Of the many micro-trends that have emerged from the minimalist craze in recent years, you can expect all-white kitchens to stand the test of time (despite the rising popularity of more maximalist trends). It's simple, sophisticated, and leaves plenty of room for experimentation. Consider it a blank canvas for your personal style.
Meet the Expert
Ginny Macdonald started her own, full-service interiors company in Los Angeles in 2017 after working as Design Director for Emily Henderson Design. Her style takes inspiration from her old English heritage while incorporating her newer California roots.
While the idea of white walls, white cabinets, and white décor in the kitchen may sound a touch boring, the style is actually anything but. According to Macdonald, you can use the neutral color to serve as a backdrop for bolder hues when it comes to smaller details. That could mean anything from displaying colorful cookbooks in the open, hanging pots and pans, playing with window treatments, or even adding an accent wall in an unexpected shade of paint.
Whether your entire home is governed by a minimalist mentality or you've simply binged too many episodes of Marie Kondo's new Netflix series (we don't blame you) and are looking to pare down both your material goods and your design aesthetic, the all-white kitchen look may be calling your name. Get inspired by these kitchens that nail the style and shop the looks.
This kitchen is a perfect example of one of Macdonald's favorite ways to soften the all-white look. "Depending on your style, an all-white kitchen can act as a backdrop for a whole host of colors," she says. "I would personally add some warm wood tones which could be done with counter stools and have a custom seat pad made in a textured or patterned fabric," the designer continues. Here, light brown barstools in a wicker material and oak wood flooring add warmth to the otherwise white room.
Another example of wood's ability to make any space more inviting, this kitchen features a striking wood-beamed ceiling to contrast with the sharp white of the subway tile backsplash and stainless steel appliances. It nails the balance of warm and cool décor elements, something that Macdonald identifies as a common mistake homeowners make. "Balance is key to decorating an all-white kitchen and mistakes get made by adding too much color and texture or not adding enough," she says.
In this clean, minimalist kitchen, the only color is found in the black pendant lights and blue-black cabinetry. When it comes to adding a pop of color, Macdonald often goes for this look herself. "I would probably opt for something with either a pop of blue or black in it," says the designer. If you've already included some color with larger elements, you can include small white accessories to really punctuate the look.
This is the type of kitchen that makes you want to cook a meal from scratch. It boasts a sleek, modern design with mid-century details like wishbone chairs and crisp lines while remaining entirely minimalistic. "If you're minimal with your kitchen design then keep it minimal with the styling," Macdonald suggests.
In order to decorate an all-white kitchen, Macdonald advises focusing on smaller details that won't distract from the overall appearance of the minimal look. "I would add a stack of different shaped and sized chopping boards up against the backsplash. Vintage ones add more character even if they are too worn to be used," she says. You can also display kitchen essentials like oil and vinegar in delicate glassware or ceramics to add a touch more to the design.
"When adding color into a white kitchen, try to keep it to one to three colors that are all in a similar palette," Macdonald suggests. Take notes from this space that plays with shades of white, brown, and black. They're neutral colors but they make an impact. However, you don't have to rely on furniture and cabinetry to utilize colors. You can use cookbooks, plants, or food held in ceramic or wooden bowls to add interest, the designer points out.
This all-white kitchen hits on a few of Macdonald's tips for following this trend. It includes wooden elements, displayed cutting boards, and flowers to add warmth to the space. However, it still feels crisp and clean. The room also leaves quite a few essentials out in the open without looking cluttered. "Don't be afraid to display pretty cooking utensils like wooden spoons, hand whisks, and measuring cups in vintage ceramic earthenware," she says. "Small pieces of art can add some personality to a kitchen when leaned up against the wall or placed on a window ledge," the designer continues.
In this minimalist space, pops of color break through the all-white interior in the forms of bright pots, pans, and other kitchen tools displayed on an open shelf. According to Macdonald, adding too many details in an all-white kitchen can appear "fussy and cheesy," while not adding enough décor can make a space feel "bland and unfinished." This room seems to strike the perfect balance.
Besides leaving kitchenwares out in the open for all to see, you can add pops of design with some live (or faux) botanicals. "Sculptural flowering branches will add some drama without too much fluff," Macdonald notes. This fun and whimsical space does just that. The color scheme is still decidedly all-white but draping green vines, a blue oven, and a distressed rug add a little something extra.
If you're struggling to make a minimalist space feel warm and inviting, Macdonald suggests layering in wood accents with neutral grey enamel pots and simple stripe dish towels. "Modern black chopping boards will add depth," she adds. This kitchen utilizes black barstools, pendant lights, and a leaning wooden cutting board to break up the all-white look.
Looking for more kitchen inspiration? Check out 13 Gorgeous Contemporary Kitchens That'll Stop You in Your Tracks.