Evoking purity and cleanliness alongside confidence and sophistication, white is a wonderfully versatile colour for interiors.
INSPIRING WAYS TO DECORATE WITH WHITE
Small accents of white are a wonderful way to lift and freshen any colour scheme. Accessories made from mother-of-pearl, white candles and white flowers will elevate the whole palette and draw the eye.
Crisp white works wonderfully in bathrooms. Nothing beats the pure white backdrop achieved with high-grade Calacatta Oro or Statuario marble slabs, which I like to set against chrome taps. Don’t forget about joinery finishes. Crackled gesso, resin and Tabu timber veneers all look terrific in white as the finish is unadulterated by the distraction of colour.
White is best when combined with texture to avoid a flat, one-dimensional feel. ‘I love to work with a blend of white and off-white wallcoverings as a foil for richer finishes such as gilt or dark wood. White silk wallpaper or pearlised polished plaster – something I believe we’re going to see more of as it gives a subtle richness and texture to walls – are great for bringing a contemporary feel to more traditional interiors,’ explains Katharine Pooley, founder, Katharine Pooley, katharinepooley.com.
See our decorating with green ideas
Make a feature of different textures by pairing white-painted rattan furniture with whitewashed shutters and tongue-and-groove panelled walls. Rush matting on the floor enhances the relaxed beach-inspired feel.
Crisp white walls act as the perfect backdrop to display art and make the pieces sing out. Sticking to a smart monochrome palette will give added impact and the idea can be extended to set off other decorative elements, such as a collection of black and white ceramics.
Painting display shelves in the same shade of white as the walls makes them recede into the background, allowing this pretty collection of mismatched crockery and ceramics to come to the fore. This technique not only gives the display a sense of cohesion, but can make the space look bigger.
White is much stronger when paired with black and another bold colour. Be creative with flooring – a horizontal stripe is graphic and anchors the scheme.
This tonal scheme layers pattern and texture, which is important for generating visual interest in rooms with little colour contrast. The subtle background allows the lush greens of the indoor plants to make a statement
White acts as a powerful counterpoint when used as an accent against a playful pastel hue such as pink. Use on trims, doors, curtains and bedlinen to confidently pull together a striking decorating scheme.
'A whitewashed finish is a great way to soften the look of wood furniture. Simply dilute Old White chalk paint with a little water and brush across the surface - the ratio of water to paint will increase or decrease the opaqueness,’ explains Annie Sloan, founder and decorative paint expert, Annie Sloan, anniesloan.com.
Place a sand–blasted textured desk in one corner of the conservatory, away from the glare of the windows, for a light filled home office that is shielded by direct sunlight.
Monochrome shades and softer muted greys add a sense of refined elegance to a pure white space. Panelled walls painted soft grey provide a sophisticated backdrop for this scheme, which artfully balances black and white upholstered furniture. Blocks of pattern, in the form of tailored cushions and artwork, add interest and personality to the modern look.
Matching patterns of varying scale with simple, crafted pieces will keep the look relaxed despite the intricate combination of designs. Combine different monochrome patterns with swathes of white to dilute the strength of the look.
A crisp, stylish wallpaper in contemporary black and white always makes a good pairing with white floors and simple rustic furniture.