A white kitchen is an interior design mainstay, always and forever in style. But if you love color, one way to have both is to opt for white cabinets and incorporate color elsewhere, like on your kitchen island.
As a focal point of the kitchen, an island is a natural place to inject some style, and making it a different color is one great way to do that. Finding a hue that works well with the particular shade of your white cabinets isn't too difficult. Just make sure you pay attention to undertones and start with paint swatches to see how the two colors look together in your kitchen. As for what color to choose, interior designer Alison Kandler says her clients always end up happy if they've gone with their very favorite color. If that's purple, go for it, especially if you're introducing color through paint, which is easy to change when you're ready for something new.
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Kandler explains, borrowing a clothing metaphor: "To me, the island is like a blouse ... You have your basics — your black pants and your black shoes — and then you can kind of do anything with the top, right? So, yeah, I think the island is where you can really have a lot of fun, because you can always repaint it. It's not a commitment like tile, where you're stuck with that yellow and green for a long time, because it's very expensive to remove it and replace it. Paint is great because you can change it when you get tired of it."
Ready to explore some colorful kitchen islands? Read on for 16 of our favorites.
17 Kitchen Island Colors for White Cabinets
In this kitchen by Z+ Interiors, a black island creates a strong statement against warm white cabinets and walls. Warm tones in the gold hardware, deep red rug, and wood flooring, ceiling beams, and floating shelves provide beautiful contrast. Even those who are truly color-averse could easily recreate this look by subbing out the red rug for a more neutral alternative.
2. Light Blue
White, gold, weathered wood, and soft blue are an unbeatable formula for elevated yet laid-back coastal vibes. In this room by HW Interiors, the cabinets are painted a bright-white that fits perfectly with the blue island and backsplash tile. Simple but unique touches like the glass pendant lamps and woven barstools add personality without interrupting the sleek color scheme.
3. Slate Blue
This dark slate blue island by Brittney Ferguson Interiors walks a lovely line between traditional and modern, and adds visual interest and dimension to the space. It creates a perfect grounding element below the gold statement light fixtures. As a complementary color, it also helps the gold tones pop.
4. Tonal Woods
A subtle interplay of texture and color is at the heart of this island styled by Teresa Adams. It highlights the beauty of an end-grain wood treatment more typically seen in countertops. The result is warm and tonal, and the perfect complement to the sleek black and white stone waterfall countertop that envelops it. With so much going on with this island, the minimalist white cabinetry and black painted range make a lovely, understated counterpoint.
A pretty pinkish-mauve takes center stage in this inviting kitchen by Edition Kitchens. While the walls and ceiling are a true white, the cabinets are painted a green-toned off-white that complements the purple island. Elegant traditional details, such as the molding and stone floor, enhance the feminine vibe, as do the delicate glass pendants.
6. Charcoal Gray
If black feels too high-contrast a neutral for you, this kitchen by Refined Custom Homes makes the case for choosing charcoal instead. Here, the island and lower cabinets are painted dark gray and finished with white countertops, which keeps the space looking both cohesive and bright. Honey-colored hardwood flooring and a counter-height dining table add warmth to the cool palette.
7. Hunter Green
This high-contrast white and matte black kitchen by Anissa Zajac of House Seven Design gets a sophisticated and calming place to rest (visually and literally) with a hunter green kitchen island. The rich forest hue feels clean, soothing, and downright sumptuous. Inhale, exhale.
Designer Alison Kandler wasn't kidding when she advised choosing your favorite color for your island, no matter what that color is. She's a big proponent of going bold, and looking at her charming and cheery kitchen, we can understand why. The coral island really pops against the white cabinets, while still not feeling like too much. Why does it work? The tones here are slightly muted (compared to bright white and primary red), which softens the contrast.
9. Dark Wood
Who wouldn't want to perch at this lovely island for a cup of coffee? This dreamy space at Castle Trematon, designed by House of Hackney and deVOL Kitchens, is bursting with old world charm, thanks to original parquet floors, traditional creamy white cabinetry, a retro Italian stove, and a dark wood "dairy table" island by deVOL that was inspired by an antique Victorian piece. The wallpaper, by House of Hackney, is inspired by French tapestry. Together, it all adds up to a modern traditional fantasy fit for a country castle. Le sigh.
10. Light Wood
While not a castle, this airy space by Chris Loves Julia is quite dreamy. Compared to the last example, this wood island looks much more modern, with its straight lines and pale blonde color. The creamy white cabinets match the warm tones of the island, while cool touches — like the gray and white tiled backsplash and the matte black barstools and window frames — add beautiful balance.
This sweet kitchen by designer Michelle Verrill of Kitchen and Bath Galleries is another variation on the gray, white, blue, and wood color palette, this time leaning cooler and a bit more traditional. You can see a preference for cooler whites and grays here, with accents of warmth only in the wood elements. And though there are contemporary touches, such as the straight-edged countertop, simple silver pendant lights, and turquoise paint, the turned leg on the kitchen island, thick crown molding, and Chippendale style chairs all lend the room a more classic vibe.
12. Bright Green
We dare you to look at this kitchen designed by Tori Alexander and not feel happy. The bright green kitchen island just feels so joyful and fresh, especially in this crisp white space with abundant natural light and plenty of warm accents, from the hardwood floors to the gold chandelier. The bouquet of clementines and the seafoam green window valence add extra bursts of cheer.
Retro charm exudes from this cozy farmhouse kitchen styled by Lundi Hill. A classic black and white color palette is always a good idea. But if you want to add a pop of color, one perfect way to do that is with a small rolling island like this one, painted in your favorite shade. Here, yellow accentuates the warmth of sunkissed hardwoord floors.
Warm and glowy is how we'd describe this open-plan kitchen by JAS Design Build. From the orange island to to the glossy wood table to the abundant lighting, this kitchen is as inviting as can be. We love the way the color palette echoes in the small details, like the kettle on the stove and the bouquet of tulips.
15. Black and White
A black and white room can be a challenge to pull off. But this kitchen, styled by homewares brand Pampa, really gets it right, thanks to expert layering of tone, pattern, and texture. There are actually many shades of white here, from the warm cabinets to the cool, grayish backsplash to the creamy rug. The geometric patterns on the rug and tiled island back panel work beautifully together because of their contrast in scale. The result is cohesive and anything but boring.
16. Seafoam Green
Modern and cottage elements blend in this lovely small kitchen by Emily Henderson. The seafoam green island makes a statement without being too loud, while the cool white tones of the cabinetry, tile, and barstools provide a fresh, clean backdrop. Wood and gold tones make the room feel warm and inviting.
A white kitchen can be bold, and this space by Landed Interiors is proof. Here, creamy white paneled cabinets contrast with cooler walls, pendants, barstools, and marble countertops. A golden yellow tiled backsplash and deep teal island add bursts of concentrated color.
Kitchen Island Colors That Go With White Cabinets
Pairing white kitchen cabinets with a colorful island is a great way to walk the line between playing it safe and having some fun. Color adds personality to your space, and you can hardly go wrong choosing any shade you truly love. Simply pair it with a complementary white, and you're well on your way to a space that's both beautiful and really you.
Here's are some of our favorite kitchen island color options for white cabinets:
- Light blue
- Slate blue
- Tonal woods
- Charcoal gray
- Hunter green
- Dark wood
- Light wood
- Bright green
- Black and white
- Seafoam green