Skip to main content

Can a kitchen with a black countertop truly stand the test of time? I know you’re all being tempted by the current black and white trends, especially in kitchen design. But which elements should be black? And when is it no longer timeless? 

Here’s my best advice for creating a beautiful black and white kitchen that’s also timeless. So you can design a kitchen you love, without regretting your choices a few years from now!

Ginger Jars | White Kitchen | Black Hardware | White Shaker Cabinets | Kitchen Lighting | Decorating with Green

Are black countertops timeless?

Lately a lot of people are asking me if it’s possible to create a timeless kitchen with a black countertop.

And that’s a darn good question because right now, we’re right in the middle of the black (and white) trend. That means it’s easy to get carried away with black details and quickly end up with a kitchen design that just looks harsh, flat and ultimately predictable.

So let’s dissect a black and white kitchen I designed for a client many years ago. Because it still looks completely timeless since we didn’t overuse black.  Remember, good kitchen design is all about the details. 

Pendant Lights 

3 Design Details for a Timeless Black and White Kitchen

1. Keep plumbing fixtures in chrome or polished nickel

This isn’t the most popular viewpoint, but black faucets are likely a fad, meaning they won’t be around for a long while.

I hear you… black kitchen faucets dominate the shelves of major retailers, so it’s tempting to believe they’re the perfect fit for your black and white kitchen. However, opting for plumbing fixtures in a specific color is a guaranteed method to give your kitchen a timestamp.

 So, if you’re trying to design the MOST TIMELESS black and white kitchen, skip the black faucet. And you’ll love your new kitchen forever.

White Kitchen | Black Hardware | Pendant Lighting | White Shaker Cabinets | Kitchen Bar Stools | Kitchen Lighting | Decorating with Green

The client’s kitchen before:

Before

 

2. Introduce black hardware ONLY if you have a black countertop

Otherwise, and especially with a light or white kitchen with no large black element to ground the space, the eye will just bounce around with no place to land.

There is, however, one exception to this guideline, and we make sure our eDesign clients have this detail. 

White Kitchen | Black Hardware | White Shaker Cabinets

 

White Kitchen | Black Hardware | Vigenette Design

The client’s kitchen before:

3. Mixing brass metal with black and white is a great way to warm everything up

I’ve said this before. Mixing metal finishes add so much interest and warmth to a black and white kitchen.

So, to create a more layered look  – in other words, a look that isn’t too busy and isn’t too much black, include brass accents in your black and white kitchen hardware or lighting or furniture.

Read more: Here’s how to mix metals like a pro

White Kitchen | Black Hardware | Pendant Lighting | White Shaker Cabinets | Kitchen Bar Stools

The client’s kitchen before:

 

Ginger Jars | Kitchen Design | Black Hardware | White Shaker Cabinets | Kitchen Lighting | Decorating with Green

The client’s kitchen before:

White kitchen design | Decorating with green | Interior Design by Maria Killam | Timeless and Classic Kitchen Design | White Shaker Cabinets

See the rest of this home here

Help me design my timeless kitchen!

Follow these 3 design details and this will help you create a timeless black and white kitchen.

But, if you’d like help with your kitchen renovation, here’s the edesign package you need.

create a classic kitchen eDesign

We also have a NEW kitchen refresh package (if you’re not renovating everything)

Kitchen refresh eDesign

New Colour Rescue coming soon!

I’m in Dallas this week and just finished two colour rescue makeovers, can’t wait to share them with you!

Here’s a sneak peek of the bedroom (lamp linked here) art & end table from Homegoods (art was on sale for $39) 

PS. Everyone in America has been telling me that Canadian HomeSense is better than US HomeGoods. Well, I’m here to tell you that is not true! It’s just that y’all have twice the merchandise we do, piled to the rafters, so it feels like junk if you don’t know how to cherry pick in there. But a one-stop shopping store is way easier to decorate in than having to run all over town trying to put a room together. 

Related posts:

How to Update a Tuscan Home: Before & After

5 Ways to Update a Tuscan Brown Bathroom

When is Black Timeless? (and 4 Design Traps to Avoid)

 

15 pins

15 Comments

  • Julie S says:

    This is definitely a great example of a black and white kitchen! The limited black, tiny/thin knobs and pulls, and addition of color in the accessories makes a big difference. I combed through your blog articles while updating my last kitchen five years ago – we kept the sandy beige counters and did floor tile to match, painted the orange wood cabinets white, and did small black hardware & lighting that tied into the existing black window frame (“bronze” from the 80s, blink twice and it’s black) as well as the black on the stove.
    Side note, it really bugs me how most of the typical stoves for sale at normal middle class prices say they are stainless, but really they are 40-70% black when you really pay attention! The white stoves are better but still tend to have black chunks.

    3
  • Brenda says:

    I noticed in this B&W kitchen the wall color appears to be a pale cream color. Can you lend some insight into how and why this color was chosen? I have a white kitchen with black soapstone counters and its time to repaint the walls and not sure how to decide if I should go for a warm color or stick with something cool (my current color is BM gray wisp). Thanks Maria!

    2
    • KNJ says:

      Hello, ….. on my screen it appears to be something akin to BM Ballet White….white with a green undertone…perhaps to tie in with the green accents. Often a creamy, off-white is placed in a space with considerable stark white …. which makes the white pop along with giving a bit of warmth to the space. I’m sure Maria will chime in as well….I have 50+ years of experience with colors/textures but still learn from Maria. Love this blog.

      2
  • Bette says:

    I love the addition of the blue and lime green, but I’m not a fan of the brass. To me, it spoils the cool-toned, fresh colors of the newly renovated kitchen. Brass is warm-toned and yellow — the other colors, including the stainless and nickel and black hardware, are cool-toned.

    • Bette says:

      Also, sorry to pile on, but I bought that Target lamp you feature in the last photo (the preview) and returned it because of the glare. If you’re sitting under it, as you would in almost any scenario, the bright light in your face is unbearable.

    • Lorri says:

      If perfectly fine for you to not be a fan of the brass. Everyone is entitled to their likes and dislikes!

      However, warm metals are considered a classic complement to black and black. You can go cool or warm with black and white, or you can mix metals.

      Some people feel black and white get too cold without the warmth of brass; others want the completely cool look.

  • Karen says:

    Twenty years ago when I built my house I put in a kitchen with white cabinets and black countertops,black pulls and knobs, chrome faucet and sink, white applicances and warm pewter light fixtures. I never tire of seeing it!

    6
  • JoDi says:

    Can’t wait for the next Colour Rescue! They’ve become my favorite thing you post each week! I hope you keep doing them. 🙂

    6
  • Gina says:

    I’m only mentioning this in case you want to edit… the order of the points is written as “1,2,2” instead of 1, 2, 3”. Great post! Love that kitchen!

  • Maryanne says:

    Can I have chrome or nickel hardware on white cabinets with a black countertop?

  • Cindi says:

    I did walnut cabinets, and while I did warm white counters in the kitchen, I did Silestone Corktown (brown-black) on the 14′ long wet bar in the dining room. Both look nice. I didn’t like the look of black at all, but the warm brown-black is lovely.

  • Amateur says:

    Consider black soapstone countertops. I love mine. They look great with white cabinets, they function really well, and the look is softer than black granite or black quartz.

    1
  • Lu Wammes says:

    Hi there! Love your page! I have pure white kitchen cabinets. Agreeable gray walls. White quartz. Gauntlet gray island. Light warm maple floors. Cloe white backsplash. The previous owner has black appliances and black cabinet pulls. Do I leave the black pulls to repeat the black appliances? Or change to polished nickel for timeless look? The plumbing is brushed nickel. Is brushed nickel dated? Thanks for any help 🙂

Leave a Reply