White kitchens are so popular today and, for many, it is what they picture when they imagine their dream kitchen. White is classic, clean, and so pretty that some people simply want “white everything”.
Today, however, the white kitchen design is a little outdated. We are finding, amongst our clientele, that people are really waking up to the fact that you can actually have too much white space. While it creates a sense of airiness and light, there is nothing to ground you in this type of design as it can be fairly linear. The color white itself is not found in nature, so it becomes a stark contrast to some homes, especially those with a lot of great landscaping, as it interrupts the flow from outside to in.
Simply White: It Is Not As Simple As You Might Think
White is also very difficult and/or expensive to match across the board. It looks super-clean until you miss-match it with other shades of white (there are literally more than 100 shades of white, and that’s just for cabinets), and when it backfires, it can make your white interiors look unintentionally off-white, drab or just plain dirty, even when you know it’s sparkly clean.
A tonal monochromatic scheme works amazingly well in fashion because the materials are made that way. They offer different textures and hang differently, so you can achieve subtlety and drama simply by changing up the fabric.
In interior design, the challenge comes when you are working with multiple companies that make each kitchen finish. You’ve got one company that is supplying your cabinetry, one for countertops, another for your tile, and yet another for paint and trim. Different sheens across finishes, as well as other manufacturing methods, can contribute to a color shift that ends up being disadvantageous in terms of your design intent.
But I Really Want A White Kitchen!
If you have your heart set on a white kitchen, if you really need this effect to tie your interior design together, just know that there are limitations as to what can be done successfully.
To pull off a completely white look, you have to start somewhere specific and go about the project methodically to ensure every detail is a good match. Countertops, for instance, cannot be custom-colored. Getting custom tiles made is usually not an option, either. Since these are elements that you simply won’t have any wiggle room on whatsoever, our advice is always to start there and then look at custom-finishing the rest of your white kitchen elements by using matching paint and perhaps adding in some transparency, like back-painted glass tiles.
With a little creative thinking, the perfect white kitchen can be yours – it just takes a bit more thought and is a bit more complicated than most people imagine.
Making White Work For You
Here are a few ways you can make a white kitchen work for you:
Break it up with a colored backsplash
Using complementary colors in your backsplash is a great way to provide a little contrast while highlighting your white features. A little creative use of tile in other areas, like countertops, flooring, and so on, could also be considered.
Natural wood floors
Natural wood goes perfectly with white. Hardwood or wood veneers soften the look of your white kitchen design and make it more inviting and warmer. Avoid using blonde wood or white flooring materials as these will amplify the issue of making the room look undefined.
Mixing in other colors
Choosing a darker color for your countertops will absorb and disperse some of the white light. It will help you achieve the effect you want while breaking up the look. Other areas that you could add some color include drawer and cabinet pulls, flooring, trim, and other hardware.
Use light grays in the grout
Using a contrasting, slightly darker grout color gives a three-dimensional effect that makes white tile really pop. As an added bonus, it will be easier to clean!
Install a wood island
A wood island provides a focal point for the room, lending dimension and depth, especially if you have white cabinetry. Choose colors for your hardware that highlight the color of the wood to create a nice, vibrant, triadic color scheme.
Creative lighting techniques
Install lighting that casts some shadows and gives the white starkness some depth. If the room does not have access to a skylight, a window, or other natural light, a mirror works very well to reflect light off of your white surfaces and break up the white-on-white monotony.
Have you been dreaming of a white kitchen? Drop us a line today to learn more about how you can achieve your vision.
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.