Love It Or List It's Hilary Farr Recommends Adding This To Your Kitchen When You Have White Cabinets

Oak kitchen cabinets may carry the brunt of cabinet criticism from interior designers, but there's another cabinet style that's deceptively tricky to incorporate into designs: white cabinets. In many ways, white is one of the best kitchen cabinet colors; it helps the kitchen seem light and airy, and it's a timeless style that can work with various aesthetics. However, while white cabinetry can look lovely, it can begin to feel flat and sterile when there's no other color in the kitchen. 

Hilary Farr, interior design expert and host of HGTV's "Love It or List It," has dealt with her fair share of white kitchens, and she has a go-to solution. To keep the kitchen feeling lively, Farr adds a heavy dose of color via a tile backsplash. As Farr says in Season 1, Episode 7 of "Love It or List It" about a client's kitchen, "Now that their cabinets are going to remain white, I really want to add a bold color to their kitchen somewhere, and that backsplash is the perfect place." 

Farr installs a gorgeous blue tile that adds incredible color to an otherwise monochromatic space, and it makes a big impact while still being a delightfully simple project. Plus, the contrast with the white cabinets has a crisp, dynamic effect that could make your kitchen feel ultra stylish, too.

Adding color to a white kitchen

You have several choices for creating a colorful backsplash for your kitchen. Hilary Farr creates color with a blue tile backsplash, which, in the "Love It or List It" episode, costs around $2,000. If there's room in your budget for a real tile backsplash, this is an excellent way to incorporate some much-needed color alongside your white cabinets, but you can always use peel-and-stick tiles for a cheaper alternative. As an extra benefit, peel-and-stick tiles are removable, so you can always swap them out if you want to try a different color or design.

Whether you use real tiles or the peel-and-stick variety, you'll have some options when it comes to tile style. Subway tiles, like Farr uses, are a popular choice, but you can experiment with other shapes, like squares or hexagons. You can also be adventurous with a colorful mosaic design. 

When placing your backsplash, make it a major theme of your kitchen by placing it in several places, including the spaces behind both the sink and the oven range, to tie everything together. As Farr explains it, " glass tiles [ ] will become a focal point to the kitchen." Farr goes on to share that, to really make the blue have a powerful punch, she uses the same shade on the fireplace, unifying the open-space living room and kitchen.

Best color schemes for white cabinets

When working with white cabinets, your backsplash color options are essentially limitless. Blue has a soothing, serene effect, but you can also play around with vibrant colors that give your kitchen a fun and/or retro feel. Red backsplash, for instance, can add a nice touch of drama to your space. Some of the other best kitchen backsplash colors for white cabinets include dark green, pastel pink, and sunny yellow. 

If you prefer a multicolored style, there are plenty of gorgeous tile patterns. You can get something classic, like terracotta or Tuscan-style peel-and-stick tiles. Or, for a modern aesthetic, you could opt for colorful mosaic tiles. You'll also need to decide between a white grout, dark grout, or a tile design with no visible grout at all. Any of these options can look nice; just remember that white grout needs to be cleaned regularly to maintain its appearance.

For a cohesive design, sprinkle the backsplash color into other kitchen elements, such as canisters, fruit bowls, and tea towels. If you're working with an open-concept space, like Hilary Farr does in her blue kitchen and living room design, follow Farr's example and spread the color throughout the entire room. Throw pillows, lampshades, and even picture frames can subtly connect the backsplash color to the rest of the home, creating a beautiful, colorful space.