What are the best accent colors for a white kitchen? These five shades will bring life to a stark space

If you're looking to bring a bit of color to your all-white kitchen, here are the five shades the designers are currently coveting

white kitchen with white flush cupboards and island
(Image credit: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO. Design: Barker Associates Architecture Office)

There was a time when dazzling, all-white kitchens were all the rage, signaling luxury in the home. There is still something to be said of the use of white in the kitchen and it continues to make a space feel crisp and clean. But we're starting to crave a bit of color in the kitchen. Our kitchens are shifting and evolving into spaces that also function as living rooms, and with that, we want a pop of personality and excitement, which can be easily achieved with the addition of color.

From simple hardware updates to giving those tired old cabinets a fresh lick of paint, to the addition of bold-colored appliances, there are plenty of ways to give the space a bit of a facelift. We've spoken to the experts to find out what five colors will give your all-white space a modern kitchen makeover.

1. Introduce cheery red pops

An all-white kitchen with red accessories

(Image credit: Nick Sargent. Design: Harper Design + Build)

Red accents are having a moment. In the world of fashion, the red accent is the color pop of the season, and this color trend translates across to interiors too.

However, it's worth noting that red is a color to be careful with and we're wary of red paint in the kitchen. Instead, consider introducing the color in a smaller dose. A cast iron Le Creuset saucepan in cerise like this one from Amazon might just be all you need to transform the space, maybe a bold pendant in red, or a stainless steel oven with subtle red knobs. Red is a color that has strong connotations. It's bold and positive, so always a great addition to your white kitchen.

'White looks great with everything, so it's about choosing a color that makes you feel happy when you walk in each morning to make your coffee,' says Luki Anderson of Brooklyn-based Studio Officina Architecture.

'All-white kitchens need some visual interest to contrast with their neutral color, so make sure you introduce some character either via the cabinet detailing, your stone counter, a great-looking faucet, or by splurging on interesting cabinet pulls. Eye-catching light fixtures also go a long way.'

2. Bring warmth with gold and brass tones

A white kitchen with golden hardware

(Image credit: Nick Glimenakis. Design: The Brownstone Boys)

If you want to warm up the space, gold and brassy metallics are just the ticket to bring that luxe look to your all-white kitchen. Chrome and stainless steel have long been common in the kitchen, but you might want to rethink your hardware if your white kitchen is making you feel a bit cold. It's surprising what a small amount of metallic can do.

Polished nickel is a slightly warmed version that is metallic but with golden undertones, and copper and brass are popular kitchen trends when it comes to hardware. This example by Brooklyn's Brownstone Boys is the perfect example, with the golden swan neck tap providing a beautiful centerpiece and contrast against the white cabinetry.

3. Combine white with wood material

A white kitchen with wooden accents

(Image credit: Jean Bai. Design: Karine Marshall Interiors)

OK, so it's not technically a color, but wooden material and white is definitely a timeless and winning combination that works so well. 'The best accent color for a white kitchen is not really a color- it's wood,' says Karina Marshall of San Francisco-based Blaine Architects + Marshall Interiors. 'Whether it's entire walls, small trims, or even cutting boards and accessories, wood is the perfect way to warm up a stark white kitchen.'

It is, however, worth noting that there is an abundance of varying tones when it comes to wood. Mahogany and darker wooden kitchen cabinets have mostly been pushed aside in favor of lighter shades, which work so well against white. 'Walnut or white oak are both great choices to set off your white cabinetry,' says Luki.

4. Pair the white with cool colors

A white kitchen with blue accents and cool toned tiling

(Image credit: Ellen McDermott Design: OAD Interiors. )

Cool tones that introduce a feeling of nature are always a reliable way to add a bit of interest to a white kitchen. 'For an accent color in a white kitchen we like colors based in nature,' says Vrinda Khanna of Khanna Schultz Architecture and Design in Brooklyn. 'We have used deep greens and slate blue tones.'

A simple way to bring these natural shades into your kitchen is with paint, but Vrinda likes to introduce these shades with organic materials to further emphasize the natural theme that the color points towards. 'With accents, it is helpful if the material has some natural variation, as in hand-glazed tiles or natural stones - as a contrast to the uniformity of the white.' This example by OAD Interiors does exactly this, with cool-toned tiling used as kitchen backsplash to break up the white.

5. Keep things monotone with black

A white kitchen with black accents

(Image credit: Ellen Mcdermott. Design: OAD Interiors. )

For a classic combination, explore black and white kitchen ideas. 'Black is also one of the best accent colors for a white kitchen,' says Karina. It's a combination that won't go out of fashion, transcending trends. In this example, the black and white theme has been introduced through the accessories. Black bar stools and matt black hardware are subtle additions that contrast against the gleaming white kitchen island.

The combination can be seen throughout the rest of this home in Queens, with the living area continuing the theme with black trim and white walls. 'The contrast of the black windows against the bright white walls also brings your eyes to the greenery they frame,' says Melissa, who also designed this space.

An alternative way to introduce black could be with black grout between white tiles, black lighting fixtures or a painted kitchen base in black paired with a white countertop.

3 buys to bring a colorful accent to your white kitchen

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.