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Tips and Guides

What You Need To Know About Having An All-White Home

White does not have to be boring

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Photography: Vincent Coscolluela Architect: Architects Justin Espejo, Paolo Balatbat, and Abe Alejandro of Minimalist Manila

When it comes to working with white, homeowners are split down the middle—some simply love the light and airy vibe it gives a home, while others are worried it can make a room dull and ordinary. If you’re one of the few who can’t seem to decide, we’ve got a few tips and ideas that may just help you settle your feelings for this non-color.

Architect Justin Espejo of Minimalist Manila lets us in on the secrets of making an all-white home work. “The biggest challenge of an all-white space is the risk of making it look bland and uninteresting. You have to play around with a combination of non-white materials in furniture, finishes, and décor, while still making it feel like a white space. It’s an exercise of how one can creatively break the rules,” he says. Discover the pros of having an all-white space and how you can work around the hurdles of maintaining one with these insights:

An all-white space is perfect for rest and meditation.

Justin shares that you will get an “immediate feeling of spaciousness” the moment you step into an all-white home. The light and airy vibe is unmistakable—it’s as if the space is inviting you to sit down, take a break, and savor the peaceful ambiance.

Proper maintenance is crucial.

It’s no secret—it’s easier to spot dirt and dust in an all-white home. Keep your space spotless by following cleaning schedule. Make it part of your routine to fix the bedroom before leaving the house, dust the shelves regularly, and practice healthy habits to keep clutter at bay. “To achieve that clean and organized look, a certain level of maintenance is required,” shares Justin. Don’t pressure yourself into cleaning every spot every day as a few easy home hacks can do the trick.

READ: Tidy Up Your Home in Five Minutes or Less

Injecting hints of color is possible.

“A white room can make people feel like they’re in a hospital or a museum. This makes [the space] intimidating and [difficult for guests] to feel relaxed,” explains the architect. Justin suggests introducing color through furniture and displays without going overboard. In the condo unit his team designed, the dining area features upholstered gray chairs—a welcome neutral against the white interiors.

To keep a space from being too plain, you can have an accent area. “For this project, we selected an area which we were going to purposely give a bit more color than the other rooms to make it an accent space. In this case, it was in the kitchen—through the bottom kitchen cabinets. Throughout the whole unit, it has a predominantly non-white material,” shares Justin.

If you look closely at the kitchen, you’ll notice that it highlights dark gray (almost black) kitchen cabinets, neutral-colored tiles used as backsplash, and pristine overhead storage.

Wood makes a huge difference.

To break the monotony of the unit, the design team incorporated wood into the final look. Wood instantly adds warmth—making the place more cozy and inviting. When working with wood, you don’t need to limit yourself to the real thing. “[When working with wood], I prefer using acrylic emulsions/wood stains for an added oomph instead of painting it. You also have the option of using wood-looking tiles. For this unit, instead of using real wood as flooring material for the bedroom, we opted to use tiles as these are easier to maintain, the latest wood plank tiles look like the real thing with grains and textures, and it can be easily sourced from home depots,” Justin explains.

Creating a spot for the owner’s books and DVD collection gave them another opportunity to add wooden touches. A wooden wall-mounted shelf completes the living area—its metal brackets painted in white for a cohesive look.

Lighting can help set the mood in a room.

Aside from maximizing natural light, Justin installed lighting fixtures that do more than just illuminate a room. “The white track light in the bedroom is invisible once you enter the room, but once you turn it on, you’ll realize there’s a special kind of lighting installed. The one in the dining room is a combination of all the colors found in the main space. It made the kitchen, dining, and living areas [look and] feel connected,” says Justin.

The right textures can liven up the space.

Aside from injecting hints of color, creating an accent corner, and incorporating wood into the final look, playing with textures can help you keep an all-white home from being boring. In this condo unit, contrast was achieved by using different textures as seen in the architectural elements and materials. In the bedroom, a balance of wood and concrete is seen—on the walls and flooring.

Since the client requested for an all-white space, the design team had to work with a limited range of materials. For the wood plank tiles, they chose pieces in lighter shades to keep within the theme.

Don't let white limit your options.

White has different variations that you can consider when shopping for accessories and furnishings. See if you can have an off-white couch, a cream-colored carpet, and pillows in light neutrals. “Play around with textures and shades—a white carpet material, a white laminate panel—these materials are all white but the differences in texture give a nice contrast,” explains Justin.

Loved this all-white bachelor pad? Click here to see more photos.

Ready for your own makeover? Visit Minimalist Manila's website. You can also follow them on Facebook or e-mail: hello[at]minimalistmanila.com.

More on Realliving.com.ph

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