White is a colour with infinite variety. Prior to the 1920's white was created with lime. The introduction of titanium dioxide resulted in a bright and stable white, very different to the original whites that are now often known as Bone Whites.
If the unique properties of white are used skilfully, it is easy to
create warm-soft and cool-crisp colour combinations. Too often it is
chosen by default with no regard for its image - 'White is Right'!
Window sashes? White
Picket fences? White
Door and skirtings? White
Resene Half Pearl Lusta
Resene Sea Fog
Resene Quarter Spanish White
Resene Half Silver Chalice
Some famous interior designers have made their mark in the world of design by the almost exclusive use of white. Syrie Maugham springs to mind in the period between the 1st and 2nd World Wars and latterly Ralph Lauren. He is quoted as saying, 'In my own life and in my home, white is everywhere'.
White need not look stark - subtle off whites are very easy to live with. Paintings, furniture, fabric and plants add their own colour, texture and energy as does timber flooring and architectural detailing. Walls painted white allow other features to have dominance - i.e. furniture will stand out more in a white room as will a beautiful view to the outdoor landscape.
White has many moods. It is associated with light and can make spaces appear brighter, however it is wise to remember it is essentially cool. The south facing room that has bad light will not suddenly be fixed with a coat of white paint. In fact, it may end up looking even darker and chillier. This phenomenon is due to the reflectiveness of white. White is highly reflective, maximising any available light, thus drawing attention to any deficiencies. A more effective way to lighten a room is to paint the ceilings and window frames pure white to direct all natural light into the room.
In living rooms, whites can look arty and comfortable, or cool and elegant. If the look you favour is rustic simplicity, combine textured fabrics with natural materials like stone, wood and brick. If an elegant look is preferred, combine whites with reflective sheens and light filmy drapes. In the bathroom, a timeless crystalline look can be developed with white tiles, velvety walls and wooden or marble floors. It is at once holistic and cleansing, reflecting the watery medium.
For a touch of White Magic use gloss and matt paint in wide stripes on walls and hang crystal prisms in the windows and watch the sunlight make rainbows every morning.
So think white - right? Right!
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