Simply White is the Benjamin Moore Color of the Year 2016.
I’m not surprised in the slightest that Benjamin Moore chose this color. White has been lobbying quite vigorously for the last couple of years for that esteemed spot.
But, white is actually the most difficult color to get right because…
it can feel…
- boring (blah)
- like a cop-out
And that’s also why people fear it. Many people don’t understand white. They don’t know when to use it or how to use it.
First, let’s begin with two white living rooms that got it right.
Here’s what makes a white room successful, IMO
- White loves more white
- White loves black (but there needs to be a good balance, not big blobs of black)
- White loves gold
- White loves texture
- White loves layering, accessories, mirrors, flowers
- White loves architecture and mouldings
- White loves color.
- White loves LIGHT.
The walls are one part of an over-all room composition.
I love to think of rooms as works of art, or even a great piece of theater. There are stars of the show and supporting players, moments of respite and enough plot twists to keep it all interesting.
There needs to be a balance in the room and that can be accomplished with color, texture and a mix of light, medium and dark. But when there is an imbalance, that is when rooms begin to fall apart.
The balance is off with that big sea of white.
That’s better! Now, it all works beautifully.
Oh dear. First of all, one of the worst interior design mistakes is to line the furniture up against the wall like this. The loveseat is screaming grandma. The painting is hung too high. Wall to wall carpet is icky poo for a living room.
The chair has some odd upholstery going on. But… Did you know? If you have a weird chair like this, you can take it to an upholsterer who can fully upholster this occasional chair if you like and it’ll be wonderful.
You just know that the previous owner put up that fussy, dated valance. Right? And then the next owners lived with it for ten years before they decided to put the house on the market. After a while, they stopped seeing it.
Please paint the ugly brick. The black sofas are the aforementioned big globs of black which stick out too much. There should be a rug to tie things together better. This room has a lot of potential I think.
About 23 years ago, when I had my first interior design job working for someone else, we had a young client who had just purchased a new home. It was a traditional/post-modern style center hall colonial. High ceilings, inlaid wood on the floors, nice mouldings and windows.
The walls were white. I thought they were beautiful. The client couldn’t stand the white. Her mantra was…
I WANT TO SEE COLOR!
And that’s what we gave her.
And that brings us to the next debate.
If you have a dark room, can you paint the walls white?
Well, I always say that all rooms are south-facing bright rooms at night.
And even in a south/west room, there will be times when the light is dim and cold. Every rainy day renders a room to be “north facing.”
In answer to the question, can you paint a room with darker cooler light, white?
I think you can, but I also think that darker rooms absolutely need some jolts of color and the white on the wall should definitely have warmer undertones. For more information about paint colors for north facing rooms, click here.
Other tricks for intensifying the light are to use mirrors and of course, artificial lights if necessary.
Next, I’d like to highlight a young interior design firm that uses white perfectly
Studio McGee. It is the husband and wife duo, Syd and Shea McGee who have set the world of interior design on fire in the last few years. I’m terribly impressed with their work! They are the perfect embodiment of the new-traditional, young-trad, neo-traditional. Whatever you want to call it. It’s a mix of clean-lined but traditional features, some modernity, largely against a canvas of pure white.
They have THE most beautiful website and an exquisite portfolio. Most of their rooms have white walls. But not a one of them is boring, cold or uninteresting in any way.
The frequently use Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year 2016 Simply White and sometimes Chantilly Lace.
Please enjoy (with their permission which I always do when I use this many photos from one source) some fabulous rooms featuring beautiful white walls!
Those fig plants always look so fab in photos!
Just slap me silly! This has to be the most gorgeous nursery on the planet! One wonderful thing about Studio McGee (amongst many) is that they list a lot of their sources. The wallpaper is said to be from Anthropologie and that might be true, but it is also Cole and Son’s Hummingbird pattern.
Here’s a larger image. So pretty!
The brass touches add warmth to an all-white kitchen. Is this look here to stay? I know… we have been through this before. This is way different than the 80’s brass which was so much glitzier. I think the look has legs. The Belmont Sconce is available through Serena and Lily.
Love the capiz shell chandelier and how it plays off the design of the fretwork on the chairs.
Interesting choice to use a different fabric for the shade from the drapery, but I think it adds a welcome note of warmth. This bedroom definitely makes my heart beat faster!
perfect vignette! The gorgeous bone inlay chest is available through Kathy Kuo.
I am writing this from my hotel in High Point, North Carolina. Can’t believe I’m here, at the market! Having a great time. Everyone on the blogger’s tour is incredibly lovely!The vendors are warm and welcoming. I’m learning a lot. I have so much to share with y’all in the coming days and weeks.
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