Black &
white kitchens

As the kitchen has become a more central element of the modern home and lifestyle, it has grown to be more than just a space to cook, shut away from the rest of the home. In many homes, it is the centerpiece of interior plans. It is a place to gather, bond, prepare food, eat together, and do homework. Because of this integral role in the modern home, it is even more important that the kitchen not only impresses now, but that it holds up over time.  And preferably a long time! The combination and contrast in a black and white kitchen design has enjoyed tremendous staying power through the years. And not without reason.

Black and white kitchens over the years

In the early decades of kitchen design, many of the accessories, cabinetry and utensils were only available in the basic colors of white or black. And throughout the decades - whether the bright white enamel of large kitchen sinks, or the black and white checkered floors contrasting to brightly colored appliances in a 50s kitchen - black and white kitchens have enjoyed a staying power which makes them both contemporary and ageless. Black and white kitchens fit to many tastes and settings – whether modern, Bauhaus, minimalistic or farmhouse and rustic. Some kitchen planners prefer a more subdued look, while others prefer a bolder statement. The use of the contrasting hues as a primary palette allows for the implementation of a wide variety of other colors, design elements and accessories. So, if you are thinking of incorporating this timeless design in your home, the first thing to consider is your space.

Small black and white kitchens: Making the most of a small space

Modern kitchens have become more of a focal point in the home. They serve as a place of gathering and central part of our daily lives. The type of space in your kitchen plays a vital role in your kitchen design decisions. If you have a smaller space with which to work, then consider a primarily white kitchen with black accents. Likewise, if the kitchen space has low ceilings or less natural light, then the use of a primarily white kitchen with black accents will provide the impression of more space. Consider using white cabinets with black accents such as: handles, fixtures, appliances, etc. For a bold and more striking look, you could use a primarily white kitchen with a black countertop. If you are planning a kitchen with an island, an eye-catching option is to have a primarily white kitchen with a contrasting black island.

Open space black and white kitchens

In many modern homes, the open plan kitchen means that the space is a connection between living space and cooking space. It means that the kitchen is not just a place to cook and eat, but to gather and to entertain. Because open spaces usually have higher ceilings and allow for more natural light, you can use darker hues in your kitchen design. In these open plans, a black kitchen with white accessories provides a bolder appearance. Using glossy black and white kitchen cabinets in an open kitchen can make for an even more modern appearance.  

Designing a black and white kitchen: What should be considered?

Before getting into some more specifics regarding floors, cabinets, countertops and walls, there are some basic design elements to consider. Black and white designs provide a fantastic opportunity for the use of various architectural and design elements. While working on your design ideas, these general rules will help to guide you:

  • In principle, when deciding on the design for a premium kitchen, a white kitchen with black accents is a more muted and safer choice, while a primarily black kitchen with white accents is a bolder choice.
  • In addition, consider various shades of black and white to use. Different shades of black and white can provide warmer and colder impressions. A cream color will appear warmer than pure white, and some shades of black will appear cooler if incorporated with blue undertones. 
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Black and white kitchen: What is the best wall color? 

A black and white design can serve as the perfect backdrop for splashes of bold colors. When considering your choice of paint or wallpaper, these designs are so versatile because they do not clash with other bolder hues.

For a more subtle look, you can use light gray tones on the walls to blend with the contrast of black and white. In a smaller kitchen, you can use lighter shades on the walls, while a darker gray can be used in larger and open spaces with more direct light. 

Because of the stark contrast, think of using additional colors as accents to your design. The use of brighter and bolder hues will make the space appear more modern and livelier. While the use of earthy tones will give an impression of warmth, particularly if incorporated with other, more traditional design elements.

Ideal floors in a black and white kitchen

Black and white provides a great contrast to wood flooring. Particularly if you incorporate similar woods and colors in the flooring, countertops and décor, it can provide a cohesive, down to earth atmosphere. For a more modern and industrial look in your kitchen, consider using a concrete floor. The sleek gray of a polished concrete floor provides an excellent contrast to black and white kitchen cabinetry. For a bold and adventurous, yet classic look, use a black and white checkered tile floor in a predominantly white kitchen with black accents.

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Which countertop in a black and white kitchen?

In a black and white kitchen, the use of a wooden countertop will provide the kitchen with a more earthy feel and will create a warmer atmosphere, while a marble or stone countertop will give the kitchen design a more elegant look. A stainless steel or metal countertop lends a more modern, colder and industrial effect. A primarily black kitchen with a white countertop will produce a more bold and often more modern effect. While a primarily white kitchen with a black countertop can provide a striking element to an otherwise more traditional look.

Black and white kitchen cabinets – Matte or glossy finish?

When considering which style of cabinets to use in your kitchen, it is useful to note that glossy cabinets work better in a modern kitchen, whereas matte finished cabinets will look better in more traditional style kitchens.  While cabinets in a gloss finish provide a sleek, modern appearance, the matte finish will provide a warmer and atmosphere.  It is a common conception that the black cabinetry is difficult to keep clean. However, with innovative technologies such as AntiPrint from SieMatic, even high-gloss kitchens never lose their brilliance.

Black and white kitchen design combinations

Because black and white do not clash with any color, these kitchens provide a fantastic base with which to work. There are many intriguing combinations for you to consider:

  • Using wooden elements, such as wooden countertops, wooden handles or wooden floors will provide your kitchen with a more earthy feel and will create a warmer atmosphere.
  • Combining with a marble or stone countertop will give your kitchen design a more elegant look.
  • And combining with a metal countertop and metal fixtures, will provide a more modern effect. Additionally, brass, gold or copper fixtures are warmer options, while stainless steel will give off a sleeker and more industrial impression.

Still not sure which materials to incorporate in your kitchen? Read here for some more ideas and inspiration about kitchen materials or reach out to our Kitchen Concierge for a consultation.

What kind of accessories for your black and white kitchen?

You can pair various accessories with your black and white kitchen for inspiring designs:

  • Bold and Bright: The understated, yet contrasting, backdrop can lend itself to the use of bolder accessories and decorations. The use of bold and bright accessories, appliances or decor can provide a fun, and visually striking additional contrast in your dream kitchen. Think 50s diner style: black and white checkered floor, with white cabinets and brightly colored appliances.
  • Natural: Particularly in modern black and white kitchens, accessorizing with natural materials such as earthenware, terracotta, wood, and live plants or herbs will bring life and warmth to the atmosphere in your kitchen. 
  • Textures: play with various textures. For example, using black or white, glossy subway tiles as a backsplash can provide texture and an interesting contrast to matte finished cabinets.

Are black and white kitchens in style?

Black and white kitchens have been a standard of design through every fad and trend. They are so versatile, that they are simultaneously modern and timeless. The striking contrast provides a wonderful backdrop which can be combined with a wide variety of design elements to project class and modernity while never going out of style. The bottom line is: these adaptable designs are unlikely to look out of date at any time.

Why black and white kitchens?

Still not convinced if it is right for you? Here are a few of the best arguments for black and white kitchens: 

  • They are contemporary and ageless.
  • They are highly versatile in that they do not clash with other colors.
  • They provide a great contrasting backdrop for the use of other bold design elements.
  • They combine seamlessly with many components, for example:
    • with wood and earth-tones for a warm and homely vibe
    • with stone and marble for an elegant and classy atmosphere     
    • or with concrete and metal for a modern and industrial look

What to consider while planning your black and white kitchen?

There are many things to consider when planning your new custom kitchen. The following questions can help provide inspiration and insights.

  • What is the light source in the kitchen and is it sufficient for a mostly black kitchen with white accents?
  • What style do you prefer and how does it fit the décor in your home? Elegant? Minimalistic? Cool and Industrial? Warm and Rustic?
  • Is the kitchen a small space or large space? High or low ceilings?
  • Is the kitchen part of a larger living space?
  • Are you considering a kitchen island?
  • Do you need a kitchen that is easy to care for and easy to clean?
  • Is there a separate dining room, or do you need space to sit and eat in your kitchen?

Need more inspiration?

If you are still in the process of gathering ideas for your kitchen contact a dealer next to you. Our friendly consultants can implement your ideas directly or discuss with you what your black and white kitchen might look like, and which materials, colors and lighting concepts would fit best.

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