For space and style, just add some white
By ELIZABETH BETTENDORF
Published January 12, 2007
A few years ago, painting your walls white was so passe that design shows and magazines were actually advising renters to roll their walls in accent colors.
That was bad news for me, a child of the '70s and modern design, and a firm believer since college in using white to make a space look bigger, cleaner and more elegant.
Lately, white seems to be making a comeback in home design, both in contemporary, art-filled interiors as well as in crisp "modern country" homes that rely on white as a backdrop. And after a year of mulling wall colors for my small 1970s-era condo, I've finally decided that a pure white honestly works the best in just about every room except the bathrooms.
Jay Tenuta, who owns LaBella Interiors in Odessa, says white is "clean, crisp and always stunning if done well."
Tenuta explains that white is friendly with all colors; add warm red, golden yellow and deep blue "and you have a relaxed, fun, put-up-your-feet feel." Add some maple-wood accents "and that just ices the cake."
Throw in black, deep gray, or earthy browns with chocolate and cherry wood, he notes, and you can create a look of "sophisticated, understated urban elegance."
Tenuta points out that there are many shades of white, and that most produce different moods.
His favorite? The classic Sherwin-Williams "Dover White" because of its pure white base with a hint of burnished gold.
"It's clean and crisp by day, and moody and sexy by night," Tenuta says. "Add candlelight, and, wow, let the party begin!"
Once you've settled on white as your backdrop of choice, it's hard to know where to begin choosing the right white.
There are several factors that should be considered when choosing any paint color, explains Sarah Fishburne, manager of innovation and design for the Home Depot.
Here are some questions Fishburne advises anyone to consider when choosing the perfect shade of white:
1. Are you working with existing white furniture?
2. Is there a core item you want to design around?
3. What is the flooring or lighting that you are working with? (Fluorescent lights cast a blue-purple tint, while others will have yellow shades.)
4. Are there a lot of windows? Whites are reflective so they will take on colors that are adjacent to them.
And, yes, Fishburne adds, white does actually make a space look bigger, but be careful, because it can create a glare that's hard on the eye.
"To some, whites are considered clean and crisp; to others they can also be interpreted as sterile and cold," she warns. The best way to warm up a white interior, Fishburne explains, is by "adding texture and warm woods to break up the stark white."
The options are almost endless when decorating around whites and introducing accent colors.
For example, for a contemporary-retro feel, Fishburne suggests cool whites with "very vivid" accent colors.
Paint attractive trim and molding different hues for maximum visual impact - a technique often used by builders. So when you're hunting for that perfect shade of white, remember that the options are vast.
The Home Depot offers more than 60 shades of white in each of its proprietary brands of paint: Ralph Lauren, Behr and Glidden.
These days, it seems, you can't have too much white in the house. Especially in Florida.
"Add white-on-white and a water view and you have the creme de la creme of class," Tenuta says.
"It's so pristine - the perfect backdrop to the beauty of the world around us."
[Last modified January 11, 2007, 08:29:21]
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