Whether you are thinking of installing white cabinets in your kitchen or you're looking to freshen up your existing cook space, selecting accent colors can be somewhat daunting. After all, pretty much every shade in the rainbow will go with white. So how do you narrow down your palette? One of the first, things every homeowner needs to consider is what mood they want to create in their cook space. Dark and moody? Light and airy? Warm and inviting? The overall style of your kitchen will also play a factor. If you have a farmhouse kitchen, perhaps light neutral colors would be best. However, if your home leans more boho or midcentury, you might want to incorporate more of a pop.
Nancy Boughton of Nancy Boughton Interiors loves to mix white cabinets with natural oak or brass hardware to add warmth. "A white kitchen is a blank canvas on which you can create virtually anything," says Boughton. The designer notes that white cabinetry is a classic and bright choice. Not to mention, they just look cleaner.
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"Bring in color with [the] backsplash, trim, rugs, lighting, furniture, wallpaper, paint, art, countertops, fabrics/upholsteries, etc.," says Taylor Simon, a designer at Thomas Guy Interiors. "Being aware of [your] color palette is crucial [to create] the mood for a space, but [it's] also something that can fluctuate during the design process. It is a way to communicate a message in a certain space."
Susan Hayward, founder of Susan Hayward Interiors thinks about the contrast of the room when working with white kitchen cabinets. Should the space have more or less contrast? Or should it be monochromatic with a few pops of color? "Monochromatic will mean white (or white cabinet front) appliances, counter, and backsplash with a neutral-toned floor. If you like contrast or a pop of color, add stainless or color appliances, colorful wallpaper or paint, and a countertop with interest," says Hayward.
If you're anything like us, you're probably ready to see a little inspiration. Not a problem. Scroll on for 20 color schemes that will pair beautifully with white cabinetry.
20 Kitchen Color Schemes That Go With White Cabinets
1. White and Mint Green
This Portland, Oregon kitchen design by Fraley + Company featuring the Big Chill Retropolitan Fridge is simply delicious. We love the refreshing mint green and white color combination. The pastel scheme is clean, crisp, and delightfully retro.
This farmhouse kitchen features mostly white cabinets with a dash of navy blue. The terra cotta floor tile adds just enough warm contrast to balance the sea of white, which includes everything from the refrigerator to the cabinets, island, range hood, walls, and ceiling.
3. White and Taupe
If you like white cabinetry, but feel like it might be too much white consider a two-tone color idea. This kitchen by Stephanie Kraus Designs features taupe on the bottom which grounds the light-filled space and adds a hint of warmth in the process. The brass hardware ties the whole scheme together beautifully.
4. White and Tan
Similar to taupe, the color tan is another neutral shade that will temper the stark quality of white kitchen cabinets. In this setup by Public 311 Design, earthy wall tile complements the warm undertones hiding in the white paint color. Wooden cooking utensils and a vase full of lush greenery add to the pastoral charm of this cook space.
5. White and Red
If you really want to make an impact in your white kitchen, the color red is definitely the way to go. Follow the lead of this light and airy setup by Chango & Co. and throw down a patterned crimson runner and punctuate the space with black hardware and lighting. Complete the scene with artwork that pulls in some of the same colors.
6. White and Aqua
If you're having trouble deciding between using blue and green in your kitchen, the color aqua might be the perfect shade for you. In this cook space the glass subway tile backsplash is a unique design feature that adds texture and reflects the light. The white stove blends right into the cabinetry while the wood accents and brass fixtures warm up the cool palette.
7. White and Greige
Two ingredients that help people feel grounded are light and nature. These elements work magic when paired with white cabinets, as proven in this kitchen. "Clients want their homes to be simplistic and timeless, like a sanctuary," notes Eilyn Jimenez, founder and creative director of Sire Design. "With all that is going on in the world, a home should be an escape — a place that provides a sense of calm." The greige walls and gray island create visual interest and depth in a mostly white space, without taking anything away from the tranquil scheme.
8. White and Black
We love the contrast of a white and black kitchen design, but it can be tricky to pull off. Luckily, the warm wood finishes visible in both the adjacent dining room and the living space keep the culinary headquarters from feeling stark or sterile.
"With white kitchen cabinets, one needs to draw color palette inspiration from the adjacent rooms to ensure the new kitchen is cohesive with the rest of the house, which is especially true if the home has a more open, contemporary floor plan," says Steve Pallrand, founder and principal of Home Front Build.
9. White and Light Wood
We love the way the white cabinets and wood kitchen island work together in this space. The chevron detailing and marble backsplash add texture and movement, while the barstools and light fixture gives the space an industrial edge.
10. White, Light Gray, and Brown
Who knew that a neutral color scheme made up of white, gray, and brown could look so stunning? Apparently, the team over at Shannon Tate Interiors did. In this culinary masterpiece, two-tone cabinets create the perfect backdrop for warmer features such as the dark brown reeded range hood and the beige zellige tile backsplash. Simple brass pulls add a hint of sparkle.
11. White and Blue
A quick and easy way to incorporate color into your cook space is with the backsplash. For example, in this light-filled kitchen, the vibrant blue wall tile is undoubtedly the main attraction. The jute rug warms up the space and works nicely with the natural wood countertops and open shelving.
12. White and Pink
This lovely pastel-colored kitchen created by Anita Yokota shows a stunning pink tile backsplash complemented by light wood shelving and brass wall sconces. The white integrated refrigerator and matching range hood blend in with the cabinetry for a cohesive finish.
13. White, Forest Green, and Copper
Amp up the drama in your kitchen with a moody color such as the hunter green shade showcased on the bottom cabinets in this culinary space. The old-school copper wall oven injects loads of character and charm and ties in the rose gold fixtures spotted throughout.
14. White and Gray
Want to spruce up your white cabinetry? This tranquil space has the right idea — all you really need is a little gray paint. Here, the darker bank of cabinets anchors the space while simultaneously adding a dramatic dose of color.
"The biggest pro is that white is classic. Trends will come and go and your white cabinets will never look dated. White is a neutral so it will work with most color schemes," says Hayward.
15. White and Burnt Orange
This nearly all-white kitchen by Plain English Design is the perfect example of just how much fun you can have working with white cabinets. The marble countertops and backsplash with dark veining provide loads of visual interest so the space doesn't look plain or boring. And to keep the overall scheme from coming across as too cold, the interior of the countertop cabinets was painted burnt orange, which pairs beautifully with the cognac leather window seat. Aged brass light fixtures and hardware complete the jaw-dropping scene.
16. White and Olive Green
Subtlety is the name of the game in this cozy kitchen thanks to a small-scale, glass mosaic tile backsplash. Wood countertops complement the earthy olive green hue and bring out the yellow undertones. Overall, the scheme feels warm and inviting despite the bright white cabinetry.
17. White, Light Gray, and Gold
This small kitchen got a big upgrade when it was adorned with a brass range hood over the stove. The swanky fixture — along with matching cabinet hardware and faucet — adds swoon-worthy warmth to the space. Rich wood countertops complement the lustrous finish while simultaneously adding a rustic note. Light gray walls help cool down the warmer features, resulting in a design that feels wonderfully balanced.
18. White and Teal
It's pretty hard to miss the island in this modern farmhouse kitchen by Plain English Design. The vibrant teal color demands attention, yet doesn't overwhelm the space. The white shiplap wall paneling, shelving, and cabinets provide a quiet backdrop that doesn't take any of the focus away from the central hub.
Not sure about you, but we would absolutely love to sip our morning coffee in this vibrant kitchen every day. The team over at Imperfect Interiors went all in on color and opted for a unique scheme that would stand out from the crowd of all-white cook spaces. Between the emerald green backsplash, navy blue island, and red runner, you almost forget about the bank of white Shaker cabinets.
20. White and Dark Wood
If you're looking for a color scheme that looks and feels a little more natural and organic than blue cabinets or green backsplashes, then this kitchen color idea from Chango & Co. is for you. The design team made a big statement with a dark wood island and leather barstools to warm up the wall of white cabinets and stainless steel appliances. The rich hardwood flooring anchors the light and airy space.
Additional Factors to Consider
- Consider Adjacent Spaces: "It's important to consider how [the kitchen] pairs with neighboring spaces, [like] the dining room, family room, etc. Even more important than that is considering the overall use of the kitchen — is it purely aesthetic? Or is the end-user a professional chef? This can definitely help guide the [materials we choose] to use, thereby affecting the overall color scheme," says Raymond Jimenez, founder and creative director of RAYMOND NICOLAS.
- Pay Close Attention to the Shade of White: "Be very careful selecting your white [cabinet color]. Compare the color of the cabinets against something pure white to really see the undertones [and] then use that information moving forward with the rest of the kitchen. Also, make sure your lighting complements the [shade of] white you have chosen. Too cool and the whites will read blue, too warm and they will read yellow or appear dingy," says Hayward.
- Consider the Lighting: "The amount of natural light is a factor to consider when adding lighting and choosing colors. You want the space to feel as open and bright as possible," says Mary Patton of MaryPatton Design.
- Don't Forget to Clean: "The pro of using white for a cabinet color is that it can go with anything. The con is that there is a level of maintenance to be considered when deciding to go with white cabinetry. White is also very ordinary and lacks uniqueness when it comes to designing a custom kitchen. We love designing kitchens with bold colors," says Brittany Farinas CEO and creative director of House of One.
The Best Colors to Pair With White Kitchen Cabinets
Now that you're fully equipped with tips and tricks from the pros and all the inspo you can handle, it's time to narrow down your color palette. The important things to remember are the overall mood you want to achieve, the style of your kitchen, the surrounding spaces and materials, and the lighting. All of these factors will help you in the decision-making process. Just remember to have fun and don't be afraid to try something new and different.
" There are many opportunities to introduce color with white cabinets, most notably a colorful backsplash and tasteful countertop highlights the work area as the focal point of the design. But colorful rugs, window treatments or walls, or even colorful cookware, shine on a white background," says Pallrand.
Here is a recap of some of our favorite color schemes to use with white cabinetry:
- Mint green
- Navy blue and terra cotta
- Light wood
- Light gray and brown
- Forest green and copper
- Burnt orange
- Olive green
- Light gray and gold
- Navy blue and emerald green
- Dark wood