The Best White Paint for Your Kitchen

A coat of simple white paint can dress up even the most tired kitchen, but the endless (and all-too-similar) color options can be overwhelming. Here’s a simple guide to get it right.

Caitlin Murphree Miller
Suzanne Kasler White Kitchen Makeover
Photo: Erica George Dines

Gleaming white paint is the apple of the design world’s eye at the moment, gracing the walls, floors, countertops, and cabinets of the most fabulous kitchens across the country. With thousands of white paint options on the market, however, how do you go about choosing the right color for your space? First, consider the light in your kitchen: Does your space face the warm, sunny west? Or do you have a cooler, darker kitchen, with very little natural light? Regardless, pick a few options and never fail to test them out on your walls before you buy gallons and gallons of non-refundable paint. Brushing the color directly on the walls—not just taping up swatches—will ensure that your chosen white doesn’t swing bluish in cooler light or warm yellow in a sunny room. To take the guesswork out of redoing your kitchen, check out our go-to white paint picks for all corners of your space.

Cabinets & Trim
An all-white kitchen should gleam—not blind. Try to avoid ultra-pure shades of white, as they tend to lend a chilly feel to many kitchens. To nail the all-white look, go with a classic, slightly creamy coat of White Dove (OC-17) by Benjamin Moore in a scrub-proof semi-gloss finish. This shade will make your cabinets and trim look luminous in any light (including natural, diffused, or bright overhead), and though it technically resides in the “off-white” family, White Dove will read as a bright, cheerful, and clean shade of white in any space.

Walls
The perfect backdrop for all-white cabinets and trim is Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee (OC-45) in an eggshell finish for medium-to-large spaces, or a satin finish in a super-small kitchen. A favorite among designers for its versatility and depth, Swiss Coffee is a creamy, sophisticated white—it will complement and enhance other shades of white in the room without appearing cold or stark, especially in kitchens that get a lot of natural light. Tip: Extend this color to coat your ceilings, as well. This trick will give the room a seamless look and a warm, friendly glow in the evenings.

Floors
Painting your floors is a smart, budget-friendly option if you can’t find room in your current renovation budget to refinish worn-out wood planks. If you go this route, make sure to take the proper preparation steps—including a light sanding and a deep cleaning—and spring for a high-quality paint formulated specifically for floors. Our favorite is All White (No. 2005) by Farrow & Ball. It’s pricey, but worth it for its ability to hold up for years in high-traffic areas.