I am a big fan of white rooms... I have this weird, tortured, diabolical struggle in my deepest self between a love for old things and a hatred of sentimentality (in both personal expression and decor). So, my answer is to live with stark black/white/brown palate so that the old things I love look more sculptural than "shabby chic" (dear god, I hope so).
Here are examples of what really does it for me. I have a few more photos to add (stay tuned) but the first is just white hot. And the other, well, I just really want that table. I could put that to good use in my old Tudor home. Not sure HOW, but I am sure I could find a way.
Above from article Written by Bernadette Baczynski • Styled by Nicola Marc
Photographed by Angus McRitchie
Borrowed from brilliantasylum.blogspot.com (from her tear sheets, origin unknown... email me if you can help with a credit)
Above, Kate & Andy's Spade's shack, courtesy of allthebest.blogspot.com
It's totally preppy meets dowager-chic, which I love.
(Anne Coyle, featured in Elle Decor, March '05) ...by way of http://www.blackwhitebliss.blogspot.com, via girlmeetsglamour.blogspot.com