I decorate with a lot of different shades of white. But you already knew that.
I use the white as a background, a canvas, a shell with which to place colour. It’s not a new way of decorating, that’s for sure, I’m not breaking new design ground here, but I do find that the possibilities when decorating in this way are limitless, ageless and open to anything. Whatever the season, holiday, month or occasion.
A question I am often asked, alongside whether my name is my real name (yes, it is), is how, with two small children and a life do I manage to live with so much white and not live in one big stain.
Well, it’s been a process. With trials and errors along the way. I think that you have to learn to live with white in a way that you don’t if you were to live with other, more amenable colours, but having done it and being in the process of doing it again I can say that I love it, I would not have it any other way and I will probably do it until I die. You should probably know all this as we’re just about to start the mother of all makeovers.
Living with white, practical points…….
You can see the dirt.
You can see the dirt.
I used to be of the opinion that to be able to see the dirt or stains that appear on such light colours was a disaster but my need for lightness in my living space overtook all of these cares and worries. It is worth so much more to me to be able to live the way I want to aesthetically, physically, spiritually and emotionally and the colours and light in my home are such a big part of this, that keeping the space smudge free became a moot point.
It was a choice I made. And I came around to the opinion that the dirt is going to be there whether you can see it or not, it’ll still need dealing with. So I’d rather have it staring me in the face, daring me to tackle it than festering for as long as I can bear to ignore it should my eyes not actually be able to spot it the moment it happens.
There are of course some really practical ways of living with white -
- I have white sofas and chairs. Some from Ikea (the largest selling sofa in the world, the Ektorp) and some from Sofa.com. All but one of these chairs and sofas have washable slipcovers. When they get grubby or marked they are whipped off and washed. I do this about twice a year unless Robert falls asleep with a glass of red wine in his hand.
- I have a wooden table that I painted white. I used two coats of white emulsion and a spray to apply the paint. If I had wanted to preserve the paint, with no chips or markings, I would have applied a couple of coats of clear matt varnish after painting. But I didn’t. I wanted it to have a slightly beaten up look about it. It is the table in my kitchen, my children sit at it, they eat at it, they climb on to it and they draw at it. I couldn’t be precious about this particular table. I have inherited a new wooden table with the house. I intend to do something very similar but a bit more elegant with this table. I shall keep you posted and will upload the makeover when it’s all done.
- Paintwork. There are certain areas of paintwork that I like to try and keep scuff free and in good condition. Skirting boards, I find, as everybody does especially if they are near to an exterior door of some kind, that they get dusty, grimy and lose their lustre incredibly quickly. In the past I have always opted for matt paintwork but nowadays, due to how easy it is to keep clean and the fact that the paints are mainly water based, I opt for gloss every time. They are wipe clean and I often do it with the other side of a baby wipe having cleaned my kids up after a meal.
The same applies to windowsills unless the space I’m decorating is in need of something a touch more rustic. Then I’ll replace a windowsill with a much deeper piece of wood and use a much ‘shabbier’ painting technique. But this will often be left for spaces such as kitchen windowsills or even outside spaces.
- Carpets. Of course this is a tricky one. But I should say that I have lived with light carpets and I’ve lived with dark carpets (in fact I have some dark carpets in the new house) and the dark ones show just as much dirt and traffic evidence as the light ones. For instance, I have a cat, she has light fur and I can tell EXACTLY where she has been from one moment to the next as most of her coat is showing up good and proper on those dark carpets. As are all the other specks, flecks and rubbish that are traipsed thorough daily. If you’re going to opt for lighter carpets my advice would certainly be to opt for something with some warmth to the shade as you’ll find that there are often flecks within those carpets that hide a multitude of sine and also, if your budget can stretch, choose one with a knotted effect. Not only are they far more comfy but they too help with hiding day to day grit that may not be tackled the moment it happens.
Robert and I have spoken a lot about the flooring in this new house. There is an area that we’d like to have dark wood boards in place. This is a bit of a departure for us but with the rest of the room being so light it can cope with it. There are also rooms that I would like to have white gloss boards in. But I’ll have to put aside about 6 months in order to tackle that project correctly so I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
I haven’t tackled every single aspect of living with an abundance of white today, just some of the main basics. But I’ve been doing it for a while now and I love it. It is a state of mind for me as well as a decorative choice. It’s a nod to the bright sunlight of California, a place I love so much and a wink towards the fabulous Danish style of decorating that companies such as Greengate do so well.
But shall I tell you what I love most about living with white and decorating and building a home around a very light palette?
It makes me feel good.
It helps me to live in the light on dark, gloomy and rainy days.
It brightens my morning to come down to a light and bright kitchen when the the sun has already been up for many hours.
Our homes should work for us in any way possible. We pay enough for them, we spend an inordinate amount of time in them and, most importantly, we need to feel good as often as is possible in them.
I want to feel good in my home so that others can enjoy it with me. And I help this process along by keeping it light, bright and simple. It’s a choice.
And that is how I live with white.
I love you and thank you so very much for reading today.
Join my Facebook page!
Feel free to add me to your links list. Here it is ! - http://www.cherrymenlove.com/