Don’t underestimate the power of white to transform rooms. Interior designer Dylan Thomaz proved just how effective decorating with white can be when he revamped this seaside apartment.

decorating with white

White has the ability to freshen dark rooms and give dated ones a contemporary look. By decorating with white, you can also create calm and sophisticated environments.

READ MORE: Decorating with blue and white

“The moment I walked into this two-bedroom apartment in Cape Town, I decided on a white-based scheme,” says designer Dylan Thomaz. “While I knew it would complement the intense blue of the sea perfectly, it also fulfilled the owner’s brief, which was for crisp, stylish interiors for coastal living.”

The right white

Like any colour, white comes in many shades, each with different undertones. You need to establish what will work under your light conditions. In general, whites with a bluish tone will work in rooms that get a lot of sunlight but tend to look cold in south-facing rooms. Those with red or yellow undertones lend warmth and brightness. Cohesion is easier to establish if you limit yourself to one or two shades.

READ MORE: Decorating with texture


The best way to bring a white scheme to life is with texture. Texture is an essential ingredient for adding layers of visual interest and depth. The warmth of natural wood is shown off best against a white backdrop as are elements like grass matting and woven furniture. Take this further by combining shiny with matte finishes, rough linen with smooth silk, concrete with glass, and introduce metals to give an industrial edge so the scheme doesn’t look too soft and bland.

Contrasting colours

decorating with white 2

A white scheme benefits from the introduction of other neutrals such as grey, taupe and charcoal. These accents can be in the form of headboards, side tables, lamp bases and scatter cushions.

Create continuity

It’s important to lead the eye around a room. You can do this by repeating patterns, shapes and textures, for instance use a round mirror to echo the shape of a side table.


Decorative details

Wall panelling has become a signature look of mine. It’s one of the easiest ways to liven up a bland wall and the effect is very subtle. You can also add more detail with dado rails, skirting and cornices.

READ MORE: Mixing vintage and modern

READ MORE: Black and white bathroom decor