White living room ideas – lounge and sitting room decor in shades from dove white to ivory

Our white living room ideas set the mood for calm and considered living
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  • Fresh, timeless, clean, easy to co-ordinate with… there are so many reasons why our white living room ideas prove perennially popular. There are also a surprisingly wide variety of approaches to using white in your lounge, setting room or snug, depending on whether you opt for a cool shade with tomes of blue or grey, or a warmer ivory or vanilla.

    For a beautifully romantic look, decorate walls with an off-white wallpaper in a classic design such as a trailing-leaf pattern, then add linen curtains at the windows to allow soft light to filter in to the room.

    Choose linen-covered sofas and it would be wise to buy a sofa and armchairs with removable slip covers that can be easily cleaned. Add a painted chest of drawers as an elegant way to store everyday items. A white chandelier will lend a feminine feel to the room.

    Also see our pink, blue and green colour schemes and more of our living room ideas

    Coastal style and our white living room colour schemes go hand-in-hand. Achieve this laid-back look by starting with fresh white painted walls and pick nautical fabrics such as ticking and deckchair stripes for upholstery, cushions and blinds. If you have a bay window, a painted window seat with a striped seat cover works beautifully.

    Alternatively a wooden bench situated in an alcove looks creates a similar feel. Scour the shops for seaside-inspired accessories, such as a porthole-style mirror, or choose a painting to create an authentic look. Gloss white furniture in a contemporary living room looks ultra-sleek.

    Go for modular units that can be adapted to suit your display and storage needs – this is a great way to combine your TV display with book storage in compact living room.

    Have a browse through our photo gallery and be inspired by these beautiful white living room ideas…

    1. Pick a warm white paint

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    image credit: Walls painted in Romney Wool Velvet Matt emulsion, Dulux Heritage

    In a room with little natural light or a north facing room with no direct sunlight, choose a warmer white paint to liven the space and create a cocooning interior.

    An off-white introduces a little more depth, so go for a paint with warm grey or subtle cream undertones. These restful white tones will create a sense of intimacy in a  room lacking light. Our guide to the best white paint will help you pick the right shade for your walls.

    2. Contrast with bright colours

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    Image credit: Henry Bed In Box In Oxford Blue Brushed Linen Cotton, £730, Sofa.com

    White is the ultimate blank canvas, creating a clean, fresh space that will work with any other colours, it’s no wonder new properties are often painted white, it’s the perfect finish to layer personality on to.

    ‘Make white the backdrop and bring in graphic statements such as bold, colourful artworks or key pieces of furniture like a bright, velvet sofa,’ suggests interior designer Natalie Myers. ‘White will never look cold or boring when used in direct contrast to bright colour.’

    3. Add rough texture

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    Image credit: True Colours 570 Vinyl, Carpetright

    White isn’t just for ultra-modern, glossy schemes – use it with rustic materials to create a warmer, earthier contrast. For a calm yet cocooning space, different shades of white have been layered to stop the space from falling flat.

    The super-textured ceramics and fire surround are stand out features, along with the crumpled, slubby linen sofa that all add some much needed tactile imperfection against the open, white wall and smooth flooring.

    4. Create an arty finish

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    Image credit: Louis Armchair in Ashford Bouclé, £940, Sofa.com

    An all-white backdrop can create a gallery-like space to showcase sculptural pieces, whether that’s a statement armchair, a bold, abstract print or sculptural style furniture. For a minimalist look, avoid lots of knick knacks in favour of a few vases or accessories with strong silhouettes.

    ‘White holds everything together, directs the eye and showcases other colours and textures in a space beautifully. It’s cleansing, it’s fresh and it gives people an opportunity to self-express through their chosen pieces’. Helen Shaw, marketing director, Benjamin Moore.

    5. Make it modern country

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    Image credit: Sundby Sofa, £1,125; Curly Sheepskin Pouf, £395; Large Sheepskin Rug, £875, Nordic House

    For a contemporary country look, avoid cluttering the room with heavy furniture, create visual space with open shelving and slimline wooden framed furniture to maintain an airy sense of space.

    However, the linear designs require some movement and contrast to give this living room the inviting ambience it has. Wide width panels offer instant interest, along with the super-soft sheepskin textiles. The greyscale palette is uninterrupted by colour, so there’s nothing too bold to distract the eyes, creating a sumptuously serene room.

    Related: 41 grey living room ideas – decor in shades from charcoal to pale grey that work for every sitting room

    6. Add natural materials

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    Image credit: Cadini leather sofa, Rom

    Take the clinical edge out of an all white scheme by working in natural elements. Here the raw finish on the wooden coffee table, the rattan pendant shade and a chunky wool rug all soften the clean white walls and streamlined sofa, with relaxed, organic finishes.

    7. Pair with a super-sized plant

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    Image credit: Halo Luxe The Space 3-seater sofa in graphite hand-tipped leather, £1,699, DFS

    Although this room already has height and space on its side, white can be a practical choice for such a large space. The most light-reflecting colour on the spectrum, white makes small spaces look and feel bigger than they actually are.

    White won’t detract from any architectural features either, letting a striking design speak for itself. Instead of artwork, a small tree or oversized plant will fill a large void and contrast the hard finishes of this modern industrial style and sleek, modern sofa with unobtrusive colour and organic shape.

    If you’re looking for more ways to get creative with greenery, our house plant ideas are a good place to start.

    8. Make white feel spring-like with daffodil yellow

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    Image credit: Jo Henderson

    Be inspired by spring flowers and add accents in daffodil yellow and leaf green to a white-painted room to give it a new-season lift. Do a cushion review and swap your winter faux fur and wool-covered designs for a pristine parade of crisp cotton covers in bold prints.

    9. Pair white with touches of black

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    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    A mixed palette of whites, greys, creams and taupes can look bland, so add touches of black here and there. In this example, a throw, side table and photo frame bring elements of modern monochrome chic. You might also want to throw in some natural colour with fresh or fake foliage.

    10. Make winter white smart yet relaxed

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    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    The key to this look is structure. With a simple, square sofa, you can freely mix accessories in lots of shapes and finishes. However, when creating this layered look, it’s best to stick to natural textures – cosy sheepskin, wool, linen and even faux fir.

    And, going to prove that making a statement doesn’t have to mean shouty colour or fierce shapes, the interesting finish and details on the simple coffee table are enough to make it a focal-point hero.

    11. Embrace French country style

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    Image credit: Tim Young

    This timeless style is all about faded elegance and an unrefined sense of luxury. Mix new buys with vintage finds and don’t be afraid of a scratch or two. Washed-out fabric, chipped paintwork and blemishes all add to the effect, while antique-style pieces will be right at home. Here, a panel of delicate lace fabric draped over a footstool adds subtle elegance.

    Layering your whites, by opting for warmer hues in a neutral palette, will make your living room feel simultaneously airy, spacious, inviting and comfy. plush seats, subtly patterned wallpaper and fresh flowers add to the welcoming mood.

    12. Take a trip to the beach

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    Image credit: Paul Massey

    Ideal for anyone who loves home comforts with added character, coastal living room ideas work well in houses with original features. Or create it from scratch using a careful mix of old and new buys.

    Whitewashed beams and distressed floorboards give this snug-style room a rugged framework, while slubby linen and nautical buys make it feel like a cabin by the sea.

    Top tip: Turn your chopped firewood logs into a rustic feature by putting them on display

    13. Use white as a backdrop to a gallery

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    Image credit: Tim Young

    Try a staggered arrangement to show off an assortment of artwork and family photographs using a couple of narrow picture ledges. This works well if you have lots of pictures in different shapes and sizes.

    Start with the largest frames first, working down to the smallest, overlapping as you go to fill in any gaps. Take a look at our wall display ideas for useful arrangement advice.

    14. Go coastal with blue accents

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    Image credit: Tim Young

    Bring a breezy, coastal vibe to your living room by mixing nautical stripes, checks and coastal motifs into an all-white scheme. Create a quirky gallery wall with a collection of seaside prints grouped together on the wall, teamed with a couple of nautical extras, from a tide clock to a painted paddle.

    15. Layer up white with vibrant vintage florals

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    Image credit: Tim Young

    Start with an all-white backdrop to let your chintzy roses really stand out. Then use bursts of lemon yellow and bright carnation pink for a modern edge. Line up pretty cushions along the whole of the sofa for a comfortable, lived-in feel.

    16. Make white glow with gold

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    Image credit: Simon Scarboro

    Warm up an all-white living room by introducing a subtle colour palette of soft gold and pale grey. Start with soft furnishings ? from cushions, throw and rug in co-ordinating patterns. Then add prints and accessories in the same soft shades, from vases and candles to baskets and books.

    17. Bring white to life with nature

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    Image credit: Colin Poole

    With white walls, modern white furniture and a European-style tiled floor, this room is at risk of feeling cool if not cold. However, introducing plenty of greenery and reclaimed wood in the form of shelves and a TV panel brings balance. Hints of raspberry in the form of soft furnishings are evocative of a sunny English country garden.

    18. Make a space feel bigger with white

    Image credit: David Giles

    Open up a narrow or small living room with white, being careful not to break things up too much with other colours. Here, matching white walls, curtains, furniture, shelving and a fireplace blend into one, making the space feel wider and brighter.

    Keep furniture to a minimum – an oversized sofa and floor cushion offer more than enough seating.

    19. Use white as a backdrop to a patterned sofa

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    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    Floral sofas are having a moment – everyone from Sofa Workshop to Ikea are doing them, so they MUST be a thing. However, the maximalism trend isn’t an easy one to get right. Therefore, to make it easier, start with a backdrop of white and make your sofa the centre point.

    20. Fade to white

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    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    Create a casual, laidback living room in a colour palette of faded whites with the sofa as the focalpoint. Choose a comfy, loose-covered sofa so white covers can be popped in the wash and fill with a line-up of cushions in an mix of different sizes and fabrics.

    Display family photographs in a gallery wall above the sofa in an eclectic assortment of frames.

    21. Add romance to white with red

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    Image credit: Dan Duchars

    Gustavian-style shades of white and cream may seem like a disaster waiting to happen in a busy living room. But not only will they make your room feel lighter and larger, if you choose durable materials, they really can be practical, too.

    For starters choose a subtly patterned wallpaper and team it with a textured and incredibly hardwearing natural floor covering.

    Related: Pink living room ideas – to create a sense of romance, sophistication and fun

    Never fear wine spills or mucky fingers again by picking sofas with washable seat covers, and go for a chest of drawers that provides plenty of clutter-busting storage. Keep bold red to a minimum – a little goes a long way!

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