Design myth: white walls are boring.
Did you know that you don't have to paint your walls to add color to a space? You might be scared of white walls because you've been told that they're bare and boring... they're everything but!
Designing with white walls is a hot design trend, for both style and practicality.
White walls may be a must if you're living in a rented space and can't change a thing. But don't fret, for white walls CAN be beautiful, and anything but bland!
White-walled rooms are a huge design trend right now because minimalism is IN.
So many design styles embrace simplicity, a prime example is Scandinavian design (which I explained last week in the Scandinavian Design Profile).
White walls create that minimalist look: clean, streamlined, fresh, and bright. Yes, white rooms can indeed be boring or dingy. If you choose a white that isn't the right shade, don't have enough lighting in the room, and/or accessorize poorly, white can be a bad choice.
But if you choose the right white and add some easy touches, a white room can be the focal point of a home!
12 Ways to Spruce Up a White Room
1. Natural Light
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: natural light is an important part of ANY room!
Natural light is especially effectual in white rooms because white is already so bright. If a white room is darkened without natural light or toned down by ugly florescent lights, it definitely won't shine like it should.
Natural light in white rooms makes the bright color EVEN BRIGHTER!
Not only that, but if you have huge windows to let in all the natural light, it makes sense that you'll be able to see outside... so your yard will almost become a part of your room!
See how the big windows in the room above let in a lot of light, and show off the gorgeous scenery outside?
2. Display your Collections
White walls are the perfect base for color.
A large, busy, colorful painting may look like confetti vomit against an equally colorful room.
Against a white wall? That painting will pop and become the focal point of your space.
White walls are a great backdrop to display your collections, whatever they're made up of.
White walls are PERFECT for people who have accumulated a lot of pretty things.
Have a collection of tapestries? Succulents?
Graphic art? Paintings by your toddler? Sculptures? Pottery?
Rather than slapping color everywhere, painting your walls white can highlight your collection.
White walls have the clean, streamlined look of a museum.
Have a particularly exciting piece of furniture? It might drown in a colorful room. In a white room, though, that piece of furniture you love will become the centerpiece.
The white backdrop in the bathroom above lets this unique vanity piece shine!
3. Layer Neutrals
If you chose white for a neutral look, you can continue that style by layering neutrals throughout the room.
Choosing various tones of warm or cool creams and tans creates a simple yet inviting space.
The space above utilized layered neutrals, with a warm cream sofa, light cabinets,
All of these colors work together to create a cozy space.
The bedroom above is particularly stylish and cozy. The bedding is made up of layered neutrals, from white to tan to camel. Each layer just makes the room warmer and more inviting!
4. Add Color to the Floor
A colorful rug in a white room looks modern, eclectic, and interesting!
The hallway above was already beautiful, but the addition of the colorful oriental runner adds a fun vibe to the space that would have normally been serious.
Same goes for the space above! The addition of the oriental rug against the rest of this white room gives it a modern, cultured look.
5. Natural Woods
White looks especially good against various grains of natural wood.
I personally love light woods with white. The room above is inviting and fresh, the mixture of light wood and white creating an airy feel.
The kitchen above combines white trim and counters with white cabinets and walls, creating a simple yet modern space.
That's not to say that darker woods don't look brilliant against white! They create a stark contrast, and give a space a more traditional, clean look.
I love the look of the sunroom above! The mix of dark wood and white panelling creates something summery and beautiful!
6. Pops of Color
If you choose white for your walls, that doesn't mean that you're afraid of color! Like working as a backdrop for art, white is the perfect base for pops of color.
The simple office space above has pops of wood tones, blue, and pink to create a cute, feminine space.
You can still be bohemian with white walls! The room above contrasts the simple white walls and furniture with bright, colorful pillows in various patterns, successfully creating that eclectic look without adding color to the walls.
Ok, I just noticed the crab on the coffee table and I'm not sure why it's there.
Moving on... I love the little living room space above, the pop of pink in the sofa is the perfect companion to the simple white walls. And I love the little stump side table with it's face!
7. Highlight an Architectural Element
Using white walls is a great way to highlight existing architectural elements in your home.
The beautiful white fireplace above pops from the wall, despite the fact that the built ins are white as well! The white chosen is crisp and beautiful, making the space feel fresh and new!
White is also great to highlight staircases, like the unique space above,
And this beautiful twisting staircase. With the white backdrop, this black metal staircase serves as a piece of art in itself.
This exposed brick wall would be swallowed up by a color on the wall. The white walls framing it, however, highlight its beauty and let it (and the sofa) SHINE!
If you're really afraid of creating a "boring" white space, just remember: INCLUDE TEXTURE!
Texture brings in the interest that your room might be lacking.
The painting and blankets in the room above layer texture beautifully. The room is interesting and soft, graphic and natural. Anything but boring.
The room above might be cheating a bit with the whitewashed brick, but I think it serves our purpose. The textures of the wood floor, brick, and blankets (not to mention the poms) create a bright, interesting, cozy space!
The bohemian room above uses texture upon texture upon texture in a beautiful way.
Shag, fur, leather, wood, patterned pillows, and plants make you forget that the walls are "just white."
Adding all of these textures and colors creates a charming space that is full of drool-worthy design elements!
9. Pair with Black
One of the most classic color pairings is black and white. White-walled rooms look especially modern and Art Deco when paired with black accents and furniture.
The simple office above comes off clean an efficient because of the crisp color pairing of black and white.
This black and white living room is simple, cozy, and relaxed.
This bed looks like a great place to relax! The black and white create a neutral, comfortable space.
10. Floating Shelves/Built Ins
White shelves look great on white walls, and serve as a place to put those collections I mentioned earlier.
The floating shelves above look beautiful with the white walls because they allow the accessories placed on them to really stand out!
The same goes for the built-ins above.
I love it when accessories get their chance to shine, and white walls are the perfect way to achieve this!
11. Use Metals
Like natural woods, metals look great against white walls.
The copper chandelier above really stands out against the white backdrop!
The pretty gold accents in the bathroom above contrast nicely with the mostly-white room!
I love the minimalist look of this bathroom: it is clean, fresh, and bright!
12. Freshen Up
Last but not least, white walls are a great choice if you like to redecorate often.
If you like to switch out bedding and pillows every season, white walls are a great backdrop for your changing style.
For that reason, white is a very versatile and practical choice!