Not Sure If All-White Is For You? These 8 Tips Should Have You Convinced
The ongoing movement towards minimalism and minimalist designs has garnered a waxing trend: all-white interiors. It’s not new, but we’re seeing its proliferation in recent years.
Design: Third Avenue Studio
Despite its popularity in magazines and on social media, it’s not something we embrace easily for our own homes. For the practical lot, an all-white interior is heck to upkeep. For the cynics, an all-white interior only looks beautiful through filters and overused exposure. Then there are folks who see their home as an avenue to express their vivacious personality, where all-white would be deemed too boring.
MAKING ALL-WHITE INTERIORS WORK
Design: Third Avenue Studio
I am never much of a follower of trends. But when the all-white fad came out, I was all over it like a rash. But being pragmatic, I had the same reservations. Does it only look good in pictures? Will I get bored of it after three months? How am I going to maintain my white space when I hate doing house chores? So when the time came for me to revamp my bedroom, I hesitated to take the plunge to go all-white.
But as I did my research for my bedroom (and this article), I realised that the problems commonly associated with all-white interiors aren’t anything unsurmountable. Sure, they are high maintenance, but the tradeoff is a gorgeous interior that is clean, fresh and absolutely statement-making.
If you’ve been sitting on the fence about an all-white interior like I had before, here are a few tips I’ve learnt along the way that I hope will change how you see about them. They aren’t as scary as you thought, really.
#1: Keep things interesting with textures
The experts agree on the necessity of textures to enhance the appeal of all-white interiors. In place of colours, textures provide visual interest.
I would recommend textiles e.g. area rugs, decorative wall textiles, cushions, and curtains as one of the easiest ways to add texture. Although as a word of caution, they tend to accumulate dust, which becomes more evident on white. Besides textiles, greenery works just as well. They’re neutral enough so they don’t stand out too much in the all-white space.
If you’re a purist e.g. all-white must be all white, then textures can come in the form of materials and patterns. For instance, you can pair a whitewashed wood coffee table with a white fabric sofa. Or a white leather chair with a white acrylic table. Work with glass surfaces and mirrors – they don’t add colour, but they definitely add another dimension to the design.
Design: Metaphor Studio
A white, intricately patterned headboard stands out even in the all-white bedroom.
#2: Not all whites are created equal
When it comes to paint colours, there are many shades of white. Here is Dulux’s white palette range:
Depending on what mood you’re trying to convey in your all-white home, select your paint colours carefully. Paint hues that have warmer undertones will communicate a cosy and intimate feel, while hues that have cooler undertones will create a crisper and pristine atmosphere.
You can always mix different shades (and undertones!) of white to create visual appeal. Not only will this save you money and the hassle of matching your white, it actually makes things more interesting.
Design: Ehka Studio
My key takeaway: The more you mix up your whites, the less you worry about whether everything goes together and the more awesome your all-white space will look. But – there’s always a but! – if you’re thinking of opening up your small space, matching whites will create a more continuous and cohesive look that will give the sense of a more spacious and open room.
#3: Wood is good
Like greenery, wood is a wonderful neutral to play around with in an all-white home. It’s also a great way to add warmth for those of you who’re worried about an all-white space looking too clinical or sterile.
Wood is a completely natural – no pun intended – complement to white. Some ways to work it in include doing up a feature wall using wood panels or as a trimming to a kitchen opening. It’s all in the details.
There are tons of ways to work in wood, but make sure you think through what shade – dark, light or grey – you’re planning to use because it will impact how your overall space looks. If you’re after a Muji-inspired space, use unpainted light wood. But if you’re after a Scandi-industrial all-white space, reclaimed wood or distressed wood would be a better option.
#4: Think about lighting
You probably know how important lighting is in terms of transforming a mood in a space. But more so in an all-white room as white reflects the light source more noticeably.
Design: Amoz Boon, homeowner
When it comes to purchasing lighting, the number one rule is to consider the temperature of your light. If you don’t want to throw too much yellowish tinge on your white walls and thus ‘dirtying’ the look, avoid using warm white (2800-3000K). Day white lighting (6000-6500K) against white walls will create a bright, daylight look, but it might look too harsh during the night when you’re hoping to wind down and relax.
Design: Architology Interiors
I would recommend getting natural white (4000-4500K) lights for white walls. These are just in between warmer white and day-white. But if you can’t decide or want to change up the atmosphere for different times of the day, you can always use a dimmer.
Pay attention to natural light as well when you think about paint colours. If your space faces the warm afternoon sun, a softer, bluish white paint might help to keep your space cool.
Design: The Design Abode
Avoid too pristine a tone, because it can create a harsh glare that is best reserved for ultra-modern spaces. But if your home tends to be dark and dreary with little to no daylight streaming through, you might want to enliven things up with a warmer tone of white paint.
Consider also: Window furnishings can affect the amount of natural light coming through, particularly if they are not blackout types. So think about the amount of daylight you’re receiving before choosing your shade of white.
Design: Momo and Partners
#5: Let your personality shine with accents
Even if you have a loud and vivacious personality, that doesn’t mean you can’t adopt a white palette if you like it. If you’re worried about it looking blah and entirely divorced from who you are as a person, throw in a few of your favourite bright and bold pieces to serve as accents. While they might get camouflaged in a multi-coloured space, in an all-white one, they are the stars.
These brightly patterned bar stools really grab the eye in this all-white kitchen.
Design: Rezt & Relax Interior
#6: Materials make all the difference
Design: Jow Architects
An all-white interior is also a stain-fest waiting to happen. It’s therefore important to make sure the surfaces of your home are stain-resistant or washable. Here are a few tips:
Sofa: Leather over fabric, because stains can be easily cleaned off in leather. If you love fabric, make sure the upholstery comes with removable and washable covers.
Bathroom and Kitchen counters: Go for a stain-resistant material like Cosentino’s Dekton or a good quality quartz. Avoid natural stone like marble or granite.
Design: Momo and Partners
Paint: Use washable paint like Dulux’s Wash and Wear or Nippon Paint’s Easy Wash. But if the stain cannot be removed after wiping it down, a small dab of your leftover paint should do the trick.
Bed linen: Quality sheets are a luxury to sleep in. But you want those that can wash stains easily and doesn’t take extra effort to upkeep. Avoid bed linen made from polyester as they tend to absorb oil-based stains, making it difficult to remove during a wash. Choose materials like linen and cotton instead.
Maintenance tip: To keep bedding look fresh and clean after sometime, use natural whiteners like baking soda and white vinegar alongside regular detergent when laundering your sheets.
Design: 0932 Design Consultants
#7: All-white isn’t just for the modern minimalist
Being incredibly versatile, the all-white theme isn’t just restricted to ultra modern themes or the minimalist look. It works with almost any style, including more traditional designs.
Gold elements shine through this all-white interior that features a modern Victorian theme.
Design: Metaphor Studio
#8: Make cleaning less of a chore
While all-white interiors are not the purview of dirty homes (a psychedelic room can look equally unclean!), dirt, dust and disorder tend to show up more visibly in an all-white space. So regular housekeeping – at least once a week – is a must. Vacuuming carpets and area rugs twice a week is ideal as it’s one of the greatest dust accumulators at home. But if you’re too lazy like me, invest in appliances like robotic vacuums that do part of the work for you!
To reduce dust accumulation, don’t over clutter your space. More things = more nooks and crannies for dust to settle, which would make cleaning up a lot more tedious! Invest in sound storage pieces to hide things away from sight.
Design: The Scientist
Keep windows closed whenever possible to prevent the outside dust from coming in, particularly true if you’re facing the main road.
If you have kids, pets or a hectic lifestyle, swathing your home in white might seem too much of a chore in the long run. But you don’t have to create an entire all-white home; consider using this look for just a small part of the home like your bedroom. It still allows you to have the look you want, albeit in a smaller, more manageable space.
Design: LU+C Studio
Will you take the plunge for an all-white interior? Let us know in the comments!
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