Is white even a colour?
Who would want to live in an all-white space? It sounds so cold and sterile; just thinking of it gives me goosebumps.
Just think of all that cleaning to keep it looking fresh!
These are just some of the comments frequently bandied about when white takes centre stage in interior decorating, yet there is no escaping the current popularity of all white homes and walls. White done well is sensational, after all, it is the colour of perfection!
While this international penchant for white gives rise to lively debate, we should not forget that white has endured through the ages in Greek, Japanese and Scandinavian interiors. It is simple, timeless and classic and therefore successfully transcends trends.
What set me off to write this week’s blog was buying a bottle of milk last week with my son at a local dairy farm, I had forgotten how amazing it was to have milk straight from the cow and how beautiful and pure it was. In that moment white truly did have the power to transcend.
For all its seeming lack of colour, white evokes a plethora of images and speaks to our emotions. It is an age-old symbol of innocence and purity, cleanliness, and new beginnings. From the 16th century, Popes have worn white, pilgrims and followers of Islam and the Shinto religion of Japan are also clothed in white, while in some Asian cultures, it is the colour of mourning. I don’t know of any other colour which is as complex and strikes at our emotions all at the same time.
From a design perspective and contrary to popular belief, white is not an easy “option” as choosing the right shade of white is never simple, for the very reason that there are over 100 shades of white. Getting white paint right can be a daunting project as you quickly realise that it has undertones ranging from warm to cool. Success lies in choosing a white that is both warm and modern and suits the chosen space while factoring in the availability of natural light or its absence.
White walls offer a blank canvas and as a foundation colour, it can make your furnishings stand out like a piece of art and make other hues pop!
White rooms are far more complex than they appear because there are no visual distractions, so every choice becomes critical. Take for example this image of one of our project below.
White makes old things seem more current and most especially, it can soften architectural quirks, because if everything is painted white, the odd pipe and conduit almost magically disappears!
We use white to visually expand a space as rooms appear larger and shadows and edges diminish.
It’s vitally important to have a theme. Furniture must be carefully chosen to tell the story of the space. Items with clean lines, hard corners, and metal finishes deliver a contemporary feel among the white. A more inviting and comfy feel is achieved with the use of warm wood tones, linen covered sofas and armchairs and weathered finishes. Rugs help to anchor the space and add cohesion and layers of objects with different textures will pull a white room together.
Lastly, contrary to what some may think, white is never boring! It can be very dramatic, especially when it is contrasted with black and who would ever dispute the classic elegance or timeless beauty of a black and white floor?
And so ends my case for white as a go-to colour when all else fails. Of course, let us not forget that in these times of economic hardship and calls for belt-tightening, embracing white walls is definitely more cost friendly!