The Rules for Decorating with White
To keep the room from looking flat, use a variety of textures and patterns to create depth.
- Be sure to interrupt broad expanses of white with the occasional bit of black. Adding a touch of black (or dark brown) will ground an all white space and give the eye a place to rest. Picture frames, light fixtures, or the odd decorative accent will do the trick. Be sure to use a few throughout the room to create balance.
- Use mirrors to open up the space and reflect light. Take into account what will be reflected when you place it. If possible, place a mirror across from a window to take advantage of the natural light and outdoor view.
- Glass and crystal accessories are welcome additions to an all-white room. They're visually light but can add shape and depth to the room.
- On mantels (or anywhere you create vignettes such as sideboards or bookcases) layer accessories beginning with the tallest pieces in the back and working your way forward. Layer mirrors or artwork in white frames (or black frames with a lot of white matting), white vases, and white flowers for a vignette with depth and visual interest. Also use small items like candlesticks, decorative boxes or any other items you love.
- Layer couches and chairs with blankets, throws and pillows in different shades and textures.
- Use wood in a white room to add a natural element. Whether it's furniture frames, floors, ceiling beams or accessories, the warmth of the wood will temper the cool starkness of all the white.
Plain white walls can be boring so dress them up with artwork, mirrors and architectural details, or make them more decorative with wallpaper or paint.
- Wallpaper - White-on-white wallpapers are easy to find and very elegant. Damask and floral patterns will add sophistication.
- Paint - Try painting a pattern such as vertical or horizontal stripes using two different shades of white. For something more glamorous try using a stencil (damask is a very elegant option) to create an elegant and personalized design. Use a matte paint for the background and a glossy paint for the stenciled portion. The result is subtle yet sophisticated. If the walls are wood you can also try whitewashing them for a shabby chic look.
- Architectural Details - Interest can also be added to walls by adding architectural details such as decorative moldings. A plate rail is a popular option but you can also create different, more intricate looks using molding. A series of large squares for example is simple and elegant. It's a great way to create depth without interrupting the flow of the white when painted the same shade as the walls.