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Design Inspiration: White Done Right


Can a design look cause you to have a panic attack? It did me. After collecting {and pinning} many pictures of beautifully decorated white rooms, I realized that my heart was racing and I was sweating. Why? Because I have OCD when it comes to keeping my house clean so the thought of a white room intimidates me. However, I’ve always wanted an all white room but how do I do this when looking at one makes me want to run to the medicine cabinet for help?

decor-design inspiration-trend-decorating with white

When I found a “Decorating With White” article at Country Living it gave me some great ideas on how to overcome my fears and have the white room I’ve always dreamed of. These ideas are so good that I thought I’d share.


WHITE IS NEVER BORING. Beige can be boring, but not white. It’s a very dramatic color. That’s proven over and over again by weddings — we never tire of looking at them.


WHITE CAN BE COZY. People think of it as cold, because they believe a white room must be neat and uniform with chairs lined up like good little soldiers. Avoid hard, modern pieces and use fluffy cushions and distressed finishes — so you still get that airy feeling, but with warmth to it.



WHITE MAKES FOR A FLEXIBLE AND FORGIVING FIRST STEP. Paint a room white, and you have a blank canvas for anything. Start with bold wallpaper, and you’re already committed.



WHITE IS INDEED A COLOR — WITH LOTS OF RANGE. Benjamin Moore alone offers over 200 different shades. If you look carefully at the undertones, some are blue, pink, green. You really need to paint a wall and experience the color at different times of day, to see how the light changes



WHITE UPHOLSTERY CAN BE PRACTICAL. Use outdoor fabrics inside. Faux leathers and suedes are also very forgiving.



WOOD WARMS UP EVEN THE MOST SPARSELY FURNISHED WHITE ROOM. There’s a lot of movement in wood. In effect, it starts to feel like a print — just a very subtle one. Other low-key ways to add interest and depth: Fabrics with woven tone-on-tone chevron or herringbone patterns, marble countertops, and antique rugs on the reverse (just flip the rug over so the muted side shows).

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WHITE ALLOWS YOU TO APPROACH DECORATING AS YOU WOULD FASHION. You can freshen up a white room just by swapping out throw pillows: blue ones for summer, orange ones for winter, and so on. A rug or work of art is another little way to make a big difference.

decor-design-art-wall-flower-geometric-pillows-lamp-decorating with white


DRAPES DELIVER THE WOW OF WHITE UPHOLSTERY, WITHOUT THE FEAR. If I’m working with a young family, I’d never cover a sofa or any other everyday piece in white linen. It’s unrealistic. But white-linen curtains are much less likely to get stained — especially if you add a colored border to the bottom, where the fabric grazes the floor.

decorating with white-decor-design-linen-drapes-sofa-french country


WHITE IS EASY TO CARE FOR. There’s nothing worse than seeing someone go with an all-white room, then fear it. Let the white be lived in!

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WHITE DEMANDS ACCESSORIZING. Layers of objects with different textures are where white rooms really come together!

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Read More: How to Decorate with White See More: White Done Right



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  • April 4, 2012 - 9:54 am

    camberley - I’ve always wanted an all white room. Maybe someday I’ll have an office, design studio decked out in this color.

    P.S. I love all of the pictures you highlighted. Great post!

  • April 4, 2012 - 10:49 am

    Kim from 3 peanuts - I LOVE white!!! LOVE it! I have a lot of white in my house and no problems keeping it clean (with 3 kids and a dog!). I love all these photos!

  • April 4, 2012 - 10:12 pm

    Chessa - Love this post! I’ve been wanting to buy white bedding for the longest time but have been hesitant. I have a little baby that gets my bed dirty often. Bad idea to give in to my love of white? Or do you have any tips that I could use to keep things clean? Thanks so much! Love your blog!!!

  • April 4, 2012 - 11:39 pm

    elizbeth traub - Many years ago I had a white living room. White furniture, white carpets, white plantation shutters. I chose white because I could never decide on the colors. I figured it was less expensive to trade out pillows and accessories than the furniture. I loved people’s reaction when they would come to my house. A busy house of kids, two dogs and here is the secret. Everything was coating protected. Red wine, no problem. Chocolate cake with a cherry filling no problem. Wiped clean. LOVE White. Five kids later my OCD is retired and not by choice. Great finds and writing in white.

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