Why White


Why is it that we are drawn in by the white walls covering the pages of every home décor magazine on the newsstands today? Although we have a rainbow of colors to choose from, shades of white have become more and more popular. Each year in the design world we wait in anticipation for the announcement of the newest fashion in color. In 2016, much to our amazement, Benjamin Moore unveiled their “Color of the Year” as Simply White OC-117.  Ellen O’Neil, Benjamin Moore’s Creative Director stated, “white is not just a design trend, it is a design essential.”


As I nod farewell to a long New England winter and welcome in the beauty of spring, I contemplate the intrigue of white. I see the remnants of winter lingering at the end of my driveway in a melting pile of snow and recall the tranquil feel it evoked as it blanketed every square inch of my yard after a brutal nor’easter. Looking out of my windows, despite the devastation of fallen trees, the calm that came over me that day was incredible. The white blanket covering the dead of winter, which typically has us longing for the crocus, for a brief moment, instilled a feeling of peace with the season.

In that split second I had a revelation, the answer to my question. I finally understood why the love for the color white.  The sense of peace, serenity and purity elicited by nature’s blanket was unspeakable. The red cardinal perched upon a tree limb; his color so brilliant against the fresh white backdrop intensifying his allure. A perfect illustration of how nature has a way of inspiring us through her beauty!

Timeless and versatile, brilliant and elegant, dazzling and fresh, white walls can make a design statement in any decor. A beautiful white backdrop, like the freshly fallen snow, will accentuate the lines of a modern Barcelona chair, capture the beauty of an art collection, and enhance the scenery in the horizon without clouding our vision. However, preventing white spaces from appearing boring, bland, and/or lifeless can be challenging. Keep in mind the brilliance of the cardinal against the sea of white, the texture of the crystalized covered pine branch beset by the freshly fallen snow, and the subtle ripples atop of a pristine snow-covered field. Herein lies the secret!

Texture is a key element that adds interest and detail to an otherwise monotonous interior.  The use of a natural woven rug, leather chairs, heavily textured toss pillows, reclaimed materials, and architectural details all have the ability of adding character to enhance the beauty of a white room.  

A splash of color, graphic shapes and patterns, metals, wood and greenery all stand out against a colorless background to  create a design statement that allow the elements in the foreground to clearly come into focus.

White painted livingroom

In addition, while white on white color schemes may be eye catching and sophisticated, it is important to note that by using various shades of this classic hue help to add dimension and strengthen the overall design aesthetic.

Having spent countless hours contemplating this obsession with white, I have come to realize that it is less to do with one’s desire to have a colorless environment but rather more of a yearning for them to achieve an inner peace and clarity of mind.

White themed Bedroom interior
Design IdeasSusan Curtis