Simple Ways to Warm Up Your White Home

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It should come to no surprise to you that we love using white in our home. It’s clean, it’s fresh and it’s just so darn soothing. We’ve found that white is the one color that is calming and uplifting all at once. It’s the constant in this home of ours, woven throughout every room while remaining a color we have never grown tired of. I don’t think we’ve have ever thought, “Shoot. I wish we would have purchased that in something other than cream.” Nope. We’ve almost always been happy when going neutral when decorating our home. It is a calming classic that truly provides a blank canvas in how we’re able to tend to our space thought the seasons. And I truly believe using it throughout your home is completely doable, even if you are raising little ones. It doesn’t have to feel cold or uninviting either.  White has the ability to make your home feel cleaner and less cluttered because it is airy and bright and I love that. Since moving into this old historic home, has been our goal to decorate using white, a color that makes us feel peaceful and happy, while making our home one that also echos warmth, because that’s important to us. A cozy home is the best kind.

Ways You Can Warm Up Your White Home:

  • Vary & Layer Your White Paints – Using different shades of white paint throughout your home is an easy way to add depth to your space. If you’ve ever taken a trip to the paint store you know very well that white isn’t just white. There are hundreds of shades of creams, ivories, light grey, etc. to chose from, all with a different undertone. When painting your home, make sure not to just stick with one shade because that will make your home appear very flat. Take note of the trim color and go a little darker for the walls. Want a bright, clean looking kitchen? Go for cream in the cabinets but then bight white for surrounding the walls, along with large neutral accents like white fridge and an old farmhouse sink. If you’re craving a space that is more calming, choose a white with blue or soft grey undertones. You get the idea. We went with four colors when painting our entire home when we moved in, each of them from a different white family. No room, or ceiling for that matter, went left un painted and the result was so beautiful, and although white, still warm and cozy. If you are wanting a simple room makeover, start with paint. Here are the ones we chose:
    • Ski Slope by Sherwin Williams  – We chose this very, very light gray white for the living room, dining room and master bedroom because it gives off the most mellow glow and looks beautiful paired with either black or brown furniture. The painters had a hard time telling this apart from all the other whites when they were painting, but once dried, it really changed and made a dramatic difference in the way our home looked and felt.
    • Snow Bound or Exra White by Sherwin Williams – The kids rooms, bathrooms, hallways, entryway & loft walls are painted in with Bright White & the kitchen is Snow Bound. They are very close and honestly, both are so pretty. They make for a beautiful, soft white that works well with creamy colors or gray accents.
    • Whitetail by Sherwin Williams – Kitchen cabinets and kitchen doors and trim. This is the closest we could come to finding the actual paint color, the kitchen cabinets were matched with the original cream color of this old 1920’s home, which we do not know the name of. They are warm and buttery and look so lovely with gold hardware.
    • Basic white oil based paint – All crown molding (except in the kitchen) and fireplace got painted, and boy did ever it need it. Painting your trim can really do wonders to brighten up your space. We had no idea just how yellow the existing molding was until we got all of it repainted white. Just wow.
    • Bher Deck Over in matte white – After talking with a few contractors in the best way to approach our loft, we opted for deck paint because this old subflooring really wasn’t worth the extra hassle of whitewashing. It took two coats and was so easy to apply. Or so Andrew says. He spray painted between the gasps in the floorboards to save time and then painted over everything. This space is a retreat for everyone in the family and perfect for when family visit. The difference from the black flooring really opens it up, but also keeps it warm because y0u can see the grain and imperfections in the wood.
  • Mix in Natural Elements – Bringing nature indoors warms up a space instantly. Whether you go with bright greens, like a small aloe plant or succulent, or you sting up dried herbs, flowers, or golden wheat, the addition of earth made elements will make your home feel collected and like a fresh breath of air without feeling sterile.  There is something so magical in adding a bunch of dried floral notes or leaves to a white room. It gives the space intention and care, especially if they are from a special occasion or “just because” flowers from your honey.  Natural elements also speaks for baskets and woods and wool and other yummy fibers.  Carefully sprinkle them throughout your home, give them a practical purpose, and be on your happy way.
  • Weave in White Linens – Opt for white or light neutral fabrics when able, and make sure the material is a beautiful one. We have three little kids and we have many whites and ivories and creams layered throughout our home because we love how it feels. Both Andrew and I aren’t into sacrificing our aesthetic because our kids may or may not get our home dirty. Of course they’ll get it dirty. But just because you share your space with children doesn’t mean you have to paint your walls dark green or buy dark colored everything. I mean, if that’s your thing, go for it. But if it’s not, I say…why should you have to? You’re the adult here. I remember growing up and wanting a fluffy, cloud-like all white bed. It made me feel so luxurious when I’d climb into one if staying over night in a hotel, so when Stella moved into a big girl bed I decided to heck with the “we have kids so we can’t have nice things or things we like” ideology. Almost all of our linens on each of our beds is some shade of white, and so are most of our towels. We love knits and velvets and old grain sacks. We figure, as long as the kids aren’t running around with melted chocolate on their face or a black sharpie, we’re in good shape.
  • Accessorize with White – Long white drapes add drama and a warm glow that no other window covering can achieve. We got ours at IKEA and love that they are extra long. Drama! We also have many sheepskin throws on things that make our home feel super cozy.  They make a nice mat for the kids to sit on when playing on our hardwoods. If you like to thrift like I do, you can start collecting pretty white or off-white colored tableware or vintage items when out and about. Next time you find yourself at the thrift store, stock up on the milk vases, cream ceramics, and white enamelware. The home section of those places are always full of lovely neutral colored items that could use a bit of cleaning up and a good home. These used items will add character to your space while still remaining within the white color scheme, giving off a simple yet thoughtful vibe throughout.
  • Mix Up Your Wood – Surround your whites with wood pieces in different stains. I am pretty sure we have every stain known to man covered in our home, from untreated and natural to walnut to cherry…I really could go on and on. I used to think you have to choose one and stick with it when decorating, but now I have come to love how layered and lived-in our home feels because of the different color wood pieces we have collected over the years. When paired with different shades of white they are even more beautiful and able to shine. The white walls and accents act as a foundation for these pieces to take center stage.  We use Craigslist, vintage markets and family member’s garage sales for our antique furniture. Because our walls are clean and white, they are able to stand out so you can appreciate their hand-crafted beauty. *Note that the opposite effect of all of this goes for colder elements, such as metal, concrete, silver and glass.  Decorating with these mediums will give not make your home cozier.
  • Get Personal – Fill your home with items that tell a story. Go antiquing, ask your mother in law if you can have those old blue velvet chairs she’s wanting to sell, put kid art on your walls. Make your space yours, you guys! I really think this is the most important touch, so you can make your home one that is warm and inviting and feeling less like a magazine shoot. Character and charm work so well with white, you really can afford to get creative and have an airy, white home.
  • Keep it Clean – White shows dirt. It shows jelly smears and marker doodles. There’s no getting around this, friends. But if you just clean a little bit here and there as you go and try to keep the kids from eating in every room of your home, it’s really not too difficult to keep your whites white. Thanks to sunshine, fels naphtha, and lemon oil I can say our whites are looking’ pretty swell. And call me crazy, but I love that white shows everything. I wipe down our kitchen cabinets really well, and I am talking a good old fashioned scrub down, at least once a month and when it’s time for me to do this, they are disgusting. With small children running around how could they not be! To me, it’s important I take the time to clean surfaces and disinfect and wipe down our white baseboards. As odd as this may sound, I cannot help but be glad they show the dirt and grime so when our home is clean, it’s actually clean! Not just the illusion of being so with dark cabinets and furniture that disguise the yuckies. Hope that made sense.

Here’s a source list for the curious in order which they appear in the photos above:

  • Peg Rail – The Container Store
  • Chalkboard – Antique store in Missouri
  • Gold Frames – Thrifted
  • Cleaning Supplies – Gosh, all over. I’ll share this in more detail on a cleaning post.
  • Blue Velvet Couch – West Elm
  • Natural Woven Ottomans – IKEA
  • Black Pendant Light – Home Depot
  • Hanging Vase – The Object Enthusiast
  • Kitchen Whisk Light – A Local Bakery
  • Nook Table – IKEA
  • Black Bistro Chairs – Craigslist
  • Schoolhouse Lights – Home Depot
  • Wood Shelf – Home Depot
  • Stella’s Bed & Bedding- IKEA & West Elm

I am sure there are tips out there that I am forgetting. Tell me, what are some simple ways you are able to warm up your white home?

 

  • Meg

    Hi Amanda

    Congrats! I am really excited to follow along on homesong.
    Please can you let me know if you know of a food-grade paint that we can use to refurb’ our babes high chair? I am struggling to find anything that is safe for babies to eat off.

    Have a lovely day with your little ones.

    MegReplyCancel

  • I loved reading this.

    Very informative and very beautiful photographs, manda!

    I used ski slope in the dining room and still have some left for our masterbedroom and one or two bathrooms for that airy freshness.

    White IS such a cozy spread and i’m not sure why some think otherwise. You can really just dress it up with coloured decor, is what i’d tell my folks..it brings everything together, i’ve always loved it!

    Once again, beautiful and thanks for sharing.

    P.s i went on yL lastnight and saw that majority of the oils that weren’t selling to canada, is now and i’m about to make an order once ken goes down for her nap at one. I need theives toothpaste..that is by far my favourite scent around the home and now i can put. it. in. my mouthhhhhh ha!

    Sarah!ReplyCancel

  • Anna

    Thanks for all the details! I love knowing what white paint people have success with – its a hard thing to get just right. I would love to know what kind of counter tops you have – the white counter tops as well as the source for the butcher block – its a challenge to know which woods turn out light.Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

  • I love your home so much and these tips are really helpful (I love white but don’t like that flat, lifeless look it can take on). Did you use Ski Slope for the walls in the bathroom (second photo)? It’s so hard to find the right greyish white. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • I just love your space on the internet. Every time you post on Instagram or on Homesong, I’m giddy! Your home is beautiful and your love for family is encouraging. I’m a newlywed and we’re slowly trying to figure out our way of living, so your simple, intentional household is an inspiration for me. Thank you for sharing your home with all of us!

    xo LoganReplyCancel

  • Christina

    Amanda,

    Is there any particular reason you used oil-based paint on the trim? Is it easier to clean. I’ve always used water based…

    Thanks,
    ChristinaReplyCancel

  • Thank you for sharing those tips and philosophies! I love this new site! You and your family are so beautiful, Amanda. I look forward to seeing your pictures on IG every day 🙂

    I was wondering if you might be able to share some home tips and ideas for someone like me: a young wife (married two years) and (stay-at-home) mother who lives in an apartment and has a small budget.

    My husband and I have slowly began defining our aesthetic and collecting items that make that aesthetic consistent within our home and how we live our lives. When we first moved into our apartment with each other after our marriage, we had a random assortment of home items that didn’t match each other or we didn’t necessarily care for. Over the past two years we have gotten better at replacing items with ones we now adore. I love making our home welcoming, comforting, and functional, yet I often feel discouraged because of our budget and lack of having “everything together.”

    What was your first residence with your husband like? When you were newly married did you already begin to practice the ways in which you live now? Sometimes I never see ourselves evolving to that perfect spot I would like to be, yet I recognize that it takes time to collect items and perfect your home life.

    Sorry for such a long comment! I was just hoping that perhaps you could provide some inspiration and insight to someone like me 🙂

    Thanks! xoReplyCancel

  • KK

    Love the new site ❤️What are your countertops?ReplyCancel

  • I love how clean white looks but our rented home has wood chip walls which are magnolia. I don’t think it would look as good on the textured walls although I may give it a try in the kitchen when I repaint in the spring.ReplyCancel

  • Azra

    Dear Amanda, this is just to say hello from Vienna:) and to let you know that I have been following your Instagram site for a while now, and have ever since been asking myself the questions you gave an answer to in this post. I am a working mum of one 5 year old boy, but find it very hard to keep our home even close to what yours looks like with three kids:) Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures and very inspiring texts. All the best for you and your wonderful family from Austria. AzraReplyCancel

  • Deborah

    Amanda, do you have a trim color you’d recommend to go with Ski Slope and Snowbound? Thanks for the helpful tips!ReplyCancel

  • Julia

    We are in the last stages of building our home. I have been saving these helpful words of simple warm whites for our entire home because I’ve loved yours. I would like to use the Harmony collection but there is no ‘bright white’…it is ‘extra white’ OR ‘ceiling bright white’. Did you use the ‘ceiling bright white’ or a different collection?
    Grateful for your time,
    JuliaReplyCancel

    • admin

      Julia – It is EXTRA WHITE! Gosh, so glad you caught this. Thank you, dear! xx AmandaReplyCancel

      • Julia

        Thank you so much for getting back to me! xxReplyCancel

  • I’ve following you for awhile on IG and adore your blog! I know how much time and effort goes into something so “simple” and it’s definitely appreciated! Can I ask where you got your calendar in the first photo?ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Kelsi – Thank you so much for your kind words, dear! It is from Calendars.com and is the Farmer’s Market one 🙂ReplyCancel

  • […] Color // Head here for more […]ReplyCancel

  • Tara

    Hi Amanda,

    Can I ask what color you painted the the ceiling and doors of the master bedrooms? The blending of the whites, looks so lovely- thank you for this informative post!ReplyCancel

  • Molly

    Hi! I love your blog. Right now we are choosing a floor stain for our new apartment after sanding down the old oak floors. Can I ask what color stain you used?ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Molly, our floors aren’t stained anything as far as I know, they just used a clear poly coating! The floors on the first level are white oak and the ones upstairs are red. If I were you I’d go natural! x AmandaReplyCancel

  • […] your neutrals. I have talked about the wonder of layered neutrals, whites specifically, before in this post, and I cannot emphasize it enough when it comes to decorating. Layering shades of whites and creams […]ReplyCancel

  • Did you ever do a post on your cleaning supplies? I would love to know the source for your broom. Many thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Anna

    Hi Amanda,
    I was wondering if you could clarify for me the color of your cabs. Are they painted Whitetal, or a custom color similar to Whitetail? Thanks! LOOOOOOVE your style!ReplyCancel

  • […] of sanding and removing all lead-based paint and layers of wallpaper before painting each room a soft shade of white. We love the way white instantly calms a room and makes it feel light and airy. It’s also a […]ReplyCancel

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