Why all white? My reasons for *almost* all white walls.

One of my lovely followers messaged me last week to ask about my house and my decision to have an all white background. She was interested in my reasons for our doing this, the things I have learned as a result of living with a white interior for a few years now.  I thought these questions and their answer would make a pretty useful blog post, so here we are.


I haven’t always been an advocate of all white walls, a few of my close friends will be chuckling when they see this post, they’ll remember the old me. There was a time when I just didn’t get it, white is such an impractical colour, isn’t it? It’s too harsh, unwelcoming, cold, a total no with kids in the house surely?! 

But when we really started to get our house in hand, a few years back, and began to make it the home we love today, the white started to filter in and I became a convert. You could say I saw the light, quite literally!

A fresh start.

Even if you don’t want a house of all white walls, choosing a colour suitable for your space can be tricky and time consuming. Get the shade just a little too dark or too light and your vision won’t be realised and if you’re anything like me you’ll get caught up in days of tester pot confusion and anger. I’m a great believer in living and learning from your home, so get to know the light and how that changes throughout the day. A fresh all white base can provide you with a blank canvas, a place in which, over time, your personality can grow as you introduce furniture and soft furnishings. You can *almost* cancel out the decorating history of a room with this one simple step.

Image source: Pinterest

Light and space.

For us it was important to increase the feeling of space in our house, at a time when we couldn’t afford to physically create it. Before we had the extension it felt like a battle to create the illusion of space in a home that was too small for our needs. White walls definitely helped with this, opening up spaces, connecting them and even now, with the extension, the flow of the white throughout helps link the different areas together, making each room feel bigger as there’s no boundaries, no doors downstairs, no stop and start.

Our ceiling heights in the kitchen and living room aren’t *that* high, I guess average, but I crave seriously high ceilings, but that isn’t going to happen. White walls blending into the white ceiling gives the illusion of more height.

Totally in love with the sky high ceiling in the extension.

A match made in heaven.

My favourite elements in our home are the different types of wood we have dotted around. Beech, Birch Ply, Oak floor… I love the warm tones and the beautiful contrast they give against the brilliant white background.

One of my favourite pieces in the house, the Ferm Living Dorm Shelf
Read more about this custom made cupboard here.

This Pinterest image of dreams demonstrates how white, wood and concrete were made for each other. Serious Kitchen goals right here.

Change your mind then change it again.

I’m not immune to the lure of colour and over the years I have experimented with a ‘feature wall’ or two, but the initial love rarely lasts and soon I’m back to craving a blank canvas. Paint can be a relatively cheap way of creating a change, so I never feel guilty when I feel that niggle in my mind, the one I can’t ignore. My husband thinks I’m mad and that’s fine, he’s probably right. I just go with it.

There was the blush pink wall week, or maybe it lasted a whole 2 weeks!

And Eula had some really simple mountains in her room for a fair while…

But none of these sat comfortably with me and I knew as soon as they were done that they would not be long term keepers, I love the fresh, open possibilities of white walls and details.

The only coloured walls that seem to be standing the test of time and my ever changing mind is in Nancy’s room. This space felt lacking before the half painted walls and I’m still as happy with it now as I was the day I did it. You can read more about this room here.

Practical points.

White is impractical, right? Well, I used to think so. I have two young children, children are disgusting, feral creatures who seem to manage to get anything dirty, even straight after a bath! Why the hell would you cover your house in such an impractical colour?! I’ll tell you why, white paint is pretty much the only colour I know of that allows you to touch up here and there and it’s invisible once dry. Any other colour and you get a flash, an area that shines more from certain angles, telling the tale of the grubby hand prints or stick man drawings that just magically appeared on the stairs one quiet afternoon.

I use Dulux Trade Brilliant White in matt, you can scrub it if you like, or if that’s too much like effort, every so often you can just wander around the house with the tub and touch up any offending areas. Bish, bash, bosh, back to clean and cheery and you look like a domestic legend. 

The trade paint is much thicker than standard, a bit more Β£ but absolutely worth the extra expense. Once you’ve tried it all other paint is like water to work with. 2 coats of Trade will cover almost anything, even bright mustard wallpaper!

Another colour mistake for me!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike colour, lately I often admire people with their amazingly beautiful dark blue walls and feel a pang of envy, if I had a bigger house, a spare bedroom, I would definitely have tried my hand at a darker interior, but alas I do not and for me I just feel happier with a blank backdrop which I can then dress with pops of colour here and there. It suits my need for constant change.

When thinking about the decor of a home I like to picture myself in the future. How will I feel about a detail in a few months, a few years time? A painted wall can be changed pretty easily, but more permanent features such as tiles are a big financial commitment. I feel white is a pretty future safe colour, easily accessorised with artwork, plants and furniture, but neutral enough to not become a regret. This was a contributing factor in our tile decisions for the kitchen.

Whilst the grid layout makes a bold statement, going with matt white means I am fairly confident that I won’t have any regrets. If you are sure enough in your mind to choose a bold colour and that’s what you like then that’s brilliant. But I know myself pretty well by now and colour in a very permanent feature such as this is just asking for trouble!

I love the subtlety but also the impact as you walk into this room.

Image source

Image source

My dream home is a period house of some description, maybe Georgian, high ceilings, lots of original features like ornate cornicing and a fireplace in every room. But many of these details would be white like the walls. 

Image source

So open and light, grand but a little rough around the edges, that’s the perfect me!!!
How do you feel about so much white, maybe you’ve had your reservations but I may have convinced you otherwise?
I’d love to hear from you,

Happy Mid Week x

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Morag Duller says:

    I love white. We had colour in our house before having building work done and afterwards we decided to just paint everything white. It is so versatile as you can accessorise with colour and change those colours without too much expense. I just need to persuade my other half to get rid of some clutter. I love your house and its simplicity.

    1. Thank you Morag. I had another big sort through and donated lots to charity today, I feel like I’m winning at life, even just for one day!

  2. upgradesign says:

    This is so true. The blank canvas. The neutral background for the home. Because we want the important things to pop out! Or as my friend says: I’m more aware of the glass of good red wine when I put it on a white table πŸ™‚

    I believe colours set the mood by absorbing a certain amount of light, and that’s why dark blue or light grey usually look so good. And half painted walls are so much better than one featured wall – Nancy’s room is the perfect example. Also, this post is perfect. Reading about the things you’ve learned over time and about your “mistakes” we all probably did or will do, is so inspiring.

    1. Thank you for your kind words ❀

  3. I love all white room, walls and decor, it’s stunning!

    1. Thanks so much, me too! Though I think I may be going over to the dark side in the living room!

  4. Sage says:

    What are your favourite white paints to use??

    1. Hi, I mainly use Dulux Trade pure brilliant white in Matt x

  5. Annie says:

    Hi Alice, I stumbled into Alice in Scandiland, appropriately enough! I am about to paint my entire flat white and feel slightly nervous about it so turned to google. I was reassured by reading your blog post, particularly as the paint I have chosen is the Dulux trade brilliant white – can I ask your advice on what to choose for the woodwork – doors, skirting boards, window sills? I am not sure what the difference between satin wood and eggshell would be in terms of impact/overall look. I am trying to achieve a contemporary look – would you suggest one or the other particularly for this? This is a lovely site and I am really glad to have found it πŸ™‚

  6. Rehema Gray says:

    Thank you for sharing your post and beautiful home. You have unknowingly put me out of my misery with tester pots. White it’s going to be; top to bottom. My house is a fifties house, I have tried loads of colours but all look depressing. Having seen how much light you get with the white, I’m totally sold.
    You keep safe and thanks once again.

    1. So pleased you found this helpful Rehema, good luck with your painting x

  7. Angela Wright says:

    What a great article! My husband and I will be moving soon into a new build with, you guessed it, white walls throughout the entire house. I have always loved color on my walls but have decided that white walls are the perfect blank canvas for all of the art I have collected. My home walls be like that of an art gallery. 😊

    1. Thank you very much, good luck with your new home.

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