All White

I don’t know when I became the type of person who deliberates between 6 almost identical shades of white in the quest to find the ‘perfect’ white paint for their living room, but it’s happened. (Probably right around the time I started referring to rooms in my house as ‘spaces’ but hey ho…).

I read a brilliant post on Rock my Style ( which I think started me off on my quest. I was also inspired by the thousands of minimalist white Scandinavian living rooms on Pinterest and wanted to replicate their airy but slightly masculine feel.

I wanted a pure minimalist white, without shades of cream or grey, but that wasn’t too stark or cold. Simple right?

The general feeling about paint seems to be, when in doubt, go Farrow and Ball. Looking at lots of pictures online, the one I was leaning towards was All White, which according to F&B ‘unusually contains no other pigment except white and creates the softest most sympathetic white with none of the uncomfortable cold blue feeling of a brilliant white’. Perfect. But that still didn’t stop me from trying out:

  • Brilliant White by Dulux – I ended up using this in my dressing room, mainly because I trusted the brand and it was inexpensive (although not the cheapest white). Very white but has none of the warmth of All White and is very stark. Not sure I’d use this again.
  • Strong White by F&B – beautiful but had a definite look of grey. Would be beautiful in a bathroom and I’m tempted to use this elsewhere in the house.
  • Wimborne White by F&B – more cream than white. Nice but not the look I was going for.
  • Sail White by Crown – had a dingy, slightly grey look but without the elegance of Strong White.

So 5 swatches later I decided upon the one I’d originally been leaning towards:


All White in action

Except courtesy of my wonderful decorator I actually got it matched in a durable finish by Johnstone’s – and the debate between natural and synthetic pigment paint is worthy of another post in itself!






The perfect rug

Not that kind of rug (pervert). I’m talking about flooring – the carpet alternative.

The choice between carpets and rugs is a tough one. Some argue that carpets are boring and not homely, but I think they are a good choice in the right area. For example, the bedroom – a room where you want it warm underfoot and high traffic isn’t so much of an issue. Rugs are also good for ‘zoning’ areas – the dining room is a perfect example here.

This dining area is crying out for a rug

The living room is where I find this decision a little trickier.

Rug pros:

  • It can be replaced easily if you get bored of it or it wears out
  • It is a feature
  • It’s easier to keep floorboards and a rug clean than a carpet (assuming your rug is low pile)

Rug cons:

  • Choosing a design is hard. If you end up with a solid block colour rug, then you may as well have gone for carpet but if you design is too bold it can limit your other choices in the room
  • It’s colder
  • It has to be a bloody huge rug to fit two sofas on it, basically almost carpet sized!

And is it ever acceptable to layer rugs onto carpet? That’s a whole other blog post (and one for which I don’t have the answer).

On balance, I decided that a rug was the way to go but there are SO MANY options to choose from and lots of choices to make.

First up, just how big does the rug need to be?

Abigail Ahern (one of my design icons) suggests that there are no rules when it comes to rug size or placement, that you should buy a rug if you love it and then find somewhere to put it. She is also a fan of ‘rug layering’ (excuse the double entendre) and the importance of texture.

And I suppose if you liken buying a rug to buying art, she has a point. You don’t generally buy art to fill a space, you buy art that speaks to you and then find the perfect spot for it in your home.

Emily Henderson on the other hand had quite different views on the matter (their design is pretty much diametrically opposed on most issues actually, except for the use of vignettes, which seem to transpose designer boundaries) and she has quite clear rules about rug size and layout. Her general principal is bigger is better (will the puns never end?) and legs on or off – never a mix of both.

On balance, I have to agree with Emily Henderson on this one. I think rugs can be too small and their placement is important for establishing and grounding the seating area.

So with that in mind I went on the hunt for some reasonable priced supersized rugs and found a great seller on eBay who specialises in beautiful (and very reasonable) antique rugs.

I whittled it down to 3 options – all vintage Persian rugs – and made my final selection based on the colour palette and size (neutral and bloody huge). It’s always a gamble buying things online without seeing them in person, but I love it even more in the flesh.


My harshest critic (Dolly) tests out the new rug

Well there you have it, a whole post about choosing a rug. Who knew it could be so complicated?


PS If anyone is interesting in the store of the ebay sellar I used, the link is here: santique-one