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Rethink White

White walls are a huge trend that I have noticed sneaking it’s way back onto the radar. White has always been THE chic color (or in contrast, a very simple country color) but it popping up in magazines and homes outside of metropolitan areas (and not quite in rural areas) begs the question- What’s changed?

What has made this stark color palette so desirable? My left brain immediately recalls the materials that are used and the improvements that have been made. Glossy paint is more durable and water resistant than ever; it can be scrubbed to remove stains without streaking. And Hello Scotchgard! Carpets and upholstered furniture can hold up against the toughest kids, so white furniture is no longer just a blank canvas for grape juice stains and macaroni fingerprints. Even cleaning products have become more effective. Two awesome products that have become popular within the last decade that I have fallen in love with are the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and OxiClean. All of these factors contribute to white coming back into the normal household as a statement color.

But then my artsy right brain kicks in and says “How about the fact that it is just pretty?” But my right brain has nothing else to back up that statements so my left brain tells it to shut-up and will fill in the gaps that my right brain can’t bridge. Is it pretty? Yes. Why? Because it can be ANYTHING you want. Nothing is more versatile than a clean slate, and that is just what a white room delivers. Here are some examples:

A chic boho getaway with embroidered pillows and a bright rug.

A family friendly room with pops of color.

A sophisticated and clutter-free space at grandma's house.

A study fit for intellectuals and bookworms alike.

An understated parlor; perfect for entertaining.

Basically, in a white room your accents and possessions become the decor. Old books are now your pops of color and lamp shades and pillows can tie it all together. This is awesome for world travelers or Pier 1 shoppers (yeah, I said it.), but not everyone has such “fancy” stuff. If this is the case then you have one of two options:

1) Get better stuff.

2) Transform your current possessions into the statement pieces you need.

Obviously I am a fan of the second option, even if it comes with a price tag (and by now you know how much I hate that.).

All of this for just under $45

The family room is one area where your possessions really have to take center stage if you are going to have white walls and furniture. My most favorite place to see a white palette is in an office. Not only does it force you to “femme up” a typically utilitarian area with curtains and chair covers but also because (here I go, talking about how much I love organization) boxes, containers and dividers come in an array of colors. Office supplies, as dorky as it sounds, can really turn the volume up when it comes to color. If you don’t believe me, just take a peek…

This is how an office becomes fun. It's a little overwhelming, but it's super electric for having white walls, furniture and flooring.

Although this room isn't quite as lively as the previous sunny space, this is obviously the office of a thinker. The difference is incredible when you imagine that these 2 rooms look extremely similar when empty.

This area has pattern and texture in spades. With so much presence you can tell this is a room that is used daily and for long periods of time. This isn't a casual, e-mail checking set-up.

On a more attainable level we have the casual, e-mail checking set-up. It's clean, small and maybe even slightly uncomfortable for long periods of time. This is a room that would fit into many houses. A "catchall" behind linen sheaths and a repurposed birdcage to hang the mail....I'm sort of in love here..

As you can see, the white room is no longer too chic for the normal family or too “country” to be modern, but it’s easy for the average person to look at a white room and get overwhelmed with the decorating process. There is a sense of “Where do I even start?” My answer to that may seem flippant and unhelpful, but start anywhere you want. Just find ONE thing. ONE piece of random inspiration, be it a pillow, rug, light fixture, kid’s toy; just something that embodies the color and feeling of what you want to create. If you want an open and airy living room then picking pillows with dark green and rust colored ticking may not be a good start. Just find that one item and draw ideas from it, similar to my previous post about appetizing colors. None of the items that I was inspired by had anything to do with the kitchen, but each item had different color combinations and nodded to the many directions  that I could take the kitchen.

Always start simple. It’s hard to know how much is too much when it all gets packed in at once and then you’re forced to blindly pare down. Start with the white room, it’s not just for insane people anymore. In fact you’d be crazy NOT to try it. **Rim Shot**  (OK, that was ridiculous, I’m so sorry for that…)


About Kristen Van Loon

My name is Kristen Van Loon and this is the chronicle of my search for *Oomf!* Not only have I deemed myself qualified to revamp, repair, refurnish and refine my house, but I also jump into any DIY project that my friends, co-workers, family and practical strangers stumble upon. I would love to tell you that this is my full-time job and my complete life mission, but I make my bread and butter elsewhere and raise a daughter (Olivia). I have some experience but no time, no formal training and no money. My only saving grace is that I love figuring things out, I’m great at improvising and I’m always inspired. For the record, some things that I do (play with electricity, for one) may seem risky, and some of them are. I will always tell you what I’ve done, but I won’t ever suggest things for you that aren’t safe. Even though I push the envelope, I am only marginally incompetent. If sources (father, my brain, Google) tell me not to do something then I usually won’t. But if I do try and it blows up in my face (figuratively or literally) you will hear all about it, and you hopefully won’t attempt it. At the end of the day, I hope to inspire you. Space-Lift isn’t just a blog, it’s a verb. It’s an action that brightens your surroundings by assaulting everything that needs improvement. Nothing is off limits, and all possibilities will be considered.

2 responses »

  1. Kristen, I just stumbled across your blog when I was looking for a thumbnail picture of my office and it linked to your site. Wow, thanks so much for using my office as an inspiration photo. I’m really flattered. And yes, it is really comfy and fun to be in. Just wanted to let you know that my office is currently in the Room for Color Competition on Apartment Therapy. Don’t know if you found it there or on Pinterest. Seems like a gazillion people have pinned it, but I’d love it if people who like the room would vote for me 🙂 Here’s the link

    I’m currently 2nd, but would love to win the Farrow & Ball gift certificate, who wouldn’t? Good luck with your future house projects. It’s never ending, trust me, I bought my house in 1997 and I still haven’t finished!

  2. I absolutely adore Suzanne’s room, which I did find on I love the combination of patterns, especially the yellow ceiling mount. It’s glam but not too flashy to get work done. I definitely voted for her lovely space.


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