Let the power of white add instant impact to your living room.
White walls accompanied by an ivory couch and pair of tan arm chairs allow the homeowner's colorful paintings to be on full display on top of a fireplace built from old paving bricks.
Light gray walls and white sofas brighten up this formerly dark and dreary upstate New York Barn. The soft hues beautifully contrast the wooden posts and beams throughout the space.
The white walls, floors, molding, and furniture in this small Indiana home look stunning when paired with rich and rustic wood accents.
In this California home, it's all about scale. For example, hefty wingbacks would overpower the room (and break up the visual flow in the open space), but the high ceilings and abundance of white decor makes it feel airy and big.
Despite dark hardwood floors and an antique brown leather-studded naval captain's chair, the living area feels light and bright, thanks to tall windows, linen sofas, and a 1900s beadboard jelly cupboard that hides the television in this antique dealer's farmhouse.
The owners of this 18-century farmhouse used a mostly white room to perfectly highlight their collection of unique antiques like the pair of French Art Deco chairs in a hardy textile from .
Made of coveted Ojai stone, the fireplace in surround adds a grounding element to this California home's neutral room.
The cream cotton-twill sofa was a no-brainer for the owner of this redesigned grain mill home, who says she easily tires of bolder patterned fabrics. Varying shades of cream and ivory and strategic pops of texture (waffle knit and cable knit) on the pillows and throws keep the room fresh—not sterile.
The owner of this farmhouse-inspired city apartment used white walls and pieces to make this teeny space feel bigger. In this room, she used two Ikea twin beds to create a space-saving daybed large enough to accommodate the occasional overnight guest.
It took four months to renovate two sheds into this 250-square-foot, two-bedroom guest house. Plenty of texture and a pop of greenery make this neutral space feel like home.
The living room in this Colonial-era New England home uses soft grays and taupey browns—like the blue-gray hue on the mantel and the tan-and-brown striped area rug—to enrich a white palette.
Bright linen-covered cushions soften an antique pine bench in the living room of this California home. The walls are painted Snow White by Benjamin Moore.
Shabby Chic sofas square off across a zinc-topped coffee table in the living room of this Texas ranch. The walls are painted Shaded White by Farrow & Ball.
In the living room of this California home, a slipcovered sofa and chair from Bixby & Ball and neutral curtains provide a cushy counterpoint to Restoration Hardware's industrial coffee table.
In this Massachusetts cabin, a photo by mimics the scene outside. A sofa and pouf gather round an antique pine bench.
The living-dining area in this upstate New York home is furnished with a far-flung mix: Indonesian rush-back loungers, tin sconces from Mexico, and a Persian kilim rug. The farm table and its attendant cane-seat chairs, however, are locally sourced antiques.
When renovating their North Carolina lake house, the owners relied on tag-sale scores, basic hardware-store buys, and a can-do, DIY attitude. The results redefine the word "homemade."
In this Georgia industrial loft, wingback chairs, upholstered in cotton and burlap, complement a sofa found at a Paris flea market. The owner fashioned the coffee table by cutting a farm table down to size, then painting it warm gray (Gothic Arch by ). A wooden stool from a Toronto thrift shop elevates a shadow-boxed heron. The Mongolian-lambhair pillow is by , the tie-dyed cushions by . The walls are painted Creamy by .
In this Northern California home, a sofa and custom chairs flank a pine trunk in the living room. The owner shot the feather photo that hangs on one wall, as well as the skull image that adorns a pillow from her company, . The walls are painted 's White.
The decor in this Montana home throws minimalism a welcome curve. With its rounded arms and turned acacia-wood legs, this linen-upholstered chair from breaks up all the living room's right angles: 's square-backed sofa, a blocky Indonesian wood coffee table from , even the rectangular linen shade atop a lamp by . The owner's dachshund clearly approves.
Crafts-store frames and pages from an out-of-date Audubon calendar combine to create a wall's worth of art in the sitting room of this Ohio farmhouse. The slipcovered chaise comes from .
Custom club sofas flank the living room's centerpiece, an oversize midcentury coffee table fashioned from iron and bleached oak, in this Washington, D.C., home. The antique twist-turned-leg side chairs were found at a local shop, . A collection of old ironstone fills the built-in shelves, and aged finds—like a brass candelabra, globes, and a display of pinned butterflies—lend patina.
Bright Idea: A built-in ledge, painted the same color as the wall, offers an unobtrusive workstation.
Wood warms up even the most sparsely furnished white room. Wood creates movement—it starts to feel like a print—just a very subtle one. Other low-key ways to add interest and depth: Fabrics with woven tone-on-tone chevron or herringbone patterns, marble countertops, and antique rugs on the reverse (just flip the rug over so the muted side shows).
People tend to believe that white creates cold spaces. To prevent this: Avoid hard, modern pieces and use fluffy cushions and distressed finishes—so you still get that airy feeling, but with warmth to it.
Take full advantage of vertical space. These custom bookshelves in the living room create a display space for a collection of American art pottery. Here's how we recommend keeping the arrangement interesting:
• Group similarly shaped items (fluted vases, trophy-like urns) together, but stagger heights and mix various creamy shades.
• A few wild-card components, such as shells, architectural remnants, and tarnished silver vessels, prevent a monochromatic collection from becoming monotonous. Just keep them all muted, so they don't hog the spotlight.
• Stacked books make great risers—providing the height needed to help fill up a tall shelf.
Slipcovered sofas, heaped with hand-sewn pillows, flank this living room fireplace. The leather armchair is by ; the owners had the small antler side table custom made.
In a white living room, throw pillows should serve as more than a decorative element. A layer of cushions instantly corrects the problem of a too-deep sofa and adds visual interest and depth. But avoid over-accessorizing a shallow one—remember, people need space to sit.
White decor looks anything but basic in a living room filled with antique finds. Instead of family photos, hang mirrors of various sizes in a stairwell to reflect the light palette.
The owner of this light-filled living room found imaginative applications for vintage finds—she turned a 19th-century wooden tub into a coffee table and utilized an antique checkerboard as a unique piece of art.
Textures and shapes are enhanced against white. Subtle but significant details, such as the original paint of a vintage fireplace mantel and the bold lines of an 18th-century American cupboard, stand out when displayed against a backdrop of plain white walls.