Why White Kitchens are the Real MVP

Pandemic life has a lot of people thinking ‘wow, my house really needs a refresh’. After spending countless hours at home, things people have overlooked for many years are now staring them in the face – literally.

The most common spaces I have been contracted to work on in the past twelve months are kitchens, master bedrooms and bathrooms; in that order and it’s no wonder why. Busy families who were often eating out on the fly, are now dining in, parents who used to spend eight to ten hours a day away from their children are now with them – sometimes 24/7 and bathrooms are functioning double time with all day use.

My clients I consult with about kitchens always ask the same question: “I really love a bright kitchen, but are white kitchens going out of style?”

Here’s the thing; home trends are inevitable, but I really believe strongly that white kitchens are the real MVP.

Let me back that up with a few examples.

First, white is the golden neutral; it always plays well with others. White makes a fabulous backdrop for those trendy accents that you’ll inevitably trade out way before you switch out your white cabinets. If you like a cozier space, adding warm wood accents and textures will give your bright space a hug.

Second, while dark and moody spaces are on the rise, they don’t work well in every space. Most people do not have the square footage that a fully dark room commands and furthermore, how often do you hear someone say, ‘gosh, I wish I could make this already small room feel smaller.’ Don’t get me wrong, black might be one of my favorite colors, but it’s a safer color for an accent wall, furniture or a kitchen island.

White on the other hand makes everything look larger than reality. It’s a reflective neutral that spreads beautiful natural light throughout the space thus giving us the illusion that the room is much bigger than it measures out to.

The above left photo is a before photo of a client’s home before we did a cost conscious update. It was dark and cave-like. Not the welcoming place you might choose to gather and entertain. Here’s the full transformation. The space on the right however, is a kitchen with roughly the same footprint and square feet. It’s easy to see the difference, no?

Another reason white is the MVP is based on my obsession with cleanliness; specifically sanitary spaces. Does a dark kitchen hide more? Absolutely. Is that a good thing? Not necessarily.

When we were getting our last house ready to sell I was horrified at how dirty our kitchen island was. My theory on why the island was so gross compared to the perimeter cabinets was that we could easily see spills, dust and stains on the white cabinets more easily and because of that, they were cleaned up immediately vs. what eventually built up over time on the island because it wasn’t as easy to notice in the moment.

I’m not saying that a dark island is gross, however it is a case for more intentional scrutiny for a deep clean if you decide to go that route.

The last reason white kitchens are the MVP is for resale value.

White is a classic and timeless look. With updated appliances, attractive furnishings and tidy floors, your white kitchen will sell you home a million times hand over fist compared to the dated look of the inexpensive yellow pine found in older homes.

The reason why goes in tandem with the three cases above. It will play well with any style: farmhouse, modern, grandmillenial… you name it. It’s easy to see at a glance if it has been cared for and kept clean regularly and it will without a doubt make your home appear larger than it really is.

So there it is; white reigns as the MVP of kitchens. It may not stay forever, but it’s always going to play nicer than its counterparts over time!

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