Serene, calm and in line with our winter mood – the all-white room

Painting a room all-white. It feels like the no-brainer option to reach for when you want a sense of calm or can’t fix on a colour you’re happy to live with. But by employing a few simple tricks you can create an all-white room that’s every bit as interesting as the most colour-laden design.  Today we’re exploring how to achieve this idea of perfect white keeping an eye on ensuring you end up with a room that’s also comfortable and cosy.

Choosing the paint

Image from Ikea via AMM blog

Before you reach for the whitest white you can find work out what kind of natural light you have in the room you are decorating.  Is it north facing? Then the greyer whites might feel too chilly and you’d be better opting for a buttery, yellow-based shade such as White Tie, or red-based tones Pointing or Dimity. If you’ve got the means to go for more industrial-feeling grey-based whites then try out All White, Blackened or Wevet. The latter feels almost invisible and is thus incredibly easy to live with. All mentioned are from Farrow & Ball.

Mix up textures

Image of Annabel Gueret’s home Kikette Interiors

This concept can be adopted in whatever form you prefer and in the rooms we’ve chosen, varies wildly from adding a giant polar bear costume to your wall as a focal point (above), to cladding sections of a room in tongue and groove (below). Neutral animal skins on the floor, sheepskins on sofas, mohair cushions…

Image Farrow & Ball

…textured plaster on walls, natural wreaths and hanging grass planks for special dining occasions,  the detailing makes all the difference to a space and will help to animate a sea of white.

Image AMM blog

Add some contrast – but not too much

There are contrasting details and there are contrasting details. We’ve picked on rooms that are mostly monotone but for a few areas that  don’t stand out in stark contrast – i.e. no bright pops. Try to stick with the natural and the neutral for furniture and material additions if you want to follow this mood. Wood, leather and stone all fit the theme and for coloured upholstery black, brown, navy blue or charcoal will do nicely.

Image Farrow & Ball

Image from Kinfolk

Image Paul Massey House & Garden

Soften up with drapes

In this minimal bathroom the addition of draping curtains prevents the design from becoming unbearably chilly. Thanks to a Silent Gliss track embedded in the ceiling, a dividing curtain hangs without a more distracting pole between the basin and shower creating a practical screen that matches the curtain by the window.

In the below industrial home in Berlin, a kitchen can be completely hidden from the dining room by a giant white curtain that doesn’t disrupt the one-colour rule.

Warm up with wonky

Tiles in all the colours of the rainbow are a joyous trend currently sweeping our bathrooms, but have you considered how much more quietly beautiful white handmade tiles can be? Opt for something where you can really see the wonk to give your room a big dose of rustic charm. Light also catches beautifully on a white glazed finish.

Or why not go for micro screed, a thin layer of cement that you can apply to walls and floors for a durable finish and an effect that’s not unlike polished plaster (without the huge price tag).

Image from Pinterest

Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist