Black and white kitchens have always managed to look very sophisticated.

Regardless of whether you want a modern design, or a traditional one, the monochrome palette works both ways.

From a checkerboard-tiled floor, to get that diner feel, to a black cooker against white cabinetry, there are black and white kitchen design ideas to fit any scheme you’re aiming for.

Remodeled-Kitchen-by-Jessica-McKay Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas
Image source: Jessica McKay

A Dynamic Duo

Unlike some weird colour combinations that some designers come up with, black and white kitchen decors never go out of style. It is a classic combination that has serious stylistic staying power and fits the bill very well. However, what you do with the design can be a completely different story.

Absolute contrast in black and white kitchen designs

Technically speaking, it takes two colours to create a colour scheme. Therefore, a black and white kitchen doesn’t really need another colour to be complete. However, there are some people that want to add a bit of flair to the monochrome.

Greenbrae-by-Urrutia-Design Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas
Image source: Urrutia Design

Add a touch of colour

When looking at black and white kitchen pictures, there’s something strangely satisfying when adding a touch of colour.

Sure, black and white kitchen cabinets can look stunning, but adding a bit of colour, regardless of whether it’s done during the material selection time, or when you’re decorating afterwards, can look lively.

Brisbane-Industrial-Kitchen-Renovation-by-Kim-Duffin-for-Sublime-Architectural-Interiors Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas
Image source: Kim Duffin for Sublime Architectural Interiors

Mixing things up

How you choose to combine black and white is up to you, and the possibilities are endless. Some put the main cabinets in white, and add black island cabinets, then choose countertops in reverse.

Another option is to put black and white tiles on the floor or backsplash, and if you don’t insist on stainless steel, black and white appliances can also be used.

Holden-Street-by-Nest-Architects Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas
Image source: Nest Architects

The pattern psychology

These two completely opposing colours can have a pretty big effect on the ambiance of a room. Large sections of white and black can provide elegance, and smaller patterns can create an energetic, fun loving atmosphere.

How can you make things work for you?

If you want to have a completely black and white scheme, make sure one of the colours is dominant, instead of giving them both equal space.

A predominantly white scheme can look fresh, but the elegance of a dark scheme with white accents can be very elegant.

Stick to accessories if you want a softer finish. Monochrome will work great with all tones of timber, as well as pure shades such as emerald green, or greys.

Tolycke-by-Kungsäter-Kök-Göteborg Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas
Image source: Kungsäter Kök Göteborg

Matching different shades of white can be tricky if attempted across different surfaces.

For example, putting a white table next to a wallpaper with a white background may cause the background to look like cream. Try to separate them with black accessories.

Monochrome is bold and tends to benefit from texture, as well as varying surface finishes. Matt and gloss, dense and opaque, you can build up these layers to soften harsh areas and add extra interest.

Don’t be scared of mixing scale and patterns. Surrounding each pattern with something plain (except for cushions), can make it stand out. Mix and match different bench seating designs for a casual feel.

Chambers-St-by-Mim-Design Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas
Image source: Mim Design

1. The white colour you need in your kitchen is true white. Don’t get clips of white paper and ask for a similar colour at the paint store, because you’ll most likely get eggshell white. That is neither the effect, nor the contrast you need.

2. If your cabinets are your point of focus, make sure their white colour has a shiny finish, and opt for charcoal or black tiles for your walls. If you think you went overboard with the contrast, make your walls a dark shade of red or brown.

Hudson-House-by-Jessica-Claire-Photography Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas
Image source: Jessica Claire Photography

3. If you want white walls and black cabinets, get some prime, sandpaper and black paint, and repaint your cabinets. If you can afford it, you can even get assemble-yourself cabinets.

4. Don’t go overboard with the colours. Keep in mind you’re after a black and white kitchen, so make sure your appliances, kitchenware and pots are black and white.

5. Reduce clutter. You are, after all, decorating, and modern is enhanced by simplicity. Clutter ruins the whole idea. Lessen elements on the surfaces, and make sure everything that you’re not using is hidden in the cabinets. Keep things clean, maintained, and clutter free at all times.

Pacific-Heights-Victorian-by-Peninsula-Custom-Homes Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas
Image source: Peninsula Custom Homes

Use wood to soften black and white

An all-black-and-white kitchen can look cold and sharp. Soften things up with warm wooden furniture. You can use an island counter and a glass cabinet built into the wall, to balance the dark cabinets, as well as the black-and-white floors.

Repurpose other rooms’ furniture

A built-in glass door cabinet, from one of the other rooms, can be a perfect place to display serving dishes and glassware. See if any of the other pieces of furniture don’t fit where they currently are, and try to see if you can blend them within the kitchen.

Glencairn-by-Lorraine-Franklin-Designs-Inc Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas

Image source: Lorraine Franklin Designs Inc

Coordination is very important

Matching the paint colour with the hardware on the cabinets, can make the whole kitchen feel seamless. Other coordinated details can only add up to the touch, such as pendant lamps over the island table, and door knobs and burner dials in the same colour.

Keep some areas clean

You can opt for a kind of a split kitchen. On one end of the kitchen you have a lot going on, a wall of bookshelves, a couch, china hutch, but the opposite is all about utility.

There are recessed shelves that hold things you use frequently, and counters around the sink are kept clutter free. Flowers, as well as small artwork, can accent that clean look and make it feel deliberate.

Lido-Isle-by-Graystone-Custom-Builders-Inc Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas
Image source: Graystone Custom Builders, Inc.

Keep all views in mind

This applies when your kitchen has multiple entrances. You should think about how each of them looks.

For example, the view from the dining room should look like an extension of that space. You can include artwork that makes it feel like it truly belongs there.

Black and white can give you a lot of balance

When you’re working with these two colours, balance is an important consideration. Your style, the kitchen’s size and how it harmonizes with the other rooms in the house decide the balance. Lighting dictates the overall look, so it’s fairly essential as well.

Use black and white flooring to make your floors come alive

Combining black and white tiles can get you a colour palette that brings a very dramatic feel to your flooring style.

A checkerboard-style is cheap, and versatile, and it enhances plenty of kitchen styles. Take some time to choose the right floor tiles, and you won’t regret your decision at any time.

Modern-Classic-Style-Home-by-Tennille-Joy-Interiors Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas

Image source: Tennille Joy Interiors

Ceramic tiles are the ideal option, because they’re easy to install, can withstand foot traffic and last a lifetime. Porcelain ones are durable, don’t absorb water, and they’re stain resistant, but come at a price.

Polished granite tiles are scratch resistant, and withstand high traffic. Slate tiles are very durable and dense, and you can add beauty and function with a mosaic tile. If unique is your thing, opt for glass tiles.

A monochromatic backsplash is a good idea

An all white or all black tile can give you a great look. For a kitchen backsplash, use subway tiles. They give you a wide range of colour ideas. White subway tiles will give you an airy, bright look, while black ones give you a powerful contrast and balance.

2014-Spring-Parade-of-Homes-Winner-by-Clark-Co-Homes Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas
Image source: Clark & Co Homes

Marble, ceramic, porcelain and glass should be considered as well, and black and white subway tiles give a timeless look.

Tiles can also be used as accents if you want to create something personal. To make your backsplash vivid, you can always paint your kitchen cabinets in a different colour.

Black and white details can add subtle interest to your walls

White cabinets that have shaker-style faced doors can bring a subtle interest to your kitchen. A mosaic wall with black and white Spanish tile can do the same.

The walls are a general area where you can exhibit mosaics, patterns and silhouettes. Wall art, as well as contrasting pictures, can breathe life into your kitchen, and black wall clocks, paintings or pictures with black borders can accentuate white walls.

Streeterville-Renovation-by-Q-Construction Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas
Image source: Q Construction

You don’t really have to use a single plain colour for your walls. Play around with hues of black and white to get the look you want. And, don’t forget – you can always use geometric patterns or floral patterns on a wallpaper to bring life without even really trying.

Black and white should be used in strategic areas

If you don’t want both colours together on the walls, backsplash or floor, you can use them in different areas.

For example, paint the walls white, and get a black table and seats. And, you shouldn’t restrict yourself to regular colours, make use of the shades of both. Black is easily substituted with dark grey, and white with ivory.

Masons-Ave-Kitchen-by-Jessop-Architects Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas
Image source: Jessop Architects


A black and white kitchen will turn a boring, dull space into an attractive, sophisticated one. The ideas above can give you your dream kitchen.

Tribeca-Residence-by-Dirk-Denison-Architects Black and White Kitchen Design Ideas
Image source: Dirk Denison Architects

Modern kitchens tend to be gorgeous, and they’re even better in black and white. The elegant, simple lines, and the stunning contrast makes their beauty hard to miss, and you should do this in a smart way, to get that relaxing ambient, and let you do your work.

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