White Washed Kitchen Cabinets | Capturing The Perfect Look

Please follow and like us:

Are you thinking about redesiging your kitchen with a white and light French Country Cottage Look, but not sure where to start?  Although the thought can sound a bit daunting and the visuals aren’t coming to mind, you’ve come to the right place! Between my husbands Kitchen Design expertise and my interior design collective, we will provide the answers you’re looking for and inspirations to help you get your new kitchen design started.

Designed by JKInterior Living
The kitchen above was designed by @jkinteriorliving and photographed by @selliottphoto

What Are White Washed Oak Cabinets?

And how is it finished?

White washed wood is most created with oak, through a process called pickling. Pickling is the most common choice for white-washed staining oak.

Pickling Oak Wood Steps:

Step 1: Remove Hardware. Remove the drawer and door hardware.

Step 2: Clean Cabinets.

Step 3: Sand Surfaces.

Step 4: Apply Stain.

Step 5: Let Stain Dry.

Step 6: Wipe Away Stain.

Step 7: Repeat to Get Desired Look.

Step 8: Varnish Over Stain.

For most kitchen rennovation projects, my best recommendation would be to hire a finishing expert. A kitchen is typically too big for a typical DIY project, but that decision is up to you, your will, and your budget.

If projects is what you are looking for, I have found great sources that will show you how to try pickling yourself.

Timber and Tea’s “How to Whitewash” is a great resource that will teach you multiple ways to capture the best white washed pickling look. [Click HERE to watch]

Timber and Tea: How to White Wash on YouTube

As well as by Angela Marie Made | How To Whitewash Wood with Stain [Click Here to watch],How to Whitewash Wood with Stain by Angela Maria Made

The Trend of Light and Bright Wood in Kitchen Design

Like every trend under the sun, the white washed cabinetry look comes and goes. Through the different decades, have arose a variety of looks that lead the trends for that time. In 2020, light and bright natural and neutral tones are top on the design trend, which brings a new generation of white washed oak up to the for front of Coastal Cottage, French Country, and today’s mid-century designs.

Kate Marker Interiors designed a beautiful French Country Kitchen proving the elegance the light wood is not only timeless but organically pleasing in this Grey Oak Project on https://www.katemarkerinteriors.com/greyoak

Kate Market Interiors
Design and Photo by Kate Marketer Interiors

Benefits of Designing With White Washed Wood

I’m loving the new generation of the traditional concept of white washed cabinets.

Fun fact: Pickling dates back to the days of Mark Twain and Tom Sawyer! So the concept is timeless and will continue to ebenflow through the design industry for generations to come, when styled right.

The look of whitewash cabinets can brighten a room without using paint and allow the wood’s natural grain to show through. You can accomplish this look on your own to large projects like Kitchen rennovations to small DIY projects of shelfs, furnture, as well as hard surfaces like ceiling, steps, floors and accent walls.

Best of all, you capture a sophisticated look in a less formal and more affordable way!

Examples of White Washed Design

In the Kitchen:

My first example of a stunning white oak Kitchen design is by Tribe Design Group, founded by Designer Brooke & Meredith

Tribe Design Group

I love the look of this kitchen from floor to ceiling. The simplistic stove hood and how it’s accessorized is on point, the dangling chandelier adds character, and the woven white island stools bring the perfect blance between classic and modern design.

On the ceiling: 

The A Pop of Pretty, Keri shows you both examples of beautiful pickling ceilings as well as instruction on how to DIY at home. To learn more [click here]

A POP of Pretty

On The Floor:

Over the past year, light white oak has become widely popular in the world of design. All the top designers are using white oak flooring in their designs. Studio McGee took this design to the next level with harringbone flooring for their mudroom project, check out the beauty here. I just love all the little details, from the white shiplap ceiling, to the nautical chandelier, navy cabinets with gold hardware, and a hit of white wash details built into the cabinetry as well as via the bench. Studio McGee is always top on my design inspiration list!

Studio McGee

What Styles Best Fit The White Washed Look?

Most common interior desgn styeles are Coastal Cottage, French Country, and today’s spin on mid-century designs – and is being applied by all the top designers in my home of Orange County and throughout the world. Just Google “White Washed Design Trends” and a plethera of design inspiration will display.

You can visit my “White Washed Oak Trend” Design Board on @Pinterest. All my boards are evolving daily so be sure to check back on what’s new and trending.

If you have any questions that weren’t answered in this article, please leave them in the comments below!

I’m also easy to reach at Erika@Erikasdesigncollective.com

12 thoughts on “White Washed Kitchen Cabinets | Capturing The Perfect Look”

  1. Hello there! this is an amazing review you have got here, I am sure the information in this post will be of great help to anyone who come across it. I cant thank you enough for sharing this with me, the last guy I called to do it for me, charged me huge sum of cash; I dont think I need him anymore now that I have seen this post.


    • That’s so great, I’m happy I inspired of you. Yes, you can totally do it. Just take your time and enjoy the process. I’d love to see it when you’re done! 

  2. Thanks for this article For oak or other wood with large grain and pores, apply the whitewash against the grain to ensure it covers the contour of the wood. This technique is called “pickling”. For pine and most other woods, apply the whitewash in the direction of the wood grain for best results.The look of whitewash cabinets can brighten a room without using paint and allow the wood’s natural grain to show through. 

  3. Hello Erika, I am a fan of good interiors and just have to give credits for the ideas in this article as they have crossed my mind a couple of times but I was always waving it saying that it may not go well with kids around. However, I just have to say this is very fantastic and when next I have a renovation of my kitchen, I’m adopting this 

    • That’s wonderful. It’s great to hear you have a kitchen renovation to look forward to someday! I think this look will be around for a long time! 

  4. Hello there Erika. I enjoyed reading your article about ‘white washed kitchen cabinets capturing the perfect look’. I have to admit that the whole design with the cabinets and pickling oak really is aesthetically pleasing a, and I appreciate that you put up images in your article of what the desired effect of white washing should be be and why it’s desired as it gives a bright look to the kitchen. 

  5. Those cabinets look amazing! I love looking at new and different ideas for houses but unfortunately at the time I am renting but as soon as I have my own house I will be able to get all these things I want and do whatever I want! I do love that white look a lot but I just feel as if they could also get dirty easy as well. Thanks again for this article!

  6. Hi Erika – This is my first time being exposed to whitewashed wood, but I have always favored a light décor as it makes a room so airy and spacious. Whitewashed wood certainly accomplishes the goal. The cabinets are my favorite. How much time would be involved in whitewashing the cabinets of a medium-sized kitchen?

    • Hi Nathaniel, I’m so thrilled I was able to introduce this design to you! The time involved is dependant on if you do it yourself, or do it professionally. It would take about a week with a hired professional. Thanks for your comment! 


Leave a Comment