Design at Altitude column: Whiten up |

Design at Altitude column: Whiten up

Yvonne Jacobs
Design at Altitude
This white powder room, with a pop of turquoise, is soothing and bright.

We were delighted to receive so much snow over the past several weeks. It seems like the rest of the country begrudgingly is allowing winter into their lives. Where others complain, we rejoice. Snow! It’s magical, peaceful and makes the world sparkle. What a way to start a new year, with a soft white glow.

Gone are the days of dark cabins, low ceilings and dimly lit rooms. There’s no reason to keep the white outside. There’s a white-hot trend happening right now: white throughout the house. Entire rooms in shades of white, far from being austere and plain, are gloriously bright, welcoming and, honestly, a bit unexpected. White isn’t stark and cold: It’s ethereal and calming, vivid without being overwhelmingly intense. Hesitant to convert an entire room to white? Go for a light-colored chair and luxurious, cozy (perfect for a cold winter morning) white faux fur throw.

A chair-and-ottoman combination lets you ease your way into the white out. Put it in a sunny corner nook or by the fireplace, and it will quickly become the most coveted chair in the house. We are loving the Lowell Lounge in a patterned creamy white with sumptuous arms and deep seat. It makes me want to kick back and put my feet up!


I usually change over to white curtains, white sheets and white accents in the summer — bringing in that incredible feeling of lightness. I’m not going to wait till summer beckons this year. I’m in love with white bedrooms — not bland, mind you, because they have pops of color in the throw, a bedside flower, a fun throw rug, a bold stripe on the duvet or even pillowcases in a deep color — maybe marsala, this year’s “color of the year.” It’s not stark or boring by any means, it’s lavish and welcoming with accessories that can be totally you.

Those of us with kids may be hesitant to try it, but for the more courageous (or clean), a white-hued living room positively can make you swoon. Try a fun, flirty ankle-deep faux fur throw rug for complete luxury. Keep the tones light with a silver-sheened sofa and silver accessories, whether a wall mirror or silver lamps. The light will reflect, making our long nights seem so much shorter. If you’re lucky enough to have floor-to-ceiling windows, raise the shades, remove the curtains and relish in the brilliant Colorado light. Instead of painting, try adding full-length white curtains to a wall. They will bring visual interest and texture to the room with minimal work, softening an already sunny space.

A sparkling, clean, white kitchen has recently become a dream of mine. It gives the impression of more space, an airy feel but is fully functional and family friendly. Sleek white cabinets seem very Scandinavian and fit in perfectly with our snowy environment. Keep the floor dark for contrast or lighten that too. The best part about kitchen accessories is that oftentimes they are edible too — oranges in a bowl one week for warm color, avocados the next for cooler tones. Stainless fixtures meld right in.

This winter, don’t fear the white. Let the snow inspire and whiten up!

Yvonne Jacobs is the president of Slifer Designs and has been with the company for 17 years. She’s designed projects in Mexico, Canada, California, the East Coast, as well as right here at home. For more design inspiration, check out

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