Whiteout Conditions

Whiteout Conditions-How to use white in design if you live in the mountains

Image via Architectural Digest

We all know that trends have a way of coming back around.  For better or for worse, the things we think we’ve left behind tend to constantly resurface in the present.  This holds true in every aspect of culture, and interior design is no exception.  Recently, we have seen all white decorating make it’s comeback.  From shabby-chic to super-elegant, living room, to bedroom to kitchen, interior design trends are experiencing a whiteout.

Well, we live in the mountains.

In the mountains, you can’t just slap a coat of whitewash up on the walls and reupholster the furniture in stark white.  Why?  Because Colorado winters already provide more white than just about anyone is prepared to deal with.  We currently have 136 inches of white here in Steamboat Springs, and while the idea of having a chic white interior may sound exciting, you’ll find that if you live anywhere that it snows for a significant chunk of the year, the results of this color shift will be underwhelming.  In our neck of the woods, it’s important to make warmth a central factor in design.  This doesn’t have as much to do with where we place the heaters as it does with the colors, textures and materials that we use when creating spaces.

But if you are over the moon about this trend, and if, like us, you are a ski town-dweller, you don’t have to just suffer through it and resign yourself to using only colors from the rainbow.  You CAN use white in your interior design, you just have to be a little bit more cautious and subtle about it.

Following these VERY IMPORTANT tips will ensure that you can stay current in your mountain retreat without creating the feeling that you live in an igloo.

1.  Avoid using entirely 100% white.

Experiment with different shades of white, like off-whites, eggshells and ivories.  Subtracting even minutely from stark white will warm your room up exponentially, while still giving you the look you are going for.

Image via Houzz

Image via A Bohemian Life

2.  Add some rustic touches.

Think less shabby-chic and more rugged-elegant.  Beams, logs, and wood floors go a long way in making mountain interiors feel more cozy and inviting, and when you combine that traditional rustic style with white accents, the contrast that it creates is just beautiful.

Image via Houzz

Image via Houzz

Image via Velvet and Linen

3.  Accessorize wisely.

Don’t choose all-white accessories… instead, choose accessories (like throws, pillows, candles, candle holders, mirrors, frames, etc) that will highlight the white that you already have in the space rather than overwhelming it.  Fur and burlap are materials that are very in right now, and not only are they perfect for accessorizing in the mountains, they also look fantastic when paired with white decor.

Image via pinterest

Image via the Gifts of Life

4.  An accent color wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Give it a shot.  You might be surprised.  Try out a red pillow here, a red candle there.  Since you’re working with white, you can really use just about any color you want.  Actually, that’s not true.  Try to stay away from blue and other “cool” colors and instead search out warmer colors like reds or golds.  They don’t have to be vibrant, but adding a little bit of color will make you feel warmer, even when it’s cold outside.

Image via the Gifts of Life

Image via Donald Lococo Architecture

Image via Houzz

5.  Texturize.

When decorating your space, try to keep texture in the forefront of your mind.  Textures are a sneaky way to apply feeling and style to a room without having to just come right out and say it.  Imagine a white room, wood floor, wood beams.  Now imagine that same floor with a fluffy sheepskin rug on it.  Better right?  Thought so.

Image via Pinterest


We were going to make one big long post with our mountain white decorating tips AND products that we suggest for mountain white decorating, but we thought that would just be too much for you all at once, so make sure and keep an eye out next week when we will do a follow up to this post that will include great products for decorating with white and where to find them (spoiler alert: it’s Home on the Range).  Until then, enjoy the rest of your week, and Happy New Year from Home on the Range!



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Reply January 3, 2013

All tips are really so effective that I can see in images! Thanks for sharing with us its quite interesting and informative guidelines which is very useful for people who live in the mountains.

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