Will people ever grow out of this all-white interior design love? Nope! Honestly, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. It is probably one of the most sought after design trends, because people just love its soothing and cohesive qualities. Therefore, I think it’s worth taking the time to outline and share with you some inspiration and the most basic tips I use as a professional to pull this stunning chic aesthetic.
For centuries now, white has been associated with purity, perfection, cleanliness, fresh beginnings, neutrality – a blank canvas to show off our imprints. No wonder why people are obsessing over it, pinning thousands of images on Pinterest with all white interiors. And although it looks as an effortless design scheme, I think it’s probably one of the most difficult to pull off. But if done correctly, then it can bring design envy even to the most design indifferent person.
Guide for the Ultimate All-White Heaven
Find the right shades of white
Believe it or not there are a lot of shades of white with their respective undertones. Therefore, take the time to explore them. And in order to achieve the perfect all-white heaven you need to create a tonal color palette. That basically means, combining cautiously variations from the same color family – white in this case – through paint, furnishings, accessories and decor. This translates in a combo of several whites.
Now, if there’s lots of natural light in a room, then you could easily go for a white shade with blue undertones, for a crisper look. On the other hand, if a room has LED lighting it’s best to opt a white shade with yellow undertones that looks more creamy and softer on the eye. A tip to remember: avoid mixing too much of a warm or cool white tones together, because the result will be unflattering. For a more cohesive look, work with whites within the same family of undertones.
Add texture and pattern
White color creates cohesion. However, a white interior gone wrong looks stark, bare and sterile. Therefore, it’s important to create a warm and inviting, but casual atmosphere. The best way to do that is by layering in pattern and texture throughout via several sources. That’s because pattern and texture create visual interests. Stripes and chevron patterns are such classic examples. Think of lots of textiles like wool knitted throws, linen cushions and bedding, velvet upholstery. Similarly, furniture with a geometric pattern design philosophy like that sideboard in the image above or rattan chairs can work wonders. Needless to say that bohemian decor elements are fabulous additions to an all-white interior because they add that cozy, worldly flair to it that’s needed to undo any sterile connotation. Also, lighting with an organic vibe to it can serve as another wonderful texture and/or pattern source. Last but not least, rugs. They add character, texture and create cohesion while they anchor elements together.
White color has a cohesive quality. But, a theme throughout is very much needed to give it that sophisticated WOW factor. Choose warm woods for a cozier vibe, or weathered whitewashed ones for a more casual country rustic look. Generally speaking, big and bulky furniture looks less flattering compared to furniture with a more minimal aesthetic that looks “light.” For instance, bulky modular sofas look best when paired with minimal light looking coffee and side tables. Therefore, try to keep a balance and your chosen theme (i.e. modern, minimal, Scandinavian, contemporary or rustic). Another tip to remember: add metallic touches like hardware features and fittings in copper or brass or decor for they help create definition and it’s details like that can make all the difference in the world. 😉
Balance via Art
Artwork is a very personal statement. It adds character and at the same time creates focal points. Use artwork like original art, print images, maps, or better yet photo images to balance any overpowering architectural features or even the lack of them. Obviously, large artwork has a big impact. Therefore, think BIG. Art gallery walls have the same potential. So time to get creative. One more tip to remember: mix mirrors and art images and why not photography – the rising star in home decorating. Create vignettes. Such compositions create an interesting mix in a very eclectic way and a fabulous design statement.
White interiors can look really edgy and refined when we add depth to them. The best way to do that is by adding color accents. This works beautifully for white rooms that don’t follow the same tonal color palette like in a typical Scandinavian interior design. Deep saturated colors (used widely by Italians and French) add depth and can fuse seamlessly when layered in, with the help of metallic decor accents, art, and plenty of inky stains that give extra definition. As a rule of thumb, use the 60-30-10 rule; it is a great way to make colors work in your favor. The primary color palette is defined by the colors of the walls, ceilings and floors and should be kept around 60%. The secondary color palette at 30% is all about the furniture and soft furnishings. As for the accent colors, these should be kept at a 10%. If you follow this rule, then you can’t go wrong. 😉
Last but not least, this is probably the most obvious tip and nothing you haven’t heard of before. But this guide would not be complete if I don’t mention it. So here it goes: green foliage is the easiest way to add life in an all-white interior and has the greatest impact at an instant at the same time. But, I’m surprised by how many people continue to overlook this. Now, I can understand and relate if you’re not into this high maintenance way of decorating. So even if you’re not into plants, you can still introduce some plant imagery! Thus, there’s no real excuse for not doing it… Right?! 😉 You could try it in your bedroom for starters. But it can really go a long way in a kitchen or even a bathroom as an easy, affordable way to get rid of any odd, sterile connotation if they happen to be all white!
And this how it’s done! But what if you feel uncertain on which white paint color to use, then you definitely need to read this post with my top 5 Benjamin Moor white color paints that make a great fit not matter what your style is. Moreover, you should also read my tips on choosing the right color based on the light orientation. These posts cover all the basics you need to know.
Stay tuned for more, xo