The queen of fabrics and furnishings spells out how even a dash of white can transform a space
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.
For more info, visit designersguild.com
‘If you’re decorating solely with white, texture is vital. Stay within the same tone, but then play with juxtaposition’