White -- gotta have it

by jenny on 05 December 2012 - 07:22pm

I’ve developed an obsession with white. Some time ago, I ran across Sherry’s comment on YHL, “around 75% of the stuff we bring into our house is white.” My first reaction was incredulousness — how boring! Followed very shortly by an ahhh moment of understanding. Kind of like a lightbulb moment, only on a dimmer switch.

You see, I used to avoid white at all costs. It was so blah. So unoriginal. A missed opportunity to express oneself.

My personal theory is that your tastes change as your scope changes. When you’re a kid living under your parents’ roof, you don’t have much scope — much control over what you see every day. The house looks the way they want it to, the colors are their choices, often you’re not even allowed to pick the paint color for your own room (or you’re stuck with what you picked when you were 6), or hang up posters since they might damage the walls.

So to express yourself, you focus on exercising as much control as possible in the limited areas where your control is allowed. Your school notebook cover, coffee mug, and wardrobe all pack a lot of color and personality. They’re your favorite things. Because they look like you. Makes sense.

However, as your scope changes, your approach needs to change a bit. For a long time, when shopping, I’d compare all the versions of item x I could find and pick the one that looked the most like me — my absolute favorite among them — focusing my attention on that item alone. This is the approach that had always worked for me before, and had produced a lot of my favorite things. I never questioned it.

It’s slowly dawning on me that, oxymoronically, when you’re the master of your own space, you must collect fewer of your all-time favorite things. Weird, right? Fact is, if everything is your favorite thing, then everything is screaming for attention and creating the over-all look of chaos. White comes in and smoothes things out, creating a canvas for your personality to really shine.

Take these, for instance. I like both the below ottoman and rug.

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But I can’t have them both — I’d have to pick one or the other to avoid having a seizure when walking into the room. Note how West Elm has carefully paired each of these bold pieces with white (or near white) surroundings.

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Anyway, I digress. A lot. The original intent of this post was to gush over the white duct tape I found at Home Depot. How did I not know this existed before??

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…but I couldn’t explain why it’s so great without first explaining that I have a steadily increasing collection of white stuff in my house. So I can only imagine the zillions of uses I might find for white duct tape. And it’s REAL duct tape, you know, with all the usual amazing duct-tapey properties like super strength yet ablity to be torn by hand — it can even be finger-torn into tiny strips. Love. It. I’ve already used some on a little project I’ll have to write about soon.

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Please ignore the rest of my house. We’re in the process of getting a new couch (a white one!!). More on that later.