White kitchens seem to top everyone’s “Want” lists these days. Think white kitchens have been popular for a long time? You would be correct. However, more and more homeowners want white in their homes than ever before. There are dos and don’ts as well as pros and cons to designing and living with a white kitchen!
In the past 50 years, white has proven to be a timeless look. Whether designed in a traditional theme or a sleek, modern style, white works. White is an easy, neutral starting point from which to build a kitchen aesthetically.
Is white always the right answer? No. To determine if it’s for you, look at your home in a global way. Are many of your colors dark or otherwise grayed down in soft, smoky shades? If so, then a stark white kitchen may be a jarring, unbalanced design element in the context of your home. White window, door, and baseboard trim, white doors, and other white elements in your rooms or some combination of these design elements can be a great tie-in to a white kitchen.
Whites have undertones in them that are best seen when whites are held next to each other. The best way to see undertones of white is to compare it to a bright, clean, white. A designer, colorist, or paint store professional can help. Once you make that comparison, you will see whites lean toward yellow, blue, green, and other nuanced tints. Coordinate the white that will work with other products and materials in your home. Note, too, that a white which is several shades deeper than the brightest white can appear bright white in the context of your home. When seen next to contrasting items in your home, even a “deep” white will pop.
Ah, yes, maintaining clean white cabinetry is always a challenge! Having raised three children in a white kitchen, I can promise you that white will show wear sooner than later. (Probably sooner than you’d think!) Kids just do what kids do, as do pets (and me too when I’m cooking wildly). Nicks, wear from cleaning, and dings will happen. Personally, I don’t like perfection—I like a look with a small layer of wear. It just looks more lived in to me, and I’m ok with that. If you can’t harbor the thought of any damage to your pristine white cabinetry, don’t do white!
Clean your cabinetry carefully with a soft, water-damp cloth, putting minimum pressure on the wood. Follow up with another soft cloth, this time dry.
DECORATING WITH WHITE
The good news: anything goes with white! Rich, textured wood countertops are a beautiful companion to white cabinetry as are wood floors. Add in color with the backsplash or accessory layers, but take your cues from your home to tie in colors. A kitchen in neutrals—white, brown, and shades of gray is one of the most sophisticated looks and plays up texture beautifully.
Most importantly, look through many images of white kitchens to see which direction you want to take the kitchen—bold with contrast, soft and elegant, highly textured or sleek, or a fabulous eclectic mix. White as a foundation is not only easy to start from, but makes sense with its ability to add reflected light into the room, creating a spacious look. Would you like a white kitchen? How would you decorate it?