White on white

Hospital. Or “Heaven” – in the sense of aseptic, tasteless, dull. These are the most common clichés about a white interior. We’re talking about one of the most common prejudices in design: interiors “all white” which are usually never considered. But in reality, white is one of the most interesting options – vivid, sophisticated and versatile.

I’ll start by establishing a convention: although black and white are by definition non – colors, for the flow of the text I will refer to “white” as “color”. In fact, Pantone admits to no less than 151 shades of white and Benjamin Moore, the well known supplier of wall paints, is offering 200 shades of white. (!! Unbelievable, right?) I think the numbers above represent sufficient arguments to treat white as a kind of “super – color”.

Generalities more or less obvious

White has never gone out of fashion, although, there were indeed, full seasons when the courage of using strong colors in elements of interior design has turned into quite a persistent trend. Now, more than ever, perhaps because of the avalanche of visual information that we load on computer screens, the “all white” trend in interior design has returned stronger then ever. Moreover, new technology constantly creates new materials – meaning “textures”, and textures are one of the strongest arguments for choosing a white interior of various shades.

Choosing white as the main color creates a subtle atmosphere defined by purity, simplicity and elegance. Moreover, with the risk of appearing to have suddenly fallen into mystics, I will emphasize the power this color has, to constantly transmit freshness, softness, balance and harmony. Returning to practical issues, white = light , which means that natural light is improved, the artificial light is enhanced and white in small or dark spaces becomes a real tool which extends the space to desired dimensions – length, width and height.

10 Reasons to choose “all white”

1. It’s the most “tolerating” first step in setting up an interior

It’s like a blank canvas on which you can paint whatever you want. If you start with purple wallpaper with golden flowers, your decorating options are dramatically reduced.

2. White is warm and comfortable

People inaccurately perceive white as cold and distant because they think that the minimalism of the color transfers into the room. Wrong. An indoor “all white” should avoid heavy pieces with sharp lines and chairs lined up like soldiers. On the contrary, fluffy pillows and a relaxed somewhat “unfinished ” design would fit perfectly with white. Vintage and hand-made finds are the most elegant expressions in a “white on white ” color scheme.

3. White never gets boring

Beige can be boring but too much white – never! It’s just too dramatic. Think about wedding dresses: for hundreds of years no one decided that wedding dresses should not be white because we are bored of them. Because, you cannot be bored with white.

4. Choose white vintage objects

This means giving up small decorations in all colors of the universe and focusing ones attention on some sophisticated pieces chosen for their antique authenticity or for their lively organic forms.

5. A white interior is more complex

A white interior will force you to pay attention to details, because you don’t have strong colors to distract your attention. It helps you to choose carefully, even the most insignificant things, like switch or knob. Such an interior becomes complex because of the details you have carefully chosen.

6. Wood and marble achieve their best aesthetics in an “all white” interior

Simple. There is no other combination of materials and colors which bring out the texture and shades of wood and marble more clearly – we are obviously talking about the white tones of these materials, not their colored options.

7. White has the power to bring together disparate or outdated spaces

There are buildings to which new rooms, floor and walls have been gradually added. There are houses which might have gorgeous pieces of furniture which do not fit together. Well, white floors, white walls and, for the bold, even a coat of white paint on some of the pieces of furniture will streamline, unify, give coherence and charm to the space.

8. A white interior lets you approach it in a fashionable style

You can freshen up a room with some turquoise or lime pillows in the summer or with an orange blanket or curtains in winter. Each season, or every important moment of your life has a kind of blank canvas which you can transpose in the setting, with minimal effort, just as you accessorize a simple black dress differently so that it is suitable for the theater but also for a reception. Versatile accessories include all textiles: curtains, bedding, quilts, tablecloths etc.

9. White “fix” mistakes

Seriously, if there are small aesthetic mistakes, a white on white color scheme makes them much less visible. I am talking about sockets in unusual places, about visible pipes etc. Moreover, if there are any plaster cornices and ceiling details in old houses, they will be even more beautiful and better highlighted and if they are not “crushed” with strong colors.

10. White does not have scratches

Yes, it has, but the scratches are less visible and they are fixed much easier. I am speaking about the floors, furniture, doors etc. as opposed to dark colored ones where everything is visible: from a finger mark to a speck of dust.

Small tips for great effects:

antiques + White = Love

An “all white” interior is instantly teleported to the opposite of minimalism if augmented with authentic antiques.

Pattern kitchen

We are talking about the patterns like drawing printed or embossed surfaces. Patterns really look sensational in an all white kitchen. Here and only here are these drawings emphasized, because of the lack of strong colors. A white kitchen is extremely sophisticated when tiles and cupboard fronts are not smooth, but have a complicated relief.


Never mind that the old pieces of furniture came from different stories – on the contrary, a Victorian mirror, a coffee table and a crib from the beginning of the century are linked by overlapping almost identical shades of white.

Texture Overlay

It’s the only time when wool, fur, sequins, veil, silk, linen and any other material you can think of, looks elegant and spectacular: when dealing with shades of white: from snow to cream, from butter to meringue .

The star color

This can be a statement of style: a home designed and decorated white on white, which has a purple pole. Or a red wall. Or a fuchsia ceiling. It is a powerful and bold statement.