The Truth About White

White, in all its hues from snow to cream to the barest hints of blue or gray, makes a timeless base for kitchen design. Homeowners who hesitate to take the plunge on an all-white kitchen have no reason to fear. We debunk five commonly held beliefs about a white kitchen.

Myth #1: White is hard to keep clean

Fact: The right materials can make all the difference. New and improved stain-resistant countertops, sinks, and flooring give you all the beauty and elegance of white without the traditionally dingy surfaces. Some manufacturers offer pre-sealed granite countertops that keep spills—even wine!—from leaving marks. Other smart choices for white countertops include recycled glass, engineered stone, and quartz. Discuss your options for white countertops, sinks, flooring, and cabinets with a professional designer who can guide you toward materials that are easier to keep clean so dirt, food spills and other stains aren’t an issue.

Myth #2: White makes a kitchen feel cold

Fact: There’s more than one way to wear white, and the same holds true of kitchen hues. Choose warmer shades for walls, floors, and surfaces (think cream, vanilla or parchment, with undertones in the yellow-red part of the color spectrum rather than the crisp white that comes from the blue-green end of the spectrum) to keep the room from feeling chilly. Wood accents, such as bar stools, can add warmth. And don’t forget to let in plenty of light, paying special attention to work areas such as the kitchen sink, island, or peninsula. Well-positioned lighting can add character and definition to a white space.

Myth #3: White is too traditional

Fact: White is timeless and makes the perfect backdrop for contemporary kitchens. All-white kitchens, with their ability to create interesting contrasts and shadows, can emphasize the sharp angles of modern lines. For a sleek urban vibe, go all white and add stainless steel appliances and stone floors. Mix contemporary pieces with vintage to add interest. Or introduce a bit of color, painting the interior of open or glass-front cabinets or adding a colorful backsplash. It’s also easy to add drama with punches of color in lampshades, art, or accessories.

Myth #4: White is cookie-cutter

Fact: White is a blank slate that allows you to infuse your own personality into a space. Introduce color and texture through flooring, countertops, backsplashes, window treatments—the possibilities are virtually endless. Show off your style through appliances, adding some shine with stainless or character by going retro. White also lends itself well to creating a contemporary space that doesn’t feel overly trendy.

Myth #5: White only works for small kitchens

Fact: White does work well for compact spaces, because it makes these areas appear larger. However, it also makes a great choice for homes in warmer climates, give the space a cooler feel. White can lighten and brighten a home that doesn’t get a lot of natural light. No matter a kitchen’s size, white creates an open feeling and helps the eye flow, creating visual continuity. Whether you want sleek and stylish or warm and welcoming, white makes a great choice for the home’s most popular gathering space.

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