point for inspiration. This works especially well in the open-plan kitchen diner and living spaces, where the change in décor can help create zones for cooking, dining and relaxing.

14. Swap marble for an affordable lookalike quartz

Marble counter tops withe open shelving

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

Designing a stylish kitchen on a budget? For a luxe look for less, choose a quartz material for worktops, splashbacks or island cladding. Durable, hardwearing and seamless thanks to invisible joins, it’s a great way of getting the natural stone style without splashing out. Check out more kitchen worktop ideas and find out what material would work best for you in our guide.

15. Yes, all-white kitchens can be traditional too

white painted round table and chairs in breakfast room in 18th century home

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

An all-white kitchen does seem to be synonymous with clean, modern design, but the kitchen in this renovated country farmhouse proves that white kitchens can work in a traditional home, too. The owners of this home updated a plain pine table with a coat of Annie Sloan's Paris Grey to match the cabinetry and filled the space with accessories to make the room look homely.

Love farmhouse kitchens? We have a load more ideas in our gallery. 

16. Break up an all white kitchen with a wooden island

White kitchen with rug and wooden island

(Image credit: Fiona Murray)

White and light wood are basically a match made in Instagram heaven. Stop an all-white kitchen from becoming too clinical by adding in elements of natural, textured wood. If you have got the space you could add an unfinished wooden island, but if you don't have copious amounts of room you could put up some open wooden shelves for a similar effect. 

17. A black and white kitchen = classic combo

kitchen with monochrome scheme, metro tiles, critall style doors and black stove by british standard

(Image credit: British Standard)

The balance of white and black, Shaker style and industrial feel in this kitchen is masterful. The wooden worktops and table add texture and warmth that's much needed as a contrast to the smooth, pale grey floor. We're loving the wall paneling, too, which contributes yet more texture to the space. 

Find more inspiration for wall paneling in our guide.

18. Mix white kitchen accessories with wood

White kitchen accessories

(Image credit: Hudson Home )

A quick way to add some white into your kitchen is with accessories and to stop it all looking a bit flat, mix in some wooden elements too. If you have any open shelving in your kitchen, this is a really easy place to copy this look, but window sills, kitchen counters or islands can also be an easy place to decorate. 

19. Balance a white kitchen with darker colors

Open plan living space with high ceilings

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

We love the very laid back feel of this white kitchen. It feels clean and fresh but the exposed brick wall makes it feel more rustic and undone in contrast to  very simple white cabinetry. The dark colors on the far wall and around the windows just ground the space and create a nice cohesive feel with the colors of the furniture in the living space too.

20. Add touches of copper

deVOL white kitchen

(Image credit: deVOL)

Copper and white are a classic combo. Plus it works with so many different styles – pick statement copper pendant for a modern look or add a brass rail for a more country, rustic feel. You could even just bring in some of those warm metallic tones with some cute pans or utensils.

21. Break up all-white cabinetry 

All white modern kitchen

(Image credit: Norsu)

While we love the very sleek look of a wall of white cabinetry, if you plan to keep the rest of your space minimal and neutral too, it can look a bit too simple. We would recommend breaking up your cabinets with sections of open cabinetry. Pick a contrasting color or go for a more subtle look with wood and fill them with houseplants, prints and cookbooks. 

22. Go simple with a white kitchen island

Mike and Sasha Martin extended their Victorian property to create a large and modern family space

(Image credit: Bruce Hemming)

Working with an open plan kitchen? Why not scrap the wall cabinets and just go for a stylish all-white kitchen island.  They are big enough, you can fit in all your appliances plus storage and create a really open, social space. You can always add a dresser if you need extra storage space. 

23. Add pops of color with dining chairs

Nikki’s elegant, light-filled extension took hard work, time, plenty of saving and attention to detail in the design

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

Bring some more of your style and personality into a white kitchen but adding accents of your fave colors. White is such a versatile color you really can mix it with any other shades you fancy, make it as bold or as subtle as you like. 

While white is still very much the dominant color in this kitchen, the space is made way more interesting with the pop of color from the dining chairs and the fabulous window seat. 

24. Create a focal point with wallpaper

Farrow & Ball kitchen ideas

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Hanging wallpaper is a really quick and easy way to create a focal point in an all-white bathroom. There's sooo much to love about this gorgeous space, but for us, it's how the pretty busy wallpaper works with the very simple cabinets. The warm neutral colors are perfect too as they stop the space from feeling cold and bare and helps to link the very contemporary design with the rustic wooden floorboards. 

25. Hang open shelving  

White kitchen with houseplants

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Ditching wall cabinets is a huge kitchen trend for 2021. If you can afford to lose the storage space, replace them with long wall shelves instead. This look works particularly well in a white kitchen and you can create a balance and go for something more busy on your walls.

You can't go wrong with a wooden shelf to bring some warmth and texture, and of course, a jungle of houseplants tumbling down is always going to look on-trend. Use it to store your crockery too so it still works as a practical storage space. 

What color goes with a white kitchen?

The main reason white is so popular in kitchens is because it's the perfect background for any other colors you want to throw at it. While a totally white scheme does risk looking a tad harsh and clinical, bringing a couple of other hues won't interfere with that fresh look but will add some interest and personality, so don't shy away from adding a few accent colors. 

If you want to go for a bold contrast, obviously strong, primary colors are going to be your best bet. Vivid blues, reds, and yellows are easy to bring in the form of accessories, appliances (a cute red kettle? Yes please!), and lighting. 

For a softer, more subtle vibe, tonal and pastel colors will work in an all-white kitchen too. You can add more of these colors than the primary ones, so rather than sticking to small accents in your kitchen, why not paint a wall in a dusky pink or a sage green? You could even paint your cabinets too – two tone kitchens are bang on trend at the moment so could be a quick way to update your all-white kitchen. 

Are white kitchens still in style?

Of course! White kitchens are a classic that are never going to go out of style. If you are worried about your kitchen dating, white is in fact the best color to go for because it's such a blank canvas. You can keep your kitchen cabinets really simple and then change up how you accessories the room as your tastes and style changes. 

What countertops go best with white cabinets?

This totally depends on the look you want to create. For very chic, minimalist kitchens you might want to keep the all-white vibe by choosing a marble or marble effect kitchen work top. If you prefer a more rustic, classic look wooden worktops always work with a white kitchen and is a look that will never date. 

Hebe Hatton
Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer. As a renter, she is always looking for creative ways to make her flat feel like home. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration.