Today’s Timeless White Kitchens: Does Traditional Style Speak to You addresses an evergreen topic of which we never seem to tire! What makes a kitchen with white cabinets and neutral colors so livable and luxurious? How can you design it to feel cozy, warm, and sophisticated, but not sterile? What design ingredients create a well-balanced mix of function and beauty?
BTW, how in the world can it be Hello Lovely’s 13th year of life?
It was January 1, 2010, when me and my fluffy little shih-tzu logged on…back before Pinterest, Instagram, iPads, or 3-D printers were things.
Were you a reader back in the day? Since there was no Pinterest, blogs were THE spot to seek inspiring interior design ideas.
At that time, blogging entailed cataloguing my personal interests. But as it bloomed into a business, the focus shifted to what readers want and need.
Plenty has changed (oh, the disruptive ads, good gracious, I know), but not the emphasis on: timeless and tranquil interiors, pale color palettes, European country inspired design, and French everything. Thank you for journeying with me…we’ve all been through a lot. We deserve a caramel macchiato so pardon me while I step away for one of these:
Timeless White Kitchens: Does Traditional Style Speak to You?
Thank you for your devotion. For reading with such whole-hearted tenderness as I grow and learn. Thank you for coming here to be inspired by the work of brilliant creatives and home decorators.
The friendships and connections with you continue to enrich my daily journey. They inspire the words written here about beauty and blessing. And they fragrant the atmosphere with more peace.
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1. Beautiful TEXTURE from stone, millwork, and planks keeps interest high
While I know this look is Old World and probably not what comes to mind when you think “traditional kitchen,” the point is “traditional” never has one look! Thankfully, there are endless variations and interpretations of a traditional white kitchen.
Here’s a traditional kitchen with a few contemporary elements (like the waterfall island) and all sorts of classic details for a completely different airy mood. Aren’t the paneled moldings, arch detail, and rich fixtures divine?
Traditional kitchens can have cozy cottage style and Nordic charm too.
This design by The Fox Group is one never far from my mind. While it features a mix of texture and cool tones with warm accents, I love that it feels so calm and old fashioned. The bespoke cabinetry, architectural details, and craftsmanship (notice how the paneled walls meet the panels at the ceiling) contribute to a luxurious yet understated mood.
Have you ever seen an upper cabinet designed like this one above with its lack of cabinet doors and pretty china display? I also love how this kitchen demonstrates the power of (1) checkered floors and (2) hanging art in beautiful frames in the kitchen.
2. A farmhouse sink has ageless charm
Though we see apron-front farm sinks frequently in modern farmhouse design, they are right at home in traditional spaces because of their rich history.
Here’s a beautiful tonal traditional kitchen with a beautifully lit sink area:
A bridge faucet also lends traditional charm to fireclay white sinks.
3. Touches of green (or greenery) add life.
This traditional farmhouse kitchen with subway tile white backsplash and industrial accents (notice the stainless kitchen island) has two tone cabinetry in pistachio and white for a unique nod to the past.
4. Consider uniting a rainbow of whites (alabaster/putty/stone/beige/ivory, y’all).
I find it so silly to see headlines like “white kitchens are out in the 2020s.” As if there was one shade of white. Timeless white kitchens are not a singular concept. Know how many different shades of white are out there?
There are snow whites, putty, ivory, alabaster, greyed-whites,
cool whites, warm whites, beige, oatmeal, and more! (I also become annoyed when I read we must always introduce a pop of color or colorful accents. Low contrast and tone on tone palettes can work with the right balance of architecture and design.)
Traditional white cabinetry can have tons of relief detail or very little; plus there are glazes that may be layered over white:
5. Not every inch of wall space need be covered with cabinets
Americans are slowly getting used to the look of a more traditional unfitted kitchen.
And I have heard from lots of folks who opted for shelves over cabinets that they love the ease of being able to see everything. It really has a lot to do with your unique organizational style.
Because of plenty of folks do not want to see their dishes outside of a box.
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6. Built-ins & Banquettes
I think built-ins and banquettes may be my favorite thing about kitchens in old houses or well designed breakfast nooks in new ones.
They’re so much less clunky than most dining sets, and they encourage so much intimacy.
Is it just me? I imagine quieter conversation happening for homeowners in these spaces. They feel special and set apart.
7. Black contrast with white need not feel austere
While I’m not sure about the historical use of black in kitchens, many traditional kitchen designs adopt it. It adds edginess, looks brilliant with brass, and often feels chic.
Black can bring to mind aged iron and imparts strength.
8. The warmth of gold with white is rich indeed.
There’s no chance I will even try to keep apprised of whether gold tones and brass are in style or not.
Sometimes a design needs the warmth of gold, and sometimes it doesn’t. You get to decide.
Like the idea of the clear glass shelves above? I found THESE glass shelves as well as THESE assorted options.
9. Glass fronted cupboards can glow within
Glass fronted cabinets remind me of traditional china cabinets that feel formal and a little out of place for modern life.
Yet Grandmillennial style lovers celebrate such tradition.
10. Antiques and all white create ethereal dreams
I’m easily enchanted by European inspired traditional kitchens which incorporate antiques and collected treasures.
An ethereal kitchen might not be ideal for a young family, but that’s what is wonderful about the world of design…there are options for everyone.
11. Enhance a space with low ceilings by painting it with a high gloss white.
Here’s another serene, ethereal kitchen with irresistibly chalky texture from stone walls paired with glossy beams.
This post contains affiliate links which I hope you will use since they won’t cost you a penny extra yet may earn this blog a small commission.
12. Who needs a second story anyway?
A modern take on tradition for sure, but ooh la la!
13. Wabi sabi can ignite a kitchen’s design
Don’t you love those kitchens with an identity all their own that feel effortlessly designed and completely non-contrived?
14. A reflective quartz can work wonders in a dim space.
It can. And it can work well in traditional kitchens.
I have heard naysayers talk about quartz sporting a plastic-look, but mine never strikes me as plastic faux. I think control freaks like me tend to appreciate the man-made quality for what it is and not for its ability to look like a particular stone naturally occurring in nature.
15. Because collecting more white is swell
Traditional kitchens often allow for some clutter as the season or your mood dictates.
And collections are about the only kind of clutter I can tolerate!
How would you accent this new kitchen with collected treasures?
16. Bespoke storage with an unfitted look
A rustic, informal traditional kitchen lends itself to unfitted storage which can add interest and save the budget.
17. Lanterns add an unfussy layer
Lantern-style pendant lighting works so well in traditional kitchens whether they are French farmhouse or coastal.
The paint color on walls in here is Sherwin-Williams Alabaster. Also see Farrow & Ball Wimborne White for a warm, timeless, white. Need ideas for beautiful lantern pendant lights? See options HERE.
18. Enjoy the hunt for a collection to display.
I haven’t hung plates on the wall for years, but it can be a charming display.
Vintage ironstone or white pitchers are winning traditional collections to display also.
20. Is blue porcelain a timeless white kitchen’s best friend?
So often it is!
21. French, Nordic and white vintage lovefest.
Here are a few white Nordic fantasy looks for a uniquely romantic vibe.
22. All the cool cats love #cottagecore simplicity
What is termed cottage core is still just country to me. And it’s easy to understand why it is trending right now when we crave more comfort from home.
Cottage core kitchens make me think of apple pies baking, and a crackling fire, and cats!
23. Tonally timeless.
I mean how could your color story in a kitchen like this ever compete with rustic wood beams so rich in character?
24. Minimal chic simplicité in Paris
Sweetly trés petite, this kitchen in a Paris apartment near Notre Dame in Paris was quite functional for our stay. Even a washer and dryer were seamlessly tucked near the cooktop!
Are you surprised by the breadth of timeless white kitchen design options? I’m still quite happy with ours, but we will be leaving it in a few weeks. I’m in a grieving mode about that since the new kitchen is in shambles at the moment. But I’m grateful for the memories made here.
Just in case you need one more smile…
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Peace to you right where you are.
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I’m so very thankful you started this blog 10 yrs ago, Michele, 🙌🏼even though I only just discovered it more recently. However, the timing of my discovery was perfect because it was during our house build. (I wish I could remember exactly how I stumbled upon it!) I never ever anticipated or even desired to build a house. But alas, we bought some land on a mtn from friends 20 min outside the city we lived in (a dream of my husband’s for a long time) that had no house & so our adventure began! Living in a trailer for 6 1/2 years (we thought it would be two…haha!)…of which the last 2 1/2 yrs the house build took place (yes! it went super slow for several reasons) & you, your blog, & all your inspiration along with other interior designers you spotlighted were a HUGE help to me in the whole process!! I feel you were sent to me from the Divine Designer, and I’m ever grateful!! This post of timeless white kitchen designs is a reminder to me of specifically how helpful you were as I incorporated about 11 of these design details (which you regularly highlight in different ways in different posts) in my kitchen and LOVE it so much as a result! We spent our first night on New Year’s Eve! I look forward to continued timeless, tranquil inspiration for our interiors as we finish moving in and get more and more settled! Thanks again, Michele!
Oh, Amy. These kind words have brought tears to my eyes, and I don’t deserve half the credit you’re giving me. Thank you for sharing this story of how your new home came to be. What a journey! Thank you for your loyal readership and the way you add beauty here all the time. You’re so delightful. xox
What a sensational and encouraging post. I’ve replied a few times here, but have wanted to many more. I’m from Mt. Prospect, IL and now in Knoxville, TN, just built a home and am savoring your kitchen inpsiration. Your kindness encouragement today was so lovely. Thank you!
Thanks so much, Carol, for taking the time to comment. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to hear from human beings! I lived in Mt. Prospect for a few months back in the 90’s when we moved in with my folks for a few weeks before we closed on our home in Elmhurst. Such a small world! Tennessee is so lovely, and we loved our visit last summer to Franklin and Chattanooga. Would love to hear about the new place and your kitchen plans! 🙂
And how lovely to hear from you too! Elmhurst is a great classic Chicago suburb. My new home has white kitchen cabinets, two glass fronted…Minuet quartz countertops inspired by your blog post…gray island base…working on counter stools…lantern pendants over the island from Wayfair…Globe lantern pendant over dining room…and lots of details to follow. My amateur styling with cutting boards, some greenery on counters…copying my favorite inspiration pictures. Finding so much of it here, thank you. Amount of content you share daily/weekly is impressive. Photography excellent. Happy Friday!
What an incredibly lovely comment to wake up to, Carol! Woo hoo! Your space sounds so pretty as it unfolds, and what a privilege to join you on the journey. Bet I would love that gray island. I love being inspired by the beauty around me, and it never gets old because there is so much room for personal interpretation and creativity after the initial inspiration. So grateful to have you here, and I appreciate you noticing how much content is shared – the decade of blogging has been a labor of love, and I hope to improve in my 11th year! 🙂 Peace to you, friend, and keep me posted on your progress.
…me and my fluffy…… yikes! Check your grammar!
nope – i type like i talk and count on readers to be gracious.
Congratulations on achieving such a large goal in what surely is a time consuming and competitive, but fulfilling blog existence. I haven’t been following from the beginning, but have enjoyed your blog for some time now. Keep up the inspiring work and stay well.
Thank you – it’s a crazy biz, and I’m happy to have you here. 🙂
I just recently found your blog, and I love it. It’s not preachy, yet it is inspirational. Always filled with beautiful photos, great quotes, some wonderful videos and music. I look forward to a little peaceful inspiration each day. Thank you.
You’re so welcome. Thanks so much for stopping by here and getting acquainted! Peace to you.
Animals/pets are the best…as the video proves!! What would we do without them?! Congrats to you on your 12th year!! Thankful for finding it a couple years ago…it has been a blessing & inspiration to me EVERYtime I read it, thanks Michele!
Thank YOU. It’s a pleasure having you here. I’m so grateful for what those creatures teach and how much joy that bring to our world. xox
Thank you Michele for your continuing great articles. I’ve enjoyed them. And I can’t take my eyes off that white kitchen with the beautiful rough beam…
You’re so welcome – happy to have you here! Happy weekend.
I enjoy your blog as well as your feed of beautiful design elements. Question: I live in a “mediterranean” style home in in vineyard community. The previous owners chose custom cabinetry made of pine, with embellishments of grapes etc. They were stained then glazed on top of that. I really want white cabinets, but can’t afford the cost of replacement. Can cabinets with embellishments be painted over? Do you have any suggestions? Thanks
They can. While I haven’t painted heavily embellished kitchen cabinets, I have painted my share of embellished furniture white and loved the results. Definitely spend time watching youTubes to get more comfortable with the process. I’m no expert, but you’ll probably want a deglosser and then a primer (I like the ones from Zinsser) followed by an enamel type of paint or chalk paint. You’ll have to decide what sort of finish you want (matte, satin, gloss?) and look at lots of photos and videos online. Here’s the thing. You could remove a door and start with the inside of the cabinet door so you have nothing to lose. You could keep working with it until you find the right color or sheen. Alternatively, you may be able to find a pro to do this for you – make sure they have work to show you so you’ll feel confident, and have them create a sample of what the final cabinet will look like. Did you see that I painted our kitchen cabinets in a vacation home? Type Arizona kitchen into the search box and dig into my archives. They were plain and easy to tackle. I’ll be painting lots of dark brown cabinetry in our new house so definitely stay tuned!
Hi. I am a recent subscriber! We are thinking of putting in a tile patterned floor in our kitchen. Have you ever written your opinions on this?
Thanks for subscribing! I recommend digging into my kitchen related archives: https://www.hellolovelystudio.com/?s=kitchens Best to you on your project – keep us posted.
Thank you, Michelle, for being my morning inspiration each day. I say a daily prayer that your health improves. Best wishes to you.
Thanks for this kindness, friend. What a blessing – this strange internet space and the goodness swirling. I am relying on prayer and grace for each new day. Peace to you. 🙂
Awesome post you have here! I also enjoyed reading through the comments :). Thank you for sharing these wonderful kitchen inspirations.
Thanks for reading.