White fills a room with elegance and beauty
From subtle to sparkling, white is a powerhouse in home decor
Deceptively simple, the colour white is like no other. With the qualities of both being neutral and highlighting, its chameleonic nature lends itself beautifully and seamlessly to almost any decor.
Pull some white into your home and you’ll see an instant transformation. Whether you’re going for a sense of upscale luxury or shabby chic, use white to help elevate your existing decor. You might be surprised to discover all the options at your disposal and how much of an impact they can have on your home’s ambience.
Choosing a Shade of White
Designer Ivan Meade of Meade Design Group loves the colour white and uses it in all his projects, but he’s very careful about choosing the right shade to achieve the right mood. “There are as many shades of white as there are colours – and that’s part of the problem.”
For example, take into consideration the type of light that’s in the room. What kind of bulbs do you use? If there are windows, what direction do they face? These variables all affect how white performs in that space.
Meade has a few tips for choosing white paint:
- For crisp whites, use paint with a subtle green or blue undertone.
- If painting an entire room in white, avoid a flat and sterile result by painting architectural details in the same colour but in different finishes (satin, flat, high gloss, pearl, etc.).
- If you’re befuddled by the 140-plus shades of white that Benjamin Moore alone offers, choose Cloud White, a perennial favourite of designers.
Room utilizing a white interior.
Typically the largest area in most homes, the living room is where you can really have fun with your white accessories. Here, your whites can go large, go bold.
"Because white is seemingly devoid of colour,” explains interior designer Valerie Edwards of Design Essentials Inc., "it is perceived to be almost transparent, in the sense that our eyes see past a white object.”
Two of Valerie’s favourite accessories for a living room are a white leather sofa and a white leather chaise (she has both in her own home). “You can put a large white leather sofa in almost any style room and it will actually ground the room, pulling everything together.”
"White ... is perceived to be almost transparent, in the sense that our eyes see past a white object.” − Valerie Edwards
Classic Whites in the Kitchen
Sleek, chic and clean. White in the kitchen is a classic, natural choice and options are near-endless. Considered the heart of most homes, you want to treat your kitchen with love, so follow our tips on how to bring in the white:
DO Make a statement with glossy white cabinets. Whether you go Ikea or custom, these will look professional and stylish for a very long time.
DON’T With a dramatic white feature, avoid too much of the same – same colour, same finish, same texture. Instead, use different shades of white to create depth and introduce a variety of textures and finishes to maintain a playful mood.
DO Be confident in introducing fresh, new white elements into your existing space. There’s always room in every kitchen for gleaming appliances or sculptural cooking utensils.
DON’T If you have an open layout, don’t forget about tying in your new white accessories with the dining room. Consider painting the ceiling in a subtle effort to connect the rooms. Or introduce white elements in the other room as well, such as new white dining chairs.
DO Experiment with styles, especially if you’re just buying new accessories, as opposed to renovating. Accessories can be replaced easily; quartz countertops cannot.
DON’T Never sacrifice form over function, especially if you live for cooking. Ensure your new accessories are actually chef-worthy additions, not just pretty to look at.
Clean Whites in the Bathroom
In the bathroom, white is synonymous with cleanliness. But with so many other cold materials already in this space (porcelain, chrome, marble, etc.), white can easily tip the scale towards looking too sterile. Warm up this room by adding personality through texture and playing with light and shadows.
Nothing epitomises comfort and coziness like fluffy white Egyptian cotton towels and robes. Have these displayed to help soften up angular countertops and edges. Use 3D tiles to create unexpected lines also help provide more depth to white. They impart elegance and a sense of whimsy to what is usually a lacklustre feature.
Snow Whites in the Bedroom
White is a natural choice for bedrooms. It evokes a sense of serenity and rejuvenation – all the things conducive to the one room in your home you can truly call your own.
Patricia Gray, award-winning interior designer and owner of Patricia Gray Inc. offers tips for bringing white into the bedroom:
- Gray adores her crisp, white Frette sheets – a little bit of luxury she uses every day.
- Fill a large white platter with different sizes of white candles for a dramatic touch.
- Mount black-and-white photos with white mats and frames, and arrange them gallery-like on your walls for a personal touch.