Design ideas for a white and modern kitchen

Colour ideas

A white kitchen design can achieve everything from cosy and traditional to artfully ultra-modern. Due to its pure feel, white is the perfect colour to use in a minimalist and modern kitchen, for a space that feels simple and refreshing.

We've compiled our favourite white design ideas to help you create the kitchen of your dreams.

Why choose a white kitchen?

Why choose a white kitchen?

The social and psychological meanings of the colour white vary across the world. In parts of Asia, white is associated with death, so is to be avoided in the home. However, in Europe and parts of the Americas, white has a very different meaning; it's connected with purity, making it a colour in interior design that instantly makes a room feel clean, airy, and tranquil.

White is a colour that demands maintenance, as pure white can look scruffy if neglected. For some, this means that white is only used in accents, around the window and door frames, or on accessories such as vases and plates.

For those willing to keep their kitchen clean and tidy daily, using white as the central colour in a kitchen will make the room appear to be larger and brighter. White reflects light, so even in the darkest kitchens, the light source will bounce around the room.

Why choose a white kitchen?

How to choose the right shade of white

Ultra-modern kitchens benefit from using bright white across units, flooring, and walls, to create a sophisticated atmosphere. If you like modern design schemes but want to keep your kitchen feeling homely, the trick is to use different shades of white.

Despite being the foundation of most paint colours, white is one of the most versatile and varying colours in interior design. Mixed with all sorts of different tones, white can range from creamy-brown to pearly-blue and ashy-grey, which can achieve warm or cold atmospheres respectively.

In any white kitchen, you should use different shades across different textures, including the walls, floors, units, worktops, and accessories. Examples of different shades of white include:

  • Off white is slightly less pure and bright than white
  • Regency white has a clear and pure cream tone
  • Antique white has a slightly creamy-rose hue
  • China white is known as having a grey-beige look
  • Bone white is a greyish tone

When it comes to creating your white kitchen, choose a selection of different but complementary shades across the room. To learn more about general colour schemes, look at our colour ideas guides.

How to choose the right shade of white

Pairing white with other colours

For some, an all-white kitchen is a bit too much, and so you may wish to add other colours to the design. The beauty of white is that it's completely versatile and matches with virtually everything on the colour wheel. Depending on the effect you're looking to achieve, there are endless options.

Blue can be added to a white kitchen to create a cool finish that almost feels nautical. Grey has a similarly cooling effect, and is ideal for anyone looking for a sophisticated finish in their kitchen.

On the other end of the scale, sage green will create a kitchen that feels more country-cottage. Reds will also warm the room, and create a sense of playfulness.

Pairing white with other colours

Matt or gloss finish?

Matt may be a traditional finish in the kitchen, but unless you choose very traditional shaker style cabinets, you can still create a modern kitchen design scheme with the finish. White bounces light across the room and so matt white units won't appear dull, even in a dark kitchen.

Gloss is the more modern finish of choice, and for those looking to create a really bright, open-feeling space, the finish will make the room appear far larger and lighter.

When it comes to white kitchens, the choice is ultimately down to personal preference, as white is such a bright, modern and versatile colour that works with any finish.

Matt or gloss finish?

Flooring and worktops

White or multi-tonal white can be added to your worktops by choosing either granite or quartz. Specks of grey will usually be found in them, and can help to complete a thoroughly modern look. To break up the white colour scheme, black worktops will also suit the a modern kitchen and create a monochrome finish.

If you want to add elements of traditional design to your white kitchen, consider wooden flooring and worktops. Light shades of wood, such as oak and beech, will enhance the brightness of the space, but darker woods, including walnut, are best for completing a modern effect.

Alternatively, go all out with a laminate floor and acrylic worktops. Both materials are man-made, so can be bought in almost any colour or design. Bright white will add to a fully-white scheme, or choose something bold like green, blue, or yellow, to make a striking statement.

White is one of the most adaptable colour schemes in the kitchen, and ideal for modern designs. Learn more about modern kitchen designs with our Design Tips, and make your dream kitchen a reality.