Its a trend that lives on, and there are lots of good reasons why.

Design Details: White Kitchens

Its a trend that lives on, and there are lots of good reasons why.

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    Jason Schmidt

    A kitchen island with plenty of room for wine storage is at the center of a duplex apartment kitchen designed for clutter-free living and easy entertaining. Location: New York, N.Y. Architect: Deborah Berke & Partners. Builder: Sweeney + Conroy.

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    Tre Dunham

    Sleek hardware and stainless steel countertops are softened and warmed by butcher block in this all-white kitchen. Location: Austin, Tex. Architect: Stewart Davis. Builder: CG&S Design-Build.

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    Tre Dunham

    Within easy reach of the kitchen island, narrow bookcases and cabinets make the most of tricky spaces. Location: Austin, Tex. Architect: Stewart Davis. Builder: CG&S Design-Build.

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    Lauren Brown

    In this white kitchen, a backsplash of travertine adds texture. Location: Dallas, Tex. Designer/Builder: Greenbrook Homes.

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    Jason Schmidt

    In a twist on the expected classic, the wood on this kitchen’s island is on the base, not the surface. It’s Plyboo, a bamboo plywood (the island top is Ice Stone). Location: West Orange, N.J. Architect: Deborah Berke & Partners. Builder: Sweeney + Conroy.

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    Sam Oberter

    The clean and classic kitchen in this beachside house takes its cues from the natural and man-made elements of its shoreline location. Location: Silver Beach, N.J. Architect: Richard Bubnowski. Interior Designer: Elizabeth Gillin. Builder: Brian Furey, Falcon Industries.

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    In this all-white kitchen, the cooktop’s backsplash is a simple sheet of glass painted white that’s easy to clean (the painted side faces the wall). Location: Austin Texas, Architect: Alterstudio Architects. Builder: Melde Specialty Construction.

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    Lauren Brown

    Paints and finishes in this kitchen are low- or no-VOC, and the house is LEED Gold. Location: Dallas, Tex. Designer/Builder: Greenbrook Homes

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    Julian Wass for House Beautiful magazine

    With an artful combination of finishes, textures, and materials, an all-white kitchen has the chance to be even more visually engaging and easy to live in than one with color. Location: Chicago, Ill. Architect: Paul Konstant. Kitchen Designer: Mick DeGiulio. Interior Designer: Frank Ponterio. General Contractor: Thomas Eick Construction.

Whether you enjoy trend-spotting or wrinkle your nose at the very thought, recurring trends are worth paying attention to, if for no other reason than what they say about the public taste vis-a-vis the times we’re living in. We’re talking about the return of the white kitchen, and if you’ve been in the business long enough, you’ve seen the trend before. So, why now? Depending on your point of view—and your clientele—explanations vary. Economic: In a downturn, moderation prevails, and a white kitchen plays to a bigger variety of tastes than a red one. Strategic: A kitchen that’s all white probably makes a home easier to sell. Stylistic: If, faced with all that white, there’s a craving for color, a white kitchen makes it easier to add a splash of orange or apple-green. Psychological: In anxious, tumultuous times, white is calming.

Or maybe it’s all of those things. "There’s a durability in terms of style," says Mick DeGiulio, a Chicago-based architect who has been designing kitchens for more than 30 years, and who has seen the demand for white kitchens ebb and flow. "White always makes for a great kitchen—it reads fresh and clean, which are big words in kitchen design right now." It's like the home-design equivalent of the navy blazer or the little black dress—reliable, timeless, and something that never really went out of style in the first place. While white may be neutral, it’s anything but bland.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Chicago, IL.