Sam Thompson and Zara McDermott's 'brilliant design choice' redefines the ordinary all-white kitchen, say experts

'It's a design strategy that effortlessly marries style with substance'

Sam Thompson and Zara McDermott
(Image credit: Getty Images)

New King of the Jungle, Sam Thompson and his girlfriend, Zara McDermott, regularly show off their minimalist home on Instagram. However, one particular feature in their kitchen caught our eye in a recent Instagram post. We spied that the couple had embraced the new kitchen wall panelling trend as a clever way to add warmth and character to their all-white kitchen.  

Over the holiday season, Zara McDermott took to Instagram to share with fans her homemade French onion soup recipe, giving us a glimpse of the pair's use of natural wood accents in their bright, open cooking space – as per kitchen trends for 2024.

'Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson's kitchen embodies timeless elegance with its all-white scheme, cleverly punctuated by a stunning warm wood panelling feature,' begins interior designer, Oliver Steer. 'The use of this wood detailing not only introduces a touch of character but also serves as a masterstroke in breaking the monotony of the all-white backdrop.'

'The wood panelling also adds a layer of inviting warmth to the space, creating a harmonious balance against the pristine white surroundings,' continues Oliver. 'Its inclusion is a brilliant design choice, as it not only infuses a sense of cosiness but also introduces a subtle visual texture that resonates with a modern yet welcoming aesthetic.'

Long-time fans will know that Zara and Sam have nothing less than an eye for design, as the couple share a joint Instagram account documenting their home renovation journey. Therefore, it only makes sense that they've put some careful thought into planning a kitchen.

Interior designer Oliver Steer
Oliver Steer

One of the UK's leading interior designers, Oliver Steer, creates award-winning, exquisite interiors and properties using the finest materials, furnishings, and craftsmen from around the world. Dedicated to delivering outstanding luxury living, Oliver has worked with businesses across hospitality and premium retail, as well as directly with customers to bring visions and dreams to life in their homes.

'The great thing about white spaces is that they are essentially a blank canvas, so you're able to easily experiment,' adds Sahar Saffari, senior designer at Hi-Spec Design. 'As we can see, this panelling is placed in quite a central area of the kitchen, over the hob, so it also acts as a vocal point in the kitchen.'

'The wooden feature is also a more traditional kitchen trend, so it helps to bring some nostalgia into the space, making it feel perhaps more homely and welcoming than a completely modern space.'

Sahar Saffari
Sahar Saffari

Senior designer, Sahar Saffari has worked at Hi-Spec Design for over 17 years. She studied Fine Art and Architecture in Tehran. She was also a lecturer of History and Drawing at two universities before moving to the UK in 2004. She spends a lot of time in Spain, which helps with her creative work.

This is exactly what it means to nail balancing the design concept of 'mixing old and new', reshaping the ordinary monotonous kitchen aesthetic and helping to add colour to an all-white kitchen – and it doesn't have to be achieved through wall panelling ideas alone.

'Wooden accents can even be in the way of sentimental sculptural works, pendants and wall art for a welcome dusting of warmth,' advises design consultant, Eleanor-Taylor Roberts. 'The resulting fusion of crisp and cosy can take a design to new heights.'

Kitchen with navy Shaker cupboards and sconce light on wall

(Image credit: Future)

'Incorporating warm wood panelling into an all-white kitchen is a design strategy that effortlessly marries style with substance,' assures Oliver.

'It's a testament to McDermott and Thompson's keen eye for detail and their commitment to creating a space that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also inviting and full of personality.'

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is Ideal Home’s Junior Writer. She’s always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham in 2022. Previously, she was an Intern Editor for ArchDaily. Now focused on news stories, Jullia can be found down the TikTok and Pinterest rabbit hole scrolling through any new and upcoming trends, hacks, and home inspiration.