Kelly Wearstler’s Top Tips On How To Use White

The go-to designer for West Coast style imparts her words of wisdom about using white with texture and pattern, giving the shade added edge.

LA-based Kelly is best known for her wild use of colour and sculptural furniture, but for her, white is an equally bold decorating choice. Here, she explains why the shade is so suited to modern interiors.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT USING WHITE IN A SCHEME?

White is more complex than most people think. As well as providing a neutral background, it’s great for bringing out the tones and textures of pieces placed within its context. Unique colour combinations can create either a visual tension or harmony – both are equally beautiful. A neutral room doesn’t have to be boring.

HOW DO YOU MAKE A WHITE OR NEUTRAL ROOM INTERESTING?

White can instil all kinds of different moods. I love white for its ability to create serene, calming environments depending on the time of day and quality of the light. It particularly brings out the warmth of natural materials, something I played with in my new furniture collection, recently launched at Harrods, which mixed pyrite, bronze, gold leaf, brushed oak and veined marble.

Bayliss table lamp, £595, Kelly Wearstler at Harrods

HOW DO YOU PICK THE RIGHT SHADE?

When designing a space, be sensitive to the environment and the architecture. As with choosing any colour, the right white depends on the other surrounding colours, materials and elements. A warm white is better for light reflection on skin tones and works with just about any material or hue.

Kelly’s bedroom in her Malibu home

WHAT ABOUT OTHER TONES?

A white that has more blue in it, providing a colder tone, is best when paired with materials and colours in that same tonal range. Try to limit whites to one or two at most in the same space. There are no real rules to working with white…

WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO USE IT?

White is more than just a backdrop, it should have its own voice, setting the tone for a space and then allowing form, pattern and texture to flow from there. My favourite shade is China White by Benjamin Moore.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER COLOURS AND TEXTURES?

Monochrome is all about texture. I always mix in organic materials, from rich woods to marble, to bring a natural allure to a scheme, while subtle metallics add warmth and depth.

Geometric patterns in soft, monochrome furnishings and accessories create a beautiful tension and add dimensional conversation into a space.

ANY OTHER TIPS?

I find the tension of opposites incredibly sexy. Take risks and beautiful things happen.

For more info, visit kellywearstler.com

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