This week we once again visited the SF Benjamin Moore showroom, where we were treated to a presentation about the power of white in interior design. It may seem strange for Benjamin Moore, which is known for its vibrant color selection, to be promoting white. It also may seem a little strange for us, self-professed color-lovers, to get excited about white. But we learned from the experts on the panel (Linda O’Keeffe, author of Brilliant: White in Design, designer Jay Jeffers, and designer Elizabeth Martin) that there are plenty of reasons to love white in your decorating scheme.
1. White is timeless. White walls, white sofas, white rugs — they always look modern, and they never go in and out of style.
2. Everything looks good against white. Think of bright green lettuce or red peppers on a white plate, or a colorful Jackson Pollack painting hanging on a white wall. And, as Linda pointed out, “almost every person looks great in a crisp white shirt.” White provides a background that showcases everything around it. It certainly makes these macarons pop!
3. White is not distracting. When a rug, or a vase, or a computer is white, you can really see the form of the piece itself. Your eyes take in the curves, angles or texture, instead of being distracted by the color. Check out the different texture layers in this all-white room:
4. White is expansive. It is definitely true that white walls open up a space. White allows you to think, and to imagine what else might be possible. It is the perfect canvas for enjoying variations in light and shadow, as seen in the photo below.
5. White is flexible. When you use white, you don’t have to worry about if other colors will complement or clash. White plays well with every other color in the rainbow.
Of course, there are some challenges in working with white. Elizabeth cautioned that stark, bright, glacier whites are difficult to use in real life. It’s best to stick with slightly off-whites with either warm or cool tints. It’s important to paint samples of your chosen hue on your walls and watch how it responds to different light throughout the day — you might find that the white you love during the day turns lavender at night.
Anyway you look at it, as Linda said, “White is as much at home on a picket fence as a spaceship.” We couldn’t agree more, and we look forward to working more white into our projects.