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 6 beautiful white living rooms point the way to getting white right.
LQ SHOP, original photo on Houzz
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!
Britse & Company AB, original photo on Houzz
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.
Brown + Brown Architects, original photo on Houzz
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.
Retro Salon, original photo on Houzz
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.
TG-Studio, original photo on Houzz
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.
Rigby & Mac, original photo on Houzz
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.