Photo: Studio 7042
Have you ever suddenly make a discovery and then the clouds part, the sun comes out, and the angels begin to sing? EPIPHANEY! Well, it happened to me one day when I was thinking about why some rooms look "meh" with white painted walls and and others look amazing.
If you’re like me (and a lot of other people), at some point in your life you’ve probably lived someplace with stark, glaring, white painted walls, and your stuff just didn’t look right in the room.
Maybe you’re in an apartment and aren’t allowed to change the paint. Or you’re deathly afraid of choosing the wrong color, so you just live with white because it’s "safe."
The biggest mistake people make is to try to ignore the white walls when they're decorating and furnishing their space, but then it becomes the (white) elephant in the room. (Ha!) The white draws attention to itself, exactly the thing you were trying NOT to do, and the space doesn’t look pulled together.
Whatever case, don’t fight the white. Make it work for you!
My epiphany about white walls
So here’s the secret to decorating with white walls: Bring MORE white into the room. Yep, MORE WHITE!
The idea is to make the color white a prominent part of your design palette, on purpose, and use it throughout the room rather than just as an afterthought on the walls. It sounds so simple, but I didn’t figure this one out myself for a long time.
It was hard to find a bad enough example for you, but how's this for bland and boring walls?
Here's the same room with a bunch of white/cream accessories I added (with apologies for my crummy Photoshopping skills). Suddenly the white walls don't look so out of place with other white things in the room.
And I've got better examples:
Photo: Element5 Digital
Ignoring the groovy gray accent wall back there, these white walls are complemented by the white table, the white rug, and the white throw blanket. Suddenly boring and bland white walls look hip and modern!
The white bedding in this very white white room adds one more element to a striking black and white color palette.
Choosing a gray white sofa, window treatments, and lamp shade to match the wall color creates a monochromatic look that's associated with sophistication. And notice the books turned around with the pages facing out. The color is pretty, and it's becoming a bit of a thing in design magazines and show homes, but it makes it a bit hard to find War and Peace when you want to read it again!
Photo: Element5 Digital
Using more white doesn't mean you can't enjoy some color though. The white in this room is the neutral background to plenty of bright accessories. The beauty of decorating like this is that any accent color will look good against a neutral, and you can easily change things up with different pillows, artwork, etc. any time you feel like it. Nothing boring here!
I can hear you saying that so much white isn’t practical, and I could write a few more paragraphs about stain resistant fabrics, and carpets you can clean with bleach (!), but I’m sure you have more interesting things to do with your day. :-D
Are your walls white? Could you live with white walls if you had to? Let me know what you think!
P.S. If you need some one-on-one intervention with your own white room, (or any other color room for that matter), get in touch with me. I'm happy to help with your color crisis. :-D