Tri­cia Guild

The queen of fab­rics and fur­nish­ings spells out how even a dash of white can trans­form a space

Living Etc - - DESIGN / PROFILE -

The founder of renowned tex­tiles and home­ware brand De­sign­ers Guild tells us why white is as vi­tal to her dec­o­rat­ing pal­ette as her sig­na­ture love of bold colour.

White is the per­fect an­chor for ev­ery de­sign scheme.

I can’t think of a sin­gle room that wouldn’t ben­e­fit from a dash of white. It acts as a ‘breath­ing space’, while also al­low­ing brighter colours and pat­tern to shine. You can do this by paint­ing skirt­ing and ceil­ings white, hang­ing long ban­ners of white cur­tains, or throw­ing a few white cush­ions into the mix. I of­ten use a classic white Saari­nen ta­ble or a Kate Mcbride ce­ramic to lend in­ter­est to the scheme. Don’t for­get, white flow­ers work too.

The key is to find the right tone.

A bluish-white gives a crisp fin­ish, par­tic­u­larly in light-filled, south-fac­ing rooms, but avoid us­ing it in cooler spa­ces be­cause it will make the room seem colder. Use red- or yel­lowt­inted whites to lend warmth and bright­ness.

Add white to a room through tex­ture.

If you’re dec­o­rat­ing solely with white, tex­ture is vi­tal. Stay within the same tone, but then play with jux­ta­po­si­tion – shiny with matt, silk with linen, leather with vel­vet, con­crete with glass. Each tex­ture adds a new layer of in­ter­est as light bounces from one sur­face to the next, lend­ing the space en­ergy and tac­til­ity.

White brings balance.

De­pend­ing on the ef­fect you want to cre­ate, a dark floor with white walls and ceil­ing feels crisp, but dra­matic. If you want an all-white room, my rule of thumb is to go darker (to lend weight to the space) to lighter as you progress up­wards in the room.

Metallics keep white feel­ing pris­tine.

Metal fin­ishes can feel as much of a neu­tral as white in the way they re­flect light around a room. Adding a touch of gold, sil­ver, cop­per or even mother-of-pearl re­ally lifts an all-white scheme by adding a sub­tle el­e­ment of glam­our. It can be the metal­lic sheen of a light or the top of a ta­ble – I love the way the hint of metal­lic in some De­sign­ers Guild wall­pa­pers lends an un­ex­pected light­ness of touch.

Dec­o­rat­ing with white is a statement in its own right.

White shouldn’t be seen as a de­fault colour, only to be used if you’re too ner­vous to make more of a statement with colour. I use it ev­ery sin­gle day in my work.

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‘If you’re dec­o­rat­ing solely with white, tex­ture is vi­tal. Stay within the same tone, but then play with jux­ta­po­si­tion’

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