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Take a step in the white direction

White is anything but boring, writes award-winning blogger and designer Sarah Mailer

    We’re talking white — crisp, chic, elegantly timeless and casually understated. When it comes to decorating, white is our faithful ally. The ideal non-colour, perfect for a fuss-free interior reboot. Reflecting light beautifully, it is incredibly versatile and works with just about anything.

    White is anything but boring. Whether you are looking to create a slick monochromatic mood, relaxed Scandi feel or classic country styling, white works hard as the basis of your scheme. It is also great with gentle, muted tones or a zingy colour pop. No longer just a quick-fix solution, white is now a key player within contemporary interiors. Here is your guide to some trending looks, all with a heavy reliance on white.

    Monochromatic Mood

    For timeless appeal, go monochrome. Black and white are arguably the chicest of pairings after all. For woodwork and walls, while brilliant white works a treat, there are plenty of alternatives. Farrow and Ball’s All White or Laura Ashley’s Pure White are two great options and slightly softer tonally.
    The introduction of black elements will create contrast and ground your design. Gold accents are also a welcome addition and totally on-trend. Introduce them in the form of accessories, lighting and hardware (think brass detailing on handles or vases).
    Mix monochromatic graphic prints (chevrons, stripes and polka dots) with more subtle illustrative details. Be playful with tableware. Layer up walls with black and white photography, brass-rimmed mirrors or textural artwork. For accessories, classic white Carrara marble and mother-of-pearl work beautifully alongside contemporary ceramics.

    Scandi chic

    To achieve a Hygge-inspired Scandinavian space — the ultimate winter retreat —- champion white and work texture. It can be daunting but do not be afraid to forgo colour, instead layering shades of white on white. If you wish to expand the palette, introduce soft greys, muted taupe or desaturated blues for tranquillity. Complement gentle hues with whitewashed wood, raw birch or greyed-oak and embrace natural materials wholeheartedly.
    Zoffany’s Architect’s White and Farrow and Ball’s Wevet are calming off-white paints and a great starting point for this look. To nail Scandi chic, think comfort and warmth in every element of the design. From rough-hewn wood to chunky knits, Mongolian fur cushions and sheepskin rugs, texture is key. Add a roaring fire, light your favourite scented candle and get cosy.

    Modern rustic

    If you swoon over Shaker doors, white ceramic butler sinks and timber floors, this is the look for you. White is effective with understated materials and is central to a rustic country look. Traditional, yes — but this classic styling has never really gone out of vogue. If anything, now is the time to embrace modern rustic and break our high-gloss bonds. 
    To enliven your scheme, pair white with blue. Royal and navy hues are particularly on-trend. Take an eclectic approach, mixing ditsy florals and busy prints with self-patterned texture. Warm, creamy whites such as Dulux’s Porcelain White or Little Greene’s Slaked Lime create the perfect backdrop for a modern rustic setting. Roll out the white linen, dust off the decorative cake stand and finish with a homemade bake. Pot of tea optional; homely vibe achieved.
    No matter your stylistic preference or budget, white is perfect for so many interior schemes. So set it free from the woodwork and ceilings and see what you can achieve.

    Sarah Mailer is an interior designer and stylist at Sarah Mailer Design, Hertfordshire (sarahmailerdesign.co.uk). Read her blog at girlabouthouse.com or follow her on social media.