Worlds Best Homes

5 interior tips to steal from this pure white home in Santa Monica

Crisp white walls and an earthy, neutral approach to décor and styling runs throughout this Ocean Park bungalow

Pure white bungalow
(Image credit: Amy Bartlam)

Crisp white walls and an earthy, neutral approach to décor and styling runs throughout this California home. 

We investigate decorating with white with Genna Margolis of SHAPESIDE – an award-winning interior design firm.

'The goal of this project was to modernize a classic Spanish bungalow in Santa Monica while maintaining the integrity of the home,' she explains.

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1. Put a palette inspired by nature at the heart of your design

Pure white bungalow

(Image credit: Amy Bartlam)

Decorating schemes will never tire of white but an all-white scheme can make a real statement. Dark and dreary before, Genna crafted a cozy color scheme featuring tonal blues, wood and copper to enhance the leafy Santa Monica surroundings.

See: Living room ideas – clever ways to decorate living spaces

2. Create interest with subtle textures

Pure white bungalow

(Image credit: Amy Bartlam)

Even in a totally white kitchen diner, an accent color – or texture – can be easily added with accessories and textiles. Display colored ceramics on a wall-mounted  dresser or on shelves, and dress a table with a bouquet of your favorite indoor houseplants.

Remember, not all whites match but it’s ok to layer up different tones including buttermilk, cream, nearly-taupe, soft white and pure white as long as you feel they blend. The variety of tones will add a depth to your scheme.

3. Use wood to add warmth 

Pure white bungalow

(Image credit: Amy Bartlam)

When decorating our homes, it’s all too easy to forget the hallway; after all, it’s not as if we spend much time in there. But there are so many good reasons for making the extra effort. Wood will warm up a white scheme, but the real eye-catching element here is the oversized houseplant. Here, the all-white scheme encourages flow and continuity from one room to the other.

4. Go for a classically cool kitchen

Pure white bungalow

(Image credit: Amy Bartlam)

If you can't make up your mind, color-wise, there is absolutely nothing wrong with  going for a pure white kitchen – and adding color and texture with your decorating  choices. 

In this pure white space, marble is the star of the show. Coveted for its subtle tone and beautiful veined effect, you can see why marble is such a hit in the style department – it looks good wherever it’s use it. A solid and totally stylish investment, once you go for marble backsplash and work surface, you’ll never want to go back.

See: Kitchen ideas – decor and decorating ideas for all kitchens 

5. Add an element of surprise

Pure white bungalow

(Image credit: Amy Bartlam)

'Moving into the the media room, we really weren’t sure what to do with it at first, it was so dark and got very little light,' says Genna. 'This gave us to the idea to lean into the darkness and decorate with a navy color palette – perfect for a cozy movie night in.'

See: Blue room ideas – wonderful room schemes to inspire you

Sleek and subtle, navy blue is one of the most flattering shades for walls. Use all over for a daringly dramatic look in the – or use sparingly for a more subtle approach. Add a handful neutral furnishings to add light – and to provide a sense of space. 

Jennifer Ebert
Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. 


Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.