Considering it’s such a fundamental color, using white in your home isn’t always foolproof. Finding the right balance without making a space too minimal, or even cold, is tricky. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! If you’re renovating a home and want ideas for using white the right way, Laura and Andrew’s amazing Japandi-inspired home will give you some food for thought.
Laura and Andrew moved to Halifax when Andrew was offered a new job in nearby Manchester, and as soon as they saw the photos of their three-bedroom Victorian terrace they knew it was perfect. It was over budget by £225,000, – “but as it had been on the market for six months we made a cheeky offer of £205,000 and managed to get it for £213,000,” says Laura.
Taking inspiration from the exposed brickwork, the couple restored the house to its original state. “It was about bringing it back to its bones to create a natural, rustic and exposed look,” says Laura. Previously, dark green and red walls gave way to muted tones. “I’m a little afraid of the color on the walls,” admits Laura. “I prefer a crisp, white backdrop to which I can add textures and colors through textiles and accessories.”
With a tight budget and not wanting to rip anything out unnecessarily, they kept the original tub, toilet and sink, but replaced the floor and added a new shower cubicle. In the kitchen, the couple decided to keep the original slabs to preserve the character of the space. “We love the kitchen so much and spend more time there than the living room,” says Laura.
In the future, the boys will have the option of moving up to the loft, which currently houses Laura’s studio. “It would make an incredible huge space for them because it feels like a separate part of the house where they can hide,” she says. “We could even add a bathroom and maybe a climbing wall or a swing attached to the beam.”
Read on for the six key lessons we take from Laura and Andrew’s home.
1. Use your splashback to enhance a white kitchen
The owners Laura Park, illustrator and stationery brand designer Dear Prudence Studio, her husband Andrew, a UXD designer, and their children Amos, six, and Eli, four.
The property A three bedroom terraced Victorian house in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire
Project cost £10,500
A clean, white kitchen is the perfect base for an afternoon cookout, but to keep things from looking too clinical, make the most of the small details around the room. Laura and Andrew added warmth with extra plywood storage space and an oval dining table, and used geometric encaustic cement tiles to create a bold splashback – a small addition that packs a punch. “We couldn’t choose between three models, so we put them all together,” says Laura.
The couple also framed the window by making a feature of the existing sill, turning it into a cozy window seat. “The view is great, so it’s nice to be able to sit by the window,” says Laura. “We added vintage magazine racks underneath where the boys put their coloring books.”
2. Consider using exposed brick in a white living room
Stonework around the fireplace makes a statement in the living room and adds interest. “We considered painting it, but it was so part of the age of the building that I thought I might regret it,” says Laura. “It also reflects the masonry of the kitchen.” A carpenter was hired to make raw pine shelves for the alcoves and Laura painted the inside of the fireplace white. “It really made it pop,” she says. “Before, it looked like a black hole.”
The couple’s style encompasses Scandinavian and Japanese elements, with mid-century pieces too – like a G Plan coffee table inherited from Laura’s nan and a 1960s ‘make your own bag’ fabric kit repurposed as a wall hanging . “I also love West German pottery, but I’m picky about which ones I like,” says Laura.
Personal touches like the Welsh blanket on the sofa, embroidered with Laura’s name and date of birth – a 30th birthday present from a friend – add warmth to the space. “That’s one of the things I’d run out of if the house was on fire!” She adds.
3. Layer Texture in a White Bedroom
“As there are a lot of hard surfaces downstairs, we wanted the upstairs to be cozier, so we opted for a new rug in our bedroom and a painted floor with a large rug in the boys’ room,” says Laura . The rug sets the casual tone of the space, which Laura built on by layering the bedding and adding a hanger for texture.
A group of Laura’s favorite artists and illustrators adorn one wall. “Some people lay the photos out on the floor first, but I’m very instinctive and grab things as I collect them,” says Laura. “I prefer smaller pieces that look random and off center.”
4. Use open shelving wherever you can (but keep things neat and tidy!)
Rather than closed cupboards, which can make a white space seem flat, Laura opted for open shelving even in her kids’ bedroom – a brave move, but one that works if you can keep things tidy .
As this room receives little light, painting the walls white was a wise decision. “Eli suffers from dust allergies, so I ripped up the carpet here,” says Laura. “The floors were a state. It took a week to fix and clean them before applying five coats of Dulux floor paint – it’s durable and easy to clean.
5. Add warmth to a white bathroom with beige tones
Although Laura and Andrew plan to eventually replace the bathroom, a mini makeover has given it a new look. “We painted the bright red walls white, painted the tub legs silver, and had the dirty marble stone floor leveled before laying the hexagonal mosaic lino on top,” says Laura. “It’s so much softer and warmer underfoot now.”
6. Use Your Walls to Make a Statement in a White Home Office
Corkboards in Laura’s attic office sit above her desk and display some of her most recent artwork, as well as notes and keepsakes. Functionality helps make an otherwise simple space full of interest.
Laura’s favorite object in this room is a chair she grew up with. “My grandfather bought four from a hotel in Ayreshire where he was doing the catering,” she says. “I love the unusual shape, but I had the rough brown fabric reupholstered.”