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White on White: Styling Tips for Contemporary, Chic White Rooms

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For years, contemporary white décor and entirely white spaces have been a booming style trend in architecture and interior design; so what makes them so desirable, and how can you emulate this effortlessly chic look in your own home? We’ll show you.

Once regarded as an ill-fated design choice, an all-white room meant endless cleaning, and easily stainable, and sullied surfaces and materials. Not so much anymore. Nowadays it seems both interior and furniture designers are looking at ways to increase the chic, contemporary freshness of white hues, pairing them with interesting textures, contrasting accessories, and postmodern décor to a white living room new life.

Here are a few styling tips for creating the perfect white on white chic rooms in your own space:

Explore Textures

With an entirely white room, you’ll inevitably drown out your surrounding and reduce the visual stimulation in the room, so focusing on texture can help to fill the space with a less sterile feel and humanize the room.

Consider unique surfaces by way of area rugs, thick and fluffy throw blankets, linens, and pillows to bring some variation into the design concept. Consider trying a white genuine leather or bonded leather sofa with rich grains for an organic touch to further contrast the texture of materials.

Be Wary of Surfaces

Yes, white rooms still manage to attract stains. Although the stigma of ever-lasting cleaning duties is a negative portrayal of bright white living spaces, you should still be weary of the materials you choose to incorporate into your design. If you have dogs or kids, a white living room can be helped by investigating furniture with stain-blocker upholstered furniture, and try for pieces that don’t have too many cracks and crevices in them for dirt to hide. Ensure that the paint you choose is also capable of taking a beating.

If it’s the kitchen or bathroom you’re styling, adopting more stainless steel or ceramic pieces can help to reduce the time it takes to keep them spic and span.

Different Whites Do Different Things

White is often a cold-feeling colour. It’s implied absence of warmth leaves it feeling like a clean slate, or an unintentionally forgotten wall colour sometimes, but accentuating with an off-white colour palette can help bring a different feel into the room. An off-white, pearl, or cream coloured white paint, for example, can give off the effect of being a warmer hue by adding a hint of yellow, or gold. In contrast, a steel white or bright white can leave a room feeling too airy for its own good. White can be a cozy colour if it’s accentuated with the right accessories or lighting conditions.

Layering tone-on-tone whites to help create a warmer room is also achievable through use of grays in things like sofas, bedding, furniture material and other accessories.

Direct the Focus / Add a Splash of Colour

We’re all for less clutter, but directing the focus of the people who enter your new chic white space will help to invigorate their perception of your styling. Draw attention to a large, bold piece of art, or layer the space with bright green potted plants, even a contrasting black piano or an antique stained wooden bookshelf can help to direct the occupants vision to a more visually stimulating part of the room.

In the bathroom or kitchen, adding an accent wall with a punchy red or blue paint can really kickstart the perceived level of freshness the overpowering white can hold over the room. Adding a splash of colour with a powerful afghan throw blanket, or fiery area rug can also boost the space.

Contrasting metals can work here as well. Try brass, copper or even tungsten metal accessories and ornaments for a slick directional contrast.

The Eraser Effect

White rooms also act like a pseudo eraser for blemishes in drywall finishes, or other architectural blunder. A fresh coat of white paint and a few white accessories can quickly take away the focus and cloak any eyesores.

White is also a maximizer of space, allowing for opened sightlines and liberating cramped rooms with limited square footage. A white room may help you to achieve a larger look in a cramped setting. White can also help to highlight or accentuate little details within your space, like crown molding, trim, as well as curtains and drapes.   

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