White kitchens are one of the most popular choices for homeowners who are looking to update or renovate their current look. Cool and calming, a white scheme promotes a feeling of light and space, which is the perfect environment for cooking and eating in.
From seamless, handle-less high gloss cabinets to a warm chalk white painted door, there are so many options when it comes to selecting the furniture. Add to this the enormous range of worktops in everything from quartz and laminate to marble and concrete effects and creating the ultimate white culinary space is simple.
Got more kitchen related questions? We've got 'em covered in our ultimate guide to planning and designing a kitchen.
How to choose the perfect white design
Consider whether you favour a contemporary kitchen or a more traditional-style kitchen. Timeless designs include Shaker kitchens, with panelled 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 guide for design 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 colour keep it playful and fun.
1. Add leafy greens to bring the kitchen to life
Bring the outside in with plenty of greenery in the form of hanging plants, succulents and fresh herbs – our handy guide to houseplants will help you choose the right ones for your home.
A quick, easy and inexpensive way of adding fresh natural colour to a white room scheme, this is shown beautifully in deVOL’s bespoke Classic English Kitchen, which costs from £25,000 and features glazed cabinets, porcelain pendant lights and pale crackle metro tiles along with Carrara marble sink and brass hanging rails.
2. Use accents of wood and black for a Scandi look
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.
The One12 collection in white matt lacquer from Schiffini is shown here with a white composite work surface and costs from £20,000.
3. Invest in layered 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.
This Urbo matt lacquer bespoke kitchen in Dulux White 10BB 83/014 from Roundhouse is shown with Silestone Blanco Zeus worktops and Carrara marble splashback, with prices from £35,000.
We've got a full guide to kitchen lighting so go and have a read if you are after any more advice.
4. Keep surfaces clear with savvy storage
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.
Ikea has a huge choice of cabinets and organisers to suit every size and style of kitchen. The Ringhult range starts from £46 for a 600cm wide door.
5. Give a modern twist to classic cabinets
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.
Neptune’s Suffolk kitchen costs from £12,000 and is shown here with their Hebden table, £1,085, and Wardley dining chairs, £300 each.
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 colour scheme, then you can always paint your kitchen cabinets. Coincidentally, we have a handy guide to painting kitchen cabinets to help you out.
6. Pick patterned flooring to add interest underfoot
When you furnish the kitchen with white walls and white cabinetry, it can be tempting to stick with a neutral colour for the flooring, too, but why not jazz things up a little with one of the latest printed vinyl designs that can really help to personalise the space?
This Tatton white kitchen from Magnet is priced from £1,728 for a typical eight-unit layout.
If you still need some help picking out the best kitchen flooring, have a read through our guide for some tips.
7. Accessorise regularly to keep it fresh
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 colour.
These polished copper pendants look stunning hung in a row of three over the island unit. The kitchen is Modulnova’s Twenty collection in satin lacquer, which is available at DesignSpace London where prices start from £25,000.
8. Select seating in a bold colour
Break up an expanse of white with a brightly coloured bespoke booth built around an angular island unit.
This Martin Moore design shows the New Deco kitchen with framed inset panelled cabinets in porcelain cladding, marble splashbacks and an eye-catching turquoise bench. Prices start at £35,000. Alternative options include upcycling wooden dining chairs and benches with a fresh lick of paint – take a look at our guide to painting furniture for step-by-step instructions – or using seat pads and cushions with a colourful finish.
9. Go all out with white appliances
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, electronic oven programmer and triple glazed door, with prices from £4,295.
10. Create a focal point with a colourful cooker
Add your own touch to a simple white scheme with splashes of your favourite colour.
This tongue-and-groove panelled kitchen design is cute and country in style but is given a modern update thanks to a pastel green induction range cooker from Smeg. Priced from £2,649, the main ovens each have seven functions while the induction top is energy efficient and ultra safe. Find out more in our range cooker buying guide.
11. Select tiles with texture
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.
Gemini Tiles’ porcelain Tiffany White tiles measure 61cm x 15cm and costs £49.99 per sq m.
12. Paint a feature wall
Offset a seamless white scheme by covering an entire wall with a contrasting colour or patterned wallpaper design – our pick of the best kitchen wallpapers ideas is a great starting point for inspiration. This works especially well in open-plan kitchen diner and living spaces, where the change in décor can help create zones for cooking, dining and relaxing.
The Roux kitchen in Nouvel White from Moores costs from £30,000.
13. Insert industrial elements for an on-trend finish
Start with the base units as a backdrop then introduce key elements for a more industrial edge. These can include exposed pipework and plumbing, bare brick walls, a poured concrete floor, metal framed doors and windows, lab-style pendant lights and a mish mash of dining furniture. We've got a load more inspirational ideas if you are designing and industrial style kitchen, so if this is your vibe make sure you go and give that a read.
British Standard cupboards, as shown, start from £465 per unit, and are teamed with Victorian taps, a bespoke extractor fan and polished concrete floor.
14. Swap marble for lookalike quartz
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.
Caesarstone quartz in Statuario Maximus is priced from £800 per sq m.
15. Choose a stylish off-white design
You can still have the clean lines of a contemporary space without the stark look of clinical white if you go a tone or two darker with a sleek grey like LochAnna’s Gloss Mussel, which is shown here on its Puro collection.
Add contrast with a dark floor and keep the rest of the scheme light and bright with white metro tiles. Prices start from £5,000.
16. Yes, all-white kitchens can be traditional too
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.