White is one of the most versatile colors you can use in decorating. It’s completely neutral, so it works with just about any color you can imagine. And there are many different shades of white–commercially, there are more shades of white available than of any other color, from ivory to eggshell to parchment. It provides the perfect backdrop for anything you really want to draw attention to. For instance, a vibrant, colorful painting will be even more noticeable when hung on a white wall.
Some fun facts about the color white:
- The word “white” comes from the Indo-European root “kweit,” which means “to shine.”
- White is the world’s favorite color for cars. Along with gold and yellow cars, white cars are also the least likely to be involved in car crashes (probably due to greater visibility).
- Humans are unique: unlike other animals, the whites of our eyes (the “scleras”) help with nonverbal communication by making it more visible where we’re looking at any given time.
- In Ancient Greece, people wore white to bed because they believed it would help them have pleasant dreams.
- Ancient Persians believed that the gods always wore white.
Incorporating the color white into your living space
White is probably the most versatile color that you can use in interior decorating, because there are almost no colors it clashes with. This is why it’s so popular and is employed so widely. It’s a bright, refreshing shade that conveys confidence and that’s often seen in minimalist contexts. Keep reading to learn about the many uses of white for your home.
The psychological effects of white
White symbolizes simplicity and creativity. Its presence helps foster feelings of order and efficiency, which makes it ideal for those who prefer very organized spaces. It is also associated with new beginnings–think of a “clean slate.” And it’s often found in modern, sophisticated living spaces.
Use of white on floors, walls, bedding, curtains, and furniture helps make rooms feel bigger due to reflected light (one of the main properties of white is that it reflects all wavelengths of light). It helps to give rooms an airy, serene vibe, contributing to feelings of calm in its presence. Layering different shades of white can help prevent this serenity from becoming too sterile and lend this color palette greater warmth.
Where to use white: 6 different places
Use white for your walls and other decor to create a calm, simple backdrop and an overall bright and airy living space. These are some of the best ways to use white in your home:
1) Hide architectural features and other things you don’t love
If you have architectural elements in your home that you don’t like, or that you don’t feel fit with your design sensibilities and your goals for your space, white walls with white trim can help conceal those aspects. Painting and covering other utilitarian features like vents, exposed hot water pipes, and so forth with the color white can similarly conceal these by causing them to blend into the white background. Using white can transform any elements that aren’t absolutely ideal into something more like a blank backdrop for any brighter colors and/or patterns you might want to emphasize. (This is an example of that “fresh start” we were talking about!)
2) Offset eclectic design choices
Eclectic design, like that often found in boho homes, typically involves the use of a variety of different, disparate elements to give your home a completely unique feel. Oftentimes there will be big, lush plants, lots of different kinds of art, etc. Many different textures, materials, patterns, and textiles are wonderful for creating a home that’s completely “you.” To ensure that this variety of colors and textures doesn’t become overwhelming or over-the-top, balancing them out with totally neutral white walls
(or other white background elements, like cabinets and shelves) is a great strategy.
3) In the bathroom
Bathrooms are often smaller than we’d like, so using white in these spaces is a particularly great choice: take advantage of its light-reflecting properties to make your bathroom seem bigger and brighter. These light-reflecting properties will be even more amplified because bathrooms typically use a lot of tile, a material that’s more reflective than most. And because white shows all potential grime, white tiles will look particularly tidy when kept clean (this does require a commitment to keeping your bathroom totally clean, so keep that in mind if you tend to put off cleaning). To make sure this space doesn’t feel excessively sterile, try to include textural variation: tiles, glass, beadboard walls, etc.
4) Pursue minimalist style
Minimalism has been a huge trend over the last few years. Everyone’s talking about decluttering and paring down their living spaces and their lives to the bare essentials. Remember how popular the KonMari method and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was when it came out? If you didn’t hear about this, the gist is that you should only keep items in your life that “spark joy.” The rationale is that minimalism leaves more room and time for the best parts of life–instead of dealing with piles of stuff, you get to focus on what you really enjoy and care about. Plus, it makes sense as housing prices have gone up and people tend to live in smaller spaces than we used to. Anyway, having a white color scheme works well in minimalist spaces, because it helps emphasize the most special objects you’ve chosen to keep and showcase–a beautiful painting, maybe, or a stylish piece of furniture.
5) As a backdrop for a gallery wall
Gallery walls are another big trend lately. These are walls dedicated to displaying your collection of framed art, arranged in an aesthetically pleasing layout. It’s no wonder they’re so popular: they’re versatile, easy to create, and visually appealing to pretty much everyone. They allow you to show off and enjoy your art collection in one place–they’re basically your own miniature “gallery.” With a little creativity, you can arrange these frames to fit any space or any wall, in a beautiful geometric display that will give your space tons of personality and express your unique artistic preferences. One of the best backdrops for this kind of artistic display is a white wall–the artwork will really shine when offset by a neutral background, and you’ll be able to truly appreciate each framed piece that much more.
6) Warm whites in cool environments, cool whites in warm environments
Different shades of white can create different feelings of chilliness or warmth–you’ll want to balance out these temperatures by choosing the right shade of white. If a room’s windows face north and there’s snow on the ground for at least part of the year, you’ll want to choose an off-white with warmer undertones, particularly if it’s somewhere you want to relax and maybe host guests. This will counterbalance the coolness of your exterior view and of the light the room will be receiving. Meanwhile, rooms with lots of windows that get strong sun during the day–that are facing the sun at midday–will receive warm light, so cooler whites will counterbalance this shade. If there’s lots of light, you should choose walls with a less glossy finish in order to prevent glare.
If you’re ready to incorporate white walls into your home…
…you might be worried that painting your walls white is too pricey, too time-consuming, or too difficult. You might also think that renting your home means you can’t modify the walls at all, even if they’re a totally hideous color. Don’t worry! There’s another option out there that you may not have considered.
Rather than going through the mess and hassle of painting, consider Walls Need Love’s self-adhesive, removable wallpaper! Not only is it reusable and repositionable–so if you’re planning on moving in a year, you can actually bring it with you–it’s also incredibly easy and quick to apply. There’s no need for any special adhesives or glues for installation or removal. And for those who are especially concerned about keeping their living space healthy and safe, it’s made with non-toxic materials. It offers a wide array of patterns and designs to help make your home a totally unique space that reflects your unique style and sensibilities. Read on to learn about six of our favorite white wallpaper designs:
If there’s nothing you love more than a trip to the library, and the smell of an old book fills you with joy, this design is a perfect choice for your living space. The simple, graphic design of this old-fashioned script handwriting would make an ideal feature wall, especially as a complement to a wall of bookshelves displaying all your most beloved tomes. This is a totally unique design, one you’re not likely to see in many other homes, so if you’d like your living space to stand out from the pack this is an eye-catching option that’s worth considering.
This is a cool, modern take on the ancient Greek key pattern, one of the best-known and most widely recognizable motifs of the ancient world. Interestingly, as this article on the history of the pattern describes, it was present in the “architecture, sculpture and decorative arts of many early civilisations – civilisations that could not possibly have known or seen one another’s artefacts. It seems that those cultures, independent of one another, created their own version of the motif.” Pretty fascinating–and the fact that it’s thousands of years old and present in many cultures reflects how appealing and mesmerizing a design this is. The “Impossible Labyrinth” is just a little bit different, because the mazes aren’t interconnected. It’ll definitely add visual interest to your space, while the muted pale gray color on a white background will keep the wallpaper from being too distracting.
The uniform, rounded shapes of this wallpaper recall a particular trend that you might have forgotten about. Remember “blobjects”? These were rounded, futuristic yet organic blob-type shapes that were incredibly popular in the design trend leading up to Y2K. The most creative designers are bringing back elements of the late 1990s and Y2K–you can subtly get in on this trend with this wallpaper design. The use of a pale gray, and overall simplicity and uniformity of the design, means that even as this wallpaper is pretty trendy, it’s also not at all garish.
So let’s say you love the look of exposed brick, which has been super trendy right now, but unfortunately weren’t able to snag an apartment with this particular design feature. You can still incorporate this cool, industrial-inspired, yet warm and earthy look into your home. This particular wallpaper is so photorealistic that it totally captures the 3-dimensionality and texture of real brick. (Plus, when your guests get up close and realize that the wall isn’t actually brick, they’ll be laughing and so will you.) And the use of white brick makes this a more unique, versatile take on the exposed brick look, since white goes well with most colors. The look of exposed brick is a perfect choice for an accent wall, and is a both timelessly elegant and modern to incorporate greater visual interest and texture into your living space.
If you absolutely love space, but aren’t sure whether you’re on board with covering your entire wall in an ultra-colorful galaxy pattern (maybe you prefer more muted and minimalist design), this wallpaper is an ideal option for your home. The smaller pattern means that from afar, this wallpaper looks somewhat abstract and traditional, so it’s not a totally overwhelming choice. But when you get up close, you’ll find lots of little stars and planets. This is perfect for those who love subtle touches of whimsy but still want to maintain a grown-up, sophisticated aesthetic.
June 29, 2018