Modern Kitchen Ideas

How to create a modern white kitchen

A drab, dark and impractical kitchen gets a sophisticated new white look and a functional layout.
Photography: The Palm Co / Styling: Sarah Yarrow

When the owners of this beachside home in Sydney’s south decided to renovate, they asked their daughter, interior designer Sarah Yarrow, to guide them through the process of creating a modern white kitchen, which was completed in just 12 weeks in 2020. “They had inherited an early-2000s kitchen and were keen to modernise it, but in a tailored and classy way reflective of their existing style and furnishings throughout the rest of the home,” says Sarah. “Functionally, the space lacked storage which was a big consideration in the tiny footprint as the kitchen couldn’t be extended.”

White kitchen with wooden floors
White kitchen cabinets conceal appliances for a less cluttered look.. (Credit: Photography: The Palm Co / Styling: Sarah Yarrow)

Are white kitchens still trending?

White kitchens are always a classic but to make them feel modern, look at easy kitchen updates such as new tapware and light fittings. The white-on-white palette was chosen to give the illusion of space, as were integrated appliances. The farmhouse sink and tapware from The English Tapware Company were decided on as the hero pieces of the new modern white kitchen, and the rest of the design was built around these pieces. “Given the very small space, we kept colours and material variation very simple to avoid visual clutter,” says Sarah. “The cabinets and walls are the same shade of white, but we added interest with the shaker-style profile on the cabinetry doors.” Finally, loose sheer Roman blinds were added to provide subtle pattern and colour.

Modern white kitchen with linen blinds
Splashback ideas: White kitchen benchtops wrap up the wall for a streamlined aesthetic. (Credit: Photography: The Palm Co / Styling: Sarah Yarrow)

The existing hardwood floors were sanded and re-polished in a clear matte seal, and the white kitchen cabinets were custom-designed for the space by Sarah, then constructed by Yarrow Build. The benchtops are Frosty Carrina from Caesarstone, paired with tapware and sink from The English Tapware Company. The lighting is by Light Co, blinds and curtains are from Northside Window Coverings and the handles are by Hepburn Hardware


Modern white kitchen with glass cabinet
The sheer blinds and curtains from Northside Window Coverings soften the white. (Credit: Photography: The Palm Co / Styling: Sarah Yarrow)

In the connecting laundry, the existing floor tiles were kept and Yarrow Build constructed the new custom cabinetry. Caesarstone benchtops were paired with tiles from Tile Bazaar, with tapware from Winning Appliances. The once-dated spaces have been transformed into a fresh white kitchen and adjoining white laundry.

White laundry next to modern white kitchen
The adjoining laundry was designed to match the style of the modern white kitchen. (Credit: Photography: The Palm Co / Styling: Sarah Yarrow)

Design tip

“The laundry is connected to the kitchen but my parents wanted it to be ‘invisible’. I added bi-fold doors that can be closed to neatly hide away everyday mess. We also wanted to keep the design consistent with the kitchen, so despite it being a utilitarian laundry, it still has the elevated, timeless look we strived for in the kitchen,” says Sarah.

Modern white laundry with grey splashback tiles
Grey patterned subway tiles from Tile Bazaar feature on the laundry splashback. (Credit: Photography: The Palm Co / Styling: Sarah Yarrow)

“Don’t try to add too many ‘hero’ or feature pieces into the space otherwise you’ll lose the effect … we used the fireclay sink and tapware as our hero.”

Sarah Yarrow, interior designer
modern white laundry with light grey cabinets
The laundry’s modern Shaker-style cabinets are the same as the ones in the kitchen. (Credit: Photography: The Palm Co / Styling: Sarah Yarrow)

Source book

Interior design: Sarah Yarrow, Sarah Yarrow Interiors, (02) 8581 5286,
Builder: Tim Yarrow, Yarrow Build, (02) 8581 5286,

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