Why Are So Many Celebrities Obsessed With Living in All-White Houses?

For arbiters of taste, they all seem to love vanilla.

Why Do Celebrities Live in All-White Houses?
Photo: Instagram/ @kimkardashian

A generation of people grew up watching MTV Cribs, peeking into celebrity homes starting in 2000 and getting a glimpse into the over-the-top lifestyles of the rich and famous. And back then (the show is miraculously still filming, but the heyday of more-is-more aughts interiors is long gone), it felt like every celebrity lived among slick sports cars, shark-infested fish tanks, and David LaChapelle-inspired technicolor interiors, later developing into Tuscan-adjacent Cheesecake Factory vibes. There were Mariah Carey's candy-slick peach walls. Beyoncé living in what looked like Christina Aguilera's genie bottle, and more Ferraris than anyone could ever remember.

Fast-forward to today's Architectural Digest Open Door series, an evolution of the voyeuristic MTV Cribs-style home tour. The YouTube series follows the same format, only it appears that most of the celebrities featured appear to have either hired the same interior designer or coincidentally chose to live the same bland, neutral-toned, personality-free mansion.

Take Alicia Keys and her husband, Swizz Beatz, who live in the seaside, concrete-and-glass mansion rumored to be the inspiration for Tony Stark's home in the Iron Man movies. While Keys embraces color and patterns when she performs, she wore an off-white outfit to show off all the off-white things in her off-white home, which is full of pampas grass, cozy eggshell-hued couches, and oatmeal-colored chairs.

Serena Williams? While she's got a few colorful art pieces in her "gallery" of a house, it's also pretty white. Even her piano is clear.

Nicole Scherzinger? White house. Kerry Washington? Beige on beige.

Of course, Kim Kardashian might have the most famous all-white home. AD did a feature on the space, which is famously devoid of color thanks to Belgian designer and tastemaker Axel Vervoordt, a pal of Kanye West.

Interior designer Maggie York, whose firm Margaret of York has been featured on CNN and Real Simple, says that a serene, clean design is akin to creating a sanctuary away from the spotlight, something celebs might embrace as they try to get away from the paparazzi.

"I think in the midst of chaotic and hectic schedules, celebrities want to come home to a less-is-more, peaceful sanctuary that feels soothing after a busy day," she tells InStyle. "The fresh simplicity of modern minimalism creates a cozy environment by balancing warm whites with textures."

And according to her, the look isn't going anywhere: "Monochrome minimalism is often achieved with a wash of ivory, curated decor, and mix of vintage pieces. It really creates a sense of clean and calm. Although the all-white interior is currently seen as a trend, I tend to believe all white is timeless."

There are a few celebs that eschew the mystique of monochrome, like Dakota Johnson, who famously had limes in her green kitchen even though she's allergic to limes, and Hilary Duff, whose house features a patterned kitchen and crystals big enough for her kids to sit on.

And Dita von Teese actually said, "I really loathe white walls," during her tour, so it's not surprising that her Tudor home is outfitted with taxidermy and hand-painted murals with birds and monkeys.

Undoubtedly, celebrities and their interior designers are out to create idyllic escapes from the limelight, whether that means the ever-popular white getaway or a maximalist refuge. What's clear is that fans looking for kaleidoscopic interiors or even inspiration beyond a calm, white getaway, will have to seek out celebs with more out-there leanings to apply to their own homes.

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