White living room schemes are a popular option, given their space and light enhancing properties, as well as their versatility. Easy to update with the seasons and as your tastes or trends change, white living rooms are actually harder to design for a warm, welcoming and characterful finish than you might think.
Whether your taste is for muted, minimalist spaces or you like using white as a base for a scheme enhanced by varied textures and tones, our white living room design ideas provide plenty of inspiration, making the process of designing a living room easier than you might have imagined.
1. Paint an exposed brick wall (or fake it with wallpaper)
A coat of white paint can enhance an exposed brick wall, adding a light, bright and contemporary feel to a living room, as well as understated interest and texture.
To complement the laid back feel achieved by exposed brick, pick out fittings in raw wood, such as the shelving (below), and layer natural colours and tones against it, as with these house plants and the grouping of pendant lighting.
If your space doesn't come with an exposed brick wall, consider opting for brick slips or a wallpaper with the same effect – we love the simplicity of the Colours White Brick Effect Wallpaper from B&Q. Find out how to create a feature with an exposed wall in our guide.
Super Stanley Pendant Lights (below) by Pooky.
2. Use a white scheme as a base for a gallery wall
If you're a fan of the gallery wall trend, consider opting for white as a base that you can build on. Mismatching frames, prints, clocks and other forms of wall art is the easiest way to create a personal and unique finish. Don't be afraid to make adjustments until you reach a combination you're satisfied with.
If you're looking to integrate your gallery wall into your scheme, rather than making it a distinct focal point, position it above a cabinet or shelving. We love the simplicity of these Besta Shelf Units from Ikea (above).
Like the idea of a gallery wall but don't know where to start? There's lots of inspiration in our gallery wall design ideas.
3. Prop artwork against the wall for a relaxed finish
If you like the idea of a gallery wall, but not the idea of hammering tons of tiny pins into the wall (renters, am I right?), prop and layer large prints against the wall. Opting for prints in tones that match your white scheme creates understated interest, though a pop of colour can make a nice addition, too.
Another reason this room is a success? The tight grouping of furniture around a rug and a coffee table creates a visually inviting, sociable space. Recreate this look by Ikea – this comfy Gronlid Corner Sofa is one of our favourite features.
4. Introduce pattern and metallics for a luxurious finish
If you want white living room design ideas with a slightly more luxurious feel, introducing more texture through patterned wallpaper into your scheme is the way to go.
Combining a monotone wallpaper with shimmering metallic lighting and rich colours in the rug is a great start. Add in soft green velvet upholstery and a wooden floor for a richer, warmer finish.
5. Pair a white scheme with wooden flooring for a timeless look
Wooden flooring, particularly in a stylish herringbone design, makes a classic addition to a living room with a white scheme. Which finish to choose? It doesn't just depend on taste, but also on how much natural daylight your room gets, too. The darker the tones of the wood, the more formal or traditional your room will feel – but in a north-facing room it may feel cold; the lighter the wood, the more laid back and Scandi-looking it will be – although you may want to tone it down a little in a bright, south-facing room; the more honey-toned the wood, the warmer the room will feel, perfect in a room that only gets cool, north- or east-facing light.
To keep light levels up, choose low-slung, pale grey or neutral toned furniture, like this Madison Corner Sofa from Cult Furniture.
6. Accessorise a white living room for a Scandi look
If you're looking for a slightly edgier take on a white living room, consider pairing with black accessories to achieve a modern, Scandi look.
Slouchy, inky velvet sofas – take a look at our pick of the best – statement wall art and standout light fittings make stylish additions. Style with house plants to soften the stark contrasts of a monochrome scheme.
7. Opt for wood and wicker in a boho-inspired space
If your style is more boho-inspired, choosing furniture and home accessories in wood, wicker and other natural materials is the easiest way to achieve the desired outcome.
Less is definitely more in a boho-inspired space, so keep colour, furniture and other possessions to a minimum. House plants make a stylish addition, however, so don't be afraid to buy an abundance.
Not sure which houseplants will suit your space? Our guide to everything you need to know about house plants talks you through the options.
We also love combining industrial and boho styles to create a striking scheme. Pairing a low slung sofa with reclaimed furniture is the easiest way to achieve this look. White walls and wood floors make the perfect backdrop. Add a neutral toned, patterned rug for added interest.
Love this look? See more like it (with added colour) in our boho design ideas.
8. Make the most of natural light
One of the main draws of a white living room is the light and bright feeling it evokes. This can (and should) be enhanced by maximising natural light within a space.
An easy way to maximise light is opting for curtains in natural tones that don't overwhelm the space, and can be pulled right back beyond the window frame so that they don't dramatically block out light when drawn. Incorporating mirrors into a scheme is another option for making a space feel lighter and brighter.
If you're blessed with large windows that naturally flood a room with light, consider foregoing curtains all together. Shutters make a stylish alternative and can simply be folded away – or the louvres tilted – without restricting light to a space.
Read our guide to choosing shutters for more specialist advice.
9. Experiment with statement lighting
Statement lighting – or light fittings arranged in grouping of pretty pieces (see below) – is a stylish way to create a focal point that's subtle, understated and doesn't overwhelm a space.
Choose your bulb colour carefully in a white living room – cold white halogens will make the room feel cool at night; warmer-toned bulbs will make it feel more welcoming.
For more stylish lighting ideas for living rooms, take a look at our feature.
10. Draw attention to architectural features
If you live in a period property, consider how to draw attention to distinct and stylish architectural features that really enhance a white living room. We love how a display of artworks and finds make a focal point of this original fireplace; the just off-white chimney breast wall and warm-toned upholstery make for an inviting space, too.
Find more feature wall design ideas in our gallery.
11. Incorporate the trend for pink into your white living room
The beauty of a white living room is how easily it can be accessorised (and therefore totally redesigned) in accordance with changes in your taste or interiors trends.
Using upholstery to give a white living room a totally new look and to incorporate the trend for pink is one way to go. Of course, you needn't go as far as this with your room – a scattering of smoky pink cushions on a pale grey sofa; a single throw on a neutral-toned chair or even a pile of books with pink spines piled on a coffee table will do the trick.
Love the trend for pink? See more of our favourite pink room ideas.
12. Or opt for a standout sofa
A bright and bold sofa can also make a stylish addition to a white living room, creating a dynamic focal point. Why not consider opting for a trending colour?
13. Create a warm focal point with a stove
Just because your interior taste is stripped back and simple, it doesn't mean it can't be warm and welcoming.
We love the idea of including a statement wood burning stove in a simple scheme, creating a stunning focal point that commands attention. Browse our pick of the best wood burning and multi-fuel stoves.
14. Break up a white scheme with coloured accents
Incorporating colour is the easiest way to break up an all white scheme and creates a space with greater depth and interest.
We love the pairing of this white living room with bold blue accents in the shelving and artwork on the walls.
15. Furnish a small white living room to enhance space
Looking for white living room design ideas that stretch space? It's not all in the decor: picking furniture designed for a small space will make a big difference, too. If space allows, opt for a small corner sofa to maximise both space and that cosy feeling, but pick low-slung pieces that don't take up space (visually) and that allow light to bounce around the room more freely.
16. Mix white and deep green for a fresh look
Mix white, off white and a deep forest green for a really fresh, clean look. Add in some elements of light wood just to soften the look and you're golden. We also love how this rich velvet green sofa from Neptune contrasts, but at the same time totally works with, the fresh floral print sofa, not a combo you would think to go for but it stops the room looking too symmetrical.