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Selecting the right white can set the tone for other colors and accents in a room
May 10 2011
White may be the most neutral of all colors, but one of its greatest strengths is that it works well with any color.
Different shades of white go well with certain wood tones and accent colors.
Especially in a small space, using contrasting colors to highlight white as the main hue guides attention to it and away from the small dimensions of the room.
The first step in choosing a mainly white color scheme is to settle on which shade works best - bright white, off-white or antique white - and then determining what the accent colors or wood tones will be.
According to Shari Hiller, co-host of the PBS series Around the House with Matt and Shari, choosing the right shade of white isn't different from choosing other colors.
"The easiest method is to match the white to a similar shade in an upholstered piece," she states on MattandShari.com. "[Otherwise] let the other colors of the room guide your choice."
Some white tones are more effective when paired with a certain type of décor. A bright white coordinates well with modern décor that may include charcoal gray, silver and black. Off-white is more traditional and pairs well with many shades of blue, sage green or dusty rose. Antique white is similar to off-white, but has a slight yellow undertone which allows it to work best against hardwood furniture and kitchen cabinetry.
Better Homes and Gardens magazine reports that white also creates a sense of spaciousness when it reflects from light sources around a room. The magazine recommends taking advantage of natural light by limiting window treatments in a small room to window blinds or shades only.
Homeowners may want to consider choosing blinds that are the same color as the walls, which allows them to convey the impression of an unbroken surface. Soft sheer shades can accomplish this look, but with a more contemporary style. For a window treatment that works with both traditional and modern décor, sheer white curtains are a versatile choice.
White curtains or shutters, often used in country-style decorating, are attractive by themselves or combined with window shades.
Continuing the white theme through accessories is another way to create a unified, spacious atmosphere. Clear jars filled with white and cream-colored candles, white flowers and porcelain pieces are some items that can be used effectively.
"White allows the eye to roam freely over surfaces, stopping only at points of contrast," the Better Homes and Gardens reports.
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