4 Tips for Working White into your Decor

By Jennifer Bertrand

2016 is looking brighter and whiter—at least in the design world. How can you work this trend into your spaces?

Benjamin Moore’s 2016 Color of the Year was “Simply White.”

It came as no surprise, as most of you have already started the head first leap into the color white lifestyle. However, there is an art to the trend.

1. Picking the perfect “white”

If you ask any designer, they always, always have a favorite white. My favorite is actually the white base paint with no tint added. It is crisp, fresh and full of pure yummy-ness.

As you are picking a white paint chip, you need to lay it on a piece of bright white paper so you can see the true undertones in the chip. This way you can see if it pulls yellow, pink, blue, and so on! Also, look at it in daylight as well as the light of the room it will be living in. The color of your light bulbs will affect how the paint is perceived.

And, if you want to know a few fave whites amongst designers look at the following colors:

• Decorators White by Benjamin Moore (Nate Berkus’ fave in case you are wondering!)

• Super White by Benjamin Moore

• White Dove by Benjamin Moore

• Egret White by Sherwin Williams

2. Is there such a thing as too much white?

That’s such a personal question, because it all comes down to how you want your home to feel. If you adore a sense of cleanliness and order, then no. But you dance the line of a space going sterile if there is too much white.

3. Rules of layering whites

• Pick the white base that best fits your style. (crisp white, linen white, gray-ish white)

• Play with textures. This part is fun. You can add white branches. You can spray chandeliers white, you can add white nubby blankets, it’s fun to see how far you can push the concept!

• Play with varying sheens. If everything is the same sheen, it can fall flat in a space. So you create depth by pushing and pulling between how the light bounces off the elements in the space. I love having glossy art frames on a matte wall, or a chandelier that is a high gloss. Maybe a piece of furniture is a white chalk paint that is matte or has a wax finish on it.

• Layer, layer, layer. It’s okay to layer different shades of white. And that point may depend on who you ask. However, in my world, I love playing with varying shades of a color, even white.

• Color Accents: to do or not to do. Just know that wherever you put in a color your eye will go there. So be sure to bounce the eye around the room. When I design, I love to design with a feeling of balance to where in the end there is a push and pull of everything, but it all balances out by the time the space is complete.

White can be perfect or it can be your nemesis. Being an artist who loves color, most of the walls in our home are actually white. It is perfect because this allows for the color of our art to sing while the walls just add a happy serenity. Now if only white walls can pick up toys and do the laundry!

For an example of nemesis, we painted the exterior of our home white, we live on a lake, and now the tons of spiders that our porch acquires due to lake living creates a horror of an effect over the white. And if you are wondering, why don’t you rid your porch of spiders? After three brooming and hosing episodes, they still return and with a vengeance. So what is my solution? We are painting the exterior of our house black or dark green next spring. But the interior walls will stay white. The point is, know your home and know your habits.

So after you decide if white is for you, tag me in your photos so I can see what you’ve done! Be sure to hashtag #jblovesdesign #vintagekcmag.

And don’t forget … have fun + happy designing!

xoxo Jen

Jennifer Bertrand is the winner of HGTV’s show “Design Star” season three and cohost of  “Real Life Design” on cravingtalkradio.com. She resides in Weatherby Lake, MO, with her lovely English husband, Chris, and her happy son, Winston. She has big plans in life to conquer the design world … again.

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