Q: This may sound like a stupid question, but what exactly is “winter white?” A friend of mine claims she decorated her living room for the holidays in winter whites, but I went to her house, and it looks like regular old white to me. There’s really nothing winter about it; in fact it’s really summery, whether she calls it winter white or not! How do you create a seasonal winter white look?
Thanks, Reyna S.
A: Your poor friend! She probably didn’t realize that decorating in winter white isn’t just about putting white stuff in the room and calling it a day. It is about creating a vibe or mood, not only through the use of white, but though the use of color to offset it. Winter white is the look that a pure, white snowfall creates. Think of a blanket of white powder against the backdrop of a gray-black night. Think of children skating on an ice rink, bundled in heavy down coats and wool hats. When you imagine these scenes, a few things come to mind: heavy texture, deep color, and lots of material to keep you warm. That being said, your memories and notions of this season should be applied to transforming your room into a winter-white wonderland.
Here’s what you need to know to get started:
1. Heavy textures and fabrics
Texture is so important. There’s a big difference between wearing a white or cream-colored wool coat in December, and wearing a white linen sundress. No matter how you dress it up, it’s still a summer piece. Volume creates coziness and makes you want to curl up in front of the fireplace. Antique-looking white pieces like the chairs shown here are also great investments, and will work every season, depending on the rest of the decor. Housewares.com offers these unique chairs, and they even ship to Canada.
Choose a puddling drapery or white silk roman shade like above in the teardrop/hobbled style. It will give you that feeling that you’re being enveloped in warmth.
To get the look, opt for silks, velvets, or really anything heavy-hanging. Try to avoid linens and anything else that looks free flowing and wispy.
2. Pair your whites with deep hues
A splash of color goes a long way. There are two ways to do this. Either you can design a completely white room with pops of rich color, or you can opt for mostly color and use white accents.
All you need to do is recall what you love about winter, then base your design on those colors and touches. You’ll end up with a distinctive look that encapsulates winter white and how soft and beautiful it can be.
Avoid decorating in florals and small prints for winter. Try to follow the foliage of the season. If it doesn’t bloom or grow in the snow, avoid draperies, bedding, and upholstering with patterns of it.