I Just Painted my Kitchen White (Again) — Here are 7 Reasons to Consider this Pure Neutral on Your Walls

White kitchens might seem like a thing of the past, but after trialing various shades, I've finally reverted back to all-white walls

white kitchen with brass fixtures
(Image credit: Ronen Lev)

If you have a foot in the design world, it likely seems that the days of stark white kitchens are well and truly over. Lately, everyone's been embracing color in this practical part of the home, be it colorful cabinetry, dark moody walls, or bright punchy appliances. As someone staunchly against the beige craze, I wanted to do exactly the same in my own kitchen, decorating with a range of different hues to inject personality and character into my space. But alas, I've just repainted my kitchen white - and not for the first time.

After years of renting, making my mark on my first proper home has been hugely important. Having put up with plain, boring walls for far too long I was keen to embrace color, but six months, three repaints, and countless swatches later, I still hadn't settled on a shade. Only now - after over half a year of living there - do I finally feel content, and that's only because I've painted over the various shades and reverted to the original white shade that graced the walls the first day I moved in.

White kitchens can be divisive. Designers and decorators are quick to point out its impracticality in such a busy (and messy) space, and yet, it's arguably the most reliable, timeless, and common kitchen color there is. Although deep greens, pops of pastel, and moody schemes are increasingly popular in kitchen designs, white certainly still holds its own.

'There's a strong case to be made for white kitchens,' explains Lindsie Davis of Blueberry Jones Design. 'I like to think of them as the "classic white tee" of interior design – when done well, a white kitchen never risks going out of style. The timeless appeal of white cabinetry means it works across a range of design genres, from traditional to contemporary to transitional homes, and allows for endless possibilities.' Here are seven reasons to consider this pure neutral in your modern kitchen.

1. It's timeless

A white kitchen with a black framed window, a grey stone sink, and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Blueberry Jones Design / Avery Nicole Photography)

Color trends are constantly changing so, unless you put some serious thought into your decorating, a space is bound to date much faster if you've used a saturated hue. White, however, has a timeless quality that won't age your space. Since kitchens are a costly renovation, you want to ensure you opt for a design that endures, and although walls can easily be repainted, they act as the foundation for the rest of your surrounding space.

'Transcendent and timeless, white’s versatility is unrivaled and continues to be a popular choice in kitchens for people looking for a minimalistic and uncluttered look,' says Helen Shaw of Benjamin Moore. 'Whites with red or yellow undertones such as White Dove OC-17 will avoid the clinical feel of a pure brilliant white, while still creating a clean and understated look.'

2. It feels 'clean'

white kitchen with marble backsplash and oak table and chairs

(Image credit: Taran Wilkhu. Design by Studio Varey)

White kitchens don't have to feel stark and clinical, but they do contribute to a 'cleaner' feel and a more seamless look. As Lindsie Davis of Blueberry Jones Designs explains: 'White kitchens have this natural airiness that keeps them feeling fresh.'

As culinary spaces, this feeling of cleanliness is much better suited to the room's overall feel than a dark scheme, especially in rental spaces where the condition of the cabinets or appliances could detract from a clean look. 'White can brighten a dull room and give the impression of cleanliness, which in an old rental can be out of our control,' explains Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors. Just be sure to choose the right undertone so that your walls don't look to stark and overbearing (a warm one usually works best).

3. It reflects light

A white kitchen with white cabinets, gold pull bar handles, and grey subway tiles

(Image credit: Blueberry Jones Design / Avery Nicole Photography)

Closely related to this fresh and clean feel is a room's lighting. While your windows and artificial sources do a lot of the work, your kitchen color idea plays a huge role in the overall feel of a space, and white walls do wonders for brightening a kitchen up. This is because white pigments don't absorb any light, reflecting them around the room instead.

'White reflects light, making a kitchen feel brighter and more open,' notes Lindsie. 'When used predominantly in a small space, it can create the illusion of airiness. Similarly, in a larger kitchen, it can help make the space feel more open and inviting.'

4. It's versatile

white kitchen with marble worktops and rattan and wood accessories

(Image credit: Raquel Langworthy. Design: Christina Kim Interior Design)

'White kitchens are timeless, clean, versatile and flexible,' explains Elana Mendelson, founder of Elana Designs. 'As a classic neutral, white kitchens can be enhanced and modernized by updating accents, decor, and design elements without having to renovate the entire space.'

What's more, a white paint idea doesn't have to mean an absence of color entirely, and the benefit of neutral walls is that it makes the perfect backdrop to experiment with brighter tones elsewhere. 'White is the ultimate neutral foundation and offers so much versatility within kitchen design,' notes Lindsie. 'When designing a white kitchen, she suggests experimenting with bold colors and fun statement features to create a striking contrast.'

Lindsie adds that a white kitchen has the advantage of more flexibility with countertop, backsplash, hardware, and lighting sections. 'It also complements nearly any wood stain, so you can take a space in a million different directions,' she says.

5. It makes a space feel bigger

A white kitchen with white quartz countertops, a blue patterned runner, and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Blueberry Jones Design / Avery Nicole Photography)

One of the main reasons I never liked the bolder colors on my kitchen walls is due to the nature of having a small kitchen. Dim, cramped, and with limited empty wall space, the deep green and earthy pink I loved so much on the color card had the effect of making my already tiny space seem even smaller.

'White, however, can help kitchen spaces feel bigger,' explains Sarah Latham of Latham Interiors. 'In smaller spaces it can lift the eye and open a closed-off space.' Helen from Benjamin Moore agrees. 'When working with smaller kitchens, opting for a shade of white is a safe and easy option as lighter colors tend to make a space feel bigger,' she says.

6. It's more practical than you think

A white kitchen with a grey stone sink and a black framed window

(Image credit: Blueberry Jones Design  / Avery Nicole Photography)

On the flip-side, a common reason why people steer clear of white in a kitchen is because it marks easily. In a practical space where scuffs, scrapes, and grease splatters are commonplace, a darker wall shade means less need for upkeep.

That said, if you want your space to be sparkling clean, white is the way to go. 'As a color of truth, it allows you to see what needs cleaning and when,' says Sarah, and Lindsie agrees. 'While smudges and dirt certainly have nowhere to hide, it makes spotting messes easier and helps maintain the crisp, polished aesthetic,' she adds. What's more, when it comes to paint finishes, kitchens should also be decorated with a higher sheen which, by nature, is more durable and thus easier to wipe clean anyway.

7. It works with every color

A white kitchen accented with decor

(Image credit: District Cabinets. Design: Cedar Architecture)

Last but not least, white kitchen walls offer the chance to introduce other shades into your space without risk since this pure neutral works with virtually every other color under the sun. 'Opting for white walls provides a perfect opportunity to introduce more saturated colors to cabinets or accessories to add depth,' Helen explains. 'Opting for bold colors such as deep burgundy or terracotta will create a rustic warm design style, whereas a deep green or navy will provide a crisp contrast to the cool white walls, achieving a more contemporary feel.'

Costly and time-consuming though they may have been, my futile decorating undertakings didn't go to waste. I learned that sometimes, plain and simple paint ideas really are best after all.

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Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.