Posts

Color Guide: Designer Tips for Decorating With White

Is there anything quite as nice as a crisp and clean all-white room? (We’d say, no, there is not.) Whether it’s truly an all-white interior, or simply a room where white is the dominant color, white rooms have a particular appeal to them.

You might think they’d feel stark and cold, but decorating in shades of white can actually be quite warm and inviting. They have a sort of timeless appeal and never look dated or tired! And we love that interior design using white can come to life in any style—from modern rustic to glam, traditional to minimal. It all depends on the shade of white you choose and the furniture style and decor that goes within the space. After all, there are hundreds of different shades of whites, creams, off-whites, and ivories—not to mention grey and beige!

interior design using whiteAnd having kids or pets doesn’t exclude you from being able to pull off an all-white room. White slipcovers can easily be bleached to keep them looking fresh and crisp, and white wood only gets better with age. Designing with white doesn’t have to be a precious process. Things will get dirty and spills are inevitable. So, just opt for furniture, rugs, and paint finishes that suit your lifestyle!

Curious about how to create an all-white room in your space? Wondering how to incorporate other neutrals with white walls, or perhaps explore grey and white interior design? Need some guidance for how in the world to choose the right neutral paint colors? You’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re walking you through our designers’ best secrets on how to design with white (and other neutrals) and how to pull off an all-white look in your own home!

Add Nuance With Natural Textures And Wood Tones

When it comes to all-white rooms, natural textures and wood tones are your best friend. They add depth and nuance to the space so that the design doesn’t fall flat. In fact, an all-white room helps celebrate the natural beauty of wood elements and natural textures in the space. So, don’t be afraid to layer in tons of different textures and materials to a white room!

Here, the sheepskin rug, jute pouf, plush linen duvet, and natural woven baskets all offer a diversity of natural textures, which helps to create layers in the space and break up all the white. Meanwhile, wood elements help bring warmth to the room. We recommend using wood tones that are in the same family when going for an all-white room to help unify the look. Bonus: natural materials like these all still fall into the neutral color camp! Pops of greenery also help enliven a white room; and since greenery is from nature, it doesn’t feel like too bold a wash of color in a neutral space.

Shop This Look

interior design using whiteLayer In Warm Neutrals

While white is the dominant color in this living room, we’re also using warm neutral earth tones to help draw it out a bit. The velvet camel chairs offer a warm touch, which immediately gives the space a welcoming, comfortable vibe. Pro tip: if you want a warmer look without layering in darker neutral tones, opt for an off-white or cream versus a stark white, which will immediately warm up the space.

Shop This Look

interior design using whiteIncorporate Textured Upholstery

If you’re going for a white bedroom design, consider a playful textured duvet to help break up the space a bit. Textured accent pillows or playful designs like the eye pillows above are also great! The color-blocked woven wool rug also adds a textural element (and a touch of color) to the space. If you prefer a simple duvet cover, you can add texture with your headboard instead. Perhaps opt for one with caning, an upholstered style with subtle channeling, or a subtle print in a neutral color or off-white/cream.

Shop This Look

Add Visual Interest With Unique Art And Decor

White rooms are the perfect backdrop for showing off unique art and decor. Whether you’re a lifelong art collector, want to display family heirlooms, or have amassed a collection of unique decor and objects through world travels, a white room creates a blank canvas where you can really let those pieces shine. In this living room, the wall art, pillow covers, tabletop decor, and even the pouf become the talking points in the space. Together, they give this neutral room a collected, eclectic edge. The mix of varying shades of white, cream, and gray further that eclecticism and offer subtle contrast throughout the space.

Shop This Look

interior design using whiteTry On Some Shiplap

Shiplap or wood-panelled walls add some natural texture and visual interest to an all-white room—and also create a crisp and clean look. It lends itself perfectly to a coastal or rustic interior design style. You can then play off this neutral base with other white and natural elements. Here, the natural wood shelf complements the white and neutral tones in the space (whereas a dark wood shelf would add contrast). The table, chair, and woven rug further complement the neutral palette. Together, this is a perfect example of using the bones of a space to help direct the color palette.

Shop This Look

interior design using whiteAccent With Black

Just because you’re designing a white room doesn’t mean you can’t layer in some accents on the other end of the color spectrum. In fact, we encourage it! You can never go wrong by combining black and whtie. We love using one focal point that contrasts with an all-white color palette. Here, the coffee table grounds the space with start contrast. Various accent decor also complements the coffee table by layering in contrast through the shelves, which are sprinkled with both dark and light accents.

Shop This Look

Layer In Some Metallic Elements

In white bedroom designs, layering in metallic elements in furniture and decor adds nuance and depth to the room. It’s a perfect example of using a piece’s finish or material as contrast in a neutral space rather than incorporating other colors. In this room, we opted for silvers, acrylic, and white metals, which gives this room a “cooler” vibe, whereas brass and gold accents would add more warmth to the space. And the metallic elements—the mirrors, lamps, chandelier—all add texture to the room as well.

Shop This Look

interior design using whiteCurate With Care

If you want your all-white room to be a truly serene space, curate with care. Too much art and decor will distract from the serenity of a white color palette. So, be thoughtful about what you bring into the space and carefully consider each piece’s placement within the room. Not only will this create a peaceful space, but, since white can be stark, giving thought to the placement of objects will also help you make sure the space feels livable and considered.

Shop This Look

interior design using whiteIncorporate Pops Of Blue

Unfortunately, there is potential for an all-white room to fall flat. That’s why we love the use of natural textures, as we mentioned above. But we also like incorporating subtle pops of color. In this room, white is certainly the dominant color—but pops of blue in the throw pillows add both color and pattern, offering just the right amount of life to this living room design. (Plus, there’s nothing quite so classic as a blue and white color palette.)

Shop This Look

interior design using whiteUse Material As Ornament

When you’re going for an all-white room, we love using various materials as ornament within the space. Here, the marble coffee table and herringbone floor really set a mood for the scene. By skipping a large area rug and opting for a sheepskin in the corner instead, the patterning of the wood floor becomes a centerpiece of the room. The marble coffee table, with it’s black veining, not only adds ornament to the space but also a bit of depth.

Shop This Look

Want to try your hand at designing with white?

Start My Project

living room

How To Master The All White Living Room

living room

There’s no denying the crisp, cool, and calming beauty of an all white living room. And we’ll be the first to admit that it’s a fine line between our worst design nightmare (a completely washed-out white room) and a perfect dream come true (a soft and sophisticated space).

Of course, there are serious challenges when it comes to a living room in head-to-toe white. Most importantly, a white room doesn’t seem practical. Well, we’re here to tell you it can be and it can also be beautiful, gorgeous, and incredibly comfortable. To prove that, we picked our designers’ brains on the best tips for designing an all-white living room—and how to keep it looking pristine year-round.

living roomConsider A Sofa Carefully

We’re all thinking it. One of the scariest parts of an all-white living room is a white sofa. The chances of spills and stains in a busy space like your living room are pretty much high to extremely high.

Shop This Room

But the good thing to know is that there are plenty of stain- and spill-resistant options. Our pick would be to go with a leather sofa. It provides a clean-lined look and a nice dose of texture. Not to mention leather cleans up much easier and will develop a lovely patina over time.

If you really want to go for the all-white living room, a white or even neutral sofa can make a great subtle statement. The slight tonal variation will be a nice contrast amid other white furnishings.

living roomThink About Wood Tones

White furnishings mixed with wood tones are a foolproof way to play up an all-white living room that still feels warm and inviting. Wood pieces act as neutrals that don’t add color so they make for perfect complementary decor.

Shop This Look

Just be sure to pick a lane with your woods to keep the look cohesive. We vote for warm and dark wood tones, as lighter hues will appear washed out in an all-white room.

living roomMix Cool Materials

Besides wood, make sure to bring in a selection of accents in different light-hued materials, such as marble, stone, ceramics, and linen. This is an easy way to ensure you have lots of textures that add depth to your white room. You can even mix in natural materials like rattan and jute for an additional pop. They’re technically not white, but alongside natural materials and wood pieces, they won’t feel out of place.

Play Up Fun Shapes

When you don’t have color in a room, you have to find creative ways to add visual intrigue. Think fun shapes, like round forms, curvy furniture frames, or sinuous silhouettes. These will make for interesting focal points and elements that warm up your all-white room.

living roomLayer Your Textiles

Pillows, rugs, curtains, and other fabric accents are key to adding a cozy note in a white living room. A mix of pillows will warm up a sofa, a fluffy rug can add welcoming texture to your floors, and white sheers have a way of letting in pretty natural light.

Shop This Look

Together, these finishing touches will make your space feel dynamic and considered while also playing up a sense of comfort that’s often lacking in white spaces.

Go Big With Textures

The key to making an all-white living room design work is to create subtle variations in texture, which will lend a dynamic and layered look to your space. Think textured pillows and a rug or even a sheepskin bench. These pieces will bring the look to life and keep your room from looking or feeling flat.

living roomPattern Up Your Decor

Your white living room can benefit from a subtle mix of patterns. The key to working in patterns into your white space is to opt for accents in off-white and soft gray shades. Whether it’s in your rugs, pillows or art, these visual motifs will help liven up your living room.

Accent With Greenery

Add a lush and vibrant pop of color with greenery. Much like textured textiles, plants have a way of bringing in a touch of texture to an all-white space. Not to mention plants are key to any happy home!

living roomAdd A Contrasting Wall Color

It’s okay to not have white walls in your all-white living room. In fact, a slightly warmer shade of off-white, ivory, or even gray will help warm up, cool down, or bring contrast to your room.

Keep It Pristine Year-Round!

We know. While all of the above sounds great, keeping everything clean and perfectly white is the ultimate challenge. The best way to maintain the crisp look? Keep a Tide To-Go stick handy to start. You can also make sure your sofa has a removable cover that you can toss into the wash or dry clean as needed!

Thinking of taking the leap with an all-white living room?

Start My Project