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The use of white can have a transformative effect on interior design, bringing parts of the room together. White accessories can unify a mismatched room, while sleek white pieces offer an old room a modern touch. There’s the danger of overdoing white, which can look stark and harsh.

On the other hand, artful use of white emphasizes other design aspects: a clean, uniform palette can call attention to texture, contours, and the architecture of a room. How can we transform banal blankness into artful design?

Bring Together Interesting Textures

summer-white-daybed.jpg

Photo: Styleathome.com

The uniform white keeps this eclectic collection of pattern from becoming too busy. The Alvine Rund curtain marries the intricacy of damask with a sheer lightness, keeping it from becoming too stuffy. Textured shams and decorative cushions are the perfect place to experiment with texture; ruffled lines and deconstructed rosettes play off the sleekness of simple, plain cushions. Lastly, the whitewashed floorboards and clean walls let eyes take in the fantastically feathered decorative headdress from Snob.

Balance with Black for Contrast

black and white bedroom

Photo: Deeppurpleandblue.blogspot.com

Black and white decor doesn’t have to be overdone. The top half of this room is black, but is kept from being overly sombre by the bright bottom half.  The halves are kept from being too stark by ensuring neither portion is solely black or white: the bed has a black throw on the sheets and white lines on the wall to represent a headboard. The white mirror also draws the eyes up, making a smooth transition between the top and bottom.

Create a Dramatic Space

dramatic black and white room

Photo: Mantellassi.com

This dramatic space uses white as a background, allowing the theatrical pops of black to come forward. The black panther statue seems to emerge out of the black hide rug, as the bald eagle swoops towards the couch. A splash of black throw pillows ties the decor into the sophisticated bedframe by Mantellassi, which features bejewelled feet and rounded contours. Lastly, the dark silver mannequin stand brings an ethereal touch to this dramatic room.

Accent with Organic Shapes

white bedroom with tree

Photo: Interior-new-most.blogspot.com

This room is smooth and linear: it’s all right angles, straight lines, and rectangles. The room is minimal and modern–the bedframe, cabinetry, and low coffee-tables are all similarly finished in a glossy lacquer. However, what keeps this room interesting are the organic additions: the tree behind the glass, the twisted branches on the coffee table, and the sculpture on the far drawers. The sleek whiteness brings out the beauty of the natural shapes, even though there are only a few.

Mix Different Shades of White

Bright White with Pastel

Photo: Coastalliving.com

There’s a rainbow of shades within the world of white. Barely off-white shades bring subtle variation to the room, from the warmth of yellow-based whites to the coolness of blue-based whites. This sweet scene mixes both, including cream, ivory, magnolia, and eggshell. Dabs of pastel crockery and decoration help to complement the slight depth of shades.

Create a Rustic Feel

Rustic White Room

Photo: Countryliving.com

The uniform white keeps this rustic room shabby-chic. A mix of textures, including plaster, wicker, wood, and silk, are unified by the use of white. Keep it warm and cozy by incorporating warm bases, such as the gold throw pillow or yellow-based lantern. Using a few blue-based whites, such as on some of the throw pillows, ensures the decor stays rustic and not antiquated.

Combine the Old and the New

white-livingroom-high

Photo: Designblog.fi

A uniform color offers more flexibility to combine different styles of decor. The modern architecture is filled with a mix of decor: the circular coffee table with rounded book nooks has a distinctly modern feel, while the wispy chandelier and ornate mirror add intricacy to the otherwise minimalist shapes. The low-lying couch offers casual seating, which is balanced by the carved fireplace.

Accent with Metallics and Color

french living room white

Photo: Decorpad.com

A little bit of sparkle keeps white basics fresh and interesting. Gold side and center tables add warmth to the room, balanced with silver lamps and framing. Framing the window with mirrors and flowing white curtains extends the illusion of space. A sparkling chandelier and gilded desks add an element of sophistication. The room is kept modern with the addition of a simply-structured white couch with basic pink pillows and a white leather Barcelona chair.

 

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Alexandra Wong

Alexandra Wong is interested in design and home decor. She has lived and studied in Canada, England (Oxford, no less), and the United States. She writes pieces on art and lifestyle that reflect her passions.