Is Our Love Affair with the White Kitchen Over?

Sharon L Sherman, Thyme & Place Design, Kitchen Designer NJ, White Kitchens

Are the Days of the White Kitchen Numbered?

A friend recently sent me an article from the New York Times that referenced a rebellion against the white kitchen revolution. She asked if designers were writing white kitchen eulogies. While white is still popular other colors and shades have started to make an appearance in kitchens.

An all-white kitchen has been around for multiple design shifts. Always a clean fresh look for that cozy coastal getaway place or a quick freshens up for an old kitchen until it can be remodeled. The real estate market has convinced homeowners that white sells. Have a white kitchen, worry not, kitchens with a combination of other woods or paint colors with white will continue to trend upward.

Kitchen Backsplash Tile in soft grey green designed by , Sharon L Sherman, Thyme & Place Design, kitchen designer NJ

Soft green shaded porcelain backsplash tile

Personally, I feel the overwhelming number of white kitchens shown in magazines may have initiated its demise. How many white kitchens can you fit into one issue without your eyes glazing over? Don’t get me wrong, I love white kitchens and have designed many over the years, long before the latest craze. White is a great way to ground wood accents, think walnut island, a colorful pop of back splash tile or a dramatic wall color.  White doesn’t have to be that stark, blank bright finish the name conjures up. Described as the opposite of black as it has no hue and can vary from the color of fresh cream to the color of snow. There are warm whites and cool whites. White signifies health, cleanliness, happiness, innocence, and purity but when used incorrectly it can become cold and unfriendly.

All Good Things Come to an End.

Why does it seem that the insatiable taste for white is starting to fade? Overexposure. Too much of anything is never a good thing. The television world of design seemed to only show white, white and whiter. It was even the color of the year in 2015. As the popularity of the color grew it seemed no one could get enough of the white trend. If you follow trends you know they are just that… trends.

Wondering what happened to end the white trend? We needed something else to get our creative juices flowing again, something to be excited about in the home design area. We started looking to the world around us. So many people are worried about the world around us and worried about the world’s future. This stark reality started a yen for color and all of the emotions that color can bring to our home. 

Looking for a Change- Back to Nature, we go.

There is a strong desire for a connection to nature. Softer more natural shades of green, blue and soft pinks (can you picture a beautiful Caribbean beach?) bring a whole new dynamic to a space. Not to say you should change your white kitchen but you can bring some color to the walls or ceiling for dramatic effect.

Reclaimed wood has found its way back into the mainstream.  There is definitely a shift towards environmental concerns for the items we use in our homes. Many companies at both ends of the cost spectrum are moving to eco-friendly materials for cabinets and their manufacturing. Pretty wood grains in soft natural finishes bring warmth to the kitchen, especially those white ones. So many trending photos of natural wood finishes being incorporated into room scapes are gracing design magazines across the county.

Staying Power of a White Kitchen

Of course, not everyone can remodel with every swing of the trend pendulum. Want to break up the white, maybe consider a new piece of hardware. Bringing in some color to the knobs and pulls is just like adding some jewelry to your clothing. If you like to “do it yourself” try painting a cabinet or two. In January I wrote “Which Paint Colors are Trending” about the new color palette from Sherman Williams and their color themes. Chalk Paint inspiration is everywhere on Pinterest. Find a look you like and go for it. 

Beyond Kitchen Cabinets and Walls

Small appliances are definitely joining the color bandwagon. Smeg has an assortment of practical yet stunning small appliances to brighten up your kitchen. Opportunity abounds in the world of tile for the backsplash. Here is the perfect way to stretch your color wings and drop in some color relief without breaking the bank. Decorative accessories like colorful containers can be functional and colorful. So go ahead and dip your toe into a dab of color and give that white kitchen a color update.

Traditional Wood Hood over French range with  antique copper post as decorations

Designed by: Thyme & Place Design

So is our love affair with white kitchens really over? Maybe not. As with any good relationship, it is always evolving.


Sharon L Sherman ASID CID CKD is a designer and Reiki Master located in New Jersey. Her award-winning designs and editorial comments have been featured in Woman’s Day, Country Decorating, Design NJ, Family Circle, 201 Magazine, The Best of Bergen, Savvy Living, The Record, The Star Ledger, Bergen Magazine and Aspire as well as several books. Her Blog “Tips for the Trade” has appeared in digital form on She has also appeared on HGTV’s My Big Amazing Renovation and episodes of House Smarts with Lou Manfredini.  


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Sharon sherman

My award-winning designs haven been featured in multiple magazines, industry publications and on television. That’s nice affirmation, to be sure.

But perhaps the greatest accolade I’ve received is the repeat engagements with so many clients, project after project, year after year.

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