Design, Get the Look

Winter Wonderland: Five Tips for Decorating with White

Bold colors are continuing to grow in popularity, but that doesn’t mean we should discount the value of decorating with white.  White can make a room feel bright, fresh, and clean.  It can work like an eraser to hide blemishes and camouflage eyesores.  It’s also the most versatile background color to work the rest of your color palette around.  So whether you’re just a fan of white, or a renter who can’t touch those white walls, let’s take a look at the best ways to make white work in your space.

Pick the Right Shade of White

You may think that white is white is white, but if you’ve ever been to the paint section of your local hardware store it becomes apparent just how many shades of white there really are.  Some whites have warmer undertones, while others have cooler undertones.  Which will be best for your room is based largely on the lighting of the space.  Rooms with a lot of natural light will look warmer, so a white with cool undertones can help balance warmth of the light.  Rooms with mainly artificial lighting, especially LED lights skew cooler, so a warmer white should be chosen.  As with selecting any paint color, adhering paint chips or painting test patches of your options in various locations around the room can help you choose the perfect shade.

Add Texture

White may be crisp and clean looking, but it’s not the most visually interesting.  You can get around this issue by adding lots of texture to the space.  Textiles are one of the best ways to add texture to a room since many have thick, rough, or interesting looks and feels to them.  Wood furniture or accents will also help add texture and visual interest.  If you want to keep everything white you can whitewash the wood and still benefit from the texture it brings.  In the kitchen or bathroom tile work can add a lot of visual interest, especially if using patterned or uniquely shaped tiles.

Swap Out Decor

For those of you who reluctantly have white walls, try to think of them as a blank canvas instead of plain and boring.  For people who like to swap out their decor seasonally, white is the ideal backdrop.  Soft spring pastels, bright summer colors, and warm autumn hues will look equally as good against white walls.  This changing decor will help keep your space looking fresh and new, even if you’re stuck with the same white walls.

Add Pops of Color

You can fill your space with as much white as you want, but make sure to include at least a couple pops of color somewhere.  Without pops of color the room will lack depth and become one giant white blur.  A neutral color palette is incredibly versatile, but even just a small bright pop of color goes a long way to add depth and variation to a room.  For a good balance, stick to the 60-30-10 rule when choosing your colors.  60% of the room will be your primary color palette, 30% the secondary color palette (this is usually comprised of the furniture) and then 10% is the accent color.  That 10% can be one large statement piece, or a few smaller pieces.

Keep It Clean

White has connotations of cleanliness, but it can get dirty looking pretty quickly.  And dirty white doesn’t look clean and crisp anymore – it just looks dirty and dingy.  Make sure you choose a paint that can be easily cleaned of any dirt smudges or dirty fingerprints.  If you’re using white upholstery, opt for slipcovers that can easily be removed and cleaned.  Any white textiles should be in a fabric that can be spot cleaned without too much effort.

White may be the blank canvas of the color world, but it still takes some consideration to make it look great, and take your space to its full potential.  The most important part really is choosing the right shade of white.  Once that’s in place the rest is fairly easy.  But choose wisely and you can end up with a room that will have any minimalist swooning.

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