Once upon a time, when I was seriously considering buying a white couch, my mother dismissed the idea with a wave of her hand. “That,” she said, “is simply not practical.”
She was right. I had two children, a dog, and a cat . . . not to mention, a husband who worked with horses. We were a clean bunch, and our house was always neat as a pin, but white in our family room would be hard to keep clean. “Something darker and patterned would be better,” she said. “It won’t show the dirt.”
I bristle whenever I hear people say “at least it won’t show the dirt.” What does that mean? Is not showing the dirt a good thing? And if it is, why would it be? Who wants to live with dirt that doesn’t show? I have trouble wrapping my head around the if-you-can’t-see-it, it’s OK concept. The dirt is still there whether you see it or not. Wouldn’t it be better to see the dirt on a couch so you know exactly when and where it needs cleaning?
I never did get the white couch. It wasn’t a matter of being practical. I simply did not find a couch in white that called out and begged me to take it home. Instead I bought a white area rug that looked fabulous with the navy patterned sofa I did buy. My bath was a crisp white, and I had white kitchen cabinets, too. They easily showed dirt and fingerprints, but I cleaned on a regular basis. I didn’t mind. I like a clean house.
Decorating with white
Pure as the driven snow, white is pristine, peaceful, crisp, and clean. Not really a color, it’s a manifestation of the presence of all colors. Like a diamond, it reflects light . . . and rooms in white are generally bright and airy.
[above] This formal white living room looks good with dark flooring, a striped area rug, federal blue accents, and other vintage pieces. (Photo: Country Living)
[right] Elegant dining on a winter day can be changed easily for any season by using fresh flowers instead of the white-washed twigs. (Photo: Williams-Sonoma).
Same room, two different looks
[above] An awesome vintage piece, used for the headboard, makes a bold statement and mimics the pattern in the bed cover. (Photo: Jennyshus)
[left] A romantic corona sends a cascade of sheer fabric tumbling over an intricately carved headboard in this dreamy bedroom. (Photo: Better Homes and Gardens)