Home Improvement: Think white for a fresher feel to your interior design

Jane Cappleman

Jane Cappleman - Credit: Archant

There is no better way to embrace Spring than with a pot of white paint.

Jane Cappleman - Black and White chic

Jane Cappleman - Black and White chic - Credit: Archant

But how can you make your home dazzle without it ending up cold and clinical? Ellen Widdup talks to some of Suffolk’s leading interior designers to find out more.

A white environment is unequivocally fresh.

It provides a blank canvas on which to splash a touch of colour or add in layers of texture and allows you to change these elements frequently.

It is also on-trend.

Provencal White Rattan - The French Bedroom Company

Provencal White Rattan - The French Bedroom Company - Credit: Archant

So much so that The White Company, a high street store selling a range of products, principally in white, has become one of the UK’s fastest growing retailers in the last decade.

Uncomplicated chic

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White is light and versatile and easy to maintain.

White dressing table - The White Company

White dressing table - The White Company - Credit: Archant

Yes, it shows up imperfections but life isn’t perfect.

Besides which, applied correctly, it is not just luxurious but affordable and easy to touch up.

Paula Gundry, owner of Paula Gundry Interiors, has designed homes across Suffolk, Norfolk and London.

She said: “White is a surprisingly versatile colour that works in both period properties and modern, contemporary rooms.

The White stuff - children's bedroom

The White stuff - children's bedroom - Credit: Archant

“When decorating you should consider the age of the property, it’s architecture, fixtures and fittings.

“Contemporary rooms suit more edgy furniture and a starker, brighter shade.

“Period properties work better with a creamy white, which is softer and warmer.”

She said one of the most frequently requested shades was Farrow and Ball James White, which “adds light and depth.”.

Bedroom bliss

In the bedroom, white bed linen is hugely popular.

Crisp and clean it creates a cloud of comfort, ready to envelope you at the end of the day.

But you can also use white throughout the room so that shadows become colours, texture becomes a focal point and the room changes in every light.


Paula said: “Using decorative accessories are also a wonderful way to lift a white bedroom.

“And they are easier to change – even from season to season.

“I would suggest lemons and yellow accents in spring, turquoise and pink in summer, taupe in autumn and rich grey in winter.”

White is never simply white

“As anyone who has looked at a paint chart lately can attest, deciding to paint a room in a neutral colour often isn’t as simple as it first appears,” said Jane Cappleman, an interior designer from Bury St Edmunds.

“There are a vast number of whites, off-whites, beiges and taupes and the differences between shades might seem subtle but can give a totally different mood to a room.”

Jane also believes that the key to finding the right tone is picking a colour with a base pigment that suits the light that a room receives.

For example, a warm tone works well in a room that gets lots of natural light because the walls will always appear lighter than they are.

North or south?

When decorating north-facing rooms, avoid off whites with a green or grey base as these will make the room seem darker.

Choose yellow based, creamy neutrals to bounce as much light around the room as possible.

South-facing rooms have a better quality of light which means you can choose either warm or cool colours.

The light in east facing rooms can appear to be a little blue, so it is best to work with this and choose green or blue tones in your white.

West facing rooms work well with bright white walls which are natural light reflectors.

Jane said: “Don’t just look at light quality but also examine the surface you are painting on.

“Smooth shiny surfaces will make a colour look very different to those with a textured surface.

“Always try a sample first and see how it sits before going the whole hog.”

White works wonders, whatever your style

Whether you like a minimalist feel, a vintage look or a romantic style, white can work wonders.

Paula said: “Those looking for a contemporary feel should combine it with bold, modern furniture, steel and chrome accessories or glass.

“If you are romantic soul, then try using textured quilted bedspreads and vintage furniture.”

Get white to the point

White is a limitless tool of design - classic and contemporary, tranquil and vivacious.

Jane said: “Anyone who thinks white is boring is not grasping it’s versatility.

“There really is so much you can do with it.”