reader asks: Why all the white kitchens?

Tuesday, January 15

Have you ever wondered why there are so many white kitchens in the blog world and on Pinterest?  Personally, I think they are gorgeous.  I would take any of these dreamy white kitchens in a heartbeat:







But I recently received a great question from one of my readers.  She is not a fan of the white kitchen.
Connie graciously agreed to let me share her email with you.

Dear Abby,
Love your blog and designs!  I will soon be redecorating/designing/remodeling a new town home with an open floor plan.  I do not want white kitchen cabinets.  My question is: Do you know of decor blogs with wood cabinets?  Have you done any kitchens with wood cabinets?  All the blogs I find have white kitchens, white slip covered sofa, vintage decor and more of things I do not want.  I can't seem to find the inspiration I am looking for.  Thanks for any help.
--Connie

This is not the first time I've been asked this question.  Friends, I have the answer.  Well, my answer. :-) Feel free to pipe in with your opinions in the comment section!

#1  A white kitchen is timeless.  At least it can be if it's done well.  Nearly ever other wood tone has a date associated with the color.  Oak was in the 80's.  Dark cherry speaks to the 90's and even the 00's.  But if you installed white cabinets in the 1990's, chances are your kitchen doesn't shout '1995 makeover'.
To me, oak says 80's.  

Early 2000's kitchen?  Probably.

#2  White kitchens photograph well.  There's no denying that white kitchens and even white walls just look fabulous in photographs.  Bright.  Cheerful.  Tasteful.  A magazine doesn't necessarily want to publish your dark and possibly depressing kitchen.  Even if it looks beautiful in person, it's all about the photograph.

#3  Your natural wood cabinets can be bossy.  Take a look at this kitchen below.  Helooooooo orange/yellow cabinets.  This kitchen is wrong, to me, in so many ways.  One being that I don't think that floor looks best, but I  am not in the game of criticizing the designs of others.  My hope is that you can see the yellow/orange tone of the cabinet really determines all the other materials that can be used in the room. In contrast, with white cabinets, you can really go in any style direction.

Still dreaming of wood cabinets?  If you're going to go with a natural wood finish, stick to the medium tones and avoid the orange undertones.  Here are some wood kitchens I can actually appreciate.  I believe wood tones lend themselves to the following styles: rustic, farmhouse, contemporary, modern.

modern rustic farmhouse

These dark cabinets look like furniture and really make a statement.

Contemporary, custom...it works. 

This is not a kitchen I would design, but I still appreciate the look.

This 'vintage farmhouse' look works well with the finish of the cabinets. Personally, there is too much counter clutter for me.

Love this for a really urban environment.  The aged cabinets look awesome.

Pretty, yes?

Again, the vintage farmhouse look works well with the wood.

What do you do if you don't want wood but an all white kitchen isn't your cup of tea?  I say we mix the finishes.  There are so many ways to get the warmth you crave from the wood without having a huge kitchen full of dark or bossy tones.



What I see happening more and more are grey, black or blue cabinetry.  Also, we are mixing metals, mixing cabinet colors, and some are even moving away from stainless steel appliances.






So where can you go to find inspiration for wood toned cabinetry in your kitchen?
You can search by room and even filter by style and your location. There are thousands of kitchens no matter your style.

Connie- I hope that answers your question and you find oodles of inspiration on Houzz.

Where do you stand on the white kitchen vs. natural wood cabinets?
Do you know of blogs or websites that feature the look of wood?  

If you are interested in working together to create a home you truly love,
click here for more information.
  

17 comments:

Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home} said...

Great inspiration, Abby. I still love white kitchens, they're just so bright and clean feeling, but the wood looks you gathered are gorgeous. I also like the contrast color island look. Have a great day!

Cindy F. said...

Great point and great answers. We live in a John Wieland home and they do alot of natural wood kitchens. If you go to jwhomes.com and look around at pics of their model homes you'll see natural wood inspiration.

A Delightful Design said...

Thanks for the link, Cindy! Looks like they make gorgeous homes.

Cathy Wall said...

Great post on an interesting question Abby! I personally am a fan of mixing it up, but have helped a few clients do wood kitchens of late. Those clients also found inspiration on Pinterest.

katie gavigan said...

What a fantastic post! And so many great images...I'm sure I'll be coming back to this one again (especially as I'm currently trying to decide on paint color for our lower cabinets). Thanks for the inspiration!

Carmel @ Our Fifth House said...

Great points - you said it all so well. I agree - white is timeless and considering the cost of a renovation it's a safe bet money wise. I think the mix of wood with white is a great look, and while I love the painted color cabinets right now I think that may be a trend that won't stick around for too long. Ultimately you gotta go with your gut - it's your kitchen - do what you love.

Carol@HouseandHomeDefined.com said...

Great, great post. I personally am split between mostly white (off white) mixed with a bit if wood for warmth. A bit if warm wood cozies up a space. I could also luve with navy and mid tone wood for years. Someday.....

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Great post Abby. I LOVE white kitchens but I do love other finishes mixed in…..perhaps wood countertops or a stained island, a free standing dish cabinet or some cabinetry that is a different color. Great inspiration pics - thanks for sharing!!

Luci @Bungalow At Home said...

They are classic, timeless and just look so inviting that;s why! The wood cabinets pics you chose are gorgeous but most folks go for the cherry look which to me screams 2005.. The gray cabinets are beautiful too!

I agree, choose what you love unless you are planning on moving anytime soon.. When I did my kitchen 5 years ago I chose a white kitchen but added some yellow cabinets as well. I still like it 5 years later and the yellow would be easy enough to change out if I needed to.. Love your blog by the way!!

Dana Frieling said...

Well said, my friend. Great post, Abby.

Bethany@http://thislittleestate.blogspot.ca/ said...

Very well written post! We recently redid out kitchen and I am constantly getting readers positive feedback on our wood cabinetry. They have expressed the same thoughts as YOUR reader and are lookin for wood inspired kitchens. With two messy cooks and three kids who love to eat A LOT a white kitchen sadly did not make sence for us. :(

I love all your pictures of white kitchens and I adore the coloured kitchens as well. Heck, I like any clean kitchen ;)

Loved all your insight today.

SHERRY HART said...

Abby you are so right. I put white cabinets in my kitchen when we renovated in 1993. I have changed the hardware 3 times to update. But thankfully white is always in style!

designchic said...

I'm the biggest fan of white kitchens- they always make me happy. I could live in a gorgeous gray kitchen, but the natural woods feel too dark - loved your post!

Amber B (Simple Dwellings) said...

I am also a huge fan of white and so happy that our home already had white cabinets. We had flowers scattered on some of our tiles, and I just (2 days ago!) painted our ceramic tiles! So happy I did that.

Julie Taylor and Danni Greenwalt said...

Great post...love the look of white..just painted my kitchen cabinets white and love them!

Michelle said...

I must admit Im a fan of white cabinets I think they look fresh and bright and lift up the space. If you have wooden cabinets you need a lot of natural light so it doesnt look to heavy and dark. Im actually just starting to plan my kitchen renovation and have had the layout drawn up last week, my biggest challenge is going to be picking the benchtop to match everything - I dont want it to be boring but I want it to be timeless and not date too quickly.

Val said...

White kitchens speak to me....I love bright and cheery.

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