Can Kitchen Cabinets Be Too White?

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

White is among the most commonly used neutral colors used in interior design. There are several shades of white to choose from, and they each contribute to a different aesthetic. So, can kitchen cabinets be too white?

Kitchen cabinets can be too white, especially if you already have lots of white in the room. Shades of white that are too bright can make your kitchen feel cold, impersonal, and clinical. White kitchens are less popular than they used to be because they are hard to maintain and some homeowners feel that they lack personality.

You can make a white kitchen more dynamic if you add earthy and warm tones so it’s less clinical. Otherwise, you can opt for navy, beige, or slate gray kitchen cabinets as an alternative to white. Follow along as we explore how kitchen cabinets can be too white and what you can do about it.

Is White a Good Color for Kitchen Cabinets?

White is a good color for kitchen cabinets, but not if they are too bright. Cabinets that are too white are often perceived as cold, clinical, and lacking personality. White cabinets reflect light, and if they are too bright, they can be overwhelming.

The popularity of white cabinets is mostly because it is a safe color choice. White is a neutral color which makes it easy to pair with the rest of the décor and furniture in your kitchen. Bright, pure white kitchen cabinets can be too reflective and bold in many cases.

It typically depends on your lighting setup and how much white you have in the rest of the kitchen. White kitchen cabinets work the best when they contrast darker colors or similar neutral tones, such as gray. White kitchen cabinets can look great even if they are too bright, but only if you balance the color scheme.

How to Balance a White Kitchen

The best way to balance a white kitchen is to add warm colors to the space. Warm tones and dark tones serve as a great contrast to white kitchen cabinets. They can add character to your kitchen and offset some of the brightness of cabinets that are too white.

Warm colors like red, yellow, and orange are a great way to balance a white kitchen. Use a warm backsplash, countertop, flooring, or decorations to make the room feel less clinical. You don’t need to redo your flooring or repaint your walls to balance a white kitchen.

Something as simple as installing black hardware on the kitchen cabinets can create a fun balance and contrast. Dim lighting can help make white kitchen cabinets feel less overwhelming as well. Otherwise, the best way to balance a white kitchen is to decorate your kitchen with dark or warm decorations and art.

Why White Kitchens are on the Way Out

White kitchens have slowly been on the way out because many homeowners consider them impersonal. Touches of white throughout a kitchen don’t make a space feel cold, but too much is overwhelming. Current trends in interior design point to warm colors being more popular in a kitchen.

Besides the clinical vibe that white kitchens put off, homeowners dislike how high maintenance they are. You will have to clean your white kitchen regularly because they are unforgiving. Stains, dust, debris, and oil will stand out against a white backdrop.

White kitchens are high-maintenance and you will need to continually clean them so they don’t look bad. This can be time-consuming and will understandably become old quickly. White cabinets or countertops are a nice touch, but prepare to clean them more often than if they are gray, black, or brown.

Alternative to White Kitchen Cabinets

The high-maintenance nature of white kitchen cabinets makes many homeowners consider an alternative. Overly white kitchen cabinets often feel cold and impersonal, but they aren’t the only option. Luckily, there are several alternatives to white kitchen cabinets that can add personality to the room.


Slate gray is an iconic kitchen color that has none of the downsides of white. This dark shade of gray is a safe kitchen cabinet color because it isn’t cold and clinical. Slate is still a neutral color like white but it isn’t bright by any means.

You won’t have to worry about clashing with any other colors in your kitchen if you have slate cabinets. Consider bronze or gold hardware for your slate kitchen cabinets. You can even use slate kitchen cabinets as an accent color for a room that is more cold or warm in tone to create a fun contrast.


Navy kitchen cabinets are a great alternative to white. This dark shade offers the best of both worlds between dark and cool tones. Navy cabinets pair well with light countertops, walls, and flooring in your kitchen.

Try not to install black hardware on your navy kitchen cabinets. Navy and black simply don’t go well together, and the combination can be distracting. Otherwise, navy cabinets go great with several colors such as yellow, gold, red, white, and gray.


Consider beige as an alternative to white kitchen cabinets to add character to the room. Beige adds earthy tones to your kitchen which is a popular trend in modern interior design. A neutral color, beige doesn’t limit which colors you can pair it with which is an invaluable trait.

You can still have white décor, walls, or countertops, but beige cabinets will make the room less clinical. Beige kitchen cabinets go well with black, white, and orange decorations. They aren’t as high-maintenance as white kitchen cabinets, but they are light enough that you’ll need to clean them often.


Black is just as much of a staple for kitchen cabinets as white. The key difference is that black cabinets don’t carry the same downsides. You don’t want your kitchen to be too dark, but black kitchen cabinets with white or silver hardware are always impressive.

Black goes with everything so you won’t be limited as to how you can decorate your kitchen. The only stipulation is that you will want to consider how dark you want your kitchen to be. Too much dark décor, art, and furniture in a kitchen can be just as bad as kitchen cabinets that are too white.


There are several shades of brown that work as an alternative to white kitchen cabinets. You have many options that range from chocolate to ebony and everything in between. Brown is an earthy color that is easy to pair with kitchen appliances, furniture, and art.

Gold hardware and brown kitchen cabinets are a match made in heaven. This earthy combination will draw eyes. Consider adding warm tones throughout the kitchen to continue with the earthy aesthetic that you establish with your cabinets.

Summing it Up

Kitchen cabinets can be too white, and that can throw off the whole room’s aesthetic. Too bright of white cabinets can make your kitchen feel like a hospital or clinic. White is a great color because it is neutral and easy to pair with other tones, but only if it isn’t too bright.

Kitchen cabinets that are too white can be overly reflective of the room’s lighting and even the sun. This can make the space feel overwhelming. White kitchen cabinets are also difficult to maintain because dirt, dust, and debris can easily collect and stain them.

You will need to clean them more often to keep up with the stains, and that can be a hassle. That is the main reason that white kitchen cabinets, hardware, and décor are less popular than ever. Consider alternatives to white kitchen cabinets such as gray, brown, black, beige, and navy to avoid a clinical aesthetic.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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