I’ve been thinking a lot recently about why white rooms seem so popular on social media feeds and Pinterest, but not as much in the “real world”. Have you noticed this?
White Rooms of Instagram
Instagram feeds that feature predominantly white rooms seem to be unusually popular with thousands, if not tens of thousands, of followers.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I think these are all beautiful feeds. Many of these are their own homes or work. This is not to ‘dis them at all. But, I feel like if I followed them, I’d be seeing what seemed to be the same thing, over and over again. But, my feed, which has all kinds of color and content has relatively few followers. So, there is something to this consistency of color – or lack of it.
Designer’s Own White Rooms
The gallerylike white backdrop has remained unchanged over the years.“I wanted it to be a canvas for the things that are inside of the apartment,” says Vicente. It was this simple yet purposeful gesture that set the stage for a home that is light, airy, and constantly evolving…
Is this the lure of white rooms? The potential for change? The endless possibilities?
Of course, we all know that white kitchens have been hugely popular for a long time.
Christopher Peacock Cabinetry has long been synonymous with the classic white kitchen and the perennially popular white kitchen in Something’s Gotta Give certainly became a touchstone for nearly a generation of white kitchen lovers.
This month’s Traditional Home magazine’s cover story features a white kitchen with several other white rooms. Interestingly, a few years ago, an editor for Traditional Home was speaking at the Boston Design Center and they were begging for non-white kitchens… Looks like they lost that battle. Over on their Facebook feed, TH routinely posts a photos of the day. Much of the time it’s some version of a white room. And, the comments all seem pretty consistently positive/swoony – except for those who complain about “another white room??”
Hold the phone… This is a white room in the farmhouse style. Hmm… where have we seen many white farmhouse style rooms…
Ah yes, the über popular Joanna and Chip Gaines aka Magnolia Homes aka Fixer Upper purveyors of all things white, rustic and farmhouse-y. Giving them their due, Suzanne Kasler said she’d hire them when she was speaking at the Boston Design Center a few weeks ago. And I don’t think she was being sarcastic. Suzanne tends to prefer a white background in her interiors as well, though it’s a background (like Vicente) not all the furnishings as well.
So, what about the Psychology of White Rooms?
I came across this article on Very Well Mind on The Color Psychology of White which I think is pretty interesting. Of course, it’s important to note that color associations vary from culture to culture, but in our Western culture, white often symbolizes purity, safety, cleanliness, innocence. While some will see it as sterile and bland, others see the more positive traits.
Since we were children, we’ve usually had a favorite color and it’s a question we’re asked a lot. (Green is mine, btw.) And rarely does anyone ever say that their favorite color is white. However, when asked what a favorite color for one’s own rooms, it appears that white is more likely to be the answer. I don’t recall ever having a client who had a predominantly white space that they weren’t anxious to change nor has anyone ever asked for white rooms and furnishings (except kitchens and bathroom, of course). More often than not, when faced with white furnishings, the response is a quick no, because “how will it ever be kept clean?”
So, white is popular, safe and innocent – but also not so safe when it comes to keeping it clean. Is the allure that we think our own lives can’t support a white space so we’re fascinated by those who do?
And, is white really safe and innocent? Not according to those who point to a torture technique – White Torture – where the detainee is kept in an all white room for long periods, wearing all white, eating all white foods, hearing no noises aside from their own voice, the light level never changes. Apparently the deprivation of color and sound is desolating, deafening and deadening, leaving the detainee unable to remember faces of even their own parents. I can see this happening. One thing that makes white rooms actually work decoratively is the addition of materials that have texture, the warmth of wood and the quality of the light, natural and artificial.
So, I’d love to hear from you – do you live in a white space, or dream of doing so? Do you swoon over the near white-out feeds on social media? Or, would you feel like a torture victim – devoid of stimulation and interest.