9 Decorating Ideas for White Living Rooms
White is a reliable, go-to shade that delivers huge benefits. It helps a space feel brighter, lighter and bigger, and you don’t need to spend a small fortune on paint samples before choosing it. But a white living room can be hard to pull off. Too much white can look harsh and sterile, or it can simply lack bite. So how do you get the best from white, and what should you pair it with? These 10 beautiful white living rooms point the way to getting white right.
1. Go for greenery. The lush leaves of a houseplant really sing out against a fresh white wall and add a welcome shot of living color against the pure backdrop. The fact that this retro ceiling pendant in this white living room almost mimics the shape of the potted tree is a bonus!
2. Channel Nordic style. What the Scandinavians don’t know about working a white design is probably not worth knowing. They understand the value of white for boosting light levels and helping a space feel coordinated and airy, but they are skilled at punctuating it, too. Here, gray, black and wood are used to give a white living room character and edge.
3. Consider paneling. There’s no denying it: A white wall can look rather predictable. If you love white and crave the element of surprise too, try incorporating paneling. The horizontal design here creates lines around the room, adding lots of movement without deviating from the white design. The dark shadow gap between each board is interpreted as a color theme and reproduced on the hearth, armchair and picture frame.
4. Create crisp silhouettes. Keep the fresh, clean feel of white by choosing just one or two colors to stand out against it. Here, a teak sideboard adds a block of warm wood color, while accents of bright yellow and blue seem to almost hover against the white backdrop. This pared-back approach ensures that the white still looks sharp, but there is welcome color too.
5. Play with scale. Prevent an all-white room from feeling bland by introducing oversized pieces. Here, a large Anglepoise-style floor lamp is a witty touch that adds a focal point and height to a pale and neutral space.
6. Feel the folk. This wonderful white living room, complete with white shelving displaying magazines with neat white spines, is broken up by a few pieces of seating. A sharp, contemporary charcoal sofa would have given this space a very Scandinavian feel, but instead, an Ercol piece dotted with homespun cushions takes the room in a folksy-meets-midcentury direction. It’s an unexpected and winning choice.
7. Roll out rustic style. Warm up white with textured additions, such as wood, a natural-fiber rug, terra-cotta and painted exposed brick. They bring in simple rustic style and give this white living room warmth and weight, preventing it from floating away or causing snow blindness.
8. Take in texture. Personalizing white and preventing it from feeling either too flat or too bright, texture is a valuable element. Here, an exposed wall is painted in crisp white, but its rough surface creates soft shadows and a welcome feeling of depth in this pale room.
9. Add plenty of detail. So many of the ingredients in this living space are white, but the variety of shapes, forms and elements gives it heaps of energy. The space is rich with detail, including white seating, ceramics and white-framed photography. Touches of black and red add contrast but never threaten to overthrow the purity of this white living room.