White Rooms – A White Christmas Limited Palette
An up-cycled shabby chic Christmas from Country Living Magazine
White spaces make everyone dream of a white Christmas. If you have a family, and are looking at this with nose pressed against the barrier between family and white, read my article about how to pull together a white regret-free family space, before reading on. This will give you some ideas and a relationship to this holiday inspiration.
White space from abodeloveblog
The space above sets the savvy designer apart by their keen ability to draw on shapes and limited color to establish flow and unity, creating a deceptively blank canvas defined by strong vertical lines. The branches and birch logs conjure a wintery mental image, even devoid of holiday decor – less is more!
What is a limited palette? Neutrality is the brush with which about 80% of people in the US paint their lives. Even an illuminating white space is not necessarily colorless – it is just disciplined color.
Many painters use a limited palette. There are some painters who feel strongly that talent as a colorist is defined exclusively by measure of the result that is achieved with the least amount of color. I can think of few absolutes to which I subscribe – I am just not that haughty. But a limited palette is a great solution for people who are not comfortable with color, vs. people who love but are scared of it. These are usually people with very full and stressful schedules who just need a base of calm at day’s end.
Here is a very good example of a limited palette used by George Bellows. image from the Life Needs Ar Blog
This is a great example, that dissects the palettes of one artist who uses a limited color. Contemporary artists known for this include George Bellows, Lucian Freud, and Odd Nerdrum – better known classical painters dedicated to scrutinized color use include Rembrandt, Da Vinci and Titian to name just a few.
A work of art created by using a limited palette that you may be familiar with :-)
Translated to holidays, the limited palette is the white room’s perfect indulgence. Design tension is added imperceptibly choosing a limited palette (colors that can be mixed by blending 3 colors; usually 2 warm and 1 cool) a room can become a holiday work of art! If you are a real purist, you can go with wood tones, silver and gold, or silver gold and the greens derived from a pine tree and garlands.
Silver and gold glam-up any white space – dark drapes provide gravity – image from liveyourstyle blog
Adding color by way of a limited palette makes color accessible even to the most color challenged. It’s like an introduction to someone captivating at a gathering, as opposed to having that person show up without introduction, bags in hand to move in.
A rich yet tepid introduction of color – image from Country Living Magazine
Here a few simple ways to make a limited palette work:
1) Choose one color of your limited palette to represent a natural element that corresponds to your window views. Windows introduce extra color. If you are an urban dweller, this may be blue for sky. In the South West, perhaps it’s stone elements – North Easterners can try moss…..
2) Keep is simple – stick to 3 colors – one cool, and two warm. If your accents have patterns, stick exclusively to colors that can be rendered by blending your 3 colors – any more and you lose the effect and its clarity.
3) To add holiday sparkle, use rule number 2 but add metallic finishes.
4) Try to unify all the architecture with your 1 light color – paint fireplace bricks and moldings white or oatmeal to support your limited palette without inciting argument between shades.
5) Repeat shapes. Look at the second image from the top – it’s a brilliant example of repetition of shape. Remember, you are layering your room with interest that does not involve color! Shape, texture, and space are the great bones on which you will apply your limited palette – any color over white has a great deal of strength and presence!
Velvet petals wreath from Country Living Magazine
Most important of all, have fun! Color is the limitless celebration of living, in any palette, limited or otherwise. Happy Holidays!
Neutral canvas pillows with color are gorgeous in any room – www.MyHomeFaceLift.com offers a great variety of Design Legacy pillows with hand screened images on natural canvas:
A design legacy hand-screened pillow and Bohemian chandelier by RSB from www.myhomefacelift.com