Alternatives to the Classic White Kitchen

Roxanne Hale

Photo by Tommy Daspit

Like seasons, trends come, and then they go. Occasionally certain classics arrive, and they never really leave. Kitchens are no exception. Ushering in each new decade are new and fashionable ways to make dinner both a delicious and beautiful venture every single night. In recent years, white cabinetry paired with white countertops paired with white backsplash has been all the rage. While this trend has proven ageless in many ways, there’s no harm in spicing a classic up! Bold and timeless make for a warm and fun elegance lacking in the all-white eating space.

Here are a few examples of how to take your kitchen from Winter Wonderland to summer in Costa Rica:


Photo courtesy of photographer Tommy Daspit

If you’re still attached to the idea of eating your pancakes in an airy white kitchen every morning, consider starting with a funky backsplash instead. The addition of color, pattern, or texture as a backdrop creates depth and draws the eye, breaking up the monotony.

A minor modification like this one also happens to be significantly more simple an undertaking than re-doing your entire kitchen, making it all the more alluring for a homeowner with more than a couple things on their plate. You might even go one small step further and incorporate a non-white countertop to boot! You’re quite the daredevil.


Photo courtesy of photographer Tommy Daspit

So, you’re over the white trend completely but can’t seem to imagine anything else? The answer is black and white: it’s gray!

A subtle uptick from a solid snow-like kitchen, the grayscale eating space brings warmth to a polar white backdrop. In addition to this, another upside to opting for this medium shade of bold? Gray is incredibly easy to dress up or down. Go bold, or play it safe! Soft colors (like white or gray) work best alongside warmer elements, so don’t be afraid to take a walk on the wild side choosing your hardware. Your new kitchen is bound to be the talk of the town either way with this elegant makeover.


Photo courtesy by photographer Tommy Daspit

You’re pretty classic yourself… classic with a twist! Mismatching your upper and lower cabinetry is a fun way to introduce color into your light and bright kitchen: the perfect compromise. Gutsier than white all over, cooler than stained wood, and softer than one strong shade, you get the best of them all, maintaining sophistication while also incorporating something a little edgy. So, if all white feels sterile to you but you just can’t picture yourself eating dinner in a dark and moody kitchen, split the difference by choosing a pale neutral up top and a rich unexpected hue on the bottom.

Stacked cabinets situated floor-to-ceiling are ideal here as they are an excellent way to ground the room beyond the attention your guests will be giving your bold and funky island.


Photo courtesy of photographer Tommy Daspit

Maybe you’re not afraid of a little darkness? Embrace it! Skip all the shortcuts and head straight for Hotel Transylvania.

Long gone are the days when white kitchens ruled the roost. We’re taking a walk on the dark side for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Channel yours with deep and rich shades or saturated patterns throughout. Something about a dramatic kitchen feels inviting in a way that lighter spaces don’t. It’s not all doom and gloom just because it’s a little unorthodox! Cozy, warm, and chic… maybe all those vampire novels had the right idea after all.


Photo courtesy of photographer Tommy Daspit

You’re a risk-taker. You never shy away from a challenge, and you’re not afraid of setting an example. Get ahead of the pack and stretch your creativity with the moodiest of all kitchens: the polar opposite of an all-white getup. Many designers are giving even the Cullens a run for their money, frequently infusing deep blues, grays, greens, and even shades of black throughout their homes, starting with the chef’s quarters.

Don’t be afraid to “overdo” it. If white feels blinding, a dark kitchen feels ageless, minimal, and earthy. Throw in some pops! of color to add depth and balance, and you’ve got the recipe for a space fit for even America’s favorite vampire family.


Some fads arrive and never make an exit. Make a striking statement with a bold choice in the heart of your home! A dreamy dark kitchen is the little black dress of interior design; you just can’t go wrong. Every great story begins with a little risk, right?

Transforming your home by bringing a little life to its most valuable room. We’re thinking… tall, dark, and handsome! Alexa, dim the lights and play Frank Sinatra. Our new favorite trend is sultry.

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Roxanne Hale, owner, and broker of Arthouse has spent over 20 years in the real estate business. Here you'll find a collection of stories about buying and selling real estate & home building advice, housing history, and architecture & design tips. Oh, and some fun personal stories every now and then!

Homewood, AL

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