‘White Room’ by Cream, The White Album by The Beatles or ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ by Pocal Harum were popular songs and album in the 60’s. Indeed decorating with white (along with more psychedelia) was also popular in the 60’s. The songs are still played on the radio, and white is still a perennial favourite used in our homes. White is very versatile, sitting well in contemporary, modern or traditional schemes. As summer approaches we often long for a new freshness in our homes. Throw open doors and windows and let the light in. We long for a brighter (if not sunnier) interior. If lots of bright colour on your walls is not to your taste, or you are feeling bold enough to splash on a coat of orange emulsion, you opt for the safe ‘I’m just going to paint all the walls white’ option. Which white would that be? Brilliant white, off white, barley white? The list of names and shades of white run into the hundreds.
Choosing the right white White like all other colour changes with natural and artificial light. White also takes on different hues, depending what it sits next to. Think about the aspect of the room, if facing north it will have a colder light, so choose a shade of white with red or yellow based undertones like Farrow and Balls ‘Pointing’ or ‘White Tie’. Or try Little Greene Paint Company, they have a plethora of whites in all Likewise a sunnier southern aspect will receive a warmer light, so a white and grey tones in it will not make the room appear cold. Farrow and Balls ‘Strong White’ or ‘Wevet’. You can paint the walls in one white and choose toning shades of white for the ceiling, cornices and woodwork creating a calm graduated colour scheme.
The secret of decorating with white so as not to look too clinical, bland or cold is to add texture into the scheme. Instead of heavy, lined curtains at the windows, try hanging a sheer fabric like voile or muslin to filter the light. Many materials have delicate designs woven into the fabric. This may have to be accompanied with a black out blind in a bedroom if you you want to block out street lighting and very early morning sunshine pouring in (if you window faces east).
Fresh, white bedding always brightens a bedroom and looks smart. Team it with a contrasting colour for the bedhead or a white headboard with texture such as a distressed limed wood in white.
White carpets are not a practical choice if you have children, teenagers or a dog living in your home. These must be saved for master bedrooms or guest rooms, unless you want to be constantly cleaning the carpet and getting stressed. White ceramic, porcelain or granite floor tiles are easier to keep clean, but will of course show the dirt. White floor paint is another option on floor boards or ‘lime wash’ them to add texture and interest. How to lime wash floors yourself – http://www.woodandbeyond.com/blog/what-is-lime-washed-wood-flooring/
White wall tiles in a bathroom, kitchen or utility room do not need to look clinical, if arranged in different patterns or different shapes and sizes. There is something luxurious about a pile of white, clean, fluffy towels folded neatly in a bathroom. The opposite effect is of course when they have been discarded in a wet heap on the floor!
The living room decorated in white can take on many guises. It can be accompanied with glass chandeliers, mirrors, an off white textured rug and formal furniture to create a classic, sophisticated room, or a more relaxed country vibe with rough painted distressed wooden furniture and knitted throws. Or create a Gustavian ambiance with grey based whites of painted furniture.
A dining table set with white china, lit by candle light looks special. White china also displays food well. Collections of white china and ornaments displayed on dressers or shelves look stunning in a ‘white room’, especially if well lit with directional lighting or lamps.
So opting for white need not be boring, clinical or safe, if used well. All pictures from Pinterest