The Power of Color: White

Is white a color?

In physics they would say no, as color is visible light on a specific wavelength. White light contains all the wavelengths of visible light, black is the absence of color. In art, white is the absence of color and they consider black as the presence of all colors.

So can we say pure white is the absence of color or the presence of all colors? All depends on your perspective.

crumpled looseleaf paper  Cliffski  - crumpled white paper Winter Series  Stephen Antonakos  - white room via  Ultralinx

crumpled looseleaf paper Cliffski - crumpled white paper Winter Series Stephen Antonakos - white room via Ultralinx

White is the color of fresh beginnings, purity, cleanliness, goodness, loyalty, unifying. A color which brings clarity, the opportunity to start all over. A color for aging, think of white hair. For some seen as a negative association, for others it stands for wisdom. The meaning of color can be very cultural related. In the West white is the color for weddings, in the East it is the color of funerals, mourning.

White as snow, white as a sheet, white lie, white wash…..

Image all the possibilities you have when you have a white paper, and it is up to you if you want to write a poem, to make a sketch, use it to make a calculation……. but those endless possibilities can also be terrorizing. The same when you enter a new house or apartment. All those white walls, where to begin?

white flower via  Iles Formula  - wedding dress via  My Fairy lily

white flower via Iles Formula - wedding dress via My Fairy lily

White was one of the first colors used in art. 18.000 years ago paleothic artist would use chalk as background, or to highlight a part of the drawings they would make on the walls in a cave.

Pure white can be to much, but it all depends of the materials you will use. White can seem cold but it can also feel fragile, warm and tender, poetic. To much white can make you think of a hospital.

I love the scene with the clouds out the movie The Girl with the Pearl, when Vermeer is asking Griet what color she sees when looking at the clouds. White same all the other colors are having a lot of shades and hues. Imagine the world with only one tone of red, green and yellow.

image eye via  WGSN  - paint swatches  Sherwin-Williams  via  Vintage Revivals  - Simply White  Benjamin Moore

image eye via WGSN - paint swatches Sherwin-Williams via Vintage Revivals - Simply White Benjamin Moore

Optical white should not scare you, there are hundreds of white tones to choose from. Off-whites, can have a warm or a cold undertone. White can be much more. Picking the right white paint is harder than you would think. But it makes a big difference which tone of white you will pick. Some whites with a blueish - grey undertone will bring a crisp tone to the room, others with a yellow undertone will make the room feel warm.

When I’m looking for a nice white tone and want to be sure it will be the perfect white, than I go to Benjamin Moore for Simply White. You remember a few years ago they made it their color of the year.

You should always buy a small amount of paint to test the the color on a bigger surface, in the room where you want to use it. A color can look beautiful on a small sample, but can look completely different in your home. And than we think white is white, forget that, you can go quite wrong with choosing a white tone.

calacatta marble via  Architonic  - bathroom - kitchen via  Est Living

calacatta marble via Architonic - bathroom - kitchen via Est Living

White will always be in the top three of favorite colors for bathroom and kitchen. Why? Simple: because you will notice immediately when it is dirty. And the bathroom and kitchen are the rooms where we want to have it all the time spotless. Go for a mat finishe as a shiny finish will make it look cold and you will see each finger print on the surface.

In the other rooms take care as to much white can make you feel lonely and isolated.

knitted wool via  Kara Rosenlund  - image woman Darian Nepriakhina via  Unsplash  - candles - bedlinnen Sylvie Tittel via  Unsplash

knitted wool via Kara Rosenlund - image woman Darian Nepriakhina via Unsplash - candles - bedlinnen Sylvie Tittel via Unsplash

Before we will know winter will be there again. White is a perfect color also for that season. A thick woolen blanket, mohair, candle light. Make it cosy: warm white tones in the house and crisp white of the fresh fallen snow outdoors.

interior via  Looks Like White  - image with small table Atilla Taskiran via  Unsplash

interior via Looks Like White - image with small table Atilla Taskiran via Unsplash

Wood is always a good choice to warm up a room. The natural look will give us a secure feeling, adding comfort. So a wood floor is just the perfect choice. Add small table, or objets.

A room painted in white will reflect very well the natural light. So very important in a space where there is not to much natural light. The white walls will also the perfect background to hang art works.

living room via  Nordic Design  - image with mirror via  Could I have That  - linen in the back via  Artisans List

living room via Nordic Design - image with mirror via Could I have That - linen in the back via Artisans List

A white interior can be relaxing. Take care to choose the right materials. A shiny lacquered cabinet will look much colder than a sofa upholstered in a heavy linen or mohair velvet.

Even the choice of paint can make a big difference. Take a semi gloss for the skirting, eggshell for the walls and flat paint for the ceiling and you will see how the light reflect different on each surface, creating a beautiful harmony.

interior on the left  Living etc  - white door via  Ombia  - green background via  WGSN  - armchair Amoebe, Verner Panton  Vitra

interior on the left Living etc - white door via Ombia - green background via WGSN - armchair Amoebe, Verner Panton Vitra

White is the perfect background to start adding color. It will work with strong colors for a modern look, your colors will look vibrant and fresh. Take care not to combine it with to much black, the contrast is to big, add tones of grey to soften it a bit. The white background will also be influenced by the colors around it. A white wall will get a pinkish tone when you have a fuchsia sofa in front of it.

so choose white

  • as the perfect background

  • for a clean look

  • choose it with care, make a test at home

  • and make it warm by using natural materials

  • add wood

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Inspired by Brancusi

Inspired by Brancusi

Brancusi (1876 - 1957) is seen as the pioneer of modern sculpture. Born in rural Romania, he grew up in a area of Romania, the Carpathian mountains, which is know for its rich tradition of woodcarving. He started his art studies in Bucharest, went by foot to Munich and later by foot to Paris to enter the Ecole de Beaux-Arts in 1905. Brancusi was different of his peers, his journey to Paris made a legend of him. Brancusi was an outsider, wearing Romanian peasant clothing, playing and listening to folk music. He embraced the myth created around him.

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