white wall living room
Interiors, Trends

Colorado and White Walls

When we moved into our home about a year ago – we painted almost all the rooms Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee which sounds like it would be a beige, but it’s really a warm white (those Swiss must love their dairy).  I remember a neighbor walking in and asking if it was primer up on the walls and I won’t lie – I doubted my color choice then.

Off white paint color
Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee OC-45 – a warm, off-white

I adore the color and find that it’s bright, cheerful and looks great with all of the Colorado sunshine (but you’ll notice I still haven’t forgotten his innocent comment).  We have a lot of art and it’s a great backdrop to show it off.  The walls in my previous house were an off white as well and they bring a great brightness to the home.  When clients want to know what color my home is – they are almost always surprised that it’s a white.

white wall living room
An example of the all-white aesthetic that’s been a huge internet design trend for years now and is still rolling strong (Source)

Grace Bonney, of Design Sponge, posted a fantastic essay last week called “The White Wall Controversy: How the All-White Aesthetic has Affected Design.”  It’s a thoughtful piece about design trends (white walls in particular) and the extremely fast paced world of the internet. It’s also a little bit of a rant about sameness – as in “enough with all the white already!”  For the most part, my Colorado clients are still wary of all white on their walls – that makes me think the trend might have another 3-4 years of good living while the rest of the country catches up to the more fashion forward coasts.  People here don’t seem to want dark, but the idea of an all-white home makes most of my clients cringe a little.

farmhouse style denver
We recently completed this renovation in Golden, Colorado and we did use a white throughout the home. The planks here are Benjamin Moore’s White Dove, but the main walls are very much an off-white – Ben Moore’s Old Prairie (OC-42).
open rustic shelves
Here’s another small detail from the home above showing both White Dove (my favorite trim color) and Old Prairie.  The brackets and shelves are custom made by a family run Colorado cabinet company – Oak Tree Classic Woodworks.
Old Prairie off white
Benjamin Moore’s Old Prairie OC-42 – a beautiful off-white with subtle undertones of green.

The client above who did go with an off white for her walls is recent and it’s a bit unusual for my clients – however the white that is predominant is not quite the bright white you see online these days and it did take some convincing on my part that her home would not look cold.  I sometimes wonder if my clients general distrust for white walls has something to do with the abundant sunshine in Colorado.  There’s a brilliant clarity to the sun here that’s rare in more humid clients.  I’d say that perhaps we’re slower to adopt design trends – but I don’t see that being the case in recent years as Denver’s becoming more and more metropolitan.

As far as the “all-white controversy” in the design world goes (you just have to be happy that a controversy with that name is just about paint), I am tired of seeing all white walls everywhere online and yet very rarely do I specify truly white walls.  Clients are still loving light to medium colors like the warm undertones of Edgecomb Gray:

Edgecomb Gray warm gray
Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray – a great warm, gray that is just gray enough to not be beige.
Gray Owl
Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl OC-52 for people who prefer a cooler off-white – it’s another great all over color I’ve used recently.

One thing I will say about decorating against white walls – it’s hard!  A color – even an off-white with some life to it – is so much easier to work with.  White can be stark and you have to be much more careful about what you put into an all white room.  Editing becomes extremely important.  What do you think?  Are you still loving the all white that’s out there?  Do you love the all white look or does it scream boring rental to you?



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