A white-on-white color scheme can be sophisticated, or it can give off a sterile, hospital-room vibe. Are you trying to pull off a white-on-white decorating scheme but just can't quite get it right? Perhaps you need to incorporate a little bit of color to help balance out the room's design or give it a warmer atmosphere. How much color do you need to bring in to achieve the desired effect? What colors are acceptable in a white-on-white room?
When you need to fill a blank wall
A large white wall is a blank slate begging to be filled. The color, and amount of color, is totally reliant upon the look you are going for. Remember, a bold pop of color in a white-on-white color scheme could look obnoxious when used in a concentrated area. If you choose something bold, be sure to balance it out with more of the same (or a complementary) color in another area of the room. Alternatively, choose neutral or pastel-hued paintings or wall art to fill this area.
When it looks like a hospital room
Can't quite get rid of that hospital-room vibe? It is possible that your whites are just too flat and lack any texture. Balance out all the white with wood tones and neutral furnishings, such as stained-wood end tables, benches, flooring, and so on. You could also offset the bright white upholstery by painting the walls a warmer beige tone. It doesn't take much color to help warm up a white-on-white decorating scheme.
When a room lacks any interest
When white-on-white decor seems dull and uninteresting, begin by adding texture to the design. Mix it up with wood furniture that shows the graining, textured upholstery, and shiny silver accent pieces. To add texture using a little bit of color, choose visual patterns in white and another light, neutral hue. To add interest to any room, no matter the color scheme, always begin by mixing up the textures -- soft versus hard and rough versus smooth.
It doesn't take much color to make a white-on-white decorating scheme seem more interesting. The only times you may need to add color to white-on-white decor are when you need to fill a large white space, when it seems too sterile, or when it is just plain boring.
Tonya graduated from the Interior Design program at Alexandria Technical College in 2008. She currently lives in South Dakota and writes articles related to design, decorating, and home improvement for various Internet sites.