Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

September 17, 2012

Reader Q: Why White Walls?

Readers often email me, asking about our white, white walls.  Mostly I get asked about why we chose so much white and if it's easy to keep clean (I buy Magic Erasers in bulk, so yes).  Now that I've lived with peach, yellow and turquoise walls for two weeks, I have to say I miss my white.  It's not that I hadn't tried colour before.  Prior to buying the townhouse, over the years I chose a pumpkin orange, a soft pale green, a bright kelly green, a pale aqua, a buttery cream shade and even a soft chartreuse for walls (not all at the same time, don't worry).

Why do I love white walls?  I have highly personal and purely subjective reasons.  Colour works for many people and I might go for it again one day.  But I am passionately in love with our white walls, and here's a glimpse into why:

1. Our popcorn ceilings (shudder), which are painted the same shade of white, almost disappear.  Of course, you could do this trick with another colour, too, but the white seems to bounce light around as well, helping along the disguise.


Only upon closer inspection can you tell but, somehow, with everything white I don't even really mind the texture anymore . . .


2. The decades old trim (which is skimpy and nothing to write home about) along with the ugly doors and door frames similarly blend in with everything painted white.  I would do anything to avoid drawing attention to these elements.



3. With everything white, the small space (with it's serious lack of windows) looks brighter and more spacious.  I used the same automatic camera setting and similar time of day, but what a different bright white paint makes in this "before" and "after" of our dining room!  Of course the white sheers help diffuse light nicely, too.


4. All white is easy for big painting projects (ahem, every room in two weeks) because there is less cutting/taping and no cleaning/switching brushes between rooms.

5. It's cost effective, too, because we bought 5 gallon pails which are cheaper than by the gallon, and we also had very little leftover, whereas with different colours you often end up with a bit of leftover from each can which can't be carried over to the next room if it's a different colour.

6. But there are fun reasons for loving white, as well: white walls help our artwork and accessories take center stage.



7. It's a classic, timeless choice, just like a crisp white shirt or blouse is a wardrobe staple.  Check out this room from the 60s!  White was fun then, too!

House & Garden, 1968

8. With white walls, I have more flexibility with shuffling things around the house because almost everything will look good against white walls - no clashing!  We have a small budget, so this flexibility really helps.

I wish I owned the Hungarian apartment I'm staying in because, although it's so pretty, I've been dreaming up renovation ideas.  First up?  Paint.  White paint.  Here's my inspiration:

Rue

Pinecone Camp

Apartment Therapy


House & Home
The Design Files

Country Living

Of course, there is always too much of a good thing (see below) so stay tuned this week for a fun and colourful DIY project!

Desire to Inspire
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23 comments

  1. I'm a big fan of white walls and trims. And yes, it is a big time-saver too when doing an entire house! xx

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    1. Yes, I can imagine time saving is a bonus for you, with all of the work you've been doing/have done to your lovely abode!

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  2. I love white walls. Mine are painted tan because the previous owner had just done them before I bought the house, and it's a nice enough color, but if I ever repaint (or build my mother-in-law's apartment out back), the walls will be white.

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    1. White will look so mod with your cool mid-century furnishings!! Can we just snap out fingers and have your mother in law apartment done? I am aching to see what you have in mind.

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  3. Én is szeretem a fehér falakat. Sokkal könnyebb kiegészítőket találni hozzá. A fal legyen fehér, a dekoráció színes. Ez a mottóm :) Egyébként a dekorációt még mindig könnyebb cserélni, minta falat átfesteni.

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  4. Agreed! All of the above! I haaaate cutting in! And need to mask popcorn & cheapo trim. And my small house is not only brighter but appears larger.

    Additional reasons- White looks cleaner (to me at least). And sometimes picking colours is tricky- although, I know that there seems to be more shades of white than any other colour but I just go with natural white (or the premixed white available in any brand) and it's exactly what I'm after. Plus I think it's rather conducive to a modern esthetic and accentuates natural wood so nicely!

    Love white walls!

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    1. You're right: it does have a certain crisp, cleanness to it. It can be touch to pick a good white - some look dirty or cold, but I think it is way easier than picking a good colour. It's harder to wrong with white, I totally agree!

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  5. You know, I've been struggling with what color to paint our guest bedroom - it was bubblegum pink, and I painted it a soft off-white... I've been leaning towards a grayish blue... but after seeing all this inspiration, I may have to go white!

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    1. (PS - the struggle is because Hubs won't let me paint the room Universal Gray... because I've painted every other room in the house Universal Gray... muh ha ha ha!! Gray is my white ;p ).

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    2. Grey is such a lovely backdrop too. My mom is slowly painting every room a perfect grey and it's so sophisticated and equally versatile. Your Hubs should be happy with grey and that you haven't picked hot pink or some other in your face colour. Never mind grey is not stereotypically "feminine". He's a lucky fella - he needs to be told this.

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  6. Lovely post Tanya! I agree, even though white may seem "boring" to most people but its the perfect plain canvas for you to splurge different colors on with decorations. These inspiration photos are beautiful!

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    1. Totally drool-worthy, right?? Especially the ones that pair white with some super bright accents. I need to go a bit bolder with my accents . . .

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  7. SO CLEAN and fresh looking. I'm a huge fan.

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  8. I think white is great! I too buy magic erasers in bulk (we rent, so our walls are a beige) but I am a stickler for no marks on walls!

    Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget

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    1. Oh gosh, I have been late to work because I've just HAD to get some scuffs off the wall. It is bordering on an obsession and I've spotted Hubby doing it too!

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  9. I love your white walls and have noticed it before in your posts. Your home feels light and bright! How all is going well for you:)

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    1. Thanks! Things are jugging along in Hungary. The library where I spend my days is gorgeous, so I'll post some photos soon!

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  10. I had never considered an all-white walled house until I happened upon your blog -- but it definitely works. It not only works -- its amazing! No need to explain... the pictures do the talking :)

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    1. Aww, thanks. Pictures do say a thousand words. Although I can't stop myself from adding a few, lol.

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  11. I've noticed myself drawn to rooms with white walls recently. And we don't have one room with white walls in our house. What's up with that?

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    1. Time to paint, lol! Or just ogle. I find myself drawn to rooms with really dark charcoal walls.

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