All-white interiors have long been considered the epitome of chic in terms of home design, but how do you actually go about embracing and more importantly, maintaining one? It’s simple when you know how.
Looking at The White Company reviews online, it’s obvious that the quest for bright neutral interior spaces is still at the forefront of many homeowners’ minds, so let’s find out how you can enjoy an all-white space of your own.
START BY CHOOSING YOUR WHITE PALETTE
It’s no secret that in every colour is a variable range of shades, and although some people are still surprised by it, white is no exception. Within the spectrum of white there are three sub-hues, each of which will have a dramatic effect on your finished interior scheme.
Grey whites – also known as cool whites. Essentially this will be a subtle pale grey that lends a cool and neutral tone to your room. Bright lighting helps to make the most of this option, as do contrasting accessories that are warmer in tone. Grey whites are frequently used in bathroom settings and contemporary homes to amplify the fresh and clean feel that the coolness exudes.
Yellow whites – the warmer end of the white spectrum. Here, you’ll find a variety of shades that run from ivory and cream through to cloudy whites. Ideal for homes with period features such as mouldings, these shades also work well in sunny rooms that draw in colour from outside.
Green whites – an adaptable range of whites that use surrounding colours to chameleon-like effect. Looking cool one second and buttery warm the next, these whites can play on having both blue and yellow bases to them, making them excellent all-rounders.
THINK ABOUT YOUR FURNISHINGS
If you’re planning to go all-in by investing in white furnishings, try to use tones to your advantage. Aged whites work well for soft furnishings, adding a sense of lived-in cosiness, especially when textural elements are brought in as well, such as rugs, throws and scatter cushions.
To get the most from an all-white furnishing scheme, you need to add just enough contrast. Natural materials and finishes are best for this, as they offer another neutral and won’t vie for attention. Instead, they will simply emphasise the brightness of your white pieces. Small contrasts work well, in the form of lamp bases, storage baskets, decorative crystals and small footstools.
As an eco-friendly touch, bringing a number of houseplants into play is a fantastic way to play off the surrounding brightness. Large, leafy green plants work wonders when it comes to breaking up a big expanse of white wall, and there are varieties suitable for every room.
PUT THE WHITE TO GOOD USE
Think about every art gallery you’ve ever visited. What do they have in common? Expansive white walls as the perfect backdrop for artists’ work. You can take this technique and apply it to your own home to make your plain white walls a little more dynamic, not to mention useful.
For a striking display, choose white picture frames that disappear into the wall and let the art step forward, or for something a little more colourful, consider dramatic frames that draw the eye immediately. It’s always a good idea to group pictures with matching frames in clusters to make the collection look and feel more cohesive, but eclectic gallery walls where no two frames are the same are growing in popularity now. The effect is fresh and fun, especially against a white backdrop.
For a contemporary gallery vibe, try leaning framed pictures against the wall, while stood on the floor. This anti-hanging technique is fresh from larger galleries and works well in homes without children or pets. It can also be extended to bedroom mirrors.
REMEMBER TO ADD TEXTURE
All-white homes can sound a little sterile, but if you inject the right amount of textural variance into your rooms, it will never be an issue. Aside from the furniture and soft furnishings that you install, your walls can be large canvases ripe for upgrading, so consider the following ideas:
Textured wallpaper – Choose a brand that is designed to be painted over and you can have the perfect colour that you want, with added subtle detail. You might find it’s only at certain times of the day, when the sun is in the right position, that you see the wall come alive, but it will be worth it.
Painted bricks – If you have exposed brick walls in your home, they can look incredible when painted white. The natural texture of the bricks make for a subtle yet striking aesthetic reminiscent of loft apartments. Be sure to use a masonry-specific paintbrush for this to ensure everything is properly covered.
Wood cladding – Maybe best suited to homes by the sea, wood-clad walls have a naturally nautical vibe that looks so fresh when painted white. Install your cladding vertically to give the impression of a taller room and feel free to play with ageing techniques, if you are looking for more of a shabby chic flavour.
Textured tiles – Whether you opt for handmade artisan tiles or something a little more budget-friendly, choosing textured white ceramics can liven up your bathroom and kitchen walls no end. It can obviously also work for your flooring, too. Simple matt and gloss variations can add interesting dimensions as well, with the light picking up the reflective surfaces.
Get creative – Interior design is so progressive that you can be as creative as you like. From commissioning 3D printed wall panels through to adding decorative mouldings, panelling or even carving niches to be tiled or painted in a contrasting hue, your white walls are a literal blank canvas.
DON’T IGNORE WOOD
You might be tempted to paint everything in your home white, but take some time to consider leaving some warmer elements in place. Honey-toned wood floors are a great way to inject some natural contrast, character and warmth back into what could quickly become a very stark space, and they are easily broken up with white rugs. Smaller details such as wooden furniture legs, small coffee tables and even wooden light fixtures all inject little doses of character without taking over the scheme. In fact, they will help to embellish the brightness elsewhere.
It’s a prudent idea to use a brand and finish of paint that can easily be wiped clean. Everyday life has a nasty habit of producing smears and dirty marks on pristine white walls, and you don’t want to be committing to a lifetime of touching-up.
Committing to a regular cleaning regime will help to maintain the freshness of your surfaces and furnishings. Investing in specific tools or products will also make life easier. For example, wooden wall cladding is best when dusted, whereas skirting boards benefit from more of a polish or even a vacuuming. Bring in specialists to tackle your soft furnishings and textiles. Rugs, carpets and sofas are vital to your aesthetic, so don’t risk a home-cleaning malfunction.
An all-white interior will keep your home fresh and timeless, so why not pick a room to renovate and make a start today?