White decor is misunderstood. You might think that all-white rooms do little to inspire. But a correct understanding of white decor can lead to incredible interior designs.
White decor can excite, relax, and create a sense of volume and space in your home. White doesn’t necessarily mean “blank canvas.” It’s a style in and of itself – and one that can create a dramatic effect.
But doing white right is difficult. Here are some pointers to get you started.
Consider Different Tones In White Decor
People imagine that decorating with white involves using a single shade of white, painting all surfaces and only using matching furniture. But like the true colours, white comes in all sorts of shades and hues. So white can be used together in extraordinary ways.
For instance, some whites are yellower than others. Yellower whites help to create a more relaxing and warm atmosphere. A yellow-based white is ideal for rooms you want to spend time in during the evenings.
Bluer whites generate a feeling of coolness and alertness. So a blue-based white is perfect for bathrooms if you shower in the morning.
Grey-based whites can be very elegant and formal so can be used in living spaces and bedrooms, in a kitchen and in entry ways and foyers.
In my work as an interior designer in Adelaide, my favourite whites include;
– ‘Chalk’ from Bauwerk
– ‘Popcorn’ from Porter’s Paints
– ‘House White’ by Resene
– ‘Super White’ by Benjamin Moore (USA)
– ‘Ammonite’ by Farrow and Ball (UK)
Mix Up White Decor Textures
If you can’t use differences in colour to create interest, you have to do it in other ways.
Fortunately, whites are highly amenable to different textures. This allows you to create visual interest while keeping everything relatively neutral or monochromatic.
Try mixing wooden paneling with cotton pillows, knotty woolen cushions, and relaxed loungers. Use mirrors to reflect whites back into the room.
And use off-white colours, like the brown of a wicker basket, to create neutral accents that do not disturb the overall effect.
Use White Flooring
Using white flooring can help take the whiteness of a room to a whole new level. Flooring is usually darker than the whites on the walls or the ceiling.
Consider using off-white or beige tiles or carpets. If using carpets, make sure to invest in regular carpet cleaning to keep them looking their best.
If you want white floorboards, use patio paint not interior paint. Patio paint is much more hard-wearing and easier to clean than regular interior paint.
Washing will remove staining and help to keep the fibres fresh and vibrant.
When going for an all-white decor theme, it can sometimes be difficult to bring everything together. Rooms often need anchor elements, like furniture or rugs, that unify all of its features.
Choosing the right rug or item of furniture can be tricky. Sometimes pieces of furniture can be too big for a room, dominating the space.
Appropriately-sized rugs are ideal for placing underneath a set of furniture. Rugs that are a different shade to the flooring create interest and provide a clear delineation between seating space, and gangways. Rugs look great underneath armchairs, coffee tables and ottomans.
Avoid Going Too Bright, Cos it’s NOT Right
White naturally reflects light. A white room can look too clinical when light is bouncing off all the white surfaces.
Strike a balance when using white by adding textures and some neutral tones to soften a room’s appearance. For example, a sheepskin rug, a blonde wooden stool or pale beige linen ottoman.
Top interior designers use the 60-30-10 rule when designing a white-themed room. Sixty percent of the room is dedicated to the primary palette – in this case, white.
The primary palette should incorporate the walls, ceilings, window frames, and floor. 30 percent of the room should be what designers call the secondary palette.
The secondary palette includes colors that are not quite white, such as wooden furniture. The final 10 percent is for “hero pieces” – items that bring a sense of uniqueness and character to a room.
Hero pieces can be an interesting lamp, a stunning coffee table, or a plant pot. These elements help to break up a white room, helping it to feel cozier.
Unless it’s a bathroom, bright lights in white rooms are a definite no-no. The white paint reflects the bright lights and can sometimes dazzle. This is NOT what you want when you’re trying to unwind cozily on a winter’s evening after work.
Choose LED lights with filters that reduce the output of blue light and preferentially allow orange and red lightwaves through.
These LED lights will help to make an all-white room feel cozier in the evening, even if it feels minimalist during the day.
Choose Greenery To Pop In White Decor
White has a clinical, synthetic appearance. It’s rarely found in nature and can feel a little alien. Apple uses white for its computers and phones because it knows that it appears futuristic and artificial. White is associated with technology.
Greenery helps bring white rooms back down to Earth, making them feel more natural. You can hang plants from the ceiling, use pots near the windows, or create custom baskets along the calls. Exotic plants work best.