White after Labor Day: Ode to the White Kitchen

Well, Labor Day has come and gone, and you know what that means—time to put away your white duds until spring (If you abide by that old rule of etiquette, we mean.). One thing you won’t have to change up any time soon: that sparkling white kitchen.

“Crisp, clean white kitchens with gleaming marble counters and backsplashes are everywhere you look these days,” said Houzz. “It’s easy to see why: White…enhances other design elements. Wood floors look richer against white, pendant lights stand out as sculptural elements, and stainless steel appliances sparkle.”

Another benefit to an all-white kitchen: The color naturally makes things look larger. And, white kitchens can work in nearly any design style, from modern to traditional to French country, depending on the materials and details.

Looking to go white in your kitchen? Here are a few tips to help you create a dazzling space.

Don’t Scrimp On Materials 

Not only are all-white kitchens hot now, they also offer a classic look that never really goes out of style, especially when paired with classic materials like marble.

The popularity of gray as a wall and décor color has helped Carrara and Calacatta surge in desirability. The swirly patterns and natural veining take a kitchen’s glam factor up a few notches. Architectural Digest says marble countertops “are about as classic and luxurious as it gets,” and we have to agree. Want an especially luxe look? Use the marble everywhere, slathering it over counters and up the walls.


Or, (and?) choose a waterfall edge for your island, a trend that’s grown over the past several years and one that invites a “sleek, minimal look,” said Dwell.

Remember though, that marble is “not a perfect product,” said Architectural Digest. “While good-quality marbles, such as the world-famous products from Carrara, Italy, are dense and relatively nonporous—which makes them durable and stain-resistant—they also have weaknesses. A nonfoliated metamorphic rock, marble is generally composed of calcium carbonate (the same ingredient used in antacids such as Tums) or magnesium carbonate, which react to acids. An acidic kitchen liquid like lemon juice or vinegar will etch marble, leaving a dull, whitish mark where it has slightly eaten away the surface, even after the marble has been sealed.”

Want the look of marble without the potential for red wine rings? Check out some of the new quartz options, some of which look so much like marble they may fool even the most knowing eye. All the pretty without the pain, and the stain? Sounds good to us.

Go For Contrast…Or Not

There was a time when kitchen designers cautioned against all-white kitchens because they could look cold and clinical. Today, some of the freshest kitchens out there are devoid of any other color, save for the fixtures.

But if all that white makes you want to run right for the paint store, or the asylum, a look with more contrast might work better for you. The good news is, there are several ways to add in a little—or a lot—of contrast and still keep your kitchen looking clean and fresh.

Black and white is always classic, whether you opt for a graphic floor, dual-color cabinetry, or a unique backsplash choice. According to Forbes, there are several other color options that can contrast beautifully with bright white, including “neutral pastels like pale blue, pale green gray and tinted whites.”


One of the newest ways to bring in those colors, along with a unique pattern that pops, is with concrete tiles on the backsplash. “These colorful looks have actually been around since medieval times and are coming back in a big way (pattern love forever!),” said BRIT + CO, with “intricate, Moroccan-inspired designs or modern geometric shapes.”

Get Lacquered Up

For an especially chic look, eschew the more typical paint finishes and go glossy on your cabinets. They capture a unique, high-end look, but a word of caution for families seeking a low-maintenance option from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA): “These high-gloss kitchen cabinet surfaces aren’t recommended if you have young children in your household; toy automobiles, tricycles, and other mobile items can easily chip the cabinetry. Breaks are less visible on a grained, softer-gloss finish.”


This Manhattan townhouse shows how it’s done, with “custom-made lacquer cabinetry (that) lines a wall of the kitchen,” said Elle Décor. “The barstools are by Philippe Starck, the vintage light fixture is by Stilnovo, and Saarinen Tulip chairs by Knoll surround a table designed by John Meeks.”

Get Decorative

Fixtures are one of the easiest ways to add interest, and one of the newest and oldest trends can give your white kitchen some gilded flair.


Confused? It’s the return of brass, which reemerged from its ‘80s hiatus a few years back and is now showing up in some of the most stylish kitchens around. Gold-toned hardware and finishes look more current than ever when paired with sleek white counters and cabinets.