All White: Timeless or Trendy?

July 27, 2010


I’ll be the first to stand up and plead guilty to a love of decorating with white. 

all white bed style at home

I’ll spray paint just about anything white that’s standing still.  

white dining room michael partenio

I’ve noticed that for the last several years, all white rooms are popping up more and more in design.      

  sarah richardson white room  

White spaces have an ethereal and dreamlike quality . . .

white vanity country living

. . . so crisp, clean, and bright.

coastal living all white room christmas

Romantic and lovely. 

layla grace bedroom

But I often wonder . . .

  white bedroom country living

even though white spaces are pretty . . .

  cream bedroom with cool dresser adelto    

Are they practical ?

  Do children really live here?

white dinign room slipcovered contry living

   I’ve heard several moms swear by white slipcovers and bleach.

white slipcovers myidealhome

I do believe the key to pulling it off is to provide varying textures.

And dark floors do help ground a space dominated by white.

all white bedroom dark floors  myideal home  

. . . or a dark piece of furniture for contrast. 

coastal living decor above bed white room

. . . better still, dark floors and pops of color.

white chairs and endtable style at home  

. . .  something, somewhere for your eye to focus, and rest. 

rachel whiting white bedroom with color

. . . even if it’s just a simple throw and some greenery.

white room via simply seleta via madamecupcake tumblr


 I like to see a touch of color on the walls . . . 

victoria thompson bedroom

. . . or at a minimum, some patterned fabric to add interest.

   white bedroom justine taylor via myidealhome

white room pop of turquoise cottage living         

  I do believe the white kitchen will be around for awhile.


Are you a fan of space dominated by white ? 

white room griege via seleta 

Could you live in a room void of color ?  

  style at home ann favot living

All white rooms.  Are they timeless, or trendy

Images: Style at Home; Michael Partenio; Sarah Richardson; Country Living; Coastal Living; Layla Grayce; Country Living; Adelto; Country Living; My Ideal Home; My Ideal Home; Coastal Living; Style at Home; Rachel Whiting; via Simply Seleta; Lonny; My Ideal Home; Cottage Living; source unknown; Griege via Simply Seleta; Style at Home

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144 Responses to “All White: Timeless or Trendy?”

  1. I believe they are both timeless and trendy..but like everything else the trend will die and the timeless part will keep kicking. I love ALL of the rooms that you posted and could easily spend my night, day, afternoon, what have you, in them.

  2. WOW!! I like I like a lot this is beautiful. Very trendy especially with some colours added in there to really stand out. Excellent photos thank you.

  3. m.may says:

    Definately timeless….but trendy right now. I find it to be very calming and relaxing after working
    in a bold colored office all day.I have white slipcovers and LOVE them…..also a clean freak. Some
    will say with kids or pets no way,but they get dirty regardless of the color. So I enjoy having something I can wash on a regular basis and know it is clean. All white with pops of color,texture
    and pattern for me.

  4. Autumn Clark says:

    I think that white rooms photograph well and are lovely. But I cannot see them as practical. We just primed our kitchen walls white and have all white cabinetry and it was SCARY! I thought at that moment, that no matter how trendy it is to do all white, I could not do it. I love the coziness of color… Too much white feels sterile in my opinion. (Of course this is coming from a mom of 4 too.)

  5. i love all of these images, and have recently been wondering the same thing. i love bursts of white in a room, whether it is with accessories, a piece of furniture or pillows.
    love this post!!

  6. Holly says:

    Feels trendy to me. I mean all the mags are currently dominated by this theme, whereas a few years ago it was all about color. And yes, what children can live happily amongst a house of white? “Don’t touch that! Don’t eat that there! Don’t spill!” Etc, etc, etc. Its beautiful and lovely, but it almost makes me think of a home that has no life within.

  7. lois says:

    I think it’s classic. I had an all white den for 10 years. I enjoyed the cool, serene environment and, contrary to popular belief, it’s easier to keep all white clean because you can see where the dirt is. It can’t hide. However, my children are grown. But many years ago, when I did have children at home, I made a white slipcover for our old sofa. When it got dirty, I just threw it in the washer and popped it back on the sofa.

    I love all white!!

  8. I am leaning a little to the trendy side when white is the main or only color in the entire room. The picture of the dark wood floor and white bedding looks quite classic to me, I think it may come down to the variety of texture and classic forms or details. Lovely post!

  9. I think it’s both. I think it depends on how the room is put together on whether it’s going to be trendy or classic.

    It’s very pretty…for other people. Personally….I just see dirty. LOL

  10. Shea Lynn says:

    It’s hard to say really. I think it’s pretty trendy right now but white always makes me feel calm and peaceful. I would live to slipcover my dark couch in white, but I don’t have any children so I can’t speak of the dirt that may show. Overall, I love it and wish I had more of it.

  11. K says:

    Does anyone know where the bedskirt is from in Picture 11? :)

  12. Nikki Merson says:

    It’s gotta be vanilla. That vanilla-custard feel of the girly bedroom pictured, it’s warm, inviting, comfy and not so icy and sterile and cold as the stark-white modern look. I love being able to bleach my white slipcovers, and I’m moving into a house now and have chosen an almost all white palette with ivories, vanillas, and creamy golden whites. It gives me SO many quick and inexpensive options to totally change the color scheme of a room–don’t have to repaint or anything, just add new curtains, pillows and throws, maybe a colorfully painted or repainted end table or accent piece! I could change my decor once a month if I wanted…oh, hmmm….maybe that’s exactly what I’ll do!!!

  13. Ann says:

    The white kitchen you’ve shown is classic so it will be around forever. It has always been my favorite. The truly all white kitchen (white Corian counters) didn’t last. Personally I like dark floors, true white walls, plenty of texture and a strong contrast color, be it red, turquoise, something!

  14. that’s a toughy! but I think timeless……but def. after the kids are older!! lol

  15. Irene says:

    I am not a fan of all white rooms. I find them cold and uninviting. However, with some soft color, they can transform, but only a little bit. The truth is, I am a girl of color.

  16. Liza says:

    I agree it looks very crisp, bright and airy. However, I’m disliking how “trendy” it’s gotten and no matter how pretty it looks, I doubt a real family can really live on a space dominated by white..
    Hello.. white couch, area rug, cushions in a house with children? I like a mix of browns, blues and whites.. but I couldn’t phatom an entire white spectrum in a house.. it’ll feel so cold and even uninviting (as I’ll be afraid to even sit on a white chair to avoid getting it dirty)

  17. They are beautiful to look at in magazines, but I could not handle living in an all white space! It would drive me crazy to be constantly worried about how visible dust, smudges, spills, etc. are. Plus, color is just too fun and expressive to live without! What would I do without peacock blue?!

  18. As much as I love a white room…I’ve never been able to reign myself in and avoid color. I’m making over my son’s room and painting three of the walls white (such an odd feeling!!), but the 4th wall will have chocolate and orange stripes, so hopefully a good balance!


  19. Amy B says:

    I am totally on the white bandwagon, I find it classic. But I doubt any “real” house can do it with kids. Wait, strike that…my husband is just as, if not more messy!

  20. Angie Pitre says:

    This is a great question Kate! I really love white and white rooms, but I know that would not work for me in my house at this stage in life. I have white kitchen cupboards and I am constantly wiping off ketchup and mustard fingerprints and black fingerprints from newspapers. I can’t imagine having an all white living room…I have other things to do with my time besides wiping fingerprints and washing white slipcovers all the time. I have 2 brown leather sofas in our living room and the kids and the dogs can sit there as much as they want and I don’t have to wipe up afterwards, or wash, or get cranky with them! I prefer Sarah Richardson’s formula of a neutral background pallette with the color in the furniture and accessories. Wonderful post!

  21. Brenda Moore says:

    Still can’t convince me! Don’t mind the ivory shades too much but plain white just looks like the inside of a white-washed out-house.
    Sorry everyone, it just does to me.
    AND these people who “swear by white slip covers and bleach”….. they neglect to mention HOW MUCH bleach and HOW MANY WASHES they go through, just to keep up, don’t they??
    NOPE! Never me.
    Love all the shades of the rainbow.

  22. Condo Blues says:

    I like the look of an all white room but I think they really live in the magazine spread dream world. Not in people’s houses who have children or dogs unless you are Jonathan Adler. I’m sure he’d cut you if you messed with an all white room in his home!

  23. White is timeless! I love my white slips and could totally live in a room void of color! It’s so peaceful to me! Although my living room has a few turquoise accents.

  24. Buddiegirl says:

    I love, love, love an all white kitchen. No matter how many design magazines I look through with kitchen makeovers, I pass over the brightly coloured ones and return to the all white kitchen. I also find white bedrooms to be so calm and serene just as they should be for a good night’s sleep.

  25. Kerry says:

    =( white is a no-no in our house; 3 cats and a multi-coloured parrot (and an unreasonable injuction against Roombas from my husband!) mean that white would be VERY, VERY difficult to maintain. As much as I dislike brown, most of our furniture is taupe or cafe-au-lait – hides enough of the fur. How on earth do you keep it clean with so many kids in the house???? We have reserved a special cat-free guest room, painted white and soft sage green, and I am looking for a comfy bright white pull-out sofa for it to turn it into a reading/guest room – as of yet, no luck.

  26. Rob O. says:

    I prefer to stick with the white for crown molding, baseboard, and other trim to make a nice punch against the wall coloring. But yeah, all white rooms are the trendy, photgenic stuff of glossy magazines. Real people don’t live in those spaces. Certainly not real people with children.

  27. Jen says:

    I cannot tell you HOW GREAT this post is! All my friends tease me because everything I like to decorate with is white. white white white all the time!

    FABULOUS POST. Thanks for the inspiration :D

  28. Gal says:

    I love white bedrooms, it’s very relaxing, and white cabinetry in the kitchen, but some of these rooms are too kitschy.
    I like white with bursts of color, such as yellow, or white and black.

  29. Jo-ann Fyn says:

    I love the white with a pop of colour & a dark floor with different textures so much you can do to change it up modern yet so classic at the same time beautiful!!

  30. Judy says:

    I am a fan of many shades of white and cream with some color either on the walls or in the accessories. Just stark white is too sterile for me. I hope it will be in vogue for a while though because it is quite lovely. I’m guessing it is timeless enough to hang in there.


  31. Glenda @ Magnolia Bend Drive says:

    Hi Kate, I think white can be timeless, if treated as you suggested, with pops of color, dark floors, and something other than white to rest your eyes upon. Thanks for your ideas, as always, very inspiring. Happy Mother’s Day!

  32. AC Vargis says:

    I have a hard enough time keeping white clothes white – bloody handwashing! As much as I love white, I’m lazy, sloppy and not refined enough to manage the up-keep of white furniture.

    Though I have heard that you should always buy white towels cos it’s easy enough to bleach the suckers clean. But I’m lazy. I don’t even add fabric softener. And I hate crunchy towels.

    As for our furniture, we’ve got brown leather couches for the living room and the easily-dirtifiable stuff in the formal where there’s no traffic. The leather’s great cos crap seems to buff right off. Sweeeet.

  33. Angela says:

    From what I’m gathering, people who have white furniture and kids seem to think that white slipcovers works, whereas the people who are saying white slipcovers wouldn’t work haven’t necessarily tried them with kids. Since I have been long contemplating white furniture, I’d love to see some clarification from either side. Has anyone with kids purchased white slipcovers and regretted it?

  34. LizzieBeth says:

    White rooms are classic, at least in the deep south. My grandparents’ house was built in the 30s and she had white rooms with colorful accents (pops of color). we were all over her house and furniture as kids. I also use lots of white in upholstery and slip covers in my house. I like the walls to be bright and happy and tone the color with white furnishings and woodwork. It’s so much easier to change paint and not so easy to change upholstery or slip covers. I find that white works with kids as long as you don’t allow them to eat on the furniture. That said, I could have a navy blue sofa and I still wouldn’t let them eat in the living room. Food belongs in the kitchen, dining room or patio. I’ve never let them take food to other parts of the house…but, there was that time I found a near-petrified apple core under my daughter’s bed when she was about six. hahaha.

  35. sarah. says:

    Remember when Wal-Mart came out with revamped packaging for their Great Value store brand? The mostly white boxes and labels really stood out on the shelves. Clean crisp and classic, but after a while, and if not done right, it just goes back to being boring.

    Definitely tough to actually live in though.

  36. Rachel says:

    For those seeking clarification as to the white slipcovers with children, I will offer my experience. I live in a 1200 sq ft ranch home with 2 children (now 14 & 12), my hubby, 4 dogs (2 – 100+ lbs; 2 tiny) and 11 cats. Yeah, I know…I have issues.

    I have used slipcovers & throws in red, taupe, brown tweed, grey, & white on my sofa and chairs; as well as many multi-colored quilts. As it is impossible to keep an army of cats off the furniture, I allow all the dogs on as well. My kids can have food & drinks while on the furniture, because, frankly I felt they couldn’t do any worse to it than the animals.

    My take: The all white slips were by far the most attractive…I loved the look of them. And if you are a NORMAL pet owner, it is super easy to use a tape roll to de-fur the sofa. I didn’t care for dark colors that hid the fur, because everyone is then covered in it. Muddy dog paws have to be cleaned after going out, but that’s usually a seasonal issue. As far as the kids were concerned, the white slips were a NIGHTMARE. Even when you don’t allow them snacks/drinks in the room, you will inevitably have a little boy who has been playing outside all day come in and plop down on the lovely white sofa, leaving multiple smudges of dirt/snot/juice/popsicle/ice cream/candy/lunch/& God-knows-what-else all over the place. My daughter was good for pencil/paint/marker/make-up/glitter. Of course mom is always in the laundry, kitchen or bathroom when the dirty brats start rolling all over the furniture so there is only a slim chance you”ll catch ’em in time to have them clean up and remove their shoes. White slipcovers do wash up beautifully with bleach. However, REMOVING & REPLACING them is difficult and time consuming…those things don’t go back on THAT easily. All the tugging, stuffing & adjusting is a real workout. I found I needed to wash them at least once or twice a week (never less; often more frequently); several hours of extra work each week. Even though my kids are older now, they are not much better at keeping their feet off the furniture, washing their hands after handling messy things, or keeping pens/pencils/art supplies clear of the furniture. If you have a large enough home to provide your kids with a playroom or study/art and media room–and if your kids are EXCELLENT re: no shoes or food on furniture, and frequent hand washing–you might be happy with white slips. Otherwise you’ll just end up freaking out on the kids all day long, and constantly fussing with your furniture. I think white is best suited to childless households or those with older teens.

    **If anyone is curious, my best Crazy-Cat/Dog-Lady-With-Kids furniture solution has been a leather sectional. I don’t personally care for the look of dark leather furniture (though my husband and kids love it), but it is soooo easy to clean. Pet fur brushes right off, and kid spills, muddy paw prints or doggie slobber I wipe up with cleaning wipes. A little Pledge now and then keeps the leather soft and shiny. The only downside: the cats love to sharpen their claws on the back and sides of the sofa…it’s getting pretty shredded. But I love my little kitties more than my furniture :)

  37. Chris says:

    I could *definitely* live in an all-white house…for a time. I don’t know that I could ever tire of the look it, but I would maybe grow tired of having to keep it so pristine. And I would certainly feel as though I didn’t match. Could I wear my hand-dyed socks? Indigo jeans? The people that I know who have all-white slipcovers and weathered white washed wood seem to forever be in ecru-and-white linen. Even in winter!

    If I ever have a cabin, though…

  38. Gknee says:

    I couldn’t live in a home where every room is white but to have one room say the bedroom or office would work for me. A white room is like sniffing a bowl of coffee beans to clear the senses, it’s restful and centering.

  39. Katrina says:

    My undergrad degree was in Studio Art and looking at an all white room is like looking at a huge blank canvas. It’s just screaming for some splashes of color. I really like white chair rails, panels/wainscoting and trim, but I need colors in other parts of the room. Otherwise, it feels like a hospital or asylum to me, not enchanting AT ALL. When I think of dreamy and enchanting, I think of a forest with colored leaves, colored lights, and colorfully dressed people. Besides, if you decorate your house in all white, you’re discriminating against all other colors!

  40. Janet says:

    I love love all white kitchen. Yes, that’s because I have one. You can accessorize with color and change the color scheme so easily. I have two pictures with lots of colors that just pop with the white background. So bright and cheerful. I have 2 teenagers and a dog not to mention a hubby that never takes his shoes off. You can soft scrub the walls as long as you have matte finish.

  41. I have had WHITE slip covers for over 15 years and wrote a post on how to make slipcovers your friend …i love my slip covers i had to have them made as there was no one who was mass producing like we see today ..but i give a lot of tips on how i bought the fabric and tips on check it out ..but i am in love with this whole post as i am a white interior Lover!!!

  42. I am LOVING white. I think it is so crisp and fresh and can be translated to any room of the house. I think that, when done correctly, white can still feel as warm and cozy as browns and other rich colors.

  43. “Are they practical? Do children really live here?”

    LOL! Your caption made me laugh! It’s so true! There is no way we’d be able to keep everything white with a couple of toddlers running around being toddlers.

    I love the compilation of white interior design you have! I think the just white look is a bit too much for me and reminds me a lot of an asylum or a hospital because it looks so hygienic. On the other hand, I like the accent colors because it gives it more warmth.

    Thanks for sharing!


  44. Teresa says:

    For years I would never paint any color other than white in a room because I love so many colors I could just never decide on one or even a few colors to work from — so White it was. And as it seems, White it still is. Even after the better part of 30 years living on my own in multiple houses I have still never wondered very far from the love of white, the simplicity of white, the ease of knowing that when I open the can of paint it will be the color I know and love on my walls — not some strange thing that has happened at dusk to the paint that I might have chosen. So White will be around for the remainder of my years and like you I like a well grounded room so you will find dark floors or a black piece of furniture thrown in to keep the room from floating away — but trendy — Never. White will always be a staple in this house at the very least.

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