Ask Kate #2 // When White Walls Don’t Work

WHEN WHITE WALLS DON'T WORK KATE DWELL IN STYLE

Somehow, we look at a ton of beautiful white rooms. Especially when the Scandinavian style had us sold at the idea that painting our walls white makes everything better. A small room? Paint it white and it will look bigger. Budget constraint? Paint your rooms white and it will look clean and beautiful. Honestly, it really is great if these are true, but sadly it is a misconception.

But first, let’s look at rooms where white really works!

WHEN WHITE WALLS DON'T WORK KATE DWELL IN STYLE WHITE WORKS_1

This dreamy bedroom has a pair of french doors that lead outside to a balcony and is overflowing with light. The light bounces around from the walls to the pillows and the reflective tiles on the fireplace. It’s a space where different things in a room sing together. A room like this can be painted any color, light or dark.

WHEN WHITE WALLS DON'T WORK KATE DWELL IN STYLE WHITE WORKS_2

I love dining spaces that are bright like this; with natural light. I hate dining where I couldn’t make out the color of my food (ha!), it destroys my appetite. Yes, candlelight dinner is not really my thing. I prefer bright and happy breakfasts (although everyone who knows me can testify that I’m not a morning person, yet! Trust me I will be one). And the bedroom above, what’s the use of Zen bedrooms when it isn’t bright and literally zen-like like this. I’ve seen Zen or Minimalist type bedrooms (mattress on the ground) that sadly resembles a jail cell.

Any style just look amazing in a room with overflowing light. A lot of serious envy- inducing magazine photos of homes are actually aided with studio lights, clever photography and/or post editing. They somehow convinced us that all rooms need to be white to be pretty. But is it really?

WHEN WHITE WALLS DON'T WORK KATE DWELL IN STYLE WHITE DON'T WORK_2

Now, this bedroom will look so much better if it actually has color on the walls. First and foremost, white is a color that reflects light while black absorbs it. A mirror cannot brightens your room when it doesn’t have a light source that shines on it, by itself it does not gives off light. Does your home has sunlight shining in (East/West facing)? Look at the three main reasons why you shouldn’t have white walls, if a room has one or more of the below, I’m sorry to tell you that it’s not a contender for white walls –

// South or North facing //

// Small or no window //

// Requires artificial light during daytime //

WHEN WHITE WALLS DON'T WORK KATE DWELL IN STYLE WHITE DON'T WORK_1

You don’t have to be living in a BIG HOUSE with a row of windows. Above is an after image of a renovation of a barn house. Immediately, you’ll notice that there are just not much light pouring in. The walls and ceilings are painted white but they actually looks grey, not the good kind of grey. When a space that has a lot of white isn’t flooding with natural light, it looks depressing. And why is it so?

WHEN WHITE WALLS DON'T WORK KATE DWELL IN STYLE WHITE DON'T WORK_3

Basically if your living room looks like this, the only source of natural light is a small window that if I’m not wrong has frosted glass for privacy. This is not a room with flooding light and in my opinion it shouldn’t be painted white. Sometimes, even rooms with big windows can fail because there are just not enough light pouring in. Some disadvantages of painting a wrong room white are –

// Room looks sad and dirty //

// A person might feel gloomy or doesn’t want to be in the room much //

// Constantly requires artificial lights to “make it better” //

So what to do with rooms that doesn’t have amazing natural light? The answer is paint them in neutral colors. If you paint a room black (all four walls), it will look dramatic and intimate which translates to small and cozy. If you want to use dark colors, make sure this is the kind of result you’re going for. But you wouldn’t want your rooms to be white and dead either, so pick a mid tone color that has pigments in it.

WHEN WHITE WALLS DON'T WORK KATE DWELL IN STYLE NEUTRALS WE LOVE

Here’s 12 neutral paint colors that I personally spent hours comparing the colors and handpicking them. I’ve not personally tested them, you may use the above as a reference when choosing your paint colors but I can’t promise you the color will turn out exactly like on your screen. Paint colors DOES vary from different walls/homes because how much light and color of your furniture/flooring can affect their hues, making the color appear to be slightly greenish, bluish or brownish. Additionally, simply going for paint finish like eggshell (not matte) will do wonders to a small or dark room.

See DWELL IN STYLE Bedroom Makeover painted in Nippon Paint Dusk.

WHEN WHITE WALLS DON'T WORK KATE DWELL IN STYLE WHITE DON'T WORK_4

An amazing minimalist space like above is depressing when it’s white and WITHOUT enough light. Some of the images shown as examples for “when white walls don’t work” are not meant to be taken as direct criticism to the homeowner(s) or designer(s), I found these images on Google. It’s just like my design mantra; a beautiful home requires different things to work together. Whether it’s white walls in a dark room or the generic sofa, it’s about having everything coming together to form a beautiful picture. The propelling force behind the “Ask Kate” series is to address different concern/aspect of a home one post at a time which hopefully helps you ;) (my readers) in forming their own beautiful homes.

Expect to see some more Ask Kate questions addressed such as right size art/rug, how to hang art, how to create a gallery wall, how to position your rug, etc. And see you next post! :)

See more Ask Kate – Choosing The Right Sofa // Buying Generic And Matching Furniture

Image Sources: Featured Image Oli Interior Design // White Bedroom Pinterest // Kitchen Pinterest // Platform Bed Pinterest // Scandinavian Bedroom Decoist // Barn House DIY Dork // White Living Our Crib // White Minimalist Best Design News

All words by me and images from credited links. This is a non-sponsored post. Items are subjected to availability by respective sellers. Actual price(s) might vary.

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