Are White Kitchens Timeless? Kitchen Design Ideas 2024

White kitchen coffee nook with black countertops and grey walls
Crisp white cabinets and grey walls make this white kitchen coffee nook an all-around classic style in this small space. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

Pros & Cons of an All-White Kitchen Look 

Over the course of the past few years, we’ve all spent more time than ever before in our homes. And that means that some of the most popular design choices for design in recent times have been called into question. Is the fiddle leaf fig really still the “it” plant? Are graphic floor tiles really for me? And of course, the big one: Are all-white kitchens timeless or trendy? It’s an important question to ask, especially if you are thinking of future potential buyers.

RELATED: 13 Best Sherwin Williams White Paint Colors for Cabinets  

So today, we’re diving into the world of kitchen design because this last question has been circulating quite a lot recently in my world as an interior designer. After all, the general color trend has been moving into warmer and more saturated-color territory. So, you may be thinking that white kitchens are totally trendy. But the truth is that they’ve been around since the 1920s and 1930s (in fact, white was the only color offered at that time!). So, it’s not really a surprise that white kitchens do still remain popular in a traditional kitchen or a more modern style kitchen. A 1920s-era kitchen offered little in the way of color; white walls, white cabinetry, and white backsplashes were the norm.

Whichever way you lean, it’s definitely a hot debate, and you won’t want to miss it. Read on – and you be the judge!

RELATED: 9 Modern Kitchen Design Ideas with Honey Oak Cabinets

White kitchen from the 1920s with white cabinets, white walls
A 1920s-era kitchen offered little in the way of color; white walls, white cabinetry, and white backsplashes were the norm.

Whichever way you lean, it’s definitely a hot debate, and you won’t want to miss it. Read on – it’s your turn to be the judge!

RELATED: Modern Countertop Colors for Honey Oak Kitchens

Argument #1: White Kitchens are Totally Timeless

When it comes to the “timeless” stance on white kitchens, practicality reigns supreme. Typically, opting for a neutral palette as your base in your home is actually the smartest choice for a classic look and timeless kitchen. No ultra-permanent commitments to a whimsical wallpaper or a shockingly-bold floor tile. No frustration at having to re-paint your cabinets yet again as soon as the latest mint/sage/blue/pink (or fill in the blank) color trend shifts. Neutrality is the key to timeless white kitchens.

RELATED: 23 Best Gray Paint Colors for Cabinets by Sherwin Williams

White Kitchens are Easy to Re-Style

White is, arguably, a classic color. And by using it as a base, you can easily change up your style via all of the surrounding kitchen decor. Tired of a too-traditional look? Update your hardware pulls or light fixtures. Ready to make red your color pop du jour? Pick up a few ceramic bowls and a new teakettle to re-style your kitchen. The possibilities never end. White simply allows you to play with your room’s aesthetic. And for people who get tired of trends easily, it’s a safe bet for your own kitchen.

chantilly-lace-kitchen
This bright white kitchen is balanced with a warm wood floor and rattan stools.

White Kitchens are Crisp & Clean

Beyond the functional elements of classic white kitchens, they’re also beloved simply because of their crisp and clean appearance. Ever walk into a too-bold or cluttered kitchen? Automatically feel closed in or unsure where to stand? All-white kitchens feel inherently collected and visually simple. No matter what type of spread or cooking mess is out in full view on the counter, a white bright kitchen manages to seem intentional and show-stopping.

White Kitchen with Grey Kitchen Island and antique bronze hardware pulls
With accents of antique bronze in the cabinet hardware pulls and light fixtures, this warm and inviting white kitchen offers timeless appeal. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

Argument #2: White Kitchens are OUT

Then again, the camp that believes that white kitchens are a trend that’s heading out the door has some solid points in its column, too. Not only are we seeing a bucking of the typical all-white look, but we’re seeing more and more of its exact opposite in very different ways with bold colors in the kitchen.  And while that can feel trendy, it seems that it’s actually a reflection of more and more people embracing their personal styles and an overall vibe of comfort.

The creamy whites in this renovated kitchen pair perfectly with a mix of greys, brushed nickel, and streamlined engineered wood flooring. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)
The creamy whites in this renovated kitchen pair perfectly with a mix of greys, brushed nickel pendant lights, stainless steel appliances, and streamlined engineered wood flooring. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

Practicality

To bring it back to the question of practicality, too, white kitchens are, admittedly, more prone to scuffs and dirt. And if you’ve got kiddos, you know exactly what we mean. Darker cabinets do tend to hide the more pressing stains and fingertip smudges. 

Families with kids can attest to the challenges of maintaining a white kitchen. It’s a playground for stains and smudges, which seem to appear out of nowhere. Spaghetti sauce splatters, juice spills, and colorful food crumbs can turn a white countertop or backsplash into a canvas of chaos. This constant battle to keep white surfaces clean can be both time-consuming and frustrating.

large-open-white-kitchen

In contrast, darker cabinets in a stained wood have a distinct advantage in concealing these everyday messes. They act as natural camouflage for stains and fingertip smudges, making them far less conspicuous than they would be on a white background. The ability to hide these imperfections not only reduces the visual stress of constantly having to clean but also extends the time between deep cleanings, which is a practical consideration for busy households. If you have a busy kitchen island in your space, using a dark stained wood or a paint color in the darker tones will add an accent color and will stay “cleaner”  than a white kitchen island.

RELATED: How to Determine Your Kitchen Remodeling Budget

kitchen in high reflective white with web gray island

Ready for Something New

Beyond this, though, white hit a major stride a few years back. This means it’s a wave that people have been riding ever since. You know the look – white walls and cabinets paired with brushed brass hardware and subway tile backsplashes. And while it’s actually quite a stylish look, it’s definitely one you see just about everywhere you go – including commercial spaces. So the whole white and neutral kitchen look seems to feel, well, a little tired overall. It does beg the question whether or not the look actually brings people joy, or just feels like a repetition of a Pinterest-popular trend. 

Lake House Kitchen with Charcoal Cabinets and wood flooring
While white still makes an appearance in this open kitchen via the countertops, white tiles, and wall paint, the deep charcoal cabinetry anchors the room in a saturated color that feels fresh and different (yet still neutral). (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

RELATED: Best Greige Paint Colors

Using a dark-stained wood for the cabinets in this kitchen allows it to bring a warm and inviting aesthetic to the space, moving away from the bright and stark whites of recent years. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)
White subway tile backsplash and black kitchenette cabinets, wood floors, open shelving
A hint of white in the white subway tiles and countertops keeps this kitchenette feeling bright, yet the black cabinetry gives it a modern and trend-setting twist. Open shelving gives it a touch of texture and warmth. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

Argument #3: There IS a Middle Ground

But just because white kitchens are being argued over these days, it doesn’t mean you have to either ditch them completely or fight to the bitter end over their value. In fact, there is a happy middle ground that is easily achievable. As far as the color white itself, there are endless variations. And if you love the simplicity and crispness of a white kitchen, but are ready for something a little different than we’ve typically seen, simply stick to those creamy and warm whites instead. That way, you get a soft and neutral white as your base, but your kitchen feels undoubtedly less bright. This allows you to change with the trends in a simple, yet impactful, way. 

Matte black hardware pulls add a layer of contrast to this bright white kitchen, infusing modern style into the space. (Interior Design: Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)
Matte black hardware pulls add a layer of contrast to this bright white kitchen, infusing modern style into the space. (Interior Design: Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

Warm It Up

Another great way to keep your white kitchen while adding some warmth and color is to simply update your decor pieces. Bring in hints of wood or woven elements for an inviting and contrasting look. And don’t be afraid to pepper in a few hints of color here and there. You’d be surprised at how something as simple as a new piece of artwork, rug, or a vase filled with flowers can totally transform your space and break up the white kitchen cabinets.

RELATED: Simply White vs Chantilly Lace – Comparing Two Top White Paint Colors

modern white kitchen with spacious charcoal kitchen island and brushed brass pendants
White lower and upper cabinets surround the perimeter of this open kitchen, yet paired with a charcoal island and strategically-placed wood accents, it feels balanced and colorful, avoiding the typical white kitchen look popularized in recent times. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

RELATED: White Kitchen Ideas for Your Home Remodel

White Kitchen Trends and 2024’s Vibrant Color Palette

Kitchen design trends evolve with each passing year, and 2024 promises an exciting blend of timeless elegance and vibrant color.

Timeless elements like shaker-style cabinets, white marble countertops, and hardwood flooring maintain their popularity, but with a modern twist. Smart appliances and innovative storage solutions seamlessly integrate with classic aesthetics, ensuring both form and function are met with sophistication.

What sets this year apart is the infusion of vibrant color. This colorful injection adds energy to the kitchen style, encouraging personal expression and customization for each homeowner.

In 2024 kitchen design trends deliver the best of both worlds – a classic, elegant foundation enhanced by modern conveniences and a burst of lively colors. The kitchen remains the heart of the home, now more inviting and functional than ever.

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Let’s explore the forecasted colors for kitchens in 2024!

White kitchen designs have long been celebrated for their classic and versatile appeal. Their ability to create a canvas of serenity and sophistication is unmatched. In 2024, the white kitchen trend is set to continue, with modern updates and innovative twists that make this perennial favorite even more captivating.

Mixing and Matching Textures

Textures play a vital role in 2024’s white kitchen trend. The interplay of matte and glossy finishes, open shelves of wood, and natural stone countertops adds depth and visual interest. These textures create a multi-dimensional ambiance in your kitchen, making it a true standout.

2024’s Forecasted Kitchen Colors

While white remains a dominant choice, 2024 brings a burst of vibrant colors to kitchen design. Whether you infuse color in your cabinetry or through accents, here are the forecasted shades that are set to bring personality into your kitchen:

1. Ocean Blue

Ocean blue is making waves in kitchen design and is one of my favorite color choices in a kitchen renovation. This rich, calming hue can be incorporated through cabinetry, backsplashes, or even accent walls. It brings the tranquility of the sea into your kitchen, creating a serene and inviting atmosphere.

2. Earthy Greens

Earthy greens are perfect for those who want a nature-inspired kitchen remodel. From muted sage to deep forest green, these tones evoke a sense of freshness and balance. You can introduce these colors through cabinets or décor items for a revitalizing touch. Make sure you add ample light fixtures even if you have natural light.

white-kitchen-with-green-island-wood-beams
Kitchen Rendering with a mix of shaker cabinets in white and sage green. A warm wood floor, and butcherblock top add texture and interest to this open space.

3. Warm Terracotta

Terracotta adds warmth and depth to any kitchen. It’s a timeless and earthy color that can be incorporated into tiles, countertops, or even small appliances. The warm, rustic feel of terracotta brings coziness to your kitchen space.

4. Soft Pastels

Soft pastels like blush pink, pale lavender, and misty blue are perfect for adding a touch of whimsy and elegance to your kitchen. These shades work well as accents through accessories, backsplashes, or small appliances, infusing a sense of playfulness and serenity.

5. Warm Metallics

Warm metallics like brass and copper will continue to make their mark as accent colors in 2024. They add a touch of luxury and sophistication to kitchens, whether through light fixtures, cabinet handles, range hoods, or cookware.

Incorporating these colors into your kitchen design can revitalize and personalize your space, creating a welcoming and on-trend environment.

So, what’s your verdict? Are white kitchens still fabulous enough to rave about for years to come? Or are you firmly convinced that it’s time to shelf the trend? Let us know your vote in the comments below!

Cheers

Hi, I’m Carla

carla-bast-interior-designer-and-blogger

I’m glad you’re here! You are in the right place if you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of embarking on a remodeling or interior design project. Living with an outdated home and don’t know where to start? I’ve helped families like yours update their home and create spaces that reflect what’s important to them for over 25 years.

I’ve been honored to be featured in:

Real Homes

The Spruce

Apartment Therapy / Cubby

Twin Cities Luxury + Fashion

MSP Magazine

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Hunker

Home Crux

 

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