Interior designers Rachel Ashwell, Darryl Carter, and Suzanne Kasler offer expert advice on the ways to work white right. Hint: Don't be afraid!
Courtesy of Shabby Chic
1. Rachel Ashwell
Ashwell sparked a craze for slipcovered sofas and flea-market finds when she launched Shabby Chic 22 years ago.
Her advice: White is a very dramatic color that can be cozy. I avoid hard, modern pieces and use fluffy cushions and distressed finishes - so you still get that airy feeling, but with warmth to it. Paint a room white, and you have a blank canvas for anything. There's nothing worse than seeing someone go with an all-white room, then fear it. Let the white be lived in! I've raised two children in my homes, so all of my Shabby Chic slipcovers are preshrunk and machine washable.
2. Darryl Carter
Carter's M.O.: Strip away unnecessary embellishment (loud colors, busy patterns) to focus attention on a few carefully curated pieces, many of them antiques with traditional forms and warm patinas.
His advice: White is a color with lots of range. Benjamin Moore alone offers over 200 different shades. Wood works well with white. There's a lot of movement in wood. In effect, it starts to feel like a print - just a very subtle one. White unifies disjointed spaces. It encourages flow, whereas an abrupt color change can destroy the sight line.
Win a copy of Darryl Carter's book The New Traditional!
3. Suzanne Kasler
Her advice: Not all whites match. Once you start layering different tones, you can't assume they'll all go together. You can freshen up a white room just by swapping out throw pillows: blue ones for summer, orange ones for winter, and so on. White-linen curtains are much less likely to get stained - especially if you add a colored border to the bottom, where the fabric grazes the floor.Read on for more advice.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.