When it comes to interiors, The White Company gives us serious house goals to aspire to. It’s actually incredible how the brand has established such a distinctive style based on the colour white. You can’t really get more standard than white, it’s basically a non-colour. However, show most people a photo from their catalogue or website and anyone familiar with the company will know where it’s from in a shot. Now that’s a strong brand image.
From beautiful bed linen to gorgeous furniture and accessories, their range of products is stylish, timeless, classic and resonates with quality. The question is, how to put it all together to achieve the same look in your own home? Here are six tips and tricks to help you create that White Company style.
1. Don’t use white paint
Whaaaat? I know, it’s hard to believe, but the last thing you should do is reach for that tub of brilliant white. In my opinion, brilliant white is never the answer and I have yet to come across a situation where it is. It’s harsh, cold, jarring and does nothing to complement other colours. Instead, opt for a lovely shade of off white.
If you were to take a guess, I’m sure most would say all the walls in White Company images are painted white but on closer inspection, you’ll notice that many of the images feature a soft neutral on the walls. Even the ones that are really crisp and bright will look more beautiful in a shade of white than actual basic white. The shade you go for is really important depending on what kind of look you want to achieve. Here are three examples:
The top left bedroom is fresh but has a cosy warmth to it. The walls are creamy rather than white which creates a softer, more luxurious feel. Look for undertones of yellow or pink for this look. On the right the walls are definitely not white. A pale grey provides the backdrop creating a calm, soothing feel to the room. Although it gives the impression of clean white walls, particularly in bright light, the hint of colour prevents it from looking stark.
The bottom left bedroom looks really crisp and fresh, however there is a depth to the colour that cannot be achieved with brilliant white which contains too much blue. Farrow & Ball’s All White for example, is a very clean shade of white but won’t be cold and clinical.
Here I go again with the lighting but hear me out. Lighting is always important in interiors but when you’re creating a scheme that is so predominantly white, it’s vital you get it right. These schemes work best when there is a lot of natural light so if you’ve got a lovely big south-facing window, then you’re already ahead of the game. White shades need plenty of light to really show off their bright, clean qualities and look their best in natural light. A dingy room painted white will invariably always look a bit dull so if you’re not blessed with tons of sunshine then consider opting for a duskier shade on the walls.
When it comes to artificial lighting, the key to this look is to create layers of soft, diffused lighting. Add light where you need it rather than simply lighting the entire room. By playing with contrasts of light and shade you will add interest and depth to the room and it will feel luxurious and cosy. Another bonus is it’s a much more flattering, both for the room and for faces! So think about pretty chandeliers, soft lampshades and lots and lots of lamps.
3. Layers shades and textures
Keeping everything neutral means you need to find other ways to add depth to your interiors. The White Company look is all about layering to get that luxurious yet super comfortable look. It’s a style that makes you want to jump right in because it looks so damn cosy but you’re also afraid to touch anything for fear of ruining the beautiful room. It’s a fine balance.
A pared back design it means there’s less room to hide and everything is more exposed. Keep it simple but seek out good quality pieces and materials to enhance the feeling of luxury. The overall effect should be soft and homely, which can be tricky in a predominantly white scheme. Add hints of colour in neutral tones of greys and taupes as well as natural materials like wood, linen, glass, cotton and wool. Layering up textures of white will help to add interest and prevent it from looking bland. And finally, up the comfort factor using plenty of plump pillows and cushions. Buy cushion pads that are slightly larger than your cushion cases to create a sumptuous, overstuffed look. No one wants a saggy cushion!
4. Perfectly organised…but not too perfect
One thing you’ll notice about all White Company room sets is that everything has its place, it has an air of perfection about it. Yet at the same time, it exudes the casual elegance of a lived-in home for real (albeit very stylish and tidy) people. Accessories and belongings decorate the room so nonchalantly it creates an effortlessly chic look synonymous with a French woman who just throws an outfit together and looks like she just stepped out of a magazine.
The key here is to display some of your personal items but in a carefully curated way. If you’re overly tidy and put everything away out of sight, a white scheme becomes a contemporary and minimal which is lovely but not what we’re going for here. To retain the comfort and homeliness, your personality has to shine through a little. Storage pieces like this pin board and these stacking trays contain the clutter, almost turning them into decorative items rather simply being strewn around the room. Also think about stacks of books on a coffee table, family photos on the wall and wicker baskets (for the clutter you don’t want anyone to see!)
5. Add some contrast
Make white shades really fresh with a dark contrast. Even the smallest accent of a darker colour will bring out the whiteness and prevent it from all looking a bit washed out.
Whether it’s a black lamp, dark stained wood floors or an entire backdrop, having an element of contrast will give your room definition and make it look more expensive. This will ensure you steer clear of the shabby chic look. There ain’t nothing shabby about The White Company.
6. Little touches
And lastly, my final tip for creating the White Company look is the little touches. The little touches are everything with this design style. Again, you’re not going for modernist minimalism or rustic shabby chic. This is luxurious, cosy and elegant.
A little bling goes a long way with this look. Whether it’s a chrome lamp base, a little gold dish or a metallic photo frame, a touch of something shiny will inject a little opulence to your home without being gaudy.
Another absolute must-have is candles, because it just wouldn’t be the White Company without candles, would it? Try a cluster of white pillar candles spruce up an open fireplace or some elegant tapered candles in classy candlesticks on the dining table or simply some little tea lights in decorative glass votives. And of course, you can add to the White Company effect by tapping into another sense using their ever-popular scented candles and home fragrances.
Plants and flowers are often featured in the brand’s photography and it’s a great way to add a natural element to soften a room that’s looking stark. A pretty bunch of white flowers in a vase works wonders and some dark green house plants can also act as one of your contrasting elements.
So those are my six tips to get the White Company look in your home. Are you a big fan of this style or do you need more colour in your life? I’d love to know what you think and if you’re going to implement any of these ideas. Leave me a comment or send me a photo of your White Company home on Twitter or Facebook!
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