Living Space: Decorating with white lends timeless, elegant tone

By Kathryn Weber
Aug. 30, 2012 at 3:30 a.m.

White makes a room seem larger and lends an airy elegance to the space.

White makes a room seem larger and lends an airy elegance to the space.

The color white in interiors is both beautiful and graceful. It's also undergoing a renaissance, and for good reason; it's simple, clean effect offers a touch of calm sophistication in a harried world.

The anti-color

Color styles come and go (remember olive green appliances?) and hues of late have been bold, bright and deep. But all that color can become tiresome. When our rooms become too visually over-the-top, a tonic is called for. White isn't just for beach houses or contemporary interiors anymore. Regardless of your decorating style, white lends a feeling of order and spotlessness. White also visually expands a space.

Right now, one-color fashion and decor is timely, but decorating with white is also timeless. As color fads come and go, it's easy to add color to white decor to reflect current trends. Of course, colors that naturally pair with white, such as pastels, blue, black and gold, are classically elegant and ageless. So, whether you want a changing or timeless effect, white makes the perfect backdrop.

Energizing white

Some say white is relaxing, calming and has a Zen quality. In feng shui, white is a yang or energizing color. Unlike its yang cousin, red, white has a thoughtful quality about it because white represents the mind and higher pursuits, while red indicates physical energy and action. So, if you like to select colors based on their qualities, white will help you engage your higher mind. After all, doesn't a white interior have a certain intellectual quality about it, almost as if the lack of color enables the occupants to think more clearly?

Using white

If your white walls are tiring, maybe it's time to take away even more color from your interiors rather than put color on the wall. Bleach out your decor even further by adding white throws on the furniture or painting chairs and tables white. In the bedroom, bathe the bed in white comforters, sheets and throws; it will look like you're sleeping on a cloud. Flowing, billowy white curtains will bathe the room in light and create an airy feeling.

For a more formal look, add a crystal chandelier, crystal lamps and mirrored accessories. Lucite furniture is another gorgeous choice for a white room. Be sure to add texture with fabrics, artwork or throws.

Layering shades of white is another way to add dimension to a white room, so look for complimentary hues from frosty white with a gray hint, to ivory with its pale richness. White-pattered wall paper is another way to extend the white theme and create dimensional interest.

Another key for a beautiful white interior? Layered lighting. This gives your decor more amplitude, particularly when the dominant color is white. Lastly, edit accessories. Because accessories really stand out against a white ground, they become more important, making the less-is-more rule especially true with white interiors.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website,



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