How White Kitchen Cabinets Make Your Kitchen Larger

With all the talk about warmer colors for kitchens, don’t be afraid that white kitchen cabinets are going out of style. White kitchen cabinets are classic and are found in all eras of kitchen history. I am NOT anti-wood stain, believe it or not!  However, too much wood in a single space can be just too much. If you’ve ever had a wood paneled room, you know that wood can make a room appear smaller.

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If you read my post last week about the makeover of my client’s great room with vaulted ceilings, you already know that we also made over the adjoining kitchen. This kitchen was packed full of quality kitchen cabinetry. You can see it was a sea of orange oak – cabinets and floors.

before

The goals for this kitchen:

create a brighter, more welcoming space

make the island more functional and attractive

eliminate the “dead zone” between the kitchen and great room

tie together the kitchen and great room for improved entertaining 

First up: the discussion about white kitchen cabinets. Were they ready to take the plunge and paint the entirety of the cabinetry white? Yes, they were! Over the years, all that wood came to feel dark and oppressive when artificial lighting wasn’t on. The spacious kitchen didn’t feel all that spacious, but I knew that painting the cabinets white would make the space look not only lighter, but also LARGER.

Below is the result of this kitchen makeover:

white kitchen cabinets with long quartz island and iron lantern light fixtures by Kristie Barnett, The Decorologistdesign by Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist

So what do you think? My client wanted a double oven, so this was the time to add that in and reconfigure some of the cook space.

before

The cooktop was moved into the island, which is now topped with graceful iron lantern fixtures.

Here’s a tip for you: opt for lanterns WITHOUT glass for above a kitchen island.

Grease and smoke from cooking can mean lots of glass maintenance on fixtures, plus fixtures without glass are less expensive!

The Decorologist

Designing a new, longer island with seating was next on the list and eliminated the need for the breakfast room table or any other furniture to bridge the “dead zone” between the kitchen and the great room.

before

Obviously, we haven’t chosen the island stools/chairs yet, but I just couldn’t wait to show you this kitchen!

The Decorologist

We chose quartz countertops that gave us the look of honed concrete on the perimeter counters. The oversized light fixture in the great room has a similar gray finish.

caesarstone rugged concrete quartz countertop design by Kristie Barnett, The Decoorlogist

 

caesarstone rugged concrete quartz countertop

 

We used the same Caesarstone quartz in the adjoining great room beneath the floating wood bookshelves:

 

To set it apart a bit, we chose this beautiful Caesarstone quartz that gave us the look of marble for the island. The coffee table in great room has a very similar marble top.

The Decorologist

The dark gray island cabinets tie in with perimeter quartz, as well as the ceiling beams and gray stone fireplace in the adjoining great room.

caesarstone quartz minuet

 

Now you can see the great room from the vantage point of the kitchen:

design by The Decorologist

Let’s turn around and look at the “before” from the great room into the kitchen:

before

It hardly seems as though it’s the same house in the “after” photo:

design by Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist

I’m betting my clients will enjoy their “new” kitchen and great room for many years to come! White kitchen cabinets may not actually make your kitchen larger, but they certainly make it feel larger! If you missed the great room makeover, you can catch up here.

I really appreciate you reading my blog for the last 9+ years! If you’d like more in-depth decorating instruction, please check out my instructional videos for homeowners and design professionals here.

 

 

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JL
Guest
JL

After 11 years of saving, we finally completed a kitchen renovation and replaced our dark, dated knotty pine cabinets for new white cabinets. FIRST comment when people walk in? “It looks so much bigger!”

Louanne Howard
Guest

Absolutely beautiful! Very well done-I love it!

Joy
Guest
Joy

That kitchen is gorgeous! I want white cabinets so badly, but I worry about chipping and how it will look in a few years. Do you think that painting cabinets can by done by a homeowner, or is that something best left to a professional?

Beth Lester
Guest

This is stunning work, Kristie. Congratulations!

Elizabeth Scruggs
Guest

Stunning makeover!
I love how much larger that kitchen looks!

Lara
Guest
Lara

This is quite a transformation. Can you please tell me what color the walls are painted?

shirley schaugaard
Guest
shirley schaugaard

I am loving this makeover. Can you share the name of the quartz pattern you used. I clicked the link and it didn’t give any specific color of Ceasarstone. Hoping to do something similar in my home.

Kim Hume
Guest
Kim Hume

Beautiful transformation!! I can attest to white cabinets making your kitchen look bigger. We are in the throes of painting our cabinets white, with only the cabinet boxes painted right now and all of the doors off, and it’s amazing how much bigger our kitchen looks, even while in process!

Carol
Guest

I lived with oak cabinets for ten years and yes, the kitchen lights were almost always on. When we moved we bought old wood cabinets and stripped them and painted them Steamed Milk. Oil base. That was 6 years ago and they still look like new. Easy to clean. I do have a contractor husband but I did much of the work. They have made our smallish kitchen look airy and bright. Their new kitchen is gorgeous. I like wood but I will never have wood stained cabinets again. Beautiful work.

Jackie
Guest
Jackie

WOW! This is probably one of my favorite transformations you’ve done. Just beautiful!! Love how the rooms flow.

Niki Hensley
Guest
Niki Hensley

Beautiful Kristie!

Sylvia
Guest
Sylvia

Love it Kristie!!! Amazing work as always!!!!

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

I’m curious where did the microwave get hidden?
(I put mine below the counter where there was already an extra outlet in cabinet space and I love it there.)

Kathy
Guest
Kathy

Lovey, but I wonder how dirty that light fixture over the range will get.

Gretchen
Guest
Gretchen

Stunning transformation. I have the same problem, where my wood kitchen cabinets plus wood floors are an overpowering orange. I can’t wait to have my cabinets painted white one day. I am most amazed by how you can choose just the right white – not too stark, not too yellow. There are so many whites out there and I’d be afraid to chose the wrong one!

Sheri Bruneau
Guest

What a beautiful transformation! Seeing the before and after photos truky shows how white can make a space feel more spacious. Your clients must be thrilled!

Marie
Guest
Marie

Our kitchen reno started with trying to replace a broken builtin gas oven. Oak cabinets that I tolerated for over 30 years. We completely reconfigured with white Shaker cabinets and quartz countertops. Still love it after more than six years.

ceil tarwater
Guest
ceil tarwater

What paint colors were used on cabinets and island KB? Gorgeous with the counter tops!

Fancy Greenberg
Guest
Fancy Greenberg

Love the light fixtures and your tip about leaving the glass off of the fixtures!

Janet Lorusso
Guest

Beautiful transformation, Kristie!

Leslie Carothers
Guest
Leslie Carothers

Kristie: What an amazing transformation! It IS hard to tell it’s the same 2 rooms. You did such a great job in listening to what your clients told you they wanted and then giving them something that so beautifully delivered on it.

And I love your tip about using light fixtures over the island without glass. Not only is that easier for cleaning, but it’s so much easier to change the light bulbs that way, too.

Great, great work: congratulations on this transformation!

Bonnie
Guest
Bonnie

Kristie,
I love your kitchen reno! Are the pretty little olive trees in the green pots on each side of the cooktop real or faux? If faux, can you tell me where they are from? Thank you!

Barbara
Guest
Barbara

What stain color did you use on the floating shelves in living room?

Abbey
Guest
Abbey

You consistently have great ideas or spaces and see things in a way I wouldn’t have thought of. I like the extended island to replace the breakfast table. To make it function as a casual eating space though, do you suggest stools that slide all the way under the island?

Valenica Abbott
Guest

I have the same furniture as 40 years ago. I have always been very progressive and at that time I already put white chon a red band. I recently changed the countertop that was white to a bright red one. On top of the tall furniture I placed some Ikea wooden toy store and stuck some adhesive mirrors. I would like to put a vinyl floor over the white gre that is very dirty. And to finish painting the front.

Lindsay C
Guest
Lindsay C

I’m backing what everyone has said in these comments. I recently had a company come out to paint my kitchen cabinets and it literally blew me away walking back into the space for the first time. I always hesitated to jump on the all-white bandwagon with little kids but it was the best decision I’ve ever made.