Loving White Rooms
Its little wonder that white for room interiors has such appeal. For walls, white is bright, yet serene. White creates light, airy spaces that are inviting repositories for furnishings and accessories ranging from neutrals to bright colors.
White walls are a mainstay for many decor styles.
A Mediterranean Look
We’ll begin our journey into white rooms in that part of the world where the use of whitewash, also called lime wash, has a long history. White rooms in the Mediterranean area often have rough-hewn exposed wood beams. We might see window frames in tones of weathered wood, wicker baskets, natural stone floors. Designer Jackye Lanham has used rustic textures and neutral tones against the white walls to create a Mediterranean look. (From Southern Accents at MyHomeIdeas.)
Similarly, a version of American country style relies on exposed beams and weathered-wood tones for its rustic look. The grayish elements could result in a drab space without the contrast of crisp white upholstery and white walls to brighten things up. From Tracery Interiors.
In this open-plan living room untreated wood beams again add to the rustic look. White walls add needed lightness; white upholstery contributes its part to the look. (From House to Home, UK.)
Colorful country style is often in a setting with white walls, as seen in this living room with a late 18th-century cherry Hepplewhite desk. (From Elle Decor.)
The iconic white-washed dwellings on the Greek isle of Santorini come to mind when thinking about white walls. An enduring color pair: the blue of the sea contrasted with white.
Proximity to a sea coast imparts its own quality of light into interior spaces. Looking at the next three rooms can’t you just feel a soft sea breeze?
Designer Sara Bengur used an abundance of white with a few blue accents in this alcove:
Designer Phoebe Howard designed this living room for Coastal Living’s 2011 Ultimate Beach House.
Designer Tom Scheerer has created a bedroom in the Bahamas using accents in neutral tones.
Modern and contemporary looks thrive in spaces with white walls.
New York designer Vicente Wolf is well-known for the use of white walls in his contemporary and eclectic room designs. In his own space shown below, as well as in other projects, the floors are white as well. Describing a room with white walls in a House Beautiful interview, the designer explains: “White expands the space, it creates the sense of having no boundaries.” Quoted in Elle Decor Wolf says: “The white I consistently go back to is Benjamin Moore Super White.” (Image from Veranda.)
This living room by designer Daniel Romualdez plays soft neutrals against crisp white walls. (Image from Architectural Digest.)
White, which emphasizes the play of light and shadow on sculpted surfaces, works nicely with the detailed moldings found in traditional spaces. Framed pictures and mirrors stand out sharply against a white backdrop.
In this living room by Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, soft light filters into the space. White walls reflect light, keeping the space bright and airy.
A classy and pretty room by Jeffrey Bilhuber exemplifies the virtues of white painted walls.
In another traditionally styled room, this a sitting room by Christopher Knight, white upholstery pieces play a big role in the charm of the room. White against white makes the room a standout. (Image from Elle Decor.)
If an entire room is predominantly white then texture will play an important role in adding interest and variety to the space.
White-on-white can have a magical quality. Here photographer Amy Neunsinger has employed pickled white wood floors and all white furnishings that include a headboard and bedding from Shabby Chic. The high ceiling adds to the ethereal quality of the space; the coffers add texture. (Image from House Beautiful.)
A contemporary white-on-white space by designer Darryl Carter is striking with the formal balance of the seating area and the large modern painting. Texture derives from the area rug as well as from the paining. (Source: Elle Decor.)
White and Color
White walls provide a great background for colorful elements in a room including upholstery pieces, area rugs, throw pillows and other accessories.
White walls, including off-white, can enhance light-filled rooms, as in this casually elegant living room by designer Robert Couturier. The limited color scheme of deep rusty reds and grays is rich yet elegantly earthy. (Image from Elle Decor.)
White walls and a graphic black on white area rug are the backdrop for saturated chartreuse and touches of blue and orange. The eclectic space was designed my Madeline Stuart.
White with bright and saturated color accents is a lively formula. Since the upholstery in the space is white as well, the colorful accents really ‘pop’. Designer: Claiborne Swanson Frank. (Source: Elle Decor.)
White Walls: a Backdrop for Paintings
White walls are great for displaying paintings and other wall art, as in this room by designer James Shearron. (From Elle Decor.)
White walls in this dining area set off the neutral tones of the dining table and chairs as well as the subdued tones of the painting. The space, designed by Michael Berman, is calm and serene, yet bright and airy.
A Few More
For a few more room examples:
This month from Scandinavia at Trendey Décore.
Elle Decor: Great White Rooms; view a slideshow.
Elle Decor: The Power of White with slideshow of rooms.
Country Living: Decorating with White; also with a slideshow of rooms.
I Love Color and I Love White
Both white walls and colorful walls have a role in the design and decor of interior spaces. It’s an individual choice, as always.
Links to publication sources: Architectural Digest. Coastal Living. Elle Decor. House Beautiful. House to Home, UK. MyHomeIdeas. Veranda.