Recently I was talking with the owner of a large, modern furniture store outside of Detroit. She'd just gotten back from market and her take on the up-and-coming trends was to expect, 'Lots and lots of white in the next few seasons.' Hmm...I thought as I began to envision the chic, sparse environment of a house we'd recently featured. Everything was white, right down to the Bentonlook flooring (poured plastic that looks like concrete), exposed brick, and ultra-hip furnishings. Though minimal and sleek, the home had carried with it a sense of warmth and cheer, something not often associated with the color white.
The emotional response to color is often one of the first things a design professional considers. And that's generally because certain hues evoke different memories and feelings. For instance, did you know that white carries with it a positive connotation and is considered to be the color of perfection? And when used in design it often reflects light rays, which in turn don't absorb heat, making your room both lighter and cooler?
A while back I was experiencing a sort of dread whenever I looked at my living room walls. They were white, which I liked, but they were the wrong white. Cold and bare, they needed something altogether warmer and livelier. Thankfully that's when I discovered-with the help of a designer- my perfect shade of white.
Most design professionals will concur that there's always one shade of white that stands out from the pack. The go-to white as some call it. Mine just happens to be Farrow & Ball's White Tie. Some have cited Sherwin William's Marshmallow or Pure White, others refer to Benjamin Moore's Glacier White or Cotton Balls, but either way you have it there's a favorite white for everyone.
So what do you do once you find the right white? Start experimenting with it...everywhere. Though the color works in many living spaces-traditional, contemporary, rustic and modern, to name a few-it's essential that you pair it with coordinating textures, materials, shades and prints to achieve a cohesive look. Start off slowly by adding a creamy ceramic vase to a shelf, a furry shag rug underneath a chair or a panel of linen over a sun-filled kitchen window.
On the top of my list for white summer essentials: Crate & Barrel's rustic dinnerware with it's uneven lines and sturdy appeal, the straight-out-of-Palm-Beach Thomas Pheasant for Baker's Villa club chair, Ikea's simple slip-covered moder Morkedal bed and the always elegant white-on-white Cheyney walk damask wallpaper from Cole & Son.