Interior trends 2013 – White and Light

Are you giving though to the white and cream combo in th 2013’s Pantone Color Planner?

Here are some things you need to know first – it’s no longer simply the challenge of choosing durable white surfaces amenable to real-life use. Whites are amongst the most challenging colors to use on walls – and I do mean whites as shown below. Here are some white paint chips I rounded up last evening at Lowe’s, and put in a desk top scanner to create the image below. Keep this image in mind, and look at the next one.

Some white paint chips I rounded up at Lowes’s

Here are precisely the same chips photographed with my iPhone against a backdrop of white paper indoors.

The same paint chips photographed indoors with my iPhone

So why so different? Are these really white? The answers: Lighting, and yes.

If you’re skeptical, go to any paint counter display, pick up a handful of white samples, and turn away from the display lighting. This works as such because color actually has a temperature – yes, nothing is ever as simple as meets the eye on this blog!

The whitest white light is generated by the process called incandescence, or black body radiation (an opaque and non-reflective body) which occurs when bodies of atoms with a certain temperature emit a certain type of radiation. The color of a black body at a temperature of 2,848 kelvins is most closely matched by incandescent light bulbs. Daylight can vary from a cool red up to a bluish color at 5,600 K, but the correlated color temperature of an incandescent light bulb is 2,848 K. The long and short of it, is that the most ambient white can be gauged in the environment lit by incandescent light – this explains why interior designers for all their LEED existentialist environmentalism are hoarding more incandescent bulbs than whiskey during prohibition.

All designers know the drill: If every American replaced just one light bulb in their home with a light bulb that’s earned the ENERGY STAR, enough energy would be saved to light 3 million homes for a year, at a savings worth some $600 million in annual energy costs. More significantly,  9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year would be prevented equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars. While a 05 Watt compact fluorescent bulb replaces 420 Watt incandescent light bulb the cool white 4100K color temperature light emitted is less than ideal aesthetically – yet a planet that you can leave your kids matters!

So what is a design enthusiast to do you do?

For starters, the folks at Popular Mechanics (a source not often heralded in context to this blog) tested all the energy efficient light bulbs – which will be ALL light bulbs within less than 2 years – and tested them to find the closest approximations to incandescent light.

Click on either image see to read at full size, or the link to the article below the images:

Use you whites wisely – white shades that receive morning exposure will seem cooler. Using a warmer white will countermand that antiseptic look. Rooms receiving afternoon exposure are more flexible – mix a vanilla looking or yellow whites with more lavender or bluish tones for interest and complexity.

inspirationforthehomeblogspot – room with layered whites and pale tones.

The simple addition of flowers warms white, or any room.


Next to the addition of color, texture defines white rooms in a manner apart from any other colored environment.

image from

I recently purchased an energy efficient track light (light-emitting diodeLED) which is a semiconductor light source that is the most efficient light out there, energy wise. While refined modern versions of LEDs are available across the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths, their stadium brightness is a factor that demands accountability. Their uber-bright light washes the color right out of the paint, leaving flooded areas that resemble Casper the friendly ghost….I am in the midst of creating an out of the box solution – but sometimes the best way to overcome an obstacle is simply to go with it!

A white on white floral spotlighted in an LED wash – image via westiartgardenblogspot

The best way out of the box is over the top!

White Chandelier by Ro Sham Beaux