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Why White, Gray, and Bright is a Must in the PNW

We live in a place that is gray with heavy clouds 62% of the year. Simultaneously, gray has been a trendy color for the past few years. Many are jumping on the gray bandwagon, while others are adamantly anti-gray. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've heard, "we have enough gray outside, I don't want that gloom inside as well!"


Aha... but there's the problem.. the best way to beat the gloom, is to bring the outside in! I am going to ask you to close your eyes (wait, read this first, then close your eyes!) and imagine that it is a cold snowy day outside. Now, imagine a bedroom with warm light, white walls and ceilings, overstuffed white bedding, and a fuzzy white blanket to wrap yourself in. The temperature indoors is nice... maybe there's even a fireplace with a crackling fire next to you. Feels heavenly doesn't it? Okay, it feels especially heavenly right now because it's June. So, let's try another exercise!

Now, imagine that you are in Belize during the off-season (it's HOT!). Everything around you is full of color in the clothing people wear, the rich, vivid color of the ocean, the brilliant blue of the sky, the red sand, and the rich green tropical leaves. You step inside to your cabana, and the terracotta tile is cool on your feet. The bright and thin yellow blanket on the bed welcomes you to air-conditioned bliss. The thatched ceilings are a beautiful reminder of where you are. See what I mean? Temperature and aesthetic warmth can be controlled. Separating ourselves from what surrounds us is simply confusing to our system. This is why it feels cave-like in this region in a home with warm, intensely colored walls. 

We thrive on daylight, and in a place where it is so very limited, we need to connect with the outdoors and allow the light to move through our spaces as much as possible. Now, this doesn't mean we can't see a red door and paint it black (sorry, couldn't resist). Dark colors have their place too. In the Pacific Northwest, however, we need to focus on ways to bring in the light. So, unless you have a window-filled room with excellent natural daylight, white and gray are actually a wonderful consideration.

That said, we are in the PNW, and what other than white and gray surround us? Green. Oh, wonderful forests of green. With those forests, come a lot of wood, and the wood can bring an amazing amount of warmth into a white and/or gray space. For the sake of visual examples, I've created a Pinterest board to show the beautiful effect we can get when combining these colors to establish a wonderful Pacific Northwest aesthetic that is light and airy, connecting us with our outdoor spaces. I have also updated the Waldron Designs' shop with a cover page full of Pacific Northwest Coastal items- check it out!