Why White Walls Will Help You Slow Down
I'm running into more and more people expressing frustration and tiredness and overwhelm. We seem to always be trying to do more. Our days are hectic and we struggle to slow down and relax.
I believe that many are continuing to struggle to get that sense of rest and calm even at home because their homes are stuffed full of things and colours and clutter that overwhelms their senses. Or they're very dark or “builder beige’ or perhaps they’ve been left unfinished, all of which can feel depressing and weigh them down.
Our homes - I believe now more than ever - need to be a calm in the storm; an oasis from the chaos of life. They should restful and calming and at the same time warm and inviting.
Our environments really can either boost or harm our wellbeing.
And that's where using white at home comes in.
Here's Why White Walls are Calming
Research shows that white spaces have a positive effect on mood and energy. White spaces are known to help you experience restfulness, airiness, calm and joy. In colour psychology, white generates a sense of purity, balance and harmony. In feng shui white is a metal element, the energy of which is crisp, clear, clean and fresh.
In a light white space it's almost impossible to be anxious or depressed - because it tends to bounce around the light. And sunlight instills in us an innate sense of wellness. In turn, that sense of wellness allows to you create space mentally and emotionally. It helps you to slow down and be more mindful. Which in turn will help you be more productive and effective in everything you do.
I know I've never felt more calm and renewed as when I lived in a tiny condo with white walls that bounced the sunlight around everywhere. Even though I had only 700 sqft, it felt spacious and I spent a lot of happy time there.
Since then, I choose white paint 90% of the time for myself and my clients, and the spaces always feel fresher, lighter, and more relaxed and serene.
Now, I'm not saying you have to paint your walls white. Often times you can achieve a calming effect with other light neutral colours on the walls. Or it could mean that you bring in decorative elements in white to lighten a space up and/or calm it down. Even these small refreshes can improve your home's ability to let you slow down, rest, and recharge.
The trick to using white at home:
Sometimes, though, white can be tricky. Some people complain that it feels sterile and cold. The design trick to keeping an all-white space from feeling boring and institutional is to add warmth and meaning through textures, natural elements and personal, meaningful items.
When you add a natural fibre or a colourful rug to a white living room, it comes alive.
When you have natural materials like wood floors, wood shelving, plants and woven baskets in your home, white is a soft background that works in harmony.
When you layer your favourite artwork on a white wall its the colours that come out, not the walls behind it. You begin seeing the really valuable things in your home (loved ones and loved things), instead of a colourful space.
When you combine pillows in different shades of white with textures like chunky knits, sheephair and wool, the result is calming and interesting.
When you add your favourite colourful books or records or games or mementos your space comes alive and you see that personality, not the white walls.
Ideas for Using White at Home to Help You Slow Down
Paint walls in a neutral white or off-white so they'll reflect and bounce around the light. Good neutral choices include Sherwin Williams Pure White, SW Extra White and Benjamin Moore Simply White.
Paint tables, desks, and kitchen cabinetry with white semi-gloss paint and then add a few layers of water-based polyurethane so that they are protected and easily wiped down. They'll instantly brighten your space and reflect the light coming in from outdoors. White cabinets and furniture are classic and will never go out of style.
Use white linen or 100% cotton white curtains to create a relaxed look and let as much natural light in as possible.
Paint a floor that's seen better days with white floor paint.
Use lots of soft white and cream and grey throws and pillows to encourage rest and relaxation in comfort.
Stack fluffy white towels in the bathroom for an immediate "spa..hhhh" feeling.
Stack white everyday dishes on open shelving in the kitchen.
Switch your pillows out to white textured and cozy ones. And do the same with throws.
Convinced but not sure what white to choose? Then you'll want to download my free guide to choosing the right white paint. Happy brushing!