It should come to no surprise to you that we love using white in our home. It’s clean, it’s fresh and it’s just so darn soothing. We’ve found that white is the one color that is calming and uplifting all at once. It’s the constant in this home of ours, woven throughout every room while remaining a color we have never grown tired of. I don’t think we’ve have ever thought, “Shoot. I wish we would have purchased that in something other than cream.” Nope. We’ve almost always been happy when going neutral when decorating our home. It is a calming classic that truly provides a blank canvas in how we’re able to tend to our space thought the seasons. And I truly believe using it throughout your home is completely doable, even if you are raising little ones. It doesn’t have to feel cold or uninviting either. White has the ability to make your home feel cleaner and less cluttered because it is airy and bright and I love that. Since moving into this old historic home, has been our goal to decorate using white, a color that makes us feel peaceful and happy, while making our home one that also echos warmth, because that’s important to us. A cozy home is the best kind.
Ways You Can Warm Up Your White Home:
- Vary & Layer Your White Paints – Using different shades of white paint throughout your home is an easy way to add depth to your space. If you’ve ever taken a trip to the paint store you know very well that white isn’t just white. There are hundreds of shades of creams, ivories, light grey, etc. to chose from, all with a different undertone. When painting your home, make sure not to just stick with one shade because that will make your home appear very flat. Take note of the trim color and go a little darker for the walls. Want a bright, clean looking kitchen? Go for cream in the cabinets but then bight white for surrounding the walls, along with large neutral accents like white fridge and an old farmhouse sink. If you’re craving a space that is more calming, choose a white with blue or soft grey undertones. You get the idea. We went with four colors when painting our entire home when we moved in, each of them from a different white family. No room, or ceiling for that matter, went left un painted and the result was so beautiful, and although white, still warm and cozy. If you are wanting a simple room makeover, start with paint. Here are the ones we chose:
- Ski Slope by Sherwin Williams – We chose this very, very light gray white for the living room, dining room and master bedroom because it gives off the most mellow glow and looks beautiful paired with either black or brown furniture. The painters had a hard time telling this apart from all the other whites when they were painting, but once dried, it really changed and made a dramatic difference in the way our home looked and felt.
- Snow Bound or Exra White by Sherwin Williams – The kids rooms, bathrooms, hallways, entryway & loft walls are painted in with Bright White & the kitchen is Snow Bound. They are very close and honestly, both are so pretty. They make for a beautiful, soft white that works well with creamy colors or gray accents.
- Whitetail by Sherwin Williams – Kitchen cabinets and kitchen doors and trim. This is the closest we could come to finding the actual paint color, the kitchen cabinets were matched with the original cream color of this old 1920’s home, which we do not know the name of. They are warm and buttery and look so lovely with gold hardware.
- Basic white oil based paint – All crown molding (except in the kitchen) and fireplace got painted, and boy did ever it need it. Painting your trim can really do wonders to brighten up your space. We had no idea just how yellow the existing molding was until we got all of it repainted white. Just wow.
- Bher Deck Over in matte white – After talking with a few contractors in the best way to approach our loft, we opted for deck paint because this old subflooring really wasn’t worth the extra hassle of whitewashing. It took two coats and was so easy to apply. Or so Andrew says. He spray painted between the gasps in the floorboards to save time and then painted over everything. This space is a retreat for everyone in the family and perfect for when family visit. The difference from the black flooring really opens it up, but also keeps it warm because y0u can see the grain and imperfections in the wood.
- Mix in Natural Elements – Bringing nature indoors warms up a space instantly. Whether you go with bright greens, like a small aloe plant or succulent, or you sting up dried herbs, flowers, or golden wheat, the addition of earth made elements will make your home feel collected and like a fresh breath of air without feeling sterile. There is something so magical in adding a bunch of dried floral notes or leaves to a white room. It gives the space intention and care, especially if they are from a special occasion or “just because” flowers from your honey. Natural elements also speaks for baskets and woods and wool and other yummy fibers. Carefully sprinkle them throughout your home, give them a practical purpose, and be on your happy way.
- Weave in White Linens – Opt for white or light neutral fabrics when able, and make sure the material is a beautiful one. We have three little kids and we have many whites and ivories and creams layered throughout our home because we love how it feels. Both Andrew and I aren’t into sacrificing our aesthetic because our kids may or may not get our home dirty. Of course they’ll get it dirty. But just because you share your space with children doesn’t mean you have to paint your walls dark green or buy dark colored everything. I mean, if that’s your thing, go for it. But if it’s not, I say…why should you have to? You’re the adult here. I remember growing up and wanting a fluffy, cloud-like all white bed. It made me feel so luxurious when I’d climb into one if staying over night in a hotel, so when Stella moved into a big girl bed I decided to heck with the “we have kids so we can’t have nice things or things we like” ideology. Almost all of our linens on each of our beds is some shade of white, and so are most of our towels. We love knits and velvets and old grain sacks. We figure, as long as the kids aren’t running around with melted chocolate on their face or a black sharpie, we’re in good shape.
- Accessorize with White – Long white drapes add drama and a warm glow that no other window covering can achieve. We got ours at IKEA and love that they are extra long. Drama! We also have many sheepskin throws on things that make our home feel super cozy. They make a nice mat for the kids to sit on when playing on our hardwoods. If you like to thrift like I do, you can start collecting pretty white or off-white colored tableware or vintage items when out and about. Next time you find yourself at the thrift store, stock up on the milk vases, cream ceramics, and white enamelware. The home section of those places are always full of lovely neutral colored items that could use a bit of cleaning up and a good home. These used items will add character to your space while still remaining within the white color scheme, giving off a simple yet thoughtful vibe throughout.
- Mix Up Your Wood – Surround your whites with wood pieces in different stains. I am pretty sure we have every stain known to man covered in our home, from untreated and natural to walnut to cherry…I really could go on and on. I used to think you have to choose one and stick with it when decorating, but now I have come to love how layered and lived-in our home feels because of the different color wood pieces we have collected over the years. When paired with different shades of white they are even more beautiful and able to shine. The white walls and accents act as a foundation for these pieces to take center stage. We use Craigslist, vintage markets and family member’s garage sales for our antique furniture. Because our walls are clean and white, they are able to stand out so you can appreciate their hand-crafted beauty. *Note that the opposite effect of all of this goes for colder elements, such as metal, concrete, silver and glass. Decorating with these mediums will give not make your home cozier.
- Get Personal – Fill your home with items that tell a story. Go antiquing, ask your mother in law if you can have those old blue velvet chairs she’s wanting to sell, put kid art on your walls. Make your space yours, you guys! I really think this is the most important touch, so you can make your home one that is warm and inviting and feeling less like a magazine shoot. Character and charm work so well with white, you really can afford to get creative and have an airy, white home.
- Keep it Clean – White shows dirt. It shows jelly smears and marker doodles. There’s no getting around this, friends. But if you just clean a little bit here and there as you go and try to keep the kids from eating in every room of your home, it’s really not too difficult to keep your whites white. Thanks to sunshine, fels naphtha, and lemon oil I can say our whites are looking’ pretty swell. And call me crazy, but I love that white shows everything. I wipe down our kitchen cabinets really well, and I am talking a good old fashioned scrub down, at least once a month and when it’s time for me to do this, they are disgusting. With small children running around how could they not be! To me, it’s important I take the time to clean surfaces and disinfect and wipe down our white baseboards. As odd as this may sound, I cannot help but be glad they show the dirt and grime so when our home is clean, it’s actually clean! Not just the illusion of being so with dark cabinets and furniture that disguise the yuckies. Hope that made sense.
Here’s a source list for the curious in order which they appear in the photos above:
- Peg Rail – The Container Store
- Chalkboard – Antique store in Missouri
- Gold Frames – Thrifted
- Cleaning Supplies – Gosh, all over. I’ll share this in more detail on a cleaning post.
- Blue Velvet Couch – West Elm
- Natural Woven Ottomans – IKEA
- Black Pendant Light – Home Depot
- Hanging Vase – The Object Enthusiast
- Kitchen Whisk Light – A Local Bakery
- Nook Table – IKEA
- Black Bistro Chairs – Craigslist
- Schoolhouse Lights – Home Depot
- Wood Shelf – Home Depot
- Stella’s Bed & Bedding- IKEA & West Elm
I am sure there are tips out there that I am forgetting. Tell me, what are some simple ways you are able to warm up your white home?