There are those who love white walls in their home. It make spaces feel bigger, fresher, and brighter and they are simple to co-ordinate with furniture. There are those, like me, who hate white walls, but must live with them because they are renting or can’t afford to repaint. Regardless of your affiliation to the (lack of) color, the question still remains, how can you harness the energy of white walls to create a dynamic, vibrant harmony within your home? Here are some tips.
- Either clean those walls or get a fresh coat of paint! Before you even begin moving furniture or considering curtain colors, give those walls a good scrub down (especially if it’s been awhile since you’ve had a repaint). Get rid of those fingerprints, dust, and smudges. If you can, touch up the paint; it’s cheaper to repaint a color than to change it. One of the advantages to white is its clean, fresh energy– dirt smudges can make a space feel dingy. I recommend using Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and Windex. For more cleaning tips, read our post 8 Ways to De-clutter Your House and Remaster Your Life!Once you clean your walls, establish a regimen to keep them clean (I recommend cleaning them once a month. This is an easy chore to assign children).
- If you are choosing to stay with white walls because of budget, consider painting an accent wall, the ceiling, or baseboards. This will bring the desired wall color into a room without incurring the cost of a full paint job.
- Make a list of all the rooms you want to redecorate.
- Perhaps the greatest advantage to having a white room is that any color you use will pop. Play to this advantage by creating a color palate for each room on your list. If the words “color coordination” make you feel uncomfortable, I’ve written a post that dissects color theory and how to apply it to your home: Basic Color Theory: Coordination Made Simple. Also, any articles in the Color section of this blog will provide great palate ideas. DON’T FORGET to remember the role each room plays within your home and choose your colors accordingly. For example, some colors are more appropriate for the kitchen than in your bedroom. Read the posts on Psychology of Color for further detail.
- This will seem counter intuitive but include white in your color palate. This might sound a little weird, but the key to interior design is creating a visual symphony of elements that create harmony, dissonance, and a repeating melody. Since white already takes up so much visual space, it is a part of the visual masterpiece you are creating. Threading it throughout the room will create an effect similar to the brass section picking up the woodwind’s melody in a Beethoven piece.
- Once you’ve chosen your color palate, its time to choose which patterns and textures to incorporate them into the space with. Visual dynamics aren’t created by color alone, but also by the fabrics, surfaces, and materials you use to furbish and decorate your room. To learn more about utilizing these elements to their fullest potential, read Interior Design: Patterns and Textures 101. Keep the principles you read about in mind when selecting rugs, curtains, comforters, slipcovers, etc.
All of this might still sound expensive. Rest assured, staying within a budget requires ingenuity, creativity, and some DIY grit. Some things to consider:
- Instead of reupholstering your furniture or buying new furniture all together, invest in a few slipcovers. These offer you flexibility should you choose to change your color palate later and you can wash them.
- This might sound a little OCD, but you can go through all of your possessions and organize them according to color. Then take the objects that match the color palate for a particular room and place them there. This is also a good time to de-clutter your home or put objects you don’t really use into storage (if you want to get super organized, you can even pack them according to color so you can swap colors in your palate with ease).
- Combine function and decoration. For example, I have hats, but not enough shelf space to store them. So, I hung them on the wall. I hated the closet doors in my bedroom, so I took them down and now use them as a headboard for my bed. (These photos were taken by my ipod…so, they’re not amazing)
- Use Modge Podge, cardstock, and paint to change your furniture to fit your palate. I recommend using pieces you get from Thrift Stores rather than family heirlooms, but to each his own. I purchased an old dresser whose damaged surface I covered in paper and whose sides I plan to paint (once I choose a color!). I also have two bookcases whose shelves I plan on covering with pages from old books.
What about you? Do you have any suggestions for playing off the strengths of white walls? Tell us about it in the Comments Box below.