Wall Color Selection #7: White Room Service

Designed by Kelly Hoppen, London
Designed by Kelly Hoppen, London

Don’t bother repairing what isn’t broken.

There’s a big difference between a small room, a dark room and a small, dark room.


First off, stop regarding small rooms as “wrong and bad”. You’ll save time and effort trying to fix the non-problem with white paint. It’s futile.

Though you can make a room brighter, you can’t make a small room look larger by painting it white.

It’s an arguable notion, but white walls usually work best in large airy rooms with many windows and a lot of light. Think beach houses or loft spaces. The exception to this is shown in the photo above with the brilliant use of white and natural light in a bathroom designed by Kelly Hoppen, London.

It’s a small room, but who cares? It’s gorgeous.

If white is your color of choice, all things considered, use shades of white to your advantage. If the room tends to feel too warm due to a southern exposure, choose a white with a hint of blue. To warm up a room that has the cool lighting of a northern exposure, use a white with yellow/gold/apricot tones to take the chill off.

A room that is simply dark however, can be brightened up significantly with a pure strong white.

The best way to do this is labor intensive but the results are spectacular. Sand the walls and ceiling to perfection to eliminate every flaw. Next, prime the walls and apply two coats of glossy white. An eggshell finish has a nice sheen, but I’ve been seeing a lot of rooms using semi-gloss or even high-gloss finishes lately.

Bold is beautiful.

An all white room is an interesting concept. In reality, the room will look flat, blah and boring unless you take every opportunity to incorporate textures. Choose fabrics for upholstery and drapery that are silky, smooth, nubby, or wooly. Distressed surfaces and/or rough-hewn woods add interest. Where can you use leather and/or velvet? Reflective surfaces such as mirrors, glass and metal tables, lacquer cabinets, or highly polished woods are terrific. Wood floors are often beautiful left bare, but flokati rugs, sheep skins, berber or frieze carpets are also textural opportunities to be explored.

The point is to keep your eye moving and “entertained”.

Each texture you choose represents a style choice. Compiling or editing textures creates the ambiance you want to produce. Highly polished surfaces or fabrics with sheen tend to build a picture of an elegant sophisticated environment, while distressed finishes and simple weaves imply a more informal environment. Beware of using too much of the same material. For example, too many mirrors in the wrong places can give you more of a Fun House Effect than a Happy Home Impression.

The best designers mix luxurious materials along with those that have a more common touch.
It’s an art form to aspire to.


Related Posts

(Wall Color Selection Seven Part Series)

Wall Color Selection #1: Special Effects of Blue & Green

Wall Color Selection #2: Special Effects of Red & Purple & The Shades Between

Wall Color Selection #3: Special Effects of Orange & Yellow

Wall Color Selection #4: Special Effects of Classic Neutrals

Wall Color Selection#5: Special Effects of White

Wall Color Selection #6: Ten Thousand Whites

Photo – go to  CocoMali.com for more details

 Questions? Cindy@DecodingDecor.com

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