Published on November 19, 2019

white kitchen wiht a view of the front doorPin It
Photography by Helen Norman; Design by Anne Tollett of Hanover Avenue

The number-one thing that separates sterile white kitchen cabinets from supreme white kitchen cabinets? Attention to detail. Millwork and hardware are crucial elements, of course, but it’s the paint color that can really make or break the look. Not unlike blues, greens, and blacks, there’s a whole spectrum of whites out there, ranging from warmer yellow tones to cooler shades with hints of griege. 

The question of which is the best white is an age-old debate, mainly because a hue can look one way in a room with tons of natural light and another in a space with fewer windows. On a mission to narrow down our seemingly infinite options, we pinpointed our favorite white kitchens and asked the designers behind each of the spaces to reveal the shade they used. The seven winners: 

Shaded White by Farrow & Ball 

NYC loft with wood floors and white eat in islandPin It
Photography by Nicole Franzen; Design by Space Exploration

Kevin Greenberg, founding principal at design studio Space Exploration, prioritizes contrast, even if the juxtaposition is barely noticeable. He opted for Benjamin Moore’s classic Decorator’s White in a flat finish for the walls of this New York City loft, then offset the lower cabinets in this darker gray-beige. His secret to making a streamlined kitchen feel considered: “Don’t forget the little things, like the finish and location of your outlets, or appliances that are as handsome as they are functional.”

Whisper by Dunn-Edwards 

wood ceiling aframe cabinPin It
Photography by Ryan Garvin; Design by Shannon Wilkins

If Shannon Wilkins is ever between two paint colors, the tiebreaker is always white. Her logic: It sets the stage for cohesion. In this A-frame cabin in Big Bear Lake, California, for instance, the designer coordinated the airy hue she used on the cabinets with the walls and the floors. 

Simply White by Benjamin Moore 

A few pros we talked to consider this timeless swatch their go-to, including Ashley Clark of Shop Skout, who used it in her own Newport Beach, California, kitchen. “It’s a tiny bit warm, without any yellow,” she shares. When Mandy Cheng covered the cabinets in this Manhattan Beach retreat, she contrasted it with the brand’s moody charcoal color, Soot, on the island. 

Popcorn by Porter’s Paints 

bright white space filled with vintage decorPin It
Photography and Design by Kara Rosenlund

If you’re still wondering why everyone and their mother love a white kitchen, travel photographer and designer Kara Rosenlund sums it up simply: “It bounces so much light around, allowing the space to feel larger, but it also brightens your mood.” Her space is the definition of uplifting, with a large cutting board hanging on the wall and vintage paintings casually leaning on the counter. 

Decorator’s White by Benjamin Moore

archway alcove with shelves and white cabientsPin It
Photography by Dionel Fisher; Design by KLH Custom Homes

This hue might be a part of the company’s Classics Collection, but Liz Hoekzema took a very contemporary approach in this Grand Rapids, Michigan, home by pairing it with a soft shade of millennial pink. 

Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore

white creamy kitchen cabinetsPin It
Photography and Design by Studio Mcgee

As far as off-whites go, this creamy option reigns supreme. Shea McGee used the warm color on the cabinets and the walls in this space, opting for equally airy bleached white oak for the kitchen door and island base. 

Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore 

brass wall sconces and white kitchen with subway tilePin It
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEANNE CANTO; Design by Holli Rodrigues

Holli Rodrigues was torn between this swatch and the brand’s Simply White when she was designing this European-inspired kitchen. The determining factor? This one offered balance; it’s not too stark, not too warm. No wonder she calls it the “perfect bright white.” 

See more stories like this: 
Hands Down: The 10 Best Blue Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinets
The 7 Best Black Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinets (and Beyond)
10 Kitchen Designs That Will Make You Want Colorful Cabinets

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