How to take a white kitchen from cold to gold


Cool kitchen

As you may already know when we are not traveling or exploring somewhere new outdoors I am usually indulging in my love of interiors. At the moment we are just doing a few finishing touches to our house before we sell and I have been focusing on the kitchen this past week. White kitchens have been on trend for over a decade or so, and with good reason. The cool clean look is perfect for hygienic kitchen areas, white goes with everything and just doesn’t date if done right and can be a good investment for your home.

However, there’s one obvious flaw in the logic that kitchen designers up and down the land are spending a lot of their creative time addressing. How do you inject some warmth and personality into a space consisting predominantly of hard white surfaces? How do you take the edge off a stark white kitchen? Is it possible to achieve a cosy, comfortable and welcoming vibe in a modern white kitchen to create the beating heart of the home? Here are 6 tricks to show you how it can be done.

Contrast with character furniture

Mix up cool white finishes and built-in kitchen cabinets with freestanding furniture with an industrail feeel or wood to create an exciting contrast. A large preloved dining table will turn a mundane eating space into a cosy place for intimate kitchen suppers while taking the edge of the cool minimalist look. Finish off with mismatched wooden chairs and suddenly your kitchen is transformed into a unique and very personal statement with a family-friendly vibe.

minimalist kitchen

Add more wood

Natural material has a definite place in the kitchen, and wood in particular can be used to warm up an overly clinical white room scheme. Team your white kitchen units with a natural wood worktop, wood shelving or reclaimed wood flooring to add some rustic chic that will completely change the temperature in the room.

Against the neutral backdrop of the sleek white units, experiment with different types of wood to see which gives you the best result. How about featuring an ornate Victorian mahogany mirror, or some reclaimed driftwood pieces? From preloved pine to dramatic wenge, rustic oak flooring to cosy iroko worktops, don’t be afraid to experiment to get the perfect look.

Embellish with decorative tiles

Your kitchen cabinets may be white and contemporary, possibly even high gloss, but that doesn’t mean that you’re a slave to the minimalist rhythm. Printed tiles – whether genuine Moroccan ceramic, antique Arts & Crafts porcelain or mid-century vinyl – will give your kitchen a new twist of personality. Warm up your neutral colour scheme with patterned tiles as a splashback, or by adding a shock of colour or new interest on the floor, such as here

gold tiles

Play with unusual lighting designs

If you want to take the edge off a too white kitchen, it’s a good rule of thumb to stay away from cold chrome fittings and harsh lighting that is more at home in an operating theatre than the heart of your home. Interestingly, lighting design can have a transformative effect on any interiors scheme.

Whether you choose standalone pendant light or suspend matching lamps over your dining table, if you hang them low enough, even the iciest of rooms will suddenly feel warm and intimate. Most lighting designed for living rooms is perfectly suitable as pendant lights for a kitchen. Why not cast the net wide and take a look at decadent chandeliers, industrial factory pendants or delicate stenciled metal shades of generic kitchen lighting?

Paint your cupboards

Finally, if you don’t like your white kitchen cupboards, why not paint them a different colour? Shock, horror and sacrilege, you may think – but actually, why not? A pop of colour will warm up an otherwise uninspiring white wooden cupboard, and if you opt for a soft pastel shade, you’ll keep that chic vibe. Alternatively, get creative by painting the inside of open shelving, or choose a darker shade to add drama to your kitchen interiors. At the end of the day, it’s your choice.

scandi kitchen

Associated post 


  1. I completely agree white kitchens can feel a bit cold and these are some great tips on how to make it more homely and welcoming! I love to have prints up with a pop of colour

    Jo x

    1. Yes it can be a fine balance, esepically as I love Scandi minimalism it can sometimes feel cold but like you said prints can really help


  2. Personally not a big fan of white for a kitchen. Gets dirty quickly or at least shows it quickly in our house with two boys. However I do love your idea of painting kitchen cupboards. Ours are that fake cheap wood looking ones. So I’ve recently purchased some lovely black paint to make them stand out. We currently have white walls so that the contrast will look great.

    1. Yes painting cupboards can make such a big difference. My mother who has trained as an interior designer this is her go to tip and you can really transform cheap wooden ones to looking very cool and stylish

      Laura x

  3. I'm always scared of painting cupboards, mine have never tuned out right but then friends have been awesome, so maybe I need to try again. Lots of good ideas there Laura. Mich x

    1. Thanks so much Michelle - there should be a lot of tutorials on painting cupboards on Pinterest and Youtube - we always do it when we move house and it makes such a difference

      Laura x

  4. Personally I dislike white kitchens, they always get dirty really easily or with me, show up the dirt. Ours is white at the moment. However I love your idea of painting the cupboards. I have some lovely black cupboard paint waiting to go on as well as some countertop paint to give my kitchen that extra bit of colour. Im also planning on getting some title decals as well.

    Laura x x x


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