Dec 14, 2011

Decorating with white.

White decor looks anything but stark. It's as perfect in winter for a crisp, wintry feel as in summer for a fresh, bright look. The opportunities for accenting white decor and changing pieces over time is nearly endless. Decorating with white brightens a room, creates the illusion of a larger space, and highlights everything around it. Best of all, white can suit any taste or style, whether yours is traditional, modern, or somewhere in between. Here’s a tip: Warm whites soften areas and add a sense of comfort, while bright whites give modern, minimalist spaces that extra-sharp zing.  White kitchens and baths can be very traditional, with hexagonal or subway tiles, or ultra modern with sleek fixtures and little embellishment.

All whites are not created equal. Whites fall into two camps: Warm (those with yellow or red undertones) and cool (with blue or black undertones). The former instill comfort, the latter are best for crisp, minimalist spaces. When combining several shades of white in a single room, it’s best to vary textures and sheens, so light is reflected differently throughout the room.

Vary textures to ward off any chill. Go too cool or too sleek with white and you’re likely to end up with a surgical suite instead of a living room. To keep white warm, use a variety of fabrics and finishes, and layer various textures on top of texture. 

White can expand a space. Using white on all surfaces, even floors, can be effective. With so much white around you’re not as conscious of walls and boundaries. A room that might otherwise seem small feels a lot bigger and more modern.

White creates a unifying atmosphere. White lets you read the simplicity or the complexity of a space so you can appreciate the room . White architecture creates more evenly reflected light, which bounces off plain white surfaces, amplifying subtle shifts in the intensity and quality of daylight.

Don’t confine white to the walls. A single can of paint can produce countless shades of white, depending on how light hits the paint throughout the day. And all it takes to keep painted white floors clean is a quick mopping with  Murphy's Oil Soap. With a white backdrop - walls, upholstery,and flooring - adding rich, deep wood tones on furniture provides the ideal start to a beautiful space. Changing the patterns of tile, carpet, fabrics and more, is one of the best ways to use white.  
Whether you opt for casual slipcovers for easy cleaning, or fabrics like Ultrasuede and Crypton that resist soiling, white is easy to live with and not as difficult to clean as in years past. Spray treatments like Guardian, protect from soiling and allow release of stains or they will replace the fabric. Of course, multiple pet households where sofas are not off-limits, would be best protected with throws or other covers.