Just as colourful schemes can be zingy and energising, white spaces make us feel instantly cool and calm, and adopting pale tones is a brilliant way of making a home feel summery long after the season has ended.
Wondering how to work white in your home? We asked the experts how to go about it, so it’s practical and glamorous…
1. Let white rule
“The summer months are worshipped not only for the warmth they bring, but for the abundance of natural light that fills our homes,” says Claire Hornby, head of creative, Barker and Stonehouse. “For those looking to eke out as much of this wonderful brightness as possible, you can’t go wrong with a white interior scheme.
“Brilliant for maximising natural light and bouncing it around a room, this fresh neutral shade will evoke memories of pretty white-washed villas and provide an ideal backdrop against which to display all of your treasured finds from summer holidays past.”
Decor tip: To prevent white spaces from feeling stark, make sure you incorporate an abundance of different textures and finishes, such as ceramic accessories in stone-hued finishes. If you love a splash of colour, azure blues and canary yellows will provide an instant injection of summer spirit.
2. Welcome white to work
If you’re hot and bothered over work pressures, calming white decor could be the perfect antidote. “Subdued yet stylish, a palette of light neutrals is soothing, timeless and easy to achieve,” says Rebecca Snowden, interior style advisor, Furniture Choice.
“It’s a brilliant choice for home offices, especially if the space is compact and is multi-functional, maybe working as a dining area as well, as it’ll conjure an illusion of airy spaciousness. For depth and interest, use a combination of shades, such as classic white for ceilings and walls, ivory for paintwork, and beige for flooring.”
Decor tip: Glass tables, or furniture with a slender silhouette, have less visual weight and won’t dominate a space, while the addition of a large mirror on one wall opens up the area even more. Including light-reflecting metallic finishes, and a few plants for colour, will ensure the overall look is beautiful rather than bland.
3. Make an entrance
“Using this effortlessly cool look in an entrance hall will set the tone for the whole home,” promises David Snazel, hard flooring buyer, Carpetright.
“Start with a backdrop of white for walls and floors, and then inject personality with accent colours for furniture and accessories. Crisp blues, vivid greens or punchy sunset shades such as yellow, orange and red will add an instant ‘pop’.”
Decor tip: Choose flooring with a pared-back minimalist look, so you don’t distract from the overall open effect. Consider whitewashed boards, marble-inspired luxury vinyl, or a tiled floor with white rugs.
4. Get set for sweet dreams
“In our hectic age – an era of constant connectivity – bedrooms need to be calming spaces, where we can retreat and sleep well,” says Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company.
“White can be wonderfully warm and welcoming. In a predominantly white home, choosing warm whites for the walls and layering in soft textures is key. I love to add natural elements and to pile on the texture.”
Decor tip: Remember that homes using a white or neutral scheme – a great canvas to work on – still need to feel emotive and sensory, to ensure they don’t become too bright or sterile. Soft throws and scented candles will help create the right mood. Natural materials, such as weathered wood, slubby linen or marbled slate, connect back to nature and add interest. Revamping sofas and chairs by covering them with easy-wash white throws is an instant way of creating this look.
5. Let it flow
“Colour flow is the concept of using colour to connect adjacent spaces in your home, to give a harmonious feel throughout,” says Helen Shaw, director of paint specialists, Benjamin Moore UK. “Colour flow is made easier by selecting a core white for ceilings, woodwork and doors, especially when a home has open-plan spaces with no obvious place to change from one colour to another.
“Make sure the white you choose works with the colours you’ve chosen for all the spaces. Remember, reds and yellows harmonise with warmer whites, while greens, greys and blues sync better with cooler white paint shades”
Decor tip: White paint is like a chameleon – it can look different depending on the type and orientation of the light that hits it, and whether its base colour has been tinted. Be sure to test your colour out and view it at various times of day and under artificial light before taking the plunge.
6. Feast on white
“White interior spaces are extremely restful, bring a feeling of endless summer days, and create a soothing zen-like space when mixed with a palette of neutral tones,” says Sarah Ratty, creative director, Ciel Shop Interiors.
“Natural materials pop against the cool white, and somehow furniture and furnishings become more defined. Layering white texture creates depth and a beautiful simplicity, great for mindful and inspired moments.”
Decor Tip: Introduce hints of terracotta, pinks (ultra fashionable currently) or even monochrome accents to add dimension to a space. Artwork, tableware, or floral arrangements could do the trick.
7. Work the walls
“White murals are increasingly popular in homes, as not only are they ideal for most spaces but they’re also a brilliant backdrop for the more colourful furnishings that we’re embracing, as part of a trend for more decorative homes,” says Rachel Kenny, studio manager, Wallsauce.
“Whether you have a small wall at the end of the hallway that needs a little ‘je ne sais quoi’, or a huge wall in a large room that requires a statement that’s not so brash, the mellow designs are really flexible for any space or style.”