A white cottage kitchen evokes feelings of comfort, nostalgia, and home. With white cabinetry, light colors, and vintage-inspired decor, this timeless kitchen style brings the coziness of a country cottage right into your own home. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know to design your dream white cottage kitchen.

Introduction to the White Cottage Kitchen Style

The white cottage kitchen style borrows elements from vintage farmhouse decor and traditional cottage design. It features white or light gray cabinets, open shelving, beadboard panels and backsplashes, distressed wood accents, and vintage-style hardware and lighting fixtures.

This cheerful yet cozy kitchen style allows you to infuse personality with eclectic, vintage-inspired accessories and artisan wares. Whitewashed floors and cabinets provide an airy, light-filled backdrop, while colorful curtains, dishware, and fresh flowers lend warmth. The overall look evokes the charm and simplicity of a quaint cottage.

Characteristics of a White Cottage Kitchen

  • White or light gray cabinets
  • Open shelving and glass-front cabinets to display dishware
  • Beadboard backsplash and wall panels
  • Distressed woods, moulding, and ceilings
  • Vintage hardware like bin pulls, knobs, and handles
  • Apron-front farmhouse sink
  • Light, airy, and bright with large windows
  • Fresh flowers, herbs, and accent colors through decor

Choosing Cabinetry and Colors

The cabinetry sets the tone for the whole white cottage kitchen. While bright white is common, consider soft gray, antique white, or white with a subtle wood grain as well.

Cabinet Types

  • Shaker cabinets: A cottage kitchen staple thanks to their simple styling. Opt for a painted or stained light wood finish.
  • Beadboard cabinets: The beadboard paneling adds cottage character to cabinet fronts and sides.
  • Open shelving: Perfect for displaying pretty dishware and accenting with decorative brackets.
  • Glass-front cabinets: Allow you to showcase collectibles while keeping a light and airy feel.

Cabinet Colors

  • Bright white for a fresh, clean look. Use a semi-gloss or high-gloss finish.
  • Antique white has a slightly yellowed, aged appearance that adds vintage charm.
  • Warm white is a very subtle cream shade that pairs well with wood tones.
  • Dove gray is lighter than charcoal but still provides beautiful contrast.


Lighter countertops complement white cabinets nicely in a cottage kitchen.

  • Marble is a classic choice that naturally brings in gray veins and swirls. Avoid dark granites or stones.
  • Butcher block offers warmth and pairs perfectly with a farmhouse sink. Use a light wood stain or whitewash finish.
  • Quartz in a creamy white or gray tone has an understated, organic look.

Flooring for a White Cottage Kitchen

The flooring establishes the overall palette and helps anchor the space.

  • Painted or whitewashed wood floors are a popular choice and instantly lighten up the kitchen. Use a matte finish white paint or whitewash to allow wood grain to show through.
  • Tile floors like subway, hexagon, or penny tile in white, light gray, or blue-gray are classic. Use a classic pattern or create your own.
  • Vinyl plank flooring provides the look of real wood but is budget-friendly and waterproof. Opt for a weathered gray-toned plank.
  • Slate or stone are natural options that bring in grayish-blue hues. Keep grout light.
  • Neutral linoleum with a marble pattern or flecks is comfortable and stylish. Choose low-gloss for a matte look.

Backsplashes and Accents

Cottage kitchen backsplashes and accents lend personality, texture, and color.


  • Beadboard is essential for achieving the cottage look. Use authentic boards or paneling with a similar look.
  • Subway tile in white, light grays, or pale blue-green are an iconic choice. Arrange in fun patterns.
  • Penny tile offers inexpensive vintage farmhouse style in white, blue, or gray.
  • Marble slab backsplashes add subtle gray veining and upscale texture.


  • Open shelving provides perfect display space for ceramics, glassware, cookbooks, and decor.
  • Plate racks mounted on the wall provide cottage-chic storage and display for treasured dishware.
  • Window valances in charming fabrics like gingham, floral, or lace soften windows beautifully.
  • Curtains should align with the cottage color scheme using calico, toile, or buffalo check fabrics.

Farmhouse Sinks & Cottage Hardware

No cottage kitchen is complete without the right fixtures and finishes.


  • Apron-front or farmhouse sinks are the most popular and iconic choice. Opt for fireclay or enamel-coated cast iron.
  • Enameled or stainless steel sinks also pair well for a more modern accent. Look for a clean, streamlined design.


  • Gooseneck faucets complement apron sinks and provide superior clearance. Choose a dark bronze, brushed nickel, or oil-rubbed bronze finish.
  • Two-handle bridge faucets are another fitting choice with vintage appeal. Pick white, chrome, or black finishes to match other metals and hardware.

Cabinet Hardware

  • Bin or bar pulls in an aged brass, bronze, pewter, or black iron suit the vintage aesthetic.
  • Knobs, handles, or pulls in antique brass, rubbed bronze, or aged nickel work well for a timeworn look.
  • Cast iron hardware lends an authentic, rugged feel. Oil-rubbed bronze is an attractive option.

Lighting and Window Styles

Proper lighting and windows create a warm, welcoming ambiance.


  • Pendant lights provide both task lighting and character. Choose pendant globes, farmhouse lanterns, or vintage milk glass fixtures.
  • Wrought iron or wood chandeliers with visible bulbs or candles make excellent statement pieces.
  • Recessed can lighting paired with pendants keeps the cottage kitchen functional and bright. Dim to warm ambiance.
  • Under cabinet lighting illuminates countertops when preparing food or cleaning up after meals.


  • Large windows flood the space with natural light. Frame views of the outdoors and hummingbird feeders.
  • Double hung and casement windows divided into smaller panes promote old-world cottage charm.
  • Cafe curtains in embroidered, gingham, or patterned fabrics filter light attractively.
  • Roman shades made of natural linen roll up neatly when not needed.

Decorating Your White Cottage Kitchen

Decor and accessories breathe life into the space with personality, function, and vintage farmhouse style.

Wall Decor

  • Woven baskets mounted on the wall corral fruits and vegetables or serve as charming displays.
  • Open shelving provides display space for white or blue-speckled dishware, potted herbs, and decor.
  • Framed vintage signage and art add personalized character and visual interest. Try botanical prints, songbird sketches, or inspirational quotes.
  • Plate racks, floating shelves, and rails provide ledges for showing off glassware, handmade pottery, and vintage collectibles like cake stands.


  • Tablecloths in classic gingham, floral, or picnic check patterns protect tables in style.
  • Tea towels hanging from hooks add a pop of color and come in handy for drying dishes and hands.
  • Window valances and curtains control light and augment the cottage charm with ruffles, bright colors, florals, or buffalo check.

Plants and Greenery

  • Herbs grown in the kitchen provide fresh seasonings and aromas. Basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, and mint are delicious options.
  • Succulents and cacti are low maintenance, unlikely to be overwatered in a busy kitchen.
  • Cutting boards with built-in planters allow you to grow herbs handy to your prep space.
  • Windowsill planter boxes offer a perfect spot for an herb garden or blooming flowers.
  • Garlands, vines, and botanical wreaths adorn walls, windows, cabinet fronts, and range hoods with organic texture and color.

Setting Up Different Cottage Kitchen Zones

Creating neat zones within the kitchen aids organization and streamlines meal prep.

Food Prep Zone

Focus this area on functionality to help with recipe making and food preparation.

  • Install a spacious butcher block, marble, or sturdy wood countertop.
  • Incorporate cabinets for food pantry items, electric mixers, cutting boards, colanders and more.
  • Add a magnetic strip for knives, racks for spices, and hooks for utensils.
  • Make sure lighting is bright enough for chopping, measuring, and reading recipes.

Baking Zone

Maximize storage and counter space to keep baking organized and efficient.

  • Cabinets should house baking pans, pie dishes, muffin tins, and other specialty bakeware.
  • Drawers can contain utensils like rolling pins, measuring cups and spoons, whisks, and spatulas.
  • Include countertop space for rolling out dough and assembling ingredients.
  • Glass-front cabinets nicely show off pretty cookie jars, stand mixers, and your cookbook collection.

Clean Up Zone

This space focuses on cleaning and doing dishes.

  • Position the farmhouse sink near the dishwasher for optimal workflow.
  • Allow for towel bars, drying racks, and cleaning caddies stocked with sponges and soaps.
  • A window over the sink provides views of the yard and lots of natural light.
  • Under cabinet lighting illuminates the space for late night cleanup after family meals and gatherings.

FAQs About Designing a White Cottage Kitchen

What colors pair well with a white cottage kitchen?

Soft blues, greens, yellows, and pinks complement white cabinetry nicely. Add them through dishware, textiles, window treatments, and decor items like vases and tableware. Metallics like brass, bronze, and copper also enrich white kitchens attractively.

What type of countertops work best?

Lighter countertop materials like white marble, butcher block, soapstone, limestone, and quartz provide an airy, cottage feel. Dark granites and stones tend to clash with the lighter cabinetry.

Should I use open shelves or closed cabinets?

The best cottage kitchens strike a balance between the two. Closed cabinets streamline storage for items not frequently used or displayed. Open shelving provides space to beautifully showcase pretty dishware, cookbooks, glassware and collectibles.

How do I add rustic accents?

Distressed wood elements like shelving brackets, beams, pedestal dining tables, and window frames add character. Also incorporate galvanized metal, wire baskets, and artwork with vintage motifs. Wormy chestnut and reclaimed barn wood contain natural imperfections that enhance rustic charm as well.

What about appliances and ventilation?

Aim for appliances in classic white, stainless steel, or retro colors like mint green or pale yellow. Include the ventilation system early in the design process. Custom range hoods are available to match cabinetry finishes.

How can I decorate affordably?

Check secondhand stores and online listings for discounted dishware, utensils, and decor. Use inexpensive textiles like curtains and table linens to customize the space. Painting existing cabinets, shelving, and floors also helps transform the kitchen on a budget.

Achieving a Timeless White Cottage Kitchen

A white cottage kitchen brings classic charm and coziness to your home. Infuse your light, airy backdrop with character through finishes, fixtures, textiles, and displays. Keep decor eclectic and personalized. The right balance of functionality and vintage farmhouse style creates a kitchen that truly feels like home. With some planning and decorating creativity, you can enjoy the light and comfort of a beautiful white cottage kitchen for years to come.