The kitchen isn’t often referenced as the chicest spot in a house, but as an area that many of us spend time in daily, it’s worthy of at least a bit of attention. The kitchen is also a space that offers little value if not fully functional, so it requires a design scheme that doesn’t interfere with the room’s usefulness. One easy way to get function and form to play nicely here is keeping things simple with a classic palette like white, blue, or even green. But one of the most enduring schemes (and one of the most loved by our A-List talent) is the cool, crisp black and white kitchen.
“Black and white is a classic combination that is nostalgic and timeless,” says designer Delia Kenza, who recently created a striking cooking space in a Harlem townhouse. “When done correctly, black and white is easy on the eyes and provides a sharp contrast that feels like it came together naturally.”
And there are plenty of ways to make this graphic palette your own. Some designers intentionally keep colors and decorative objects to a minimum, while others infuse small doses of a bright accent color to balance out the monotone. Some remain on theme with the rest of the house, while others will allow the kitchen to be a sexy aesthetic anomaly. “The pairing can be modern or traditional, and it can be the perfect backdrop for other colors and materials,” Kenza adds, recommending homeowners play with the palette in their floors, surfaces (she’s a fan of inky marble and honed granite), and light fixtures.
No matter your cup of tea, this collection of black and white kitchens is sure to inspire your own cooking space.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
In this Long Island family home, Rodney Lawrence injected a dose of whimsy with a mural by David Faust, which extends into the living room. The fanciful design is balanced out by simple BDDW stools, pendant lights from Room Furniture, and basket-weave backsplash tiles from Ann Sacks.
Minimalism in a Stockholm Apartment
In this Stockholm apartment by Anton Wikner, details were kept as spare as possible. White walls were the obvious choice to achieve this minimal look and stainless steel the counterweight to black decorative objects and details.
Family-Friendly Brooklyn Brownstone
For their own home in Brooklyn, design duo Civilian kept things fun, friendly, and functional. The steel frame island in the kitchen is custom and features an Arrabescato marble top. The custom hood enclosure is finished with red laminate.
In this Minnesota lake house Anne McDonald paired slate-colored countertops with white cabinetry for a refined, airy look.
A Lighter Spin on Black and White
In an airy New York loft, Carly Cushnie designed a simple kitchen with white marble countertops and black-framed barstools by Lulu and Georgia.
White and Black in Small Spaces
In her own New York home, Augusta Hoffman opted to keep most of the kitchen’s recent updates, switching out only the ceiling lights and adding wooden barstools.
A Black and White Kitchen with Splashes of Red
As in the rest of this Harlem townhouse, Delia Kenza broke up the monotone palette with small splashes of red.
Black, White, and Bubblegum
In the kitchen of this art filled Manhattan duplex, Dorothy Berwin used a photograph by Gregory Crewdson and a bubble-gum-pink table by Sabine Marcelis to add visual interest to the space.
In the kitchen of this New York townhouse, Gachot subbed in bronze (on the kitchen island) for black, complementing the patinated finish with crisp white cabinetry and a Roll & Hill pendant.
In fashion executive George Kolasa’s Hamptons home, black and white is approached from a rustic perspective. White subway tiles on the backsplash are perfectly balanced out by the salvaged wood island.
In this SoHo loft, Jessie Schuster livened up the modern, mostly white kitchen with vintage tableware and stainless steel stools from Crate & Barrel.
In a quietly handsome New York apartment, Kevin Dumais opted for a moody kitchen in mostly black. The millwork is custom by Small Bones, the barstools are by Martell Woodworks, and the custom pendants are by Trans-Luxe.
Sleek Black and White Kitchen
A large white marble island adds an interesting contrast to a New York condo kitchen that’s outfitted with a black marble backsplash, black stools, and cabinets.
In a Baltimore loft with high ceilings, the kitchen is one of the more intimate spaces. Here, Laura Hodges paid tribute to the space’s industrial origins with Fisher & Paykel appliances.
Modern Californian Simplicity
In a modern California cottage, ELLE DECOR A-lister Nicole Hollis tucked black Overgaard & Dyrman stools under a Caesarstone countertop, keeping things refined and functional. The ceramic tile backsplash is by Heath Ceramics, and the sconces are by Brendan Ravenhill.
In the light-filled kitchen of this Brooklyn townhouse by Home Studios, the white range is by Lacanche, the island is custom, the stools are from Rejuvenation, and the flush mounts are from RH.
In the kitchen of this light-filled Florida home by Fawn Galli, the cabinetry is custom and painted in Farrow & Ball’s Borrowed Light. The table is by Moving Mountains and surrounded by Tom Dixon’s Scoop chairs, which were re-covered in a Scalamandré fabric.
Monaco Black and White Kitchen
In a ’70s-era Monaco apartment, the black and white kitchen features a table and chairs by Jeanneret, along with an oven, cooktop, and hood by Aster Cucine.
A black and white kitchen in a Scarsdale, New York family home features a custom black hood in the place of upper cabinets. The designer, Tamara Magel, added contrast to the space by opting for brown leather stools.
Statement Subway Tiles
A trio of pendant lights add warmth to a kitchen design that features white subway tile (one of many industrial notes in the space) and black cabinetry with gold hardware.
Black and White Ranch Kitchen
For a Nashville family home, designer Jason Arnold opted for a black and white palette to keep things simple. A black, oversized pendant and wood bar stools complete the play with scale and keep things interesting.
A kitchen designed by Young Huh Interiors is a lesson in mixing different styles and periods. A graphic black and white island and soft pink walls pull the fun, welcoming space together.
A pair of 19th-century English chairs are paired with a Kartell table in a cozy Brazilian kitchen in a São Paulo building.
Charming Black and White Kitchen
In the striking 1920s Hollywood home, which belongs to actors Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, the white island is topped with a contrasting dark countertop. It features cabinet supports inspired by hand-turned spindles spotted in an old bakery.
Designed by firm Ashe + Leandro, this Manhattan loft kitchen belonging to Coldplay’s lead guitarist Jonny Buckland and his family blends natural materials with modern finishes, embracing a black and white aesthetic with touches of rustic appeal. Leather-upholstered barstools provide seating around the room’s mahogany butcher.
Hostess Rena Abboud’s black-and-white kitchen is ideal for elegant evening socializing with its elegant brushed-metal island. The stools are Lamboro and the pendant lights are Eichholtz.
Beverly Hills Cottage Kitchen
In this Beverly Hills cottage belonging to designer Madeline Stuart, a lover of the Arts and Crafts movement, the kitchen’s cabinetry is custom made and the flooring is Marmoleum.
In this Hamptons home of Oscar de la Renta’s young executive Erika Bearman, decorator Miles Redd created a black and white kitchen that exudes vibrant personality. The kitchen’s stools are by Design Within Reach, the ceiling fixture is from YLighting, the refrigerator and wine cooler are Sub-Zero and the photograph is from Natural Curiosities.
In this Moscow apartment, designer Olga Kulikovskaia-Ashby created a breakfast nook within the black and white kitchen. Pendant lights by Tom Dixon hang above the black table. The chairs are by Vitra and the plates on the kitchen counter are by Seletti.
Swedish photographer Magdalena Björnsdotter covered the kitchen of her monochromatic, century-old farmhouse in rural Sweden in bright white paint, but added shadows of black on counters and industrial-style chairs. The space includes a flea-market table and a metal-and-driftwood pendant light by Olsson & Jensen.
Black and White Pattern
The kitchen of a PR maven’s glamorous New York City apartment is complete with Sam Still artwork that hangs on a wall covered in a black and white Madeline Weinrib wallpaper. The antique birthing chair is from New Orleans and the custom kitchen island has a Carrara marble top.
In the SoHo loft of designers Kevin Roberts and Timothy Haynes, the black and white kitchen features custom-made cabinetry with vintage hardware, 1950s sconces by Gunnar Asplund and 1970s light fixtures. The refrigerator is by Sub-Zero, the sink fittings are by Dornbracht, and the countertops are white glass.
In this storied Manhattan townhouse, architectural firm Leroy Street Studio and designer James Aman devise created spaces that are both glamorous and kid-friendly. Custom-made lacquer cabinetry lines a wall of the black and white kitchen. The barstools are by Philippe Starck, the vintage light fxture is by Stilnovo, and Saarinen Tulip chairs by Knoll surround a table designed by John Meeks.
In Courteney Cox’s Trip Malibu home, wood-and-steel bar stools bring rustic flair to the black and white kitchen. Countertops are by CaesarStone, the ovens and a refrigerator are by Gaggenau and stainless-steel sinksare by Franke. The light fixture is from Nessen Lighting.
High-Design Cooking Space
Young designer Megan Winters infused her dream house in Illinois with Parisian flair and exuberant personality, and this black and white kitchen is no exception. The cabinetry is custom-made and the eye-catching pendant lights are by Urban Electric Co.
In this New York townhouse’s black and white kitchen, the sleek pendants are from a Czechoslovakian factory and the 1940s stools are by Warren McArthur. The oven is by Wolf, the floor is lined with Corten steel tiles and the staircase is suspended from cable supports.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below