amy azzaritobest ofinterior design

best of: white living rooms

by Amy Azzarito

I just finished painting my apartment various shades of gray, but these peeks make me want to head back to the paint store to play with the whites. If our sneak peeks are any indication, white seems to be a favorite choice for artists and designers, either as a backdrop for art and design work or because it provides a nice break if you look at patterns all day. When it comes to brightening up a space, Scandinavians know what they’re doing, and with daylight savings time rapidly approaching (it’s next weekend for those of us in the US), it might be time to consider adding a fresh coat of white paint! — Amy A.

Click here for more Design*Sponge “Best Of”s (dining rooms, entryways, bedrooms, living rooms, playrooms, bikes, chandeliers, gallery walls and more)

Image above: Scandinavians know a little something about the power of white and the white walls in Lisa Grue’s Copenhagen living room make her handprinted plates really pop.

Image above: White in Chad Maltby and Heather McDonald’s Brooklyn home.

Image above: Not content with only white walls, Emily Henson painted her wood floors white, too! (Note: If you like this look, be sure to check out Simply Color: Emily Henson!)

Image above: Alissa and Ryan’s living room is not only a place for the couple to relax but, when necessary, to hold conferences when they meet with clients. (Note: Don’t miss Simply Color: Alissa and Ryan.)

CLICK HERE for more white in living rooms!

Image above: A bright red Autoban chandelier in Annie Coggan’s Starksville, Mississippi, living room. The home is a laboratory for Annie’s furniture designs and the white walls are the perfect backdrop for her colorful pieces.

Image above: Jason and Maggie spend their evenings relaxing in their living room. The shelving unit is one of Jason’s many furniture designs; it’s made of pipe fittings and reclaimed Douglas-fir beams.

Image above: Brooklyn-based graphic designer Jill Malek creates gorgeous wallpaper and textile patterns but she keeps her living room serene and calm.

Image above: A bright sofa in Leslie Siegel’s Brooklyn home adds a pop of color.

Image above: White walls and a white ceiling contrast nicely with the dark floors in Lynda Gardner’s Melbourne, Australia, home.

Image above: Emma and James frequently use the fireplace in their London home to warm up the house!

Image above: Amazing vintage sofa in Teresa Grow’s LA home.

Image above: Designer Cathy Gedda Westrell’s Swedish background means she understands the impact of white!

Image above: The white in Emma Cassi’s London home allows the space to pull double duty as a photography studio. (Note: If you like this color pallet, check out Simply Color: Emma Cassi.)

Image above: The green accents in Birdie of Dear Ada’s living room tie the space to the trees outside.

Image above: The white in Fitzhugh and Lyndsay’s living room highlights the beautiful ceiling beams. Fitzhugh made the wood sculpture above the fireplace and Lyndsay found the daybed at a salvage yard.

Image above: Living room in Portland designed by Jesssica Helgerson.

Image above: To make the best use of the space in Kim Cornelison’s 750-sq. ft. Minneapolis home, everything has a dual function. On the other side of the living room is a desk and during the day the room becomes her office space!

Image above: Lots of white in Jill Crawford’s 1956 LA home.

Image above: Mike Perry and Anna Wolf carefully collected all of the elements in their white Brooklyn living room.

Image above: The pink pillow and blanket in Alissia and Jan’s Greenpoint apartment were designed by Scholten & Baajings.

Suggested For You


  • When done right, nothing better than a white room. Never got the idea that someone who paints a room white is “afraid of color.” Just gives so much freedom to have fun with furnitures and accessories – and artwork looks instantly more “important.”

  • What a great post with gorgeous pictures! White is so fantastic working as a backdrop for colourful furnitures and wall arts, and makes a room look bigger and airy too.

  • You read my mind! We just moved into an apartment where we “can’t paint” (i.e. we’ll probably paint eventually, just subtle colors) and we’ve got a LOT of white walls for the time being. This is so inspirational, thank you!

  • I tend to stay away from white when I’m decorating because we have pets and I spill things a lot but I love these living rooms. It’s inspiring. I might try white in a room with less traffic.

  • After years of living with color on the walls, I am ready to head back to white… um, maybe ivory. I love to go to flea markets & thrift stores and pick up things to brighten up the room and with white walls, I think I’ll have a lot more freedom.

  • Yay, white rooms! What people do with white rooms always piques my interest, and I love that you can easily switch from colorful to neutral so easily. We can’t paint (not least because our more-or-less Georgian flat is smothered in Anaglypta/heavily textured patterned wall paper and so would be quite difficult to paint well), so it’s lovely to see so many ideas for what to do with a white room.

    Now, if you could please do a spotlight on how to disguise insanely crooked ceilings and floors…

  • Would love to find a rug similar in style to Jill Malek’s. Any idea on where to look in NYC?

    • margaret

      that looks like a vintage piece. i would suggest abc home, the chelsea flea, the bklyn flea and, if you’re up for a drive, you’re bound to find a to of them at the brimfield flea market every season.


  • I love this post! It gives hope to all apartment renters! My white walls are getting the best of me right now, but since I saw this I have new inspiration! Thanks!

  • Can you tell me the number and mfg of these colors.Such as Sherwin Williams 7005 Pure White.Thanks