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Is White the New Black? The future of finishes.

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

Change is an inevitable part of design, and nowhere is that more obvious than when looking at TRENDS! While a good designer tries to design beyond the trends, we are in some ways slaves to them. The reason is that, unless we have an unlimited budget to design custom pieces (snorting laugh), we are dependent on the PRODUCTS we use. And products are designed by companies who follow trends!

It has always been interesting for me to look ahead to what might come next though. One spoke on the rotating wheel of design is finishes. The Oil Rubbed Bronze craze gave way to the widespread love of brass and matte black but we all know that won't last forever either. So what's on the horizon? Would you believe me if I said it might be MATTE WHITE?!!

Check out this stunning faucet by Jason Wu for Brizo! While matte white for a faucet sounds strange, even to my ears, in practice it's really beautiful. Considering the OTHER current trend for dark, moody spaces, white actually seems a natural complement. It really pops against a darker background. If there's one thing I love it's contrast!

Let's see some more.

This chandelier is part of a collection by Sasha Bikoff for Currey and Company. I have yet to see any of these lights in situ, but I feel they could work in a range of contemporary designs. When designing it Bikoff was inspired by the architecture of the Fontainebleau resort in Miami Beach.

I'm seriously crushing on Uttermost's Sea Coral Mirror. See how beautiful it is against the dark grey wall? What I think I like most is how the matte white finish makes all these pieces feel like sculpture in a gallery. The finish allows you to focus on the overall form rather than the detail.

Decor is not the only thing dabbling in this finish, appliances are getting in on it too!

GE's covetable Café Appliances come in a matte white option. There are several handle and knob color combinations so you can customize the look. This is a decidedly more sophisticated take on the standard white appliances your parents had!

This painted table from Pottery Barn is notable in two respects. One, matte paints have had a revolution in recent years. With new enamels that make the historically difficult-to-maintain finish both washable and long-wearing, even frequently used furniture like this dining table can sport this sheen. And two, when a finish starts to show up in retail design stores, you know there's something there for the wider audience.

Lastly, here's a lovely cabinet from World's Away in a matte white lacquer. This would look great in a coastal, or midcentury modern design. I love the contrast of the glossy white lamps next to the matte white.

So, is a matte white faucet coming to a home near you anytime soon? Would you use it in your own home? Leave a message in the comments and let me know what you think about this growing trend!

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