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You don’t often hear the phrase white kitchen cabinets in the same breath as more lively design descriptors. It’s more likely to be paired with words like boring, blank canvas, or worse, builder grade. But every so often, the Domino team comes across a white kitchen that actually gets us excited, and when we do, we don’t forget it.

It all starts with choosing the right shade, but that’s only the first step in the process. It’s the little things that separate these stereotypical stark spaces from the dynamic ones—think: edgy hardware, veiny marble countertops, and reclaimed-wood hoods. The run-of-the-mill has met its match with these 11 spaces.

The One With the Ladder 

With 14-foot ceilings, these brownstone owners needed a boost to access the uppermost cupboards of this floor-to-ceiling storage. The solution was a custom rolling ladder worthy of a modern version of Beauty and the Beast; it not only makes this white kitchen feel more personal, it makes the whole space that much more functional.

The Teeny-Tiny One 

In this 525-square-foot garage–turned–guest suite, a pint-size kitchenette makes a major impact with its scaled-down cabinetry. A hunter green backsplash, floating shelves, and understated brass knobs transform the white cabinets into a swoon-worthy feature.  

The Swirly One

When the design blogger behind this Toronto home first spotted this Stonewood slab at her local stone shop, she thought it looked a little like a giraffe print…or maybe the inside of a geode? Whatever it reminds you of, it definitely takes this white kitchen to a new dimension.

The IKEA One

Sarah Sherman Samuel elevated her big-box cabinets with the beaded drawer and door fronts she designed for Semihandmade. Brass half-moon pulls put a sculptural spin on the traditional slabs.

The One With Bold Marble

Dramatic is the best way to describe Paonazzo marble, the stone that architect Elizabeth Roberts used for the countertops in this New York City townhouse. The wavy blue-gray lines call for subtle detailing on the cabinetry, hence the knobs that fade into the background.

The One That’s Rich With Character

When history is on your side (as it was for designer Jessica Helgerson when she refurbished this 1885 Victorian home), use it to your advantage. A tin ceiling and antique-looking island bring a timeless feel to the millwork.

The One With a Rustic Touch

White kitchen cabinets are far from boring when unexpected textures spice things up. Note the reclaimed-wood hood and crisp brick backsplash in this Studio McGee–designed space.

The One That Gets Specific

Another trick we’re stealing from Studio McGee: Glass fronts on upper cabinets, which add welcome visual interest (especially when there are intricate doorframes involved).

The Sleek One

To achieve that coveted Scandinavian vibe, skip the hardware altogether. Instead of doing plain slab fronts, Brooklyn-based designer Crystal Sinclair opted for a Shaker-like design, adding depth and making the cupboards easier to grip.

The One That’s All About the Hardware

The first time we saw London designer Jo Sampson’s golden indoor-outdoor kitchen, it sent shock waves through our system. Fitting, since her drawer pulls are shaped like lightning bolts, which happen to be a low-commitment way to embrace trends in a white kitchen (Sampson can just swap out the fixtures when she tires of them).

The Beachy One

Simple cabinetry is an easy decision for a Colonial house at the New Jersey shore, but a seafoam mosaic floor and terrazzo dining table are equally obvious choices—they scream “summer” in the Mediterranean, not monotony.