I wrote a while ago about all the elegant and soft whites that have been picked as Paint Colors of the Year for 2016. White is such a classic color, it works in traditional rooms and modern rooms and with styles from French Country to Farmhouse to Scandinavian to Hollywood Regency and Art Deco! But it also risks looking clinical and cold if it’s not handled well.
This white living room in the English countryside avoids looking stark — despite the high ceilings and large expanses of white walls — due to the soft furnishings. The white sofa slip covers and squashy throw pillows make it look comfy. Soft furnishings are important to balance the hard surfaces which can make a white room look unwelcoming. Wood floors and furniture warm the space up too. That view out of the window is stunning, but sadly we can’t all replicate that!
A beautiful dark wood floor also helps to ground this bright white living room in Minnesota. You are unlikely to redo the entire floor of a room to match the white walls! But if you have a room with wood floors already, then it could be a good candidate for white decor. Or use new or antique wood furniture to create the same effect, warming the space up and contrasting nicely with the airy white.
Another way to create a sanctuary of peaceful white is to look for off-white textiles and white furniture so you can layer the tones for a richer impression. The easiest trick of all is to use a wide variety of textures to create visual interest. For example, bamboo, wicker, and rattan furniture or woven rattan baskets all create immediate texture.
This white Woodbridge dining chair is actually faux bamboo – it is crafted in hardwood but turned in a bamboo-like fashion. But you can see how much texture and dimension it adds to the fabulous hand-rubbed finish in antique white paint.
Carved detail will also soften the look of a piece of white furniture and create tons of visual interest. The decorative style of this exquisite new French style window bench is enhanced by the antiqued whitewash finish on the pretty details: the rosettes and the reeded and turned legs. The bench is upholstered in white/cream linen. Linen always has such a lovely texture too. Can you see the distressed finish on the bench? The extra visual layering and texture take an already beautiful piece of white furniture into an even more interesting zone!
Here’s another example of artful distressing on a new white French Country dining chair or side chair. The distressing by Woodbridge Furniture Company artisans is created by hand-rubbing. It is quite a skill to know exactly where an antique piece of furniture would have been worn by use, and therefore create an aged and antique effect!
The result is lovely and authentic. You can see how the distressing adds visual dimension and warmth to the white ladderback chair. (Underneath the white paint finish, the chairs are solid wood and very sturdy.)
If you imagine the chair without the hand-distressing it would still be a very handsome chair, but you can see what I mean about the importance of visual layers of color and texture.
Of course, if you have lots of pets or children around, you might want to be strategic in your use of white furniture, but distressed pieces absorb and disguise the impact of ‘real life’ very well!
Do you have a room decorated in white? We’d love to hear from you in the comments box, or even see photos!
Aimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 9 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.