White interiors : cold or not ?

Speaking about cold colors this month, I think there is one color which could be accused of making every space feeling cold. Or we think it does. I’m talking about white color. White is a very controvertial color in interior design. Common, easy to match with everything, making space look bigger and brighter. But on the other hand, impersonal, boring,… and cold. Where lies the truth ? White interiors : cold or not ?

How I use White in my interior designs

white parisian attic bedroom with lilac cupboard

Sands by Emilie Lagrange

As you maybe know, I’m part of the interior designers who always use the white in their design (or nearly always). If you don’t believe me, just check this work, this one or even this one. I just can’t help. For me it’s the guarantee that my clients will keep some freedom on decorating their home and bringing in new objects without the fear of spoiling the design. So yes, in some way, white color keeps the design quite impersonal so you can make it personal by yourself.

One thing I never do though is to keep the space completely white. Because I think it’s important to give some dynamic in the architecture, to create some contrast to have some elements catching the eye. I think that’s what makes white interiors look so cold. Just because there is nothing to catch your look.

What makes White looks so cold

all-white living room

Source Pinterest

Entering a completely white space can be confusing as there will be no point of focus, nothing that will grab your attention at first. Being lost in a space is not a really comfortable feeling and that’s probably what people don’t like.

There is also the fact that fully white rooms are connected in our mind to hospital or, more generally, all medical spaces. Not really comfy either. All this cleanliness, this brightness make you feel as if it was impossible to touch anything. The fact that white is a color which can easily get dirty doesn’t help. It can feel like having to stand forever without touching anything.

So yes, we could agree on the fact that white isn’t a really friendly nor welcoming color.


Take the power on the coldness

White bedroom with yellow lines on walls and floor

Source Pinterest

White is also a color which can match everything. And when I say « everything », I mean it.
That’s why I always match it with something else in my designs. It’s like creating a white canvas on which I can highlight everything I want, in the color or the material I want.
You’re afraid of fully white spaces ? Just add a detail in a different color, like in this kitchen I've designed. Even the tiniest spot of color will break the cold effect of the white. Why ? Just because you will create this point of focus which will catch our look and give us a landmark to comprehend the room.
White won’t be this hygienic, lost-in-translation, out-of-space kind of color but only the clean, easy-to-match and bright tone.

White color : The BFF* of materials and colors

* Best Friend Forever

minimalist white bedroom with wooden floor and storage

by Studio Oink

Having another material acts like magic too. In some way, it’s like you are only perceiving the effect of the material and forget about the white. For example, if you match white together with metal, you will focus on the industrial look of the metal and will forget the feeling of the white. If you use wood and white, you will get a cosier atmosphere thanks to the material without thinking about the impersonal color. White is acting the same with everything surrounding it. On its own, it creates its own effect. But put together with another color or material, it disappears and become a simple background to reveal the full potential of other tones.

Following this idea, if you want a bright interior using mainly white but want to prevent its coldness, it can be a good idea to match it with other colors but in really light tones. Even lighter than pastel. Your space will still look modern and uncluttered but will give you the atmosphere of the color of your choice.


In the end, saying that the white is cold or not for an interior really depends of how it’s displayed.

To summ up, here’s what you can do to prevent the coldness of a all-white interior :
● Add small colored details, even the tiniest : cushion, switches, lamps,…;
● mix white with a material : wood, metal, marble, concrete,…;
● mix white with another color, bright or light, on pieces of furniture, decoration items, on walls, floors or ceiling.

Pink switcher in a white kitchen

Pop Kitchen  by Emilie Lagrange

Do you want an expert to create a welcoming uncluttered and mainly white interior ? I’m here and I can’t wait to design it for you ! Send me a message right here.

If you have any questions, need small advices or just want to give your opinion on the subject, leave a comment below.
During this #FreezingColors month, some ideas and advices are also available on my Facebook page. Make sure you check them out or wait for the newsletter at the end of the month ! Not registered for the newsletter yet ? It’s never too late, get monthly inspiration here.

Enjoy a (freezing) day !

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