Healthy, Green Design: Decorating With White

| 1/21/2011 11:41:35 AM

Stephanie Nickolson headshotStephanie Nickolson has designed residential, commercial and eco-conscious environments for more than 24 years. Her firm, Stephanie Nickolson Design, promotes the use of sustainable, non-toxic, recyclable and environmentally-friendly products and services. The firm works largely with clients who have allergies, chemical sensitivies or who have children with special needs. 

As I look out my window and all that’s visible is white, white and more white, I feel it appropriate to dedicate this blog to the Midwest’s wintertime and the color white. Let me preface this by saying that I do not have a white interior and I’d like to issue this WARNING to readers: Do not attempt to decorate your interior in all white, or maybe even partially white, if you have children, pets or a not-so-neat-spouse or other permanent home dweller. White is beautiful to look at, but not always so practical. In some cases though, you can brave the white urge and go for it.

When painting walls and trim, the dilemma becomes, which shade of white? With such choices as Sherwin Williams’ “Snowbound” and “Moderate White” or Benjamin Moore’s “Decorator’s White” and “China White,” it’s no wonder the redecorator may question her selection. The good news is that  paint companies such as Sherwin Williams have apps that can help you forsee your interior color future. The one offered by Sherwin Williams, Room Visualizer, works where you snap a photo of your room and enter a color selection. You can then preview what the room will look like enhanced in that color. Other paint companies such as Benjamin Moore offer similar apps. This company's version is called Color Capture. It’s cost efficient to use these apps, as color mistakes can be avoided.

Flokati rug
Flokati rugs are very soft and cozy. Photo Courtesy 
Shown in the photo above is a white flokati rug, a favorite to many. Originally from Greece, these soft comfy rugs are so inviting and have become so popular that some synthetics that are not so eco-friendly have entered the marketplace. A greener choice is to go with the ones made of 100 percent wool. One company that offers these in wool is Flokati

A variety of sizes are available, and they’ll also fabricate a custom size if you need it. By placing a flokati rug in the center an area, with furniture around and on it, you can avoid the problem of people (and animals) walking right across it. Wool has a natural characteristic of being cleanable, so no “stain-somethings” are applied to it. I do not recommend wool products for dog owners, however, as pet stains are almost impossible to rid from this fiber.

Mother of Pearl hotel room 
Beautiful and ethereal, this wallcovering is made using real mother of pearl. Photo By Frederick Charles.