Decorating your home with white need not be boring

Here’s some tips to create a warm and relaxing room

white kitchen sink in a home

Do you need to create a serene oasis in your home to get away from the busyness of life? A white-on-white palette is calming and subdued and easy on the eyes. To keep it from feeling too institutional, follow some of these suggestions:

Choose a warm white

A stark white with blue undertones can make a room feel harsh and cold. Choose warm whites or tinted whites with just a hint of a very soft colour for your walls. Ask your paint retailer for assistance, as they know which whites are warm and which may be too cool in appearance.

Add texture

Texture by way of wall treatments, like the one in the photo adds interest to what could be a stark space. The trim on the cabinets and the walls adds a vintage touch that works well with the skirted sink. The sink also has a ribbed front, which brings in more visual interest. Adding wooden pegs on the wall from which to hang herbs adds that final flair. While the overall palette is serene, there is still a lot going on to keep the eye interested. So, forgo the flat white walls in favour of some architectural interest and visual texture. Other ideas could be using a distressed cabinet for display purposes, or hanging old sculptural picture frames, an old wooden window or framed mirror on the wall that will bring in the same feel.

Include subtle pattern

The marble countertop in the photo has a tone-on-tone appearance with just a hint of a soft pattern. Soft patterns can be more affordably included through fabrics, wallpaper and window treatments. A soft pattern adds visual interest just like texture does.

White furniture

It may be time to update your dark wooden furniture pieces. How about painting them in warm white to give them new life? Update the hardware if necessary and enjoy your old pieces once again. Painting larger pieces white will make the room feel more spacious and fresh. Practise on a small item first to get the look you desire, and consider distressing it for added interest. Other items like framed mirrors, wall shelves and picture frames might get a fresh look with some white paint, or add some white shutters.

For busy upholstered pieces, purchase furniture slipcovers in warm white so that they will fit into the mix.


In the photo, the accessories that are included are in warm earthy tones. The soft green of the herbs and jute herb bag are reminiscent of nature. There are two ways to go with accessories. You might prefer soft, earth-toned accessories in a bedroom but might opt for pops of bright colour in a family or dining room. Two or three small pops of colour, like a vase of vivid flowers for example, will bring a bit more energy to the room. Either way, accessories are easy enough to change out when you want something different. Have a little fun with this phase of your project.


A fresh bed set in a white-on-white palette can add a sense of elegance in a master bedroom. Look for sets with textural elements and perhaps a hint of pattern.

In a spa-like bathroom, luxuriously thick, oversized white towels will make you feel spoiled. The same goes for bath mats. Spend a few bucks to get something scrumptious underfoot.

White doesn’t have to be boring. Keep the above techniques in mind and you’ll have a successful outcome.

About the author


Connie Oliver is an interior designer from Gimli, Manitoba.

Connie Oliver's recent articles



Stories from our other publications