Not every living room needs a dramatic color palette in order to make a statement. In fact, sometimes, white deserves the starring role. After all, alabaster spaces are chic, timeless, and work with any aesthetic from contemporary to farmhouse and industrial.
When considering a white color scheme for the living room, keep in mind that not all white hues are created equal, and there are seemingly endless variations. This is due to the existence of undertones that are present in every shade, which alters how the paint reflects light: The same color can actually look different from one room to the next, even when it's used in the same house. Whites that have red, orange, or yellow undertones appear "warm" while purple, blue, and green undertones can give off a "cool" feeling.
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It's important to take into account how you want your white living room to feel when you're finalizing the palette. For example, if your living room functions as the primary gathering spot and you want the vibe to be relaxed and welcoming, select a scheme with warm undertones. And if you want to make it extra cozy, incorporate wood accents, woven textures (such as rattan, sisal, and jute), and soft textiles like fur throws, pillows, and blankets. Sprinkle in limited pops of color with potted plants, which will make your space feel extra homey.
"Be sure to ... layer in some texture like a chunky rug, floor-to-ceiling drapes, and statement light fixtures," says Jordan Shifrin, owner of Jordan Shields Design. "It's okay to mix in some off-whites and subtle creams or grays to bring in warmth. The key to this is deciding whether you are going with cool tones or warm tones and finding those whites that are all in the same family of either cool or warm."
However, if you have a modern home and you want your white living room to have a sleek finish, opt for white shades with cool undertones. Keep things somewhat stark and underscore the contemporary vibe with industrial accents, metal accessories, and pops of black. "Layering is what takes a space from stark and almost museum-like to a chic, contemporary living room. Layer artwork in neutral tones to add visual interest to the space," Shifrin suggests.
Enough talking, let's get to the fun stuff. Ahead, you'll find a whole host of decorating ideas that are far from boring.
40 White Living Room Ideas That Shine
1. Pepper in subtle accent colors.
Accent colors can instantly add visual interest to an otherwise minimalist, all-white living space, whether it's through subtle shades of pink, tones of green represented through plants, or warm hues brought in with natural materials.
"Choose materials like marble or concrete for accent pieces," Daleet Spector advises. "A lamp base or side table in marble or concrete will dress up an all-white living room."
2. Draw attention with one bold accent color.
To punch up the white paint in your living room, consider using a different color for your fireplace or built-ins, like the olive green shade used in this setup from Room for Tuesday. The blue armchair provides further juxtaposition.
3. Embrace a coastal palette.
White easily lends itself to a coastal, beach-inspired theme, and this room styled by Lauren of Bless'er House is no exception. The serene makeover features a blue-hued sectional, a well-loved coffee table, and a painted waterscape to complete the scene.
4. Include wood tones.
Since white goes with pretty much everything, it's a good opportunity to play with more than one wood finish in your living room. From the armchair to the picture frame to the coffee table, wood takes center stage in this light-filled, neutral design belonging to Katie of Halfway Wholeistic.
5. Choose a warm shade of white.
To create a friendly, approachable vibe, look no further than a warm shade of white, laid-back textures, and thoughtful pieces of decor, as demonstrated in this living room design by Olivia Stutz.
"When I am designing an all-white living room, I love starting with a white, comfortable couch and light oak furniture," Stutz says. "This look transforms a room and really helps bring the style into focus as a laid-back, white, clean space."
6. Curate a minimalist haven.
The color white conveys feelings of order and efficiency which makes it the perfect hue for a clutter-free living room like this minimalist space by Aamodt/Plumb. The perfectly constructed, integrated shelving displays an edited collection of artwork and accessories without visual clutter.
7. Add rustic elements.
One of the many wonderful things about a white room is that you can go as artistic as you like since the walls act as a blank canvas. For the focal point, showcase a head-turning piece of art and, if you really want to take things to the next level, hang a sculptural chandelier à la this space by Scout & Nimble.
8. Introduce farmhouse charm.
White color palettes and farmhouse style go hand-in-hand, but don't just take our word for it. Follow the lead of this cozy setup by Alma of Almafied. Thanks to some natural light, white furniture, and a white Juju hat on the wall, she's created a bright and airy living room that beckons you to sit for a while.
"Accents like decor and objects should be white, cream, or brass-colored. Introducing too much color is when the room loses focus. Focus is key when designing all-white spaces because [almost] everything truly does need to be a white color! Even a blue ceramic bowl might be too much," says Stutz.
9. Arrange a gallery wall.
With a white living room, you can add personal pieces on a whim. Those treasures from the flea market? Your family heirlooms? The stack of artwork piling up in the corner? Put all of these pieces to work like Jenny of Juniper Home did. The curated gallery wall and styled shelving add personality and loads of visual interest.
10. Go for an all-over white scheme.
There's an unmistakable feeling of breeziness that can be felt as soon as you step into an all-white living room. A light, bright space feels especially spot-on in a home that has a relaxed, tropical, or even beach-like atmosphere — which is exactly what the Australia-based design studio Three Birds Renovations specializes in.
11. Introduce playful patterns.
A surefire way to create some visual interest in any white living room is to put down a graphic area rug, which is what Julie of Lavender Julep did in her space. Take that idea one step further with unique artwork and streamlined furniture.
12. Opt for an unexpected pop of color.
If you desire a white living room, but don't want to go crazy with paint colors, consider investing in vibrant pieces of furniture and decor. For instance, Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth went with a curved pink velvet sofa, orange lounge chairs, and bold artwork to liven up this seating area.
13. Fill your space with midcentury classics.
White is an ideal color scheme for any and all decor styles, including midcentury. With a vintage sideboard, throwback furniture, and retro decor, Carrie of Dream Green DIY has transformed this white living space into a mid-mod wonderland.
14. Layer with interesting textures.
In order to create a white living room that looks unique and interesting, you must incorporate texture. In this space by Mindy Gayer Design, woven armchairs, a rattan wall mirror, and lush greenery seem to do the trick.
15. Combine traditional and modern styles.
Modern traditional style is currently having a moment, and the living room is the perfect place to experiment with the trend. Starting with classic furniture and elegant accents, you can punch up the space with modern decor, artwork, and lighting that slightly push the envelope. White living room ideas lend themselves easily to this approach, as proven by Los Angeles-based designer Jordan Shifrin.
16. Take time to edit your decor.
To set up a white living room that feels thoughtful and meticulous, be very selective with your decorative accents. Less is more here, as demonstrated by this vignette from Olive and Tate. Just a few exceptional pieces are all you really need.
17. Make it glam with metallic accents.
With a white living room, you can bring in a wide variety of metal finishes, such as brass. Think vases, candles, mirrors, and light fixtures, to name a few. Bethany of House of Posh Interiors did just that in this swanky setup, allowing the warm lustrous accents to add the perfect dose of glam.
18. Lean into contemporary trends.
Your white living room will never go out of style. That's why it's the perfect space to play with more contemporary and trendy pieces that can be easily swapped out. Geometric ceramics, wood accents, and throw pillows abound in this picture-perfect design by Lea Johnson as showcased on Style by Emily Henderson.
19. Be mindful of linear details.
Stripes can easily work in a white living room since it's a hue that can accommodate just about any pattern you throw at it. We love the way Erin of Sunny Circle Studio echoed the linear pattern of this area rug with streamlined furniture and throw pillows flaunting the same design.
20. Separate rooms with interior windows.
We are big fans of interior windows: They add a physical separation between rooms while still allowing natural light to flow from one space to the next, keeping a feeling of connectedness. Jean Stoffer used them on either side of a doorway in this elegant white living room to add symmetry and interest.
White is the preferred hue among Scandinavian design devotees, since it acts as an idyllic canvas for a room filled with hygge vibes. Camille Styles created a cozy ambiance in this living space with faux furs, tons of throw pillows, and Scandi furniture flaunting a light wood finish.
"Use natural fibers like a sisal rug, wicker basket, or woven ottoman to add a touch of warmth," Spector recommends. "I like to add a touch of greenery ... something living like a fiddle leaf fig tree will warm up a corner and add height."
22. Flaunt geometric pieces.
A white backdrop presents the perfect opportunity to incorporate different shapes (and textures) into your living room design. In this space, by The Effortless Chic, circular sconces, angular furniture, and modern artwork showcasing geometric silhouettes all make an appearance.
23. Paint your floors.
Painting wood floors might sound a bit unconventional, but it can refresh worn-looking flooring while injecting personality, pattern, and color. In this water-adjacent white living room (how's that for a boat slip?) the floor is painted in a two-tone harlequin pattern which adds an expansive feeling to the narrow space along with a dash of whimsy.
24. Display items from far-flung travels.
If you love to travel, think of your white living room as the perfect place to show off all of your mementos. Framed photos, treasured antiques, and unique ceramics are all right at home in this setup belonging to Erica of Designing Vibes. Complete the scene with mudcloth pillows and tropical foliage.
25. Count on vintage pieces.
If you're somewhat of a collector — from contemporary gems to vintage treasures — an all-white living room is the perfect backdrop to display your carefully curated collection. For instance, this setup by Tali Roth — self-professed vintage lover and the principal of Tali Roth Designs — is heavy on one-of-a-kind pieces including a Beni Ourain rug, Moroccan poufs, and midcentury chair.
Roth reveals her tips for ensuring that a white living room is full of character, saying: "I use a checklist of important things for an all-white living room. Ask yourself: Who will be using this space and how will they be using it? Depending on what that answer is, select fabrics and textures accordingly."
"Soft furnishings and accessories are the cornerstones of an all-white space," the designer tells Hunker. "Ensure that the rug, throw pillows, and artwork are textured and add layers to the space ... and that you have fabrics and textures [that] you can clean. Be okay with cleaning these pieces every year to keep the space feeling fresh. It won't look the way that darker spaces look after years of use."
26. Include a few plants.
Perhaps you want to bring the outdoors right into your living room? You're not alone. Take a cue from this small space put together by Robert and Christina of New Darlings and include plenty of greenery and natural materials, such as wood furniture or chopped wood for the fireplace.
27. Invite sophisticated elements.
From the artwork to the ceiling light to the furniture, this modern living room by Katie Hodges is a study in sophistication. The muted accent colors add a subtle pop, while the various materials (umm, hello marble fireplace surround!) and textures are a visual treat.
28. Add shiplap paneling to the walls or ceiling.
If there's one thing that farmhouse-style interiors have in spades, it's white walls and shiplap details and this living room by Anissa Zajac of House Seven Design is no exception. But rather than applying the wood paneling to the walls, she created an unexpected moment by cladding the ceiling, resulting in a charming refuge that highlights the room's unique architecture.
29. Paint the walls with a combination of warm and cool tones.
There aren't any hard and fast rules that say you need to decide between warm and cool shades of white. Use them both, as Amber Lewis did in this perfectly laid-back living room. Here, the wainscoting is covered in a crisp shade of white, while the upper half of the wall showcases a warm white with yellow undertones. The subtle variation adds a hint of contrast.
30. Make organization a priority.
White, by its very nature, is a clean hue, which means that if your living room is organized and free of clutter, it will look even cleaner. Especially if, like Bria Hammel Interiors, you have a knack for styling your home decor — everything in this remodel is neatly displayed and looks right at home.
31. Ground the space from above.
Rugs help anchor furniture placement and add visual weight; a high-contrast ceiling can be equally effective at grounding an all-white living room from above. For example, the barrel ceiling in this muted space features a rich brown stain that pops against the white walls and beams, imbuing warmth and comfort.
32. Save space with custom furniture.
When you're looking for a space-saving furniture layout idea that maximizes seating, consider custom furniture. For example, in this modern bohemian living room, a streamlined sectional is equal parts functional and stylish.
33. Add a dramatic fireplace.
A hallmark of contemporary design is its use of the color white, but it can be challenging to create spaces with depth and interest when working with monochromatic interiors. Introduce dimension and a dramatic focal point with an expansive fireplace, like the one in this stunning white living room by Chango & Co.
34. Make an impression with a grand chandelier.
Once reserved for dining rooms or opulent entries, chandeliers have moved into communal living spaces. And while there are plenty of modern iterations that forgo embellishments and intricate details, Leanne Ford selected an elegant crystal design that adds an unexpected note of luxury to this reserved white living room.
35. Let architectural details steal the show.
A white living room is a great choice if you have a contrasting architectural feature that you want to highlight. Take this industrial-inspired loft, for example: The white walls and pastel palette don't compete with the stunning metal factory windows.
36. Showcase your personality.
White living rooms are the perfect opportunity to showcase your interests — whether it's art, books, or, in the case of this living room, music. Instead of storing instruments out of sight or in a designated room, make them accessible to all and the focal point of your space. Here, a piano and thoughtfully placed guitar pull double duty — adding contrast and warmth while beckoning people to gather.
37. Let in natural light with sheer drapery.
One reason white spaces are beloved is that they always feel clean and bright. Maximize natural light and its lovely reflection off of white walls with translucent sheer curtains, like the drapes in this pared-down living space.
38. Warm things up with earth tones.
Prevent white rooms from looking sterile and cold by adding warm hues. When in doubt, let the color wheel be your guide and turn to earth tones such as green, brown, and gray to balance the cool undertones of white. Studio Life/Style, for instance, layered this edited white living room with an ochre chaise and rust pillows for irresistible warmth.
39. Add a high-contrast feature.
Accenting a white room with black is a high-contrast color idea that lends a note of sophistication and modernity. If you're concerned this monochrome pairing will look too heavy or serious, take notes from the folks at Jersey Ice Cream Co. and be sure to layer rustic accents — chopped wood, woven baskets, and a wood mantel, for example — for a warm and cozy feeling. By using a wall finish with plenty of movement, like limewash or Roman clay, you can enhance the earthy appearance.
40. Use books as decor.
It's probably clear by now that a blank white canvas can be an ideal backdrop for displaying any number of items, including treasured tomes. No need to relegate them to a library, office, or study; let their spines inject a measured dose of color, as seen in this white living room design.