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How to Design the Ultimate All White Kitchen

Trend pieces have been signaling the end of the all-white kitchen era for ages, but the classic look—and the myriad ways it lends itself to interpretation—give the bright, monochromatic room seemingly unlimited staying power. While there can be a fine line between beautifully simple and sterile, in the hands of an expert designer, a white kitchen can be warm, welcoming, and wonderfully chic. For advice and insights on how to pull off the ultimate iteration, we asked Glenna Stone of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Glenna Stone Interior Design to discuss her favorite ways to put a creative twist on the timeless favorite. Here are her recommendations.

Choose the right white. Picking your paint color comes down to personal preference, and whether you gravitate toward cool or warm tones. Stone’s favorite cool white is Farrow & Ball Strong White No. 2001. For a warmer white, her go-to is Sherwin-Williams White Flour SW 7102. For a good grey-white, she recommends Benjamin Moore 2108-70 Lacey Pearl, and for a blue-white she favors Farrow & Ball Cabbage White No. 269. If you’re seeking a white that reads green, Stone recommends Sherwin-Williams SW 6168 Moderne White.

View your colors vertically. Stone stresses that it’s critical to look at cabinet and wall paint colors vertically in the space in which they will be used, rather than looking down on them side-by-side.  “People often lay out samples on a table to look at them, and that is totally wrong,” she says. “The way the light hits a vertical and horizontal surface makes a big difference in how the color renders.”

Incorporate glass-fronted cabinets. One of Stone’s favorite tricks to add life to an all-white kitchen is to use glass-fronted cabinets in the design. “Showing a pop of color in your dishes that peeps through the glass gives your kitchen the vibe of home and love,” she says. Incorporating glass cabinets into your kitchen will also add depth to the overall look by mixing in a transparent material among all the solid doors.

Don’t skip the window treatments. There can be a tendency among people to reserve window treatments for bedrooms and living areas, but in Stone’s opinion, the kitchen is a must. “Adding in a beautiful Roman shade can create some softness in a space with so many hard materials,” she says. Even a plain shade or understated pattern can have a big impact. “There are so many beautiful fabrics, but it doesn’t have to be bold to be interesting,” Stone says. “Sometimes, especially in a white kitchen, less is more.”

Be brave with your backsplash. This is one area where you can inject some serious personality into your kitchen. Stone notes that a colored backsplash can provide an eye-catching contrast with white cabinets, as well as help warm up a space (she recommends soft blues and greens, as well as taupe, to help make the room feel less chilly). Alternatively, bringing the countertop slab up into the backsplash—as in the kitchen pictured above—will create a clean, modern look and serve as a focal point. As a third option, Stone suggests using a mirrored backsplash, which she says is an especially good choice for small areas, as the shiny surface will reflect light, colors, and textures throughout the space.

Take a stylish leap with lighting. One major benefit to opting for an all-white kitchen is that it allows you to feel free to inject style in any way you please with your accessories. Enter: chic lighting in the form of a classic pendant, beautiful flush mount, or show-stopping chandelier. “Personally, I love using a metal that coordinates with your kitchen cabinet hardware,” Stone says.

Let your faucet shine. As one of the most-used elements in the kitchen, the faucet should hardly be treated as an afterthought. According to Stone, this is a great opportunity to make a statement, whether it’s with an interesting metal or within the design itself. Some have even been known to design their entire kitchens around a show-stopping faucet, she notes.




Photos by Paul S. Bartholomew & Rebecca McAlpin

Featured space and TSG Tip 313 from Glenna Stone, principal of Glenna Stone Interior Design in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Glenna Stone Interior Design is featured in The Scout Guide Main Line & Philadelphia.

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