It's complicated: selecting the right white

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • August 4, 2018

White. It’s everywhere.

All of the design magazines style the most beautiful white rooms and make them all look perfectly gorgeous.

Crisp white walls, dark hardwood flooring. Perfect lighting in the room. Subtle pops of color. Bold artwork on the walls that make it look like a museum gallery. Stunning.

 Light floods this room and Benjamin Moore’s Simply White OC-117 (aura interior paint-matte)   is the perfect white with warm textures. Floor is Ice Mist OC-67 (advance interior paint-satin).   Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

 Light floods this room and Benjamin Moore’s Simply White OC-117 (aura interior paint-matte)   is the perfect white with warm textures. Floor is Ice Mist OC-67 (advance interior paint-satin).   Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

And then we have photos of white kitchens with pure white cabinets and island that coordinate with white marble or quartz countertops. Light beaming through the room. These are the rooms that homeowners dream about.

And then reality enters the room when we try to make white walls work.

It’s a little bit of a trick. As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I can tell you from doing hundreds of color consultations, white is the most complicated color (yes, white is a color) to make work and there are some good reasons for this. Done well, it's spectacular. Done poorly, it leaves a lot to be desired. My favorite way to work with white is to start with white as a backdrop and build the room from there with lots of texture, accents and accessories.

The good news:

·            White is popular right now with the trending coastal style that so many homeowners are incorporating into homes. It can be very dramatic by itself or with accent walls or just the right furnishings.

·            White serves as a backdrop (think museum walls) instead of a color that takes over the entire room. It’s a clean palette that offers plenty of room to incorporate a color palette.

·            White makes a kitchen clean and classic. Especially with quartz or marble counters.

·             It’s a great backdrop for an industrial look: stainless appliances and pendants.

Wood and rattan warms up a white shiplap wall along with Grandin Road’s “colored birds on a wire” wall art and colorful “watercolor” rug. Photo courtesy of Grandin Road.

Wood and rattan warms up a white shiplap wall along with Grandin Road’s “colored birds on a wire” wall art and colorful “watercolor” rug. Photo courtesy of Grandin Road.

Don’t make these mistakes:

·            White is an all or nothing color. It requires commitment! If you paint just one room in your home white it will look like you put primer on the walls and forgot to paint the real color.

·            White highlights everything that you don’t like in a room. Shabby furniture, worn carpets. Flaws on the walls. They are all magnified. Think about it before you try it.

Be bold! Make a statement in a white room with Benjamin Moore Paper White OC-55 (aura bath & spa) in matte and accented in Ravishing Red 2008-10. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

Be bold! Make a statement in a white room with Benjamin Moore Paper White OC-55 (aura bath & spa) in matte and accented in Ravishing Red 2008-10. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

·            All whites are not created equal. Beware of undertones. Yes, those pesky shades of green, pink, blue, gray...depending upon the color and the lighting. Get around making a mistake by painting a portion of a wall as a test and check it out as the light changes during the day. This will help avoid a stark or dingy tone.

There are 200 whites at Benjamin Moore. Five of the top ten selling paints in their collection are whites. In 2016 Benjamin Moore named Simply White OC-117, the Color of the Year. It’s an important part of design.

Tips for a white room:

·            If the lighting is not great in your home, don’t try white. Most of the magazine photos are done with rooms that have floor to ceiling windows or huge glass walls.

·            Use textures and accessories. My favorite: white walls, dark flooring, area rugs, white comfy sofas, lots of colorful pillows, green plants, colorful art on walls, white shutters.

·            Try white shiplap on an accent wall to get the same effect without a whole room commitment.

·            Start with a white master bathroom. No color gives a master bath a cleaner, more spa-like feel than white. Combine it with white tile, towels, rugs, accessories and beautiful capiz sconces.

And if you want to go” light” but maybe not quite “white”…try Benjamin Moore’s Silver Satin 856. It’s my go-to neutral color. A touch of silver-grey with a slight shimmer. Perfect with blue sea glass accents.

 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

 

 

Tips for designing a home that brings the beach inside

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press •May 7, 2016

If you're like me and your favorite chair is a beach chair, your favorite shoes are flip flops and your preferred color palette is the one in your beach umbrella, you likely love the beach and want to have a little of it in your home.

Whether you live steps from the beautiful Gulf shores of Southwest Florida or just wish you did, you can design your home interior to reflect the colors, feelings and hues that will make you feel the tranquility and beauty that only the beach can provide.

WHIMSICAL CLOWN FISH ARE FROM COLE & SON'S ACQUARIO FORNASITTI II. THE WALL COVERING CREATES A DRAMATIC BACKDROP FOR AN ENTRY TABLE STYLED WITH FAVORITE BEACH-INSPIRED PIECES. PHOTO: COLE & SONS.

Beach house decor style is about a lifestyle. An attitude. It's about living with nature and capturing the essence of a long walk on a beach. Striking that balance between casual and a touch of formality. Collecting driftwood and shells. And finding a way to bring a piece of it home.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, many of my clients want to incorporate at least some aspect of our environment into their space.  Whether you live in an apartment, condo, single family home or an Airstream travel trailer, it's easily doable. And fun. Check out my favorite tips, pick one and get to work!

Bright and white

Take advantage of the great tropical lighting that we enjoy in this area. You can't beat a white backdrop for your walls. One of my other favorite go-to-colors for a beach cottage  look is Benjamin Moore's Silver Satin. And use Benjamin Moore's Decorator White for trim. Just enough hue and sparkle and has that "old Florida beach cottage" feeling.

Classic coastal color palette

Vintage Ship door sits atop pilings and holds glass layered with sea glass. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

Accessories, fabric, accents are beautiful when done in sea glass accents. Seafoam green/blues. And remember: a bit of turquoise in every room. Even if it's just a bowl of shells mixed with sea glass.

Beach-inspired kitchen

While my favorite kitchen is one done in all white, you can add contrast to white walls with pale grey/blue cabinets. Or bead board (so easy to do this and a great look) in a sea glass tone around the island or bar. Stainless appliances.

 Style a coffee table or entry table

If you don't do anything else, this is the one. It sets the tone of your home. This is where you display your favorite nautical elements: seashells, driftwood, glass jars with seaglass, art, books. I love working books into the mix. Some of my favorites: Island Life by India Hicks and Key West: A Tropical Lifestyle by Leslie Linsley.

Accent walls

For a little beach drama, select a wall in the entry or in a powder room. Cover it in one of the beautiful grass cloth wall coverings or something similar to the whimsical clown fish Cole & Son's Acquario Fornasitti ii. Place this behind your styled entry table or a gorgeous mirror and you don't need anything else to bring the beach home!

Windows

White shutters or light linen drapes are best.  When using drapes, I like to trim them with fabric tape in a sea glass hue. And remember, always hang drapes from just below the ceiling for as much height as possible.

Furniture

Style a bookcase or shelving with a tropical theme. Incorporate white furnishings, white walls and a jute rug. Photo: Pottery Barn. 

It's all about casual comfort. Cushioned or slip covered sofas and chairs will get you the look but you don't need to redo your furnishings. Just add a couple of bamboo chairs and maybe a stool with tropical or white cushions.(Bamboo can be painted: think flea markets). Add a couple of colorful garden stools. These can work as side tables for extra seating. Add colorful pillows.

It's 5 o'clock someplace!

Style a cart with a tiki bar theme. Include artwork on the walls behind the cart and add some of your favorite pieces along with beachy glasses and a plant or two. I like to include a colorful cloth awning over the cart to set it apart.  

Artwork

It's all about color and this is where the room comes to life. I have my clients look through magazines and on Pinterest to seek out paintings and photographs that speak to them and we work it into the mix. One of my favorites: take some your own favorite photographs and stretch them on canvas. This style is perfect for a casual look and is a great memory of someplace you have been.

Flooring

Sand would be perfect for a beach lover but it's best to incorporate natural fiber rugs such as sisal, jute or seagrass. They look great and some of the modern styles have a contemporary look, allowing for trim in coastal colors. Think: coral.

Design your bookshelf

This is one of my favorites. First, pick a sea-inspired color and paint the back of the bookcase or the wall. Creatively, arrange and showcase your artwork, books, driftwood, shells and other elements to give it that "just washed up on the beach look."

Accents

Display your shells in jars and bowls. I like a bowl of shells in every room. There is one by my computer as I write this article. They make me happy and take me someplace else when I have to work can't get to the beach!

Incorporate Capiz mirrors and lighting fixtures.

Purchase bamboo flatware and sea-inspired dishes to use every day.

Add a couple of palm trees to your decor...large or small. They say "tropical" and are good for the air quality in your home.

 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog