Design Trend: The Classic Black and White Kitchen Is Back!

There’s an old adage in home decor that predicts that if you stick with an old style long enough, it will come back into style. One 2018 kitchen design trend, the classic black and white kitchen, is predicted to be a smoking hot trend!

It’s no wonder. The color combination of black and white is a perfectly neutral backdrop for you to play with fashionable colors, rich textiles, fun furnishings, and anything else you can dream up!

Kitchen Design

Why does a black and white kitchen hold so much appeal?

The black and white kitchen is appealing to the eye because it has a graphic appeal, an interesting juxtaposition between the two colors that’s almost stark. They contrast completely.  The white and black are perfect counterbalances…one brightens the room, the other keeps the look elegant.

Home decorators are sure to have fun with the classic black and white kitchen! Here are a few of the elements that make this classic look modern and new again.

What’s the deal with the black and white kitchen?

The first black and white kitchens emerged in the 1920’s during the Art Deco period. The architecture and design of that era were over-the-top and opulent. Black and white were chosen to show off luxurious kitchens. They were the perfect way to show off gleaming copper pots, gilded art pieces (yes, on the kitchen wall), and oversized cast iron ranges. The look was decadent and rich.

Originally a look for rich households, it filtered down to the middle class. Husbands who made a comfortable living adopted this style in their own homes. It was a statement that the husband could well provide for his wife and children. For the wives, it provided affirmation that she married well and she took pride in preparing meals in this kitchen.

The style stayed in place through the 1950s but became shabby through the years. The Great Depression and World War II changed how Americans decorated for two decades. Once the war was over, these grand kitchens were “modernized” and the look faded into obscurity.

How can I get the new black and white kitchen?

The re-emergence of the black and white kitchen is here. It’s updated for today, yet it’s as chic as ever!


#1. Kitchen floors:

One way to add the graphic impact by pairing black and white is using flooring. Remember those black and white tile floors?  They are back, but with some updates.

One way to look current is selecting large floor tiles. The 12×12 floor tiles of the art deco era have been super-sized! Large format floor tiles in a 20×20 size are the way to add this flooring element to your kitchen without appearing outdated!

Another option is in the pattern of the floor tiles. You can install them in the classic checkerboard for a timeless and elegant look. But if you want to add an extra boost of drama, consider a herringbone pattern instead!

The black and white floor is an investment, but sticking with these classic neutrals will ensure that they will go with any future changes in your decor.

#2. Kitchen cabinetry:

In the old era of the black and white kitchen, cabinets were often metal. These were torn out long ago and replaced by the wood cabinets that we know today.

The most cost-effective way to update your kitchen cabinets is to paint them. If you have solid wood cabinets that are in good condition, this is a great cost-savings for you.

A modern way to paint your cabinets is to paint the upper-cabinets and the lower-cabinets two different colors. This is where you can work in that black and white color scheme! If you have high ceilings, you can easily pull off painting the uppers black to create a cozier feeling. However, if your ceilings are low, paint the uppers white to make the room appear more spacious.

A fun element to add is a contrasting color if you have an island. Make it pop against the neutrals by selecting a bold color instead of black or white.

Before you paint, remove the cabinet doors and all hardware. No special carpentry is needed, your simple hand tools will do just fine! Give them a fresh coat of a sparkling metallic spray paint to add extra pizzazz and a high-end finish.

#3. Kitchen countertops:

If new countertops are in your budget, you can work the black and white colors into those surfaces as well.

Kitchen Design Trend

You can choose solid surface countertops in either color. Or, you can go high-end and choose black and white marble countertops. Countertops are a significant expense, so only you can determine which material is best for your budget!

#4. Kitchen table:

Keep the look of black & white from becoming too heavy by painting your kitchen table a fun color that pops against the black and white elements. Cobalt blue, greenery, canary yellow, and barn reds are all cheerful kitchen colors that will add a fun twist to the kitchen.

Top off the table with simple DIY placemats, napkins, and tablecloths that you can sew from black and white, washable fabrics from the craft store.  This pulls the whole look together perfectly!


In conclusion, the classic black and white kitchen is back…better than ever. By incorporating those classic graphic black and white colors with fun, fashionable colors that are contemporary, you will achieve a balanced, updated look in your home.

Author Bio: Deborah Tayloe is a professional freelance writer and regularly contributes to home tip top.  She is a DIY enthusiast and loves decorating. She and her husband are currently renovating their mid-century ranch home one room at a time!

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