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White cupboards get all the attention. Sure, they’re great for creating a clean backdrop and brightening even the most cramped of rooms—but we’re ready for a little warmth. It’s time to consider cream kitchen cabinets. Every bit as calming and pared back as their counterparts but less stark, they’re a breath of fresh air with a touch of lived-in charm.
That said, there’s no rule about having to make them rustic. The trick to having ivory paint feel fresh is a magic formula of the right shade and the appropriate accoutrements—you know, oversized hardware, counters in a natural material, and even styling. Whether you’re planning to buy or DIY new fronts, here are a few spaces at the top of our mood boards.
The English Cream: School House White by Farrow & Ball
To emulate the feeling of an antique country kitchen in her Brooklyn apartment, Mallory Fletchall opted for a soft off-white to coordinate with her vintage-style fridge. “I didn’t want it to look like a white modern box,” she says. “I really wanted there to be personality and coziness.”
The Greige: Sandbar by Sherwin-Williams
Lifestyle blogger Kat Jamieson’s Connecticut home was “fine,” she says, but the white kitchen cabinets felt cold against equally snowy walls. To add some warmth, she painted the boxes a greige shade and kept the white to the new marble countertops.
The Sunny Shade: Harvest Moon by Backdrop
French fashion influencer Jen Azoulay knows a thing or two about looking chic and effortless. So when it came time to choose colors for her Los Angeles home, she settled on brass hardware to purposefully bring out the yellow undertones of her newly painted cabinets. You’d never know they’re IKEA.
The Almost White: Shadow White by Farrow & Ball
Judith Achumba-Wöllenstein couldn’t stand the glossy finish of her London kitchen cabinets. A fresh coat of paint would have solved the problem, but wrapping the cupboards in off-white vinyl was actually more affordable. Oversize wood pulls, a peachy zellige backsplash, and black scalloped shelves keep the sleek silhouettes from feeling so builder-grade.
The Classic: Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore
Studio McGee knows a thing or two about showstopping kitchens, and in this particular room, it all came down to a medley of cupboard types. There are short drawers and tall cabinets; glass panes and solid wood. It makes the simple color far more interesting—plus the blue-gray stove just out of view adds the right amount of contrast.
The Soft Clay: Downy by Sherwin-Williams
In this Naked Kitchens corner, oak shelving breaks up the clay hue. Choose a mix of open and closed storage to shake up the design; bonus points if you want to follow suit with some elegant molding. Keep the natural theme going with matching butcher block countertops, and you’ve got yourself a winning recipe.
The Cloudy Gray: White Wisp by Benjamin Moore
From a distance, the most striking thing about Erin Hiemstra’s room is the floor-to-ceiling built-ins. But look closer and you’ll notice a little quirk: Almost all the hardware is different. Some doors have two knobs, others have one, and the main pair has none at all—it features sleek pulls. Uniformity is overrated anyway.
The Café au Lait: Wimborne White by Farrow & Ball
The trademark cabinet borders may be there, true, but this Space Exploration–designed loft is anything but cookie-cutter. Chalk it up to super thin brass handles and a particular tint of café au lait paint. Paired with a contemporary accordion sconce and matte black accents, the whole space feels current.
The Cool Neutral: Whipped by Clare
Checkerboard floors. Tiled counters. On paper, this combination shouldn’t work, but Madelynn Furlong made it happen. It’s all about picking a cooler cream hue for the walls and cupboards to counteract all the beige.
The Vintage Vibe: Antique White by Jolie Paint
Farmhouse isn’t for everyone, but when done right, like in Liza Reyes‘s sunny spot complete with wood countertops, leather pulls, and a skirted sink, it’s the design version of a big hug. If you’re going to go the old-school–charm route with your cream kitchen cabinets, you may as well lean in.
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