Is there anything more classic and simple than the color white? The ivory hue communicates feelings of purity and cleanliness, and it never goes out of style. In other words? It's the perfect shade for kitchen cabinets, but what colors can you pair it with?
While there are a variety of different ways that you can introduce additional colors to your space — such as wallpaper, appliances, flooring, countertops, or decor — the quickest and easiest option is paint. But that doesn't mean you have to feel limited to the walls. You can paint your lower cabinets a different color than the upper cabinets for a two-tone effect or paint the ceiling, trim, island, or even the floor. And since white is such a straightforward color, it will work with pretty much any shade you pair it with. While that's certainly a pro of white cabinets, one con to keep in mind is that dirt and scuff marks will be more noticeable than they would be with a darker color or wood finish.
Video of the Day
Jessica Kain Barton, principal at J. Kathryn Interiors, offers her interior design perspective on white cabinets and the best paint colors to go with them. "White kitchens are classic, but the key is to make them timeless by pairing them with the perfect color," she says. "One of my favorite things to do is to paint the walls the same color as the cabinets themselves. If you want to go bold, it never hurts to consider alternative options, like tiling the entire room or even using a fun wallcovering." Or, you could always choose a brave paint color to mesh with your white cabinets.
Things to Consider When Selecting Paint to Go With White Cabinets
Before you commit to a specific color to go with your white cabinets, there are a few things you should think about. For instance, the overall vibe or feel of your space, your design style, the available natural light, the undertones of your white cabinets, and the size of your space will all impact how colors work together in your space.
Becky Shea, founder and creative director at BS/D, feels that neutrals on the ceiling and walls in a white kitchen make the most sense: "[Go] with a very light and airy millwork finish, so the surroundings match that. [Then] you can incorporate a splash of warmth through wood, either in your millwork or with accessories like cutting boards or glass jars with wooden lids."
15 Paint Colors to Pair With White Cabinets
1. Farrow & Ball Green Smoke
The bright white cabinets, countertops, and backsplash tile in this cook space belonging to Emily Henderson are an idyllic backdrop for the sage green kitchen island. The verdant paint color (Green Smoke by Farrow & Ball) complemented by the cool undertones of the white cabinets, feels bold without going overboard. The natural light, brass accents, wood flooring, and wood ceiling beams lend the perfect dose of warmth.
2. Sherwin-Williams Worldly Gray
To bring out the warm undertones of your white kitchen cabinets, look no further than the color greige. Not quite gray and not quite beige, it's one of those neutral paint colors that always works, as proven by this airy design from interior designer Jillian Lare. She opted for Sherwin-Williams' Worldy Gray.
3. Behr Broadway
Want to bring a little drama to your kitchen walls? Then it sounds like your cook space could benefit from a dose of black paint, such as Broadway from Behr. It's a good way to keep your white cabinets looking their whitest (without bringing out any cool or warm undertones), and in the case of this kitchen styled by Katie of Bower Power, the inky hue makes the transitional details and stainless steel appliances really pop.
4. Benjamin Moore Aegean Teal
For the freshest kitchen around, turn to blueish-green walls à la Emily of The Wicker House. With Aegean Teal from Benjamin Moore — a color choice that can only be called beach-inspired — she coaxed out the cool undertones of her white cabinets. The white rattan barstools reinforce the airy color palette, while the brown granite countertops and woven pendant lights add a hint of warmth.
5. Benjamin Moore Simply White
To keep things as simple as possible in your kitchen, you literally can't go wrong with white cabinets and white walls. But you might be wondering about the best white paint to choose for your cook space. Cathy and Garrett of The Grit and Polish are partial to Simply White from Benjamin Moore. It's a warm shade of white that doesn't feel stark or clinical but instead feels somewhat cozy and inviting.
6. Benjamin Moore Deep Jungle
Maybe you have no fear when it comes to color ideas. In that case, why not pair your white cabinets with accompanying emerald green cabinets? That's exactly what Emily A. Clark chose to do in this kitchen with the help of Deep Jungle by Benjamin Moore, resulting in a distinctive space that's worthy of her culinary prowess.
7. Sherwin-Williams Cadet
For a classic color combination, white cabinets will always play nicely with navy blue. For example, in this kitchen belonging to Val of Lovely Lucky Life, the island (flaunting a shade similar to Cadet by Sherwin-Williams) balances the sea of white cabinetry and adds a note of drama. Additionally, the dark blue hue complements the blue undertones of the white paint and looks right at home next to stainless appliances, too.
8. Benjamin Moore Classic Gray
If you're leaning toward neutral colors, look to a light gray and white combination. Be sure to select a shade of gray with very minimal undertones for the walls, such as Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore, so your cabinets will look their whitest and brightest. Jen of City Farmhouse shows us how to pull off the look.
9. Farrow & Ball Down Pipe
Speaking of gray, Brooke of Nesting With Grace chose a gray shade with blue undertones (also known as Down Pipe by Farrow & Ball) for the island. While it's the centerpiece of this small kitchen remodel, the adjacent green cabinets and matching stove, black backsplash tile, and coral vintage runner certainly don't go unnoticed.
10. Benjamin Moore Stormy Sky
As you ponder paint colors for your kitchen, consider a charcoal gray option, such as Stormy Sky by Benjamin Moore. The dark hue will balance your white cabinets, and it will add a modern edge to your culinary space, as witnessed in this setup styled by Jess of Bright Green Door.
11. Glidden Butterscotch Ripple and Glidden Amaretto Sours
Maybe you really want to go for broke when it comes to your kitchen color palette. In that case, follow the lead of Paige from Farmhouse Vernacular and opt for a sunny, warm yellow hue like ochre. She actually mixed two paint colors together — Glidden's Butterscotch Ripple and Amaretto Sour — to create this delightfully perfect shade.
12. Benjamin Moore Olympic Mountains
To set off your white cabinetry while also sticking with a safe, neutral shade, a taupe paint color — like Olympic Mountains by Benjamin Moore — is an excellent choice. And it would appear that the creatives behind Chris Loves Julia would agree. The taupe walls in this kitchen draw out the warmth of the white cabinets, and the light wood features tie the whole look together beautifully.
Two-tone cabinetry is currently very on-trend. Give the look a try with a subdued color, like navy blue. That's exactly what Cathy and Garrett of The Grit and Polish did in this tiny kitchen, pairing the white upper cabinets with navy on the bottom. The winning paint color? The oh-so-popular Naval by Sherwin-Williams.
14. Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige
Another neutral paint color worth considering is beige. Kourtni of House on Longwood Lane went with Accessible Beige by Sherwin-Williams on the walls, leaving the trim white. You could limit the creamy shade to your island instead. Either way, it will instantly highlight the warm undertones of your white cabinets, resulting in an elegant finish.
15. Clare Two Scoops
When it comes to light and airy color schemes for a kitchen, mint green and white are a pretty sweet combination. And the beauty of pastel hues is that they offer a subtle pop of color without going over the top. Follow the lead of Ashley Rose from Sugar & Cloth and try out a minty shade like Two Scoops from Clare on an accent wall. That way, if you don't like it or you change your mind down the road, you only have to paint over one wall.
Colors That Go With White Cabinets
When perusing paint colors to pair with your white kitchen cabinets, there are a few things that should play a part in your decision. Think about the overall feeling or vibe you want to evoke in your space, the amount of lighting versus shadows at different times of the day, and the undertones of your white cabinet color. Each of these elements will ultimately have an effect on your final decision. Once you've narrowed down your choice, be sure to paint samples in your kitchen and live with it for a few days so you can see how it looks at different times of the day.
Here is a recap of some of our favorite paint colors to pair with white cabinets:
- Farrow & Ball Green Smoke
- Sherwin-Williams Worldy Gray
- Behr Broadway
- Benjamin Moore Aegean Teal
- Benjamin Moore Simply White
- Benjamin Moore Deep Jungle
- Sherwin-Williams Cadet
- Benjamin Moore Classic Gray
- Farrow & Ball Down Pipe
- Benjamin Moore Stormy Sky
- Glidden Butterscotch Ripple
- Glidden Amaretto Sours
- Benjamin Moore Olympic Mountains
- Sherwin-Williams Naval
- Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige
- Clare Two Scoops