It's All White

By Rachel Perls of Hue Consulting, decor8 guest writer

White is the color of whipped cream and popcorn, of fresh snow and fluffy clouds. It is the presence of all colors in light, but the absence of color in pigment. White has the vibrancy to rival the brightest hues, so should not be considered a neutral. Think of whitewashed buildings in Greece overlooking the crystal blue Mediterranean.

via: Flickr

A common misconception is that white, in and of itself, will make a space bigger and brighter. Much of this depends on the lighting-just picture that small, dark hallway with white walls. It tends to look grey and dingy, doesn?t it? Without light streaming through a big window, it doesn?t work. I must admit, as a color consultant, trained in the psychological and physiological effects of color, I try to steer my clients away from using too much white. From a scientific perspective, studies have shown that it has little, if any, positive psychotherapeutic value. But, these articles on color are good exercises in learning how to embrace something that you might otherwise wrinkle your nose at. And so, without further ado, I bring you, white!

Signifying purity, simplicity, and the barest of essentials, white is a favorite of designers and architects for sparse modern spaces.

It?s also been embraced for a more country feeling; think Rachel Ashwell?s Shabby Chic. Thought of as clean and pristine, you have to be careful not to over-do using white because it runs the risk of appearing cold, lacking emotional warmth, even clinical.

To avoid this effect, off-whites such as ivory, cream, and whites tinted with colors can be layered in, adding texture and softness.

One Room, Three Ways via: Southern Living

One Room, Three Ways via: Southern Living

One Room, Three Ways via: Southern Living

It?s a great place to start with your big ?base? pieces: the couch, fireplace mantle and side chair. Then bring in other colors to really customize the space to your taste. Same basic elements, totally different feel to each.

White is great as an accent, to add contrast, and provide a unifying element through spaces. For instance, white trim, molding and floorboards. Or how about this great idea - artwork all framed in white-so sharp!

White kitchens are quite popular. As a super duper messy cook, my white cabinets and stove are my undoing; every tiny little splatter glares back at me. It sure does look lovely paired with some soft blues, doesn?t it?

via: Fired Earth

Another way to avoid white?s side effect of sterility is to bring in different textures and natural materials. I love the bathroom shown above with soft, natural stone and creamy colored tiles. Just think about all the different materials you can use, all with vastly different looks- stone, ceramic tile, painted wood?

These rooms use the same color scheme, but look at how a few key pieces can completely change its character.

White is a blank canvas, and really is there for you to project your personal tastes and styles upon. How do you feel about white? How do you use it in your home?

{Thank you Rachel for stopping in with your post about white. To read more of Rachel's insights on color, visit her blog or previous articles written for decor8 right here. -holly}