Skip to main content

How to pull off a chic black and white kitchen (without it feeling cold)

Your black and white kitchen doesn't have to feel cold or flat. Here's how to style a chic design

Black and white industrial kitchen

For modern enthusiasts, the black and white kitchen is a chic and sophisticated design choice. Simple, clean lines that feel minimal and sleek while maintaining an elegant and luxe touch without appearing overly gaudy are why the black and white kitchen has prevailed in many interiors. However, styling it the right way is more challenging than most people think.

The greatest issue homeowners face with styling the black and white kitchen is finding themselves with an end result that feels cold or flat. It’s easy to wind up with an overwhelming space that feels too stark and barren. So today, we’re giving you the tips you need to achieve a chic black and white kitchen that doesn’t feel cold or depressing.

Be intentional about the color balance

The use of color can make or break your black and white kitchen. The palette needs to feel intentional and work with the space. You’ll need to determine whether you want more black in the space, more white, or a balance of both. A mostly black kitchen with a hint of white can feel more moody, intimate, and luxurious, while the alternative may feel more bright, clean, and refreshing. A balance between the two colors, if done correctly, can look ultra modern and sleek.

Though, it’s important to be clear on exactly what you want in your palette and ensure you’re showcasing the right amount of light and dark colors in your design. For example, if you opt for dark flooring and dark cabinetry, a white countertop and backsplash could help balance the look of the space.

Kitchen with black cabinets and dark wood inspired by midcentury design

Consider adding an accent tone

Accent tones are a great way to add dimension to the space and break up the dull look that can sometimes come from a black and white design. Accent colors can make the space feel ultra chic and prevent the design from looking cold or flat.

Be intentional about the accent color you choose, as it could dictate the mood of the space. For example, a bright red accent tone makes the room feel more contemporary and bold, while a dark green accent tone might make the kitchen feel cozy and more organic. When working with accents, you don’t want the color to dominate the space; otherwise, you’ll lose the appeal of the classic black and white kitchen. Instead, add accent colors sparingly through the use of decor. For example, if you use brown as an accent tone, limit it to a few decorative bowls, potted plants, and maybe a cookbook or two.

Black accent colors on the kitchen counter and cabinets

Bring in natural materials

Whenever you can, bring natural materials into your black and white kitchen to help create a more organic and natural feel to the space. Black and white are two colors that have a tendency to feel cold and distant. Adding natural materials can help prevent that. Materials like leather, wood, stone, and plants will warm up the look of the space as well as create more dimension.

To avoid adding too much color, look for natural items that are black or white, or fit in your chosen accent tone. A wooden bowl, for example, could be great for a black and white kitchen with a hint of brown accents. Alternatively, an interior with solely black and white decor might prefer black leather bar stools or a simple white stone sculpture to decorate the space and keep things feeling more modern.

Modern kitchen with handleless cabinets

Mix and match materials

Even when it comes to tile and cabinetry, not having a variety of materials makes a kitchen feel cheap and dull. If you opt for a black tile floor and are considering a white tile black space, consider using different materials on both to really enhance the design. A glossy tile backsplash and matte tile floor can make a world of difference.

Alternatively, you could choose a sophisticated stone countertop with matte-painted cabinets. Or, maybe you prefer glass decor with black metal bar stools and features. Use different materials like wood, metal, glass, tile, stone, and fabrics to add more variety to your design. This will help your black and white kitchen have more visual depth so you can avoid the flat look.

Floating shelves in a modern kitchen

Layer your decor

Layering your decor is vital to pulling off a chic black and white kitchen design. Layering adds more character and dimension to the space. Consider stacking place mats, layering hand towels, placing potted plants on stacked cookbooks, or adding layered floor runners by your sink to create more depth and dimension in the design. Different shades of white or black stacked on one another also create a nice layered effect without your kitchen looking like a cheap checkerboard pattern.

Kitchen with black cabinets

Invest in good kitchen storage

The last thing you want is for your cereal boxes, colorful Tupperware, or mismatched utensils to ruin the sleek black and white look. A bright red container lid next to an orange cup will stick out like a sore thumb on your countertop. Unless the item is black, white, or the accent tone of your choice, we recommend storing the item in your cabinets. Investing in good kitchen storage and cabinetry will help you organize your space and hide away any eyesores that could ruin the aesthetic appeal of the black and white kitchen.

Alternatively, if you don’t have much space for additional storage, you could consider purchasing kitchen appliances and items that fit the black and white palette. Ceramics, utensils, and small appliances often come in one of these colors, which can help limit the amount of color in the room. Just be sure you’re intentional about where you display these items, so you don’t have an uneven black and white look in your space. It’s all about balance!

The black and white kitchen is a sleek and stylish design choice for many homeowners who crave a modern look in their space. While it can sometimes be difficult to achieve, knowing how to layer and properly mix your materials will help you create a dimensional space that feels warm and inviting. Avoid the cold kitchen look by being intentional with color and texture, and be sure to hide away any materials that don’t fit the palette.

Editors' Recommendations

Amelia Wilson
Amelia Wilson (pen name Amelia J. Wilson) is a content writer in Greenwood, IN. She enjoys topics on productivity…
We love these new kitchen island seating trends
Get creative when it comes to kitchen island seating
Small kitchen and dining room with black and white modern home design

In most homes, the kitchen is where people gather. Not just your family, but when you have guests over or entertain. Because it's where everyone seems to congregate, you need to have plenty of seating available for people to kick back and be comfortable. But it's not like you're entertaining every day, so you want to make sure the seating options and kitchen setup can accommodate extra seating when you need it, but still be functional for your family on a daily basis and not feel overcrowded.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by having a kitchen island with seating that you can add to (or take away from) when needed. Because people work, eat, do homework, and prep food in this room, kitchens need to feel spacious and not overly crowded, but also have enough room to add seating for guests. Here are just a few kitchen island seating trends to get you thinking and planning for your next big get-together.

Read more
This 2023 kitchen design trend adds an organic feel that homeowners are craving
Oak wood cabinets are the 70s revival homeowners are loving in 2023. Here's why
Kitchen with black cabinets and dark wood inspired by midcentury design

As we kick off into a new year of home design, 2023 shows us that sometimes the best inspiration comes from the past. This year, homeowners are craving organic and natural pieces. So, it should come as no surprise that a prominent trend for 2023 is transitioning your outdated kitchen cabinet design to dark wood cabinetry.

Not widely used in kitchen interiors since the 1970s, this trend brings a bit of nostalgia while also suiting the modern interest of adding organic-looking materials to the home. If you want to learn more about this trend and what it could do to benefit your space, then we have everything you need to know.

Read more
Get a stylish design: 4 key factors when choosing kitchen island lighting
What to look for when lighting for your kitchen island, the busiest spot in your home
White modern kitchen with black pendant lights and black stools

The kitchen is the heart of your home, and at the center of all the action is your kitchen island. It’s where you’ll prep and enjoy delicious meals as well as entertain friends and family. When necessary, it can transform into a home office or homework station for the kids, no matter the time of the day! This multipurpose space deserves its own lighting to not only illuminate your work but also to show off your personal style.

Unlike other rooms in your home where a single ceiling light may suffice, your kitchen island needs its own designated lighting display. The right lights over your kitchen island can create ambiance and style, and pull together the overall design of your kitchen. However, with so many lighting options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to determine which will work best in your space. So, if you're looking to renovate your kitchen island lighting, here are some bright ideas for an instant upgrade.

Read more