5 Designers Share Their Biggest White Kitchen Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

Updated 04/03/19

So you’ve decided on an all-white kitchen. We salute you. In theory, the monochromatic kitchen is an aesthetic dream come true and when done right, it can be a refreshing pause within the heart of a home. When done wrong, however, it can feel akin to the cafeteria of a hospital—sterile and lifeless. 

To avoid that barren pitfall, there are a few things to consider first before you whip out your paintbrush and call your contractor. Questions to ask yourself are, what kind of light filters into the room? And is it natural, overheard, cool, or warm? Will your dish-ware and appliances compliment this drastic update? This will play a huge part in deciding which white hue you settle on. 

So, how does one go about achieving that MyDomaine approved set-up without making some common rookie mistakes? Well, we hit the metaphorical streets to shake down the industries leading designers to find out. Now you can rest easy knowing you won’t be paying the big bucks for that Pinterest-worthy kitchen without knowing some of the do’s and don’ts first.

white kitchen mistakes
Lily Glass ; DESIGN: SFGirlByBay

Mistake 1: Not Considering Temperature

White may sound straightforward but there's a myriad of shades within this color family from snow to parchment. Consider whites that play nice together because it can really make or break the impact of the look. “There are a lot of different shades of white — warm whites to cool,” instructs Victoria Smith of SFGirlByBay “To avoid painting your kitchen a shade of white that won't match your countertop and appliances, take a sample of your floor and countertop tile with you when selecting your paint.” Her go-to move is to bring a variety of paint chips home to match directly with your appliances so you’re not just playing it by memory—the devil’s in the details.

white kitchen ideas
Stephen Busken ; DESIGN: Shannon Wallock

Mistake 2: Being too Uniform

When choosing said shades you want to make sure there are slight variations that compliment each other so a room doesn’t “look flat” as designer Shannon Wollack of Studio Life.Style puts it. “Incorporating different shades and textures of white, whether it be in the countertop, backsplash, or decor, adds depth to a space,” she explains.

white kitchen design
Jenna Peffley for MyDomaine

Mistake 3: Overlooking Surfaces

Go beyond what looks good and really consider your countertop options carefully or it could have some costly repercussions in the long run. “You may be contemplating a Calcutta or a different type of white marble, however, this could end up costing you more down the line," Katherine Carter tells us. "Thanks to its porous nature it may turn a bit off white or yellow. Stick to a high-quality white quartz type countertop like Ceaserstone. The color will stay pure white and it’s much more durable overall than real white marble.” We say save your pennies for the Smeg Fridge to match.

white kitchen design ideas
Jacob Snavely ; DESIGN: Tina Ramchandani

Mistake 4: Under-Styling

Just because you’ve set your sights on an all-white kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with the materials and accents. “I’m a fan of monochromatic looks, including all white but a common mistake people make is assuming that monochromatic means you can’t include variations of that color or pops of other colors that work well with it which can make a space feel sterile and cold,” says Tina Ramchandani. She suggests pulling in elements like unique cabinetry hardware or splurging on good looking appliances to liven it up. Becky Shea seconds this notion: “You can improve this sterile look by adding layers of unique colors or wood finishes to the mix, which will give the kitchen a warm vibe,” she adds.

white kitchen
Stephen Busken ; DESIGN: Brittany Zwickl

Mistake 5: Playing It Safe

While an all-white kitchen a be a courageous move, we often see it played too safe. Since it is such a minimal look, you could end up with a yawn-inducing room if you don't consider a variety of surfaces. Brittany Zwickl of Studio Life.Style suggests playing up your storage spaces. “Bring dimension into the kitchen with glass cabinetry and shelving for extra storage and to showcase your unique china for more personality,” she says.

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