White is one of the most classic of interior design looks, as it’s quiet, serene and doesn’t demand attention. White is so stylish and inviting and sets the base for so many looks from coastal to farmhouse to elegantly chic.
White can be a challenging color to live with when sticky handed children, muddy paws, wine and food are taken into decorating consideration. Don’t let that deter you though…it’s a gorgeous base and that I have loved for years! Here are my top tips on how to live with the all-white look…
How To Live With White In A Casual Home – And Clean It
For whites in furniture that are fabulous and yet functional, slipcovers are the ultimate solution. I have raised my children in our Miami home and at our beach home we often entertain and washable white slipcovers always do the trick and look great. My sofa and love seat at the beach are from Pottery Barn and have stood the test of time so far and are comfortable as well as fashionable.
I have yet to wash the slipcovers opting instead to place a pad that I’ve sewn up for each from an inexpensive matelasse coverlet. I do launder these and we vacuum the sofas as needed to remove pet hair. I did order a second set of slipcovers when we purchased the white slipcovered Pottery Barn sofa and love seat, just so that I have them for the future.
Another option is to use outdoor fabrics when selecting seating, or forgiving white leather.
I love how white is so easy to accessorize with and change out the look with pillows and throws. this blues of the accessories in this summer styled room just pop against the white and the darker floors.
You’ll still maintain that sense of harmony with using a white base and encourage flow from room to room. Lots of texture with the chunky cream throw and the layers of ruffles on the pillows bring some depth. When hanging out on this extra long vintage French button tufted sofa that I recovered in white denim I don’t worry about the white. I had the bottom cushion made with a zipper so that if it needs to be removed I can and then toss in washer. Choose a heavy duty twill if you are creating slipcovers and they will wear like iron, as this has.
Texture and interest with vintage and new in white and cream in my French style home office. Yes, there are often muddy paws in here and that’s okay. I feel that with white you can easily see where the dirt is and with dark color the dirt is still there…but hidden. Read on for a few cleaning tips that have stood the test of time for this long time homemaker.
Although this room is getting a makeover and the bedding will be changed, white is fresh and casual and will never go out of date. There is nothing as soothing as sleeping on crisp white sheets and simply changing them out when worn can give your bedroom a whole new look and feel. I purchase hotel bedding for our home and look for a medium thread count and all cotton to keep clean easily.
HOW TO CLEAN WHITE LINENS & FABRICS
I’m not a cleaning expert but have been a homemaker for many years and started my antiques and vintage selling business selling linens. Here are some simple tips that work for me and have stood the test of time.
LINENS & TOWELS
- Our sheets and towels are all white and are washed weekly. I don’t use chlorine bleach because it weakens the fabric and shortens the life span of linens. Use the hottest water that you can and one of my favorite products for bed linens and towels that need some extra oomph in whitening is Oxiclean powder.
- Less is more and I give them a longer soak in the washer (sometimes with a cup of baking soda) and occasionally a white vinegar rinse to remove any soap build up.
- Weather permitting, dry in the sunshine and if possible…lay on the grass. The chlorophyll will act as a natural brightener to the white.
- *Never use fabric softeners or spray starch when storing fine linens, as it can cause them to yellow over time.
- If you do get a stain on your white slipcovered furniture and don’t feel like taking off for washing, I have had success with several methods that you could try. A spray and wipe off of Oxiclean Stain Remover directly on the spot as soon as you see it generally works well. If the stain has been sitting there awhile take a toothbrush and some hot water after spraying and work it out, taking care not to damage the fabric.
- Oxiclean powder or Biz are some cleaners that I always have on hand too and make into a scrub for larger stained areas (muddy paws).
Do you have any favorite tips to share on living with white and keeping it clean? I’d love to hear from you!
Mary Dineen says
Would love the see a photo of the matelasse pad that you made, I
am using a folded twin cover now but like the idea of a pad. Thank you.
Thanks for stopping by Mary and you’ll see a photo actually in tomorrow’s post that I’m working on!
Kathy Pelletier says
Sounds great. I’d love to see the pad also. I thought I was the only person who did things like this. Ha Your home is beautiful and love all the tips !!
Thanks Kathy! I don’t have a good close up shot of the pad, but I cut a mattelasse bed cover in half and serged the sides so that it wouldn’t fray. A toss in the washer/dryer every couple of weeks keeps it clean!
Norma Rolader says
Oh so beautiful and thank you for sharing and inspiring us to go with white
Janet I have been taking baby steps to add white to my home now that the kids are grown and I really appreciate these tips on how to keep things nice and clean.
One of my favorite things about white is that you can SEE where the dirt is!
Janet- this blog couldn’t have come at a better time. I just purchased an antique French sofa and want to reupholster in white. Can you tell me a little more about the fabric you chose for your French sofa? Also, did you paint it as well? Thanks. Love your home!
Patricia…I did paint the wood with a gray wash and the fabric that I chose is a heavy duty white twill. Wears great and the cushion is slipcovered to wash!
Thanks for this post. I love using white in my home and have been adding more and more of it. I especially love the tip about the chlorophyll! I’m dying to know where you got that mint cable knit throw on the bed?
You can’t go wrong with white Sue! That throw is from Annie Selkie Pine Cone Hill but I’m not sure if they still carry it?
Thanks so much! They DO still carry it! 🙂
I enjoy your posts and tips. Question: i have all oak cabinets,fireplace surround and recessed bookcases. I have wanted neutrals, and plan to start by purchasing a white sofa. Will this coordinate with all of that oak? I have some cherry furniture mixed in. Hard to tell without photos I understand
It is difficult to tell without photos, but white pretty much goes with everything and can tie a room together.
marge batalden says
Where do you buy your sheets? Do you have a link for sheets?
Marge…I bought this sheet set for both of our homes and they are so silky soft! Here you go on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2pFBxTT
Shelia P. says
Hi Janet! You’re slowly but surely convincing me to go with a white sofa! I just love how fresh and clean they look! And it true what you said, at least you can see where the dirt is. I’ve hated my white kitchen tiles but at least I can see how to keep them clean and I know my floors are clean when I can no longer see the dirt! That’s a great idea using a pad on the sofas! Thanks for the tip about fabric softeners yellowing white sheets, and about not bleaching them. I had no idea?! I couldn’t figure out what was causing my sheets and white T-shirt’s to yellow. Now I know it’s probably been my fabric softener all along! It could also have something to do with being on well water. We live on the water surrounded by marsh, so we don’t get city water. I always learn something from your posts and they are just pure eye candy! Enjoy your weekend! ?
I think white slipcovered furniture is perfect for coastal looks or really any decorating style! We have extremely hard water here Sheila and Mrs Stewarts Bluing helps to remove the dingy yellow. Have a wonderful day!
So many great tips! Thanks for debunking the fear of living with white!
I get so many anti-white living comments…but to me it’s the easiest way to live cleanly!
Love, love, love, everything you share and I look forward to starting my day in the early hours of the morning with a cup of coffee and the latest news from Shabbyfufu. It’s like a visit with an old friend that gets the day off to a creative and beautiful start. My little home, Rosary Cottage, is filled with family heirlooms, vintage Catholic memorabilia, and treasured thrift store finds that have transformed a 1939 bungalow into a quaint English cottage in the city. Although I favor chintz over whites, these cleaning tips are very helpful and so appreciated. Many thanks for all your creative inspiration!
What a wonderful email Julie and it sounds like you have an amazing collection of beautiful things in your cottage. Thank you!
Janet thank you so much for empowering us women with your home ideas, tips, assurance and breathtaking atmosphere to learn and grow from. Let’s continue to be there for each other.
Awww, I appreciate you leaving a comment and letting me know how you feel Sandy!
Hi Janet! I love, love your white inspiration! I look forward all of your emails and as someone said it is like visiting a friend.
Thank you for so many wonderful ideas,
Mary Vogel says
When I moved into my son’s walkout basement in North Carolina, I finally bought the Pottery Barn covered sectional in white sunbrella and love it. I have tried to make my place as comfortable and inviting as your homes are. I have followed you for years, but not as great at computers. I get all my ideas on how to decorate from your emails. I check every day for inspiration from you. Thanks for all of your help.
Mary in NC
Delores Tillman says
The rooms are beautiful. I will love to find out where did you purchase the tapestry pillow
in the chair.
Thanks in advance.
Thank you so much Delores! I’ve had that one for many years, but try searching eBay for Aubusson pillows
Cassandra Murphy says
Every morning I look forward to your post. Your tips are inspiring to forge ahead with a project I may have only thought about. I dreamed of having a white living room for years before I ever took the plunge and I LOVE the look and the freedom to use any accent color that fits my desire at the time. White is my palette for whatever my whim.
I’m so glad to hear that you’re inspired over here Cassandra! White will always be my palette as well and I’m looking forward to sharing the redo of my dining table and chairs soon!
Susan Krauss says
So beautiful, Janet! I love decorating with white and also utilize a white twin quilted coverlet on my sofa to combat potential Scoobie issues! I’ve always loved your style!
Thanks Susan! I too have lots of coverlets around for my pets. They actually love making little nests our of them, lol!