White Walls: A Trend That's Here to Stay

Plus, designers offer words of wisdom on how to (successfully) use white in your own home.

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September 19, 2017
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Photo By: Photo by Sarah Dorio; Design by: CLOTH & KIND; Builder: Athens Building Company

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A Canvas for Story + Substance

Take a moment to swoon over the white walls, custom cabinetry and bright, natural sunlight in this sunny kitchen. The design dream team at CLOTH & KIND share why they opted for white walls: "This modern farmhouse project of ours is set on a pristine, 65 acres just outside of Athens, GA, and so we wanted to take total advantage of all that mother nature has to offer! This included letting the light in and using crisp, white walls to maintain a simple, clean and calming vibe throughout the home. The white backdrop also allowed us to really layer in interesting textures, art, accessories and, of course, plenty of vintage and found items. Because at the end of the day, it's these things that truly make a house feel like a home and allow for us to create the most beautiful spaces — those brimming with history and heart, with story and substance."

Sophisticated Sleeping

Use varying shades of soft whites, creams and grays together for a tranquil bedroom that guarantees restful sleep. The classic pairing of these colors also ensures a space that never goes out of style. What better place to start and end each day, eh?

A Wash of Light

"This large master bedroom had an unusual vaulted ceiling," shares interior designer of this grand and gorgeous master suite, Claire Paquin. So why white? "We wanted to capitalize on the ceiling's height without calling too much attention to its asymmetrical nature. If we painted the walls a color and the ceiling white, your eye would have immediately been drawn to the unusual shapes above. By selecting a soothing white color, Ballet White by Benajmin Moore, for both the walls and the ceilings, we enveloped the room in a wash of light, and the drama of the space can be truly appreciated."

Sunny + Sleek

Embrace the sun with a light-reflecting wall color. White ushers the natural, warm light into this glorious spa-like bathroom. Easily achieve the same look in your own master bath by layering white walls with white countertops, white floors and pops of earthy accents.

Create Zen

This whimsical room feels like never-ending summer with the floral mural and blissful blush hues, framed by white walls. Interior designer Mollie Openshaw shares, "White is perfect for letting a focal wall shine! I selected a gray-white so that it has a little dimension to it but still acts as a perfect backdrop for the handpainted floral wall I created. The simplicity of white paint gives your eye a rest and provides a more zen atmosphere, even when you do a bold accent like I did in this girls' bedroom."

Modern Living

We see why white on white is a favorite among modern designers and homeowners alike. Pair crisp white walls with sleek, show-stopping metallic accents and glass furnishings for a space that feels light-years ahead of its time.

Room for Adventure

Surrounded by windows framed with white walls, this dining room is illuminated with natural sunlight. A pendant light centers the room, while a richly-colored area rug adds warmth. The interior designers at CLOTH & KIND share how to achieve a similar approach at home: "We love nothing more than clients who are bold enough to swath their walls and trim in glorious color. However, when someone wants to go white, which is also a beautiful look, we feel that it is even more imperative than ever to bring color, texture and pattern in elsewhere in order to balance the space. With white walls, don't be afraid to go bold and adventurous with rugs, pillows and art on the walls to offset the simplicity of the paint. You won't be disappointed!"

Neutral Backdrop

The key to an expansive, white space? Remembering to anchor your design with deep-hued statement pieces. Use dark shades, such as rich navy or an inky black, like the twin dining chairs pictured in this grand dining room. Not only will this ground your space, but the contrast will add an element of interest to the design overall.

Airy + Expansive

White works wonders in adding a crisp and tailored element to this eclectic space. For a similar look, use a sleek shade of white to bring a sense of cohesiveness throughout your home and to highlight your curated collection of keepsakes.

The Ultimate Blank Canvas

We were not surprised when interior designer Bronwyn Poole shared her love of bright white. Poole says, "I am quite the fan of the fresh white wall; it's the ultimate interior blank canvas. I tend to layer my rooms with lots of dynamic pattern and color, and nothing pops better than when on white. Often accused of being a safe option, extend yourself to be bold with the furnishings, and you won't look back. If your room has limited natural light, I would steer clear of pure, crisp white. I believe darker rooms should be painted in shades that work with natural light levels which will help to keep it from looking sad and lackluster. On the other hand, if you have abundant natural sunlight, you really can't go past white."

Cool + Cozy

We think this modern, Scandy-inspired bedroom proves that a cool-tone white can still feel ultra-cozy when paired with pretty, warm, wooden elements in a space. Consider a powdery, snow-hued shade of white to keep you feeling cozy at night and inspire you to spend hours cuddled up with coffee and a book in bed.

Crisp Contrast

This newly-remodeled, white-walled kitchen proves this classic hue creates an unmatched contrast for rustic and industrial design elements. Pair white with natural wood and exposed pipes for a gorgeous mix in your own home.

Play With Primary Accents

Kids are guaranteed to spend hours enjoying in this bright white and gray playroom. Interior designer Pippa Lee shares that she selected an almost-white gray for the walls to ensure that "the loft 'popped' off the walls." Lee continues, "I also wanted the climbing wall to be white to really let the colored climbing holds pop."

Simple Elegance

The design in this living room was kept elegant and simple, so as to complement the large space, rather than compete with it. Recreate a similar design in your own, expansive space with a wall-to-wall wash of white paint.

A Backdrop for Life

White walls create a beautiful contrast in this spacious, modern living room. The home's architect, Matt Fajkus, says, "Bright white walls provide a serene surface to frame views and also contrast with floor and ceiling surfaces of varying materials. In a broader sense, the neutrality allows the surfaces to act as a backdrop for the theater of life, rather than simply being about themselves."

Not to Be Underestimated

A bold and colorful abstract piece looks all the more beautiful against a clean, white backdrop in this foyer. Designer Claire Paquin says, "White walls are often underestimated. People are afraid they will be too bland, but in actuality, there are so many different shades of white that you can achieve a subtle sophistication with white paint. White is also an incredibly versatile color that reflects the colors around it. When using a shade of white paint, whether it has blue, mint, lavender, yellow or gray undertones, make sure to use a crisp, clean white color for the trim work. By creating this contrast, the white paint selected for your walls will sing."

Plays Well With Colors

Let this coastal color palette inspire you to use white as a frame for vibrant, lively hues in your own space. Bold colors not your style? Soft, sweet watercolors, like the ones pictured here, look especially elegant and refined against white walls.

Frame the Feature

Designer Jordan Iverson explains that the wow-worthy white in this kitchen was selected based on the homeowner's inspiration of a country-French interior and to contrast the home's dark exterior. Iverson says, "The black contrasting windows also drove the color selection, with the white interior paint allowing the sun to fill the space with natural light. The black windows were the focal point and the (wall) color needs to make those feature windows pop."

Highlight Prized Pieces

A darling, coral bedside dresser stuns as a standout against the gray-white wall color in this girls' bedroom. This was not by accident, friends. Designer Mollie Openshaw explains, "I love designing with white walls because you can make the focus of the space something that's more than the walls, such as a favorite piece of artwork, furniture or a colorful rug. White is beautiful, simple and serene."

White, Done Right

Interested in an airy, white home of your own? Designer Jordan Iverson offers his professional insight, "White has pros and cons. If done wrong, it can have a cheap or sterile feel, so be selective in bringing natural, organic warm elements in." The natural, cognac-colored hardwoods and matching window trim, seen here, bring the warmth necessary to ensure this white-on-white kitchen feels cozy. Iverson continues, "When done right, it is a timeless color that allows you to decorate and accent your interiors with bright or bold furnishings, artwork, lighting or plants that you can easily change without even having to paint. Your feature pieces become the focal point and not the paint color."

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