The Best Paint Colors for White Kitchens

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Last updated: April 8, 2023

You may wonder what the best paint colors for white kitchens might be? White is popular but it does require some thought. The color white represents simplicity, cleanliness, and light as a neutral member of the color wheel. Neutral colors provide a timeless look as decorating trends, especially in white kitchens.  Small spaces benefit from pure white tones by expanding the light that is often lacking in a limited space.  

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Different Shades of White

Modern kitchens often use a wall color of white as a base for a clean look to enhance cabinets and counter tops. There are shades of white that may seem invisible to the naked eye, but when used with the best kitchen paint colors, your kitchen will stand out in perfection.

Sherwin Williams has over 65 shades of white paint and Benjamin Moore has warm whites and cool whites, as well. Interior designers are great at matching the best white paint color to the color palette and your kitchen’s natural and artificial lighting. A lot of natural light is also a perfect choice for your kitchen.

The Best Paint Colors for White Kitchens - Modern White Kitchen
The Best Paint Colors for White Kitchens - Stylish White Kitchen and White Kitchen Island

Cool vs. Warm

Ever-so-subtle, warm tones of white on kitchen walls deliver a warm and welcoming feeling. With a base of red or yellow, a warm white will blend well with natural materials and flow easily from room to room. It defines the heart of the home with a soothing feel. A cool white is a great way option in highlighting deep blue or bright blues for a modern look. Cool white paint offers a sharp contrast, especially in sunlit rooms. Dark blue or black mix well with a high reflective white in contemporary or luxury-styled kitchens.  

Some examples of warmer tones by Sherwin Williams include SW Alabaster, Creamy, Panda White, and Incredible White. Benjamin Moore offers White Dove, Pure White, and Chantilly Lace. Cool white paint colors by Sherwin Williams are Ice Cube, Rock Candy, Rhinestone, and Extra White. Stop by your favorite professional paint store and grab a handful of stick paint samples in a variety of white. You will be amazed at how individual they appear.

Why Sheen is Important

The sheen of the paint that is used on white kitchen cabinetry is a major consideration. Sheen ranges from matte, dull, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, to high gloss. White cabinetry can appear fake if gloss is used and matte is difficult to maintain. Grease and oil will not adhere to satin or semi-gloss as easily as a matte finish. When deciding on the sheen for your white cabinets, consider how your hardware will look against the fronts.

The Best Paint Colors for White Kitchens- Luxury Kitchen with White Cabinetry

Using Color with White Kitchen Cabinets

Once you have chosen a warm or cool white and the right sheen, different colors may be considered. White walls and white kitchen cabinets can present a sterile atmosphere. Floors, countertops, and light fixtures can add accents to the white color, but finding that perfect color will create the atmosphere that you want. Kitchen colors can be minimal with a bold color or shared with cabinet color combinations of earthy or pastel tones. 

A popular color for kitchen cabinets is white. White is timeless and versatile in changing styles and colors. Trending colors of today include dark gray, blue, and green. However, the right paint color does not have to be what is sought after today. For instance, earthy colors or warm gray paint can be used on a kitchen island to bring out the warm color of nature. Painting lower cabinets in gray tones or earth tones while using a clean white shade on upper cabinets makes a nice contrast in the look of your kitchen. The right shade of colors can make the space feel amazing under natural or artificial light.

The Best Paint Colors for White Kitchens - Large White Modern Kitchen and Dining Areaa

Best Colors for Personal Style

It can be a little scary to use your own home as a testing ground to try and capture those great kitchens seen in home decorating magazines. It is not as much the right color as it is the acceptance by the rest of the room. It is hard to go wrong with common neutral paint colors, but being able to grab the same soothing quality that your personality desires can be difficult. 

Interior decorators suggest earthy colors as a perfect choice for kitchens with white cabinets. A light color of neutral tones can be a great option to distinguish white as a main paint color choice while keeping the area subtle and warm. A few of these colors may include light gray, Swiss coffee, or light woods. The best way to imagine the look is to collect paint samples and place them against chosen white samples in a small space in your kitchen. Leave in place throughout the day to reflect a lot of natural light and then, artificial light in the evening. You will be surprised at how changing light can bring out different undertones of base colors. 

A light brown color is always accepted in a kitchen lined with white cabinets. This can range from natural wood to painted surfaces. Trim, beams, and floors can serve as a great choice for introducing a brown color. This can open the door for adding natural accessories of blue, green, or yellow. Many homeowners choose brown undertones because of the flexibility of changing the appearance of the room with a good option of colors. Also, there is no worry of brown going out of trend in the near future. 

The Best Paint Colors for White Kitchens - Modern White Kitchen with Kitchen Island and Range Hood

Choosing a Kitchen Style

Not all styles are suited for transforming into white kitchens. Industrial and rustic designed kitchens are too raw in materials and character to become part of a sterile color scheme. However, transitional design between industrial and contemporary, as well as rustic and country is possible. These blends can be tricky, so it is advised to consult with an interior decorator before taking this on as a recent project. Many paint stores offer this service for free. It is worth checking into.

Traditional, modern, French Country, contemporary, coastal, classic, and farmhouse are all examples of great kitchens that can use white paint as a wall or cabinet front color. Adjoining rooms can help you decide which way to lean in securing a style and adding the right color.

Favorite kitchens with a traditional flavor have raised panel cabinets and lots of decorative detail. Veined marble countertops establish texture and color while flooring and light fixtures put a light pizzazz on the entire room. Traditional is all about flowing in symmetry and making each element complimentary to the next. Whether a gray color is used on bottom cabinets or a colorful backsplash that matches the countertop and island, harmony will be set.

A modern white kitchen is sleek with frameless cabinets and simple hardware. Reflective surfaces help to highlight the clean and shiny materials that deliver a stunning lacquered surface. The great thing about modern white kitchens is that you are free to go as bold or as mellow as you feel. Black or red shelves or furniture along wall space will bring a beautiful contrast of colors. 

A white contemporary kitchen has flat cabinet fronts to create a clean, elegant look. Appliances are normally built-in to continue the flow toward straight lines. A polished, yet comfortable feel is the end result of creating a contemporary kitchen. White cabinets or walls are easily dressed up with wood-grain materials, faux stone, or smart marble countertops.

The Best Paint Colors for White Kitchens - Moder White Wooden Kitchen

Coastal kitchens are many times covered in white as a long time predominant base color that lays the foundation for cool shades of blue, sea foam green, and light beige. These are light and bright paint colors that intensify the feeling of being near the ocean. Use these colors on bottom cabinets, backsplash, trim, or accessories. 

A French Country in white is nothing less than elegant. Brass and iron touch with decorative molding brings many color ideas to your mind. A muted green island or veined marble countertops in gray bring a delectable French touch to this kitchen. Consider fabric for windows and a matching under-sink skirt for added character.

The ideas for a white farmhouse kitchen are large and hold a lot of character. From wooden ceiling beams to distressed wood floors, white paneled cabinets deliver a comforting contrast. Open shelves and brick walls can keep one looking for just the right color to add.  Blues, greens, and earthy tones are always welcome in farmhouse designs as are browns and distressed boards and accessories.

Never be afraid to paint or replace stained wood cabinets with white. White will always offer you a timeless and versatile decorating slate for your favorite colors. Options for changing accessories are a snap when white is your major color.

Questions and Answers

Can a small kitchen benefit by going all white?

White will always make a room appear larger. Using a satin or semi-gloss sheen paint will increase this reaction. Pastel colors will add depth without taking away from the light-reflecting benefit. Yellow, green, blue, or violet in mild shades will create a pleasing atmosphere. 

The Best Paint Colors for White Kitchens - Modern White Stylish Kitchen

Should the walls and cabinets share the same shade of white or will this make the color overbearing?

The walls, trim, and cabinets can certainly share the same white tones. There are plenty of places to add texture, patterns, color, or contrasting material within the room. Look at islands with wood tops or light yellow textured material as the backsplash. Yellow will reflect light across the room, adding an ambient glow to your kitchen.

Can I mix more than one color with my white kitchen?

It is possible to have more than one color along with white, but the balance can be difficult to maintain. Instead, opt for different styles of door and drawer handles on upper and lower cabinets, or use countertops as a gradual blend to a stronger color shade.  Shades of white should always be added to top cabinets while a contrasting color can be used on lower cabinets. Countertops, back splashes and light fixtures will then be easier to match up to color and style. 

The Best Paint Colors for White Kitchens - White Kitchen and Dining Area

Is it possible to have a white and red kitchen without it appearing tacky?

When we think of red, we see bright candy apple red that overpowers a room. This shade can work with an ultra-modern kitchen with glossy sleek white cabinets, but not appealing to most people. However, different shades of red can deliver a warm, delicate, and unique look within a kitchen with white cabinets. Reds from rusty terracotta to dark cherry are elegant in almost all styles. Plum is another tint that will add refinement to a kitchen of white when used sparingly. 

The Best Paint Colors for White Kitchens - Modern White Kitchen with Kitchen Island

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