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Are white jeans the fashion equivalent of the white room? A crisp, clean (and glamorous) look but impossible to keep, well, white? I have an awesome pair of white jeans that I never wear. Ever. Because it seems that any time I wear white, I manage to dribble something on myself, like bright yellow mustard. Likewise, I doubt I’ll ever enjoy the luxury of a white-on-white room. (Can you say pet owner?) Design icon Syrie Maugham popularized the all-white room in the 1920s and ’30s, earning the nickname “White Queen.” Fast forward to 2011. Designer Jonathan Adler never hesitates to don his signature white jeans, and many of his top decor pieces are in a bright white. The author of Happy Chic Colors calls white “the ultimate soothing backdrop.”

Syrie-Maugham-Jonathan-Adler-Interior-Design-White-Rooms-HGTV-DesignHappensPhotos: Top row and left :: Jonathan Adler Interior Design; Bottom right quadrant :: Syrie Maugham: Staging Glamorous Interiors, Acanthus Press

Soothing…until you spill something on it.

What do you think of the white-on-white look? Like white jeans, are white rooms achingly desirable but impossible to keep pristine? Or are you the proud owner of a room decked out all in white that has stayed that way for years? If so, what’s your secret?

Tell us in the comments below.

86 Responses

  1. mary kay lady says:

    The only thing I want to do with white walls is paint them. White doesn't give me any feeling. It looks too pristine

  2. faye says:

    Heavenly! So clean and pure. As long as there is variation of textures/

  3. ballerina says:

    I love white on white. Lived with it for years with a child and a dog. I'm willing to clean up any "accident" immediately because you see it immediately! If there is a spider on the floor, he gets removed immediately. My carpeting in now 11 years old and still looks great. I had white walls and white on french white upholstered furniture until I broke my leg and had to stay home for 7 weeks. I was so sick of looking at white on white on white that I redecorated as soon as I was on my feet. Kept the white carpeting but painted the walls a buttercream and added a leopard sette and black leather sofa! When I redo carpeting, I will definitely go for some shade of white again because when you do have to clean it, you don't fade some color that makes it obvious you had to clean up after an accident. Also, I love extremely short-haired dogs…most recently a dachshund so dog hair has never been an issue for me. I'll throw a sheet over a sofa, cuddle up with the dog…wet my hands and finger groom all the loose hair and pitch the sheet into the washer!

  4. Barb says:

    Had a white on white on white kitchen (not my idea). Never again! Spent all my time trying to keep it clean. Have better things to do with my time. Give me some color!

  5. Lisa says:

    I think it can be a great look – in theory. But I find it BORING unless you have tons of architectural detail and designer touches. I prefer COLOR and texture. That's just me. Oh, and white carpeting – I have it now and can't wait to change it. Sorry, but white on white is too much for me.

  6. Just saying says:

    I agree, white is fab! You should totally go with Black Walnut flooring like Vicki or Black Zebra wood flooring – lose the rugs, you have pets. Just saying

  7. Shana says:

    I love all-white rooms. I have had an all-white bedroom for over 7 years. The secret to keeping it bright white is having washable surfaces and extra paint for touch-ups. I can throw my sheets, duvet cover and pillow covers in the wash. My night stands, shelves and dressers are hard surfaces that can be wiped down. The rug is easily cleaned…so it all works even with a son and 2 little dogs.

  8. Vicki says:

    Ah white. Love all colors of it. The most peaceful color that there is and bleachable too.

  9. Monica says:

    All white…pretty to look at; I couldn't live with it.

  10. carol yeruski says:

    Believe it or not, just yesterday i did my master bedroom in white on white. used turquise, dark satin blue and White as accents. Looks fantastic! Sat. going to do guest bedroom white on white. By the way, i have 2 black cats and 2 rambuntious grandkids. All will be wel. Don't knockm it till you've tried it.

Kayla KittsKayla is a special projects editor at HGTV.com and a co-editor-in-chief for Design Happens. Kayla is an overbearing cat mom with a love for vintage-modern furniture, artisan cocktails, organizing all...


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