It seems today in modern decorating shows that all you see is the same white Shaker kitchen cabinet and white subway tile. It is presented as if it is a clever and innovative new idea. Marguerite Roberts, principal of Mulberry Interiors since 1993, is not a big fan of white in the first place. It’s useful, of course, and it’s not going away, she says, but surely, in the Golden Age of Choice that we live in, we could add a little pizzaz, even if the client really wants a lot of white. The unimaginative overuse of white has painted this useful lack of colour into a corner. White can be a strong ally or an insurmountable foe. White or beige have been the safe choice for real estate going on the market for a long time. The thinking was that white and beige go with anything. Not so, says, colour consultant, Marguerite Roberts. White is the enemy of tired furnishings.  If your furniture is “late thrift store” or “I had this since student days” white will not be your friend. Throw children and dogs into the mix and you are doomed. Images shown in decorating magazines portray a sometimes unattainable lifestyle. The lovely pieces shown on the glamorous pages of décor magazines are photographed by professional photographers, as they should be. In real life, once the special lighting and photo angles depart, the drama often departs as well. Painting your surroundings white or beige because you believe it to be the safe choice is often folly. Crisp, clean white next to your slightly tired furniture simply cannot show to its best advantage.  In the harsh light of white or light beige, furnishings need to have richness and character. Your furnishings may not have that. We need the added punch of interesting wall colour, draperies, area carpets, or art and accessories to add the drama that is missing. Certainly, white brings in the light and has great reflective qualities. When used correctly, it gives a feeling of airiness, serenity and contemplation. Contemporary furniture and bold artwork show to great advantage with white as a backdrop. Whites have more personality than you may think. There is a huge range of tones of white, from violet, pink, pale blue, pale yellow, grey, and café au lait. These lend an undertone of warmth or coolness to a room. It is not just walls that are painted white, but trim work, also. The white for trim must be carefully chosen because it runs through the entire home as an accent. It is a strong and important element of the overall interior design.

relaxed and fresh upscale casual white living room with fireplace

White on white décor caused the beholder to focus more clearly on shape and texture. A very rustic piece of furniture paradoxically shows well with a white background. A piece that has merely seen better days does not show at well as if it is backed with a richer tone. Rough textures keep things interesting in white on white environments. Smooth porcelain accessories, weathered wood, chenille and tweed, plaster moldings, and shiny damask catch the light in a variety of ways. Our eye is caught and we are charmed by the effect.Warm whites (rose, yellow or beige) versus cool whites (gray or icy blue) must be used carefully.  Cool white next to a brilliant, pure white will look dirty. Antique white, ecru, ivory and cream are subtly warm, while remaining white. These will also appear dirty next to pure, brilliant white. In the light of this, white is definitely not as safe a choice for any room as many have thought. Useful though white is, you can quickly have too much of a good thing. A white room filled with white furnishings will likely feel harsh and sterile, not to mention being extremely hard to keep clean looking. Even worse if the furnishings are even slightly tired. The key is to use a mix of rich neutral colours in the room, as well as natural textures. The use of these elements warms up the room and an atmosphere of comfort and relaxation is achieved.White rooms can be sleekly contemporary but have a strong place in modern country style. The full range of wood tones, from blond to cherry to ebony in the form of furnishings, flooring and accessories help to achieve a livable quality. Bare wood floors dressed only with sisal or jute area rugs for texture create the look. Wicker for storage and weathered wood and rusted metal for accessories or fireplace mantels look fabulous. These elements must be used sparingly to retain the look of a mostly white room. Neutral colours found in nature can enhance the look: olive, gray-green, blue-gray, and ocher. Even if you have a houseful of children and pets, you may still be able to have a white room. Paint wall with satin or eggshell finish for scrubbability. Slipcovers are your friend, as they can be easily removed and laundered.

Call Mulberry Interiors now at (905) 849-6423 to book a consultation. We look forward to working with you to increase your enjoyment of your home.
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