There was a time when I would have said no to a white room. I had been living in apartments for years, the walls were always white. When I had bought and decorated homes of my own, I had learned that there are different types of white. Natural or artificial light, the type of white, and other colors and objects in the room changed my whole perspective on the use of white in a room. And so for my next project, my display studio at the ArtWorks, having decided to pour the room in white, I've been doing some research. And I discovered some interesting examples and insights into creating the white room.
White is the color we see when we look at light "which contains all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum, at full brightness and without absorption." (wikipedia) It doesn't have red, yellow, green or blue, what we call hue. Its use in paintings dates back to the paleolithic period. Speed forward through subsequent periods to the twentieth and twenty-first century and we find that the symbols of white in many cultures have come to be associated with "innocence, perfection, the good, honesty, cleanliness, the beginning, the new, neutrality, lightness, and exactitude."
In his book, The New Traditional, Darryl Carter says, "White makes old things seem more current. White rooms are more complex than they appear, because there are no distractions. Every choice becomes critical." White rooms are too often, and unfairly, viewed as cold and uninteresting. For example, major paint manufacturers are able to create whites with soft hues; varied textures elicit visual interests; and contrasting colors in furnishings and accessories stand out against the white, providing that desired or needed distraction.
The above design style also fits into a monochromatic color palate using white and wood tones. Here too are examples of a white room that fits into the monochromatic palate. They were created in the classic Scandinavian style of clean lines, minimalistic interiors and colors, also called Scandi or Norse minimalism. (Photos and info from Home Designing.)
Any contrasting color stands out against white but of course you knew that. Let me add that white rooms also give the eyes places to rest, the brain room to think and organize. They suggest peace and tranquility. Even rooms over-pouring with stuff but with masses amount of white spaces provide a sanctuary for the heart and mind like the living room photo above. I guess the only thing left is to be bold enough to try it.
Of course, the white room doesn't suite everyone and that's okay. What's your take on a white room? Love it? Hate? Find it boring and bland? Love to hear from you. -xoxo