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.