It seems like everything that's old is new again. Throughout interior design history, time and again, designers are faced with the request to create an all-white decorating scheme. An all-white room can seem easy. Doesn't it? What could possibly be so difficult about putting the same color on everything in a room? Well, sorry to burst your design bubble, but monochromatic rooms — especially all-white rooms — often have a dozen or more shades of white.
Technically, white is the lightest color, but as an achromatic color, it has no specific hue. However, white can seemingly take on hints of other colors, as it reflects light and other items around it. Therefore, it is normal to notice nuanced other colors in white, such as yellow, pink, green, blue and black. White is the ultimate neutral. It can be paired with any other color for an up-to-date color scheme. But for some, white is most powerful as a stand-alone color.
All-white decorating schemes can be beautiful, as they exemplify simplicity and elegance. For some, it is the holy grail of design, the ultimate chic interior design. This decorating scheme is quite flexible. It can serve as a good foil for antiques and contemporary furnishings with equal aplomb. It is effective as a clean backdrop for artwork, allowing each piece to seem to float in the room and letting the colors of each work of art and furnishing shine on their own.
Many homeowners swear by an all-white kitchen or an all-white bathroom. These are classic schemes that can be highlighted by colorful accessories, such as kitchen canisters and equipment as well as colorful towels and bathmats.
It is important to note that all-white is not good everywhere. Light sources — both natural and from lighting fixtures — affect the how the color reads. White also changes appearance depending the finishes of a room's surfaces. Shiny and glossy surfaces reflect light and help it bounce around, whereas matte surfaces will absorb almost any reflection.
White rooms, in order to create interest, rely heavily on textures, such as a fabric with a woven pattern. Also, the grain of wood in a piece of furniture adds to its aesthetic appeal.
Sometimes, a white room can look a bit stark. A white room can be tamed by adding different shades of white and off-white, creating a warmer feeling. White can also be manipulated by adding soft shades of gray — from pale oyster white to more definitive pale grays.
White rooms are easy to accessorize and make changes to. This is part of their staying power. This classic design scheme is around to stay and is always interesting in its various iterations.
Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is www.josephpubillones.com. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.