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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Timeless White Decor | 5 Reasons Why

Monday, March 19, 2018

Timeless White Decor Five Reasons

Why is WHITE DECOR timeless?   

Twelve years ago we painted our kitchen cabinets white, but only after months of indecision and second-guessing the decision. We had custom-made oak wood cabinets sealed with a natural finish. A long-time friend who was a retired carpenter built and installed our cabinets when we built our post-and-beam forever home on two acres in the country. The decision to paint the wood was a big decision. 

Twelve years later, I still love the cabinets painted white. 

Little by little, more and more of my house decor includes white. We are currently in the process of painting the small vanity in the master bathroom white, the latest area to go white. 

As always, home decor is personal, VERY personal, based on each person's preferences, budget, lifestyle, and whether or not the home is owned or rented. Many factors go into how we style our living spaces. Choosing decor that withstands the test of time can make that task easier on our budgets and can give us time and money to focus on more areas instead of redoing the same areas. 

White Stoneware With White Candytuft Decor
As I thought about all the white decor in my house, I began to analyze what about white draws me to it, why I think white decor is timeless, and why white never really goes out of style completely. You may have different thoughts, but consider the following. 

5  R E A S O N S 


White Painted French Country Kitchen with Beams
Light and bright is the greatest reason I am drawn to white. No doubt about it. Why did I want to paint my wood cabinets white? The kitchen was dark from all the wood. The ceiling is exposed wood joists with exposed wood planks from the floor above. Beautiful posts, joists, and beams, built to last generations, but all that wood absorbs the light instead of reflecting it.

Painting the cabinets white reduced the number of wood surfaces in the kitchen and brightened the room.

  • Bright work areas make it easier to see. 
  • Light surroundings require fewer artificial lights (lamps, ceiling lights,...)
  • Bright, light-filled environments improve mental health. Light deprivation is a real factor in seasonal light disorder that causes depression. 


White Candy Tuft Flowers in White Stoneware
White goes with everything. It is the ultimate neutral. Pair it with other neutrals, gray, brown, black, beige... Or, use with other colors on the color wheel. 

You should keep the undertones of your chosen white the same as the undertones of the other colors you use with it. White can have any color as an undertone. Take a look at the paint strips in your local paint store or hardware store. Typically there is a white option on each row of color. 

  • Quickly update or freshen a room by changing colored accessories used in a room filled with basic white decor.
  • Paint door frames white to accent colored walls. 
  • Paint the ceiling white to create an illusion of height in a room with dark walls.  
  • White china can be mixed with other colors of china or table linens. 
  • White bedding allows quick decor changes through changing pillow shams, throws, or accessories.  


Timeless White Dishes on French Zinc Plate Stand
White goes with farmhouse, American Country, industrial, shabby chic, cottage, Nordic, traditional, modern, contemporary, French Country...  Name any decor style, and white fits the style. In this photo white is used with French Country zinc shelves.  

  • Chippy white painted wood is farmhouse, shabby chic, cottage...  
  • Sleek white marble is industrial, traditional, modern... 
  • White ruffles are French Country, cottage, shabby chic... 
  • Vintage white stoneware is farmhouse, French Country, traditional... 
  • White shiplap is farmhouse, industrial, American Country... 
  • White wood furniture is Nordic, cottage, contemporary... 


French Country Urn with Rosemary and White Ceramic Rabbit
A white ceramic French-style urn, soup/cereal bowls, salad/dessert plates, and cement bunny are all different whites in different textures, but fit together nicely. The embossed designs and the bunny texture create interest that keeps the whites from being bland or boring.

Have you ever tried to match, mix, blend other colors? Red... a nightmare to mix with the orange reds and blue reds. My closet has many red sweaters, pants, skirts, and dresses that do NOT blend with each other. Only specific tops go with specific bottoms.

Blue? Blue can be blue green or blue red.... with many more blue green options out there than blue red options. Of course, my favorite blues are blue red... hard to find.

But, WHITE, has many options available in whatever object you are looking for. Whatever the design industry or paint company designated color of the year, white is always available.

Keep whites happy together with these tips.

  •  Stack white plates in different sizes, shapes, and raised borders. StoneGable is the queen of stacking plates
  • Mix textures in pillows, throws, and surfaces. 
  • Separate different whites with other colors. Intersperse prints, checks, stripes, solids between whites. 
  • Keep a record of paint colors used in your home. 
    • Write on the paint can which room and surface (i.e., guest bathroom baseboards) the can of paint was used to paint for touch-ups later. 
    • File paper paint strips for reference especially BEFORE the paint can is empty. Write the room and surface (i.e., guest bathroom baseboards) on the paper paint strip the color was used for. Include paint style: flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, gloss. You will be glad when it is time to repaint or time to paint another room. 
    • Record your paint colors in your copy of KariAnne Wood's latest book, THE DIY Home Planner. This is the cutest, best interactive home planner! This planner is for DOING, not just reading. Planner in one hand; paintbrush in the other. 
KariAnne Wood The DIY Home Planner book


French Country Urn with Rosemary and White Ceramic Rabbit
Yes, you read that correctly. CLEAN. Dark colored walls, upholstery, carpet, rugs, etc... are not cleaner than WHITE walls, upholstery, carpet, rugs, etc... Rather than clean, dark colors camouflage the dirt better than white, but the dirt is still there. 

Since you can see the dirt on white, you know it needs cleaning. And, white can be BLEACHED. My sister is the ultimate BLEACHING MACHINE. Nothing is safe from her bottle of bleach; if it is dirty... BLEACH it. Of course, you cannot bleach everything, like carpets, but if you can see the dirt, you know it needs cleaning. 

t i m e l e s s  w h i t e  d e c o r 

White never completely goes out of style. Its popularity rises and falls, but for the five reasons above, white has staying power. Purple comes and goes, maybe to make a reappearance in a decade or so, but white? Always a good choice any decade. 


Are you ready for another French Design on Friday post? Check back this Friday.


Want to see my post and beam dream home transformations?