For an interior stylist who loves color, white walls can seem like an enemy to be quickly vanquished and hidden beneath a coat of rich paint. But white walls have their own charm, especially when they are used with certain designs. Exploit the beauty of white walls by choosing a compatible style.
White Walls and the Minimalist Style
Minimalism’s basic principle is to decorate with as little as possible to accentuate the beauty of what is there. Furnishings and other items in a minimalist room are striking because there is so little else to distract the eye. White walls emphasize this simple ambience and accentuate textures and colors.
Ribbed rugs, patterned accessories, colorful pillows and curtains stand out against a white backdrop in much the same way that dark tree bark or a red mitten seems extraordinary against a snowy landscape. Minimalist colors and furnishings look even more spectacular when the floors are also painted white or white rugs are used.
White Walls and the Contemporary Style
Contemporary interior design speaks of elegance and sophistication. It works best in the Bauhaus tradition of no-nonsense angles and planes. Clean and pristine white walls work very well with this style. Contemporary design is not generally as sparse as minimalism, but because negative space is important, be careful with furniture and wall groupings.
Decorate predominantly with black, white and gray hues, with splashes of bold color in accessories for dramatic emphasis. In minimalism, as well as in contemporary design, it is a good idea to use accessories with color and texture that reaches upward, as with a flowering plant, to offset the landscape of whiteness.
Shabby Chic and Country
Country and shabby chic decor are perfectly comfortable with white walls. Because these styles emphasize a more relaxed and homey atmosphere, white enhances rather than detracts from furniture and accessories. Neutrally colored walls give a fresh scrubbed look to the environment, emphasizing such traditional patterns as checks, stripes, colors inspired by nature and rustic and overstuffed furnishings. Country and shabby chic are meant to feel comfortable, not fussy, and white walls help towards that end.
White Walls Can Be an Asset
White walls need not be a hindrance in interior styling. In many cases, white walls emphasize beauty rather than detract from it. White walls invite the creative use of negative space and colors and help to make furnishings and accessories the focal point of a room.