White: It's a classic colour, and it's also a trendy one. In recent years, all-white interiors, or almost all-white interiors, have been making a big splash. In some ways, a white interior betokens wealth and a degree of single urbanity (it's hard to keep clean and not a great colour wall-to-wall in a house full of kids); but with wipe down surfaces and washable textiles it doesn't have to be completely out of reach for all of us. It's a tranquil and relaxing colour; some chromatherapists say that because white is made up of all the colours on the light spectrum, it's a colour of balance and harmony, and will bring those qualities to an interior. White will certainly bring light to a space, thanks to its light reflective qualities, which is one reason it's the most popular colour out there for walls. Today, we're going to take a look at some spaces that have made more extensive use of white: not just walls, but floors, furniture, textiles, and more.
A place where white works particularly well is in the living room. A white sofa in the centre of the room reflects light and makes the space seem expansive; broken up with printed cushions it's not blinding. White curtains and a colour-coordinated carpet framed by a coffee table in light wood panelling create a restful and meditative nook in which to curl up. Wood panelling on the far wall keeps the space from looking clinical, as does the deep pile of the rug.
While white mightn't be the immediate choice for a kitchen, modern materials mean it shouldn't be discounted. White countertops in a gloss material are easily wipeable; the same goes for kitchen cupboards. In a white kitchen like this splashes of colour from fruits and vegetables stand out beautifully – as we can see with those oranges artfully arranged on a cakestand in the foreground. High-gloss cabinet fronts reflect extra light.
Glossy white goes wonderfully well with wood with a 'shabby' finish, particularly if the furniture piece is sturdy and slightly rustic. The contrast of glossy white (here seen in the slick curved dining chairs and those bar stools) with the 'unfinished' table makes for a really interesting space. A snow white pendant lamp hanging over the table provides another delightful contrast.
White stands for purity and cleanliness, making it the perfect colour for bathrooms and home spas. This (almost) all-white bathroom spa is a model of purity and tranquility. The white of the walls and floor is broken up gently by warm wooden treads on the steps, and the intricate orange pendant lamp is light a burst of sunshine over the bath. The overall effect is luxurious but at the same time cosy.
The rooms we've looked at so far have all had a fairly contemporary feel, but white works just as wonderfully in a more rustic setting. Here, different white tones have been used to great effect, with grey-white, beige-white and pure white all used, and all offset by the warm white of the lamps. Using different tones of white like this – rather than just one pure white all over – will create a very warm and cosy space, somewhat counterintuitively. Texture on white walls or ceilings will create striking shadow effects when the lights are on in the evenings.
A very minimal space, broken up with careful placement of furniture elements and plants. White floors, walls and ceilings in this double-height, pitched-roofed room create an impression of vastness, but with the vertical space broken up by warm lightbulbs at different heights, it doesn't seem intimidating. A vintage Turkish rug adds a little colour, as do carefully placed pot plants. Dark wood frames on the windows and doors keep the overall effect from being too blinding or samey.