Design Dilemma: All-White, Without Feeling Like A Hospital  

Posted by RONZ



Have you ever seen an all-white home, and wanted to replicate the look? We have, but there have been countless reasons why we haven’t tried it. A black dog, for one. And then there’s another reason: all white can fall flat when done badly.  Yes, in the best hands, all white can feel classic, timeless, airy, chic. But in the wrong hands, an all white room can feel boring, clinical and pretentious. And that’s a look we definitely don’t want at home!
So what’s the trick to pulling off all white?
1) Vary textures. If you’re going to go all white, go crazy with mixing textures. How about a furry flokati rug with nubby white linen curtains, with a smooth white lacquered chair next to a distressed and worn white wooden table? A mix of textures that includes wood, rattan, metals, nubby fabrics and leather, will provide visual stimulation and keep an all-white room feeling lively.
2) Make sure you have the right space for it. White walls and rooms tend to look better if the room is large and bright. Turn of the century rooms with interesting detailing and high ceilings, as well as industrial lofts with heating vents and architectural details wear this look well. Small dark rooms with low ceilings usually can’t pull this look off. So if you don’t have a bright room with good bones and some architectural detail, you’re better off sticking with color.
3) Mix furniture styles and eras. When you don’t have a lot of color going on in a room, things can get a little boring. Avoid that staid feeling by mixing furniture styles.  Why not pair a modern B & B Italia couch with antique French chairs, a shag rug, a metal coffee table and a farmhouse dining table?



4) Put the focus on art. An all-white room can provide the perfect backdrop to an art collection. So why not use your all-white home to display your art treasures? You can choose colorful art which will immediately take center stage for a youthful, funky feel. Or you can choose subtle, white and off-white pieces of art that reinforce a feeling of serenity.
5) Vary the tones of white. Don’t keep everything the same stark white. Choose some creams, and some warmer and cooler whites to keep things interesting.
6) Warm up the look with wood.  All white can look cold without some balancing warm natural elements. So consider warming up your all-white interior with natural wood (either light or dark) along with rattan and other natural design elements — sisal, driftwood, paper and string.
7) Don’t be afraid to throw in some variety. Punch up your look by adding colorful throw pillows or one other colorful element — a rug, a vase, a piece of art.
8.) Put yourself on a cleaning schedule. An all white room can start to feel dingy fast. The key to handling this inevitable fact is to choose easily washable surfaces. Use white slipcovers that can be thrown in the laundry every couple of weeks. Choose a white area rug that can easily be shaken out. Look for white surfaces (like a distressed wooden surface) that doesn’t show dust or coffee stains.



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