A white couch is a blank slate with endless design possibilities, providing the ultimate starting point for a beautiful living room. It's understated and classy, and makes any living space shine. But such a wealth of choice can often prove difficult – especially when it comes to color.
The couch is often one of the first items you purchase when starting a living room design scheme, and you might be at a loss for where to go next. How should you style the rest of the room? And what colors work best in a living room with a white couch?
To answer all of your white couch questions, here's how six interior designers style white couches, from monochromatic schemes to added warmth.
What colors go best with a white couch?
In some ways, white is the easiest color to pair with – it's minimalistic and fresh, after all. But there are certain colors, as well as textures and accessories, that really allow a white couch to steal the show. Six expert designers offered their thoughts on styling white couches in any space. Here's what they had to say.
1. Warm neutrals with layers of texture
While white couches can provide a touch of serenity to any space, the color sometimes leaves a space feeling cold – the last thing you'll want in a room designed for comfort.
Caitlin Jones Ghajar, principal designer of Caitlin Jones Design, suggests bringing a bit of warmth to the space with deep, slightly darker accents. Textural elements also prevent a space from feeling too dry, she says.
'White couches can sometimes lend a sterile appearance to a room, and we are into adding sable brown, coffee, camel and warmer wall tones to warm it up. We recommend bringing in alpaca, mohair and grass cloth fabrics to add additional texture to your space,' she says.
Caitlin Jones Ghajar is the founder and principal of Caitlin Jones Design, a celebrated firm that has dedicated itself to beautiful interiors since 1999.
2. Accent colors from elsewhere in the space
Kathy Kuo, interior designer and CEO of Kathy Kuo Home, says that white couches are ideal for a timeless living room, working well with a wide array of design styles. Bringing in pops of color is the best way to achieve design scheme success with these couches.
'White sofas are one of those living room furniture pieces that never go out of style. You're always going to find them far and wide from the cozy beach houses of Cape Cod to ultra-sleek penthouses of Manhattan,' says Kathy.
Pull colors from other areas of your home, or the already-designed portions of your living room, for a put-together and connected look. With carefully curated pillows and blankets, you can give your couch a refresh at any time.
'The easiest way to customize a white sofa for the style and color scheme of the rest of the space is to seek out decorative pillows and luxurious throw blankets to set the tone. I personally love mixing and matching the pillows and blankets on my own white sofa with the seasons!' she says.
Kathy Kuo is a celebrated interior designer and international guru within the home and lifestyle space. She has 20+ years of experience in the design industry.
3. Dark earthy shades to ground the white
In this Parisian-style apartment designed by Moore House Design, smaller pieces of furniture bring color and warmth to the space while a large, white statement sofa defines the room. By pairing the white couch with white walls, Moore House allows the chairs to serve as a welcoming focal point.
'Since we had to fit a lot in a room, we still wanted the depth of color to be added in accent elements like chairs, rugs and pillows whilst the larger items like the dining banquette and the sofa to not overwhelm the space. Adding a white sofa to blend into the light walls was our focus for this project,' says Blair Moore, creative director and principal of Moore House Design.
Blair suggests keeping the large elements of the space simple, and bringing warm colors into the details. Here, ochre chairs from ROWEAM offer a tasteful pop of complementary color, and a vintage rug ties the space together with blue and brown tones.
Beyond color, Blair says her firm likes to play with white sofa shapes and other textural details to create additional interest. 'Here our team added paneling and textured raised wallpaper to the room to create depth and texture layered with a very shapely Kagan sofa with piping,' she says.
Blair Moore is an award-winning designer, as well as the creative director and principal of Moore House and Moore House Design.
4. White for a monochromatic look
Tanya Stone, founder of Tanya Stone Interiors, says that over her nine years of interior design experience, she's witnessed many reactions to the idea of a white couch – and they have not always been positive.
Though many clients have seen white couches as boring or prone to dirt, Tanya argues that they offer 'endless possibilities.' And one of the best ways to fully feature a white couch is leaning into a monochromatic color scheme, she says.
'If one chooses white, why not embrace it fully by exploring its myriad shades? Contrary to popular belief, white is not a single color but a spectrum. Mixing different white tones can create a timeless, classic, and surprisingly enjoyable monochromatic look,' says Tanya.
When going for the monochromatic look, Tanya emphasizes the importance of choosing quality materials. This will ensure your space is life-proof, too. 'Opting for high-performance fabrics, stain-resistant finishes, and washable materials can transform a white interior from merely beautiful to both aesthetically pleasing and functional,' she says.
Tanya Stone is the founder and principal designer of Tanya Stone Interiors, a renowned firm that designs residential and commercial spaces, as well as bespoke furniture.
Sindhu Peruri, founder and owner of Peruri Design Company, also enjoys a monochromatic color scheme as a white sofa accompaniment. By integrating layers and textures, she creates a rich and inviting space without bringing in bright or overwhelming hues.
'I love to layer various shades of white, creating a textural play that elevates a room's sophistication. Incorporating woods and natural fibers bring an organic coziness, while deliberate tone-on-tone patterns add depth, crafting a space that's both visually rich and serene,' says Sindhu.
'It's a piece that can capture the essence of freshness in one stroke and, with the right mix of textures and natural elements, exude a warm, inviting ambiance in another. In a modern setting, a bright white can act as an anchor and be mixed with other vibrant hues but also be extremely powerful when showcased in a singularly white color scheme.'
Sindhu Peruri is the founder and owner of San Francisco-based Peruri Design Company, a full-service interior design studio.
5. Browns for depth
Other neutral tones, like grays, beiges and browns can seamlessly complement a white sofa without drawing too much attention. Karen Frome, architect and founding partner of Rise Projects, says that these colors combined with other accent pieces can really bring a space with a white couch to life.
'We love using a range of white fabric types and textures in couches for our projects. We usually pair them with other neutrals and integrate pops of color in pillows and accent pieces. Red and brown tones warm up a space while neutral fabrics provide an elegant and luxurious background,' she says.
Keeping the color palette relatively neutral allows other elements of your home, such as outdoor views or artwork hanging above the couch, to shine, says Karen. Allow the couch to serve as a blank canvas that you build upon with other elements.
When decorating with a white couch, Karen also suggests paying attention to your home's location and choosing fabrics accordingly. 'We especially love to integrate white furnishings in our beach home projects. For practicality, we specify fabric that has been treated to protect against staining. Textured fabrics help hide wear and tear. If we don’t find the perfect pillows, we love to hand-select fabrics and have them custom-made to make the design truly unique,' she explains.
Karen Frome is a founding partner of Rise Projects, a full-service architecture and design firm located in New York City. She is a registered and award-winning architect with over 20 years of experience.
By keeping contrast, texture and shape in mind, pairing your white couch with colors that suit it beautifully will come quite easily. You'll be left with a cohesive, refreshing space that you'll be ready to relax in every day.
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I am a News Writer at Homes & Gardens, with a focus on interior design. Most recently, I worked with Better Homes & Gardens, where I wrote and edited content about home decor, gardening tips, food news, and more. Before that, I studied Journalism and English Literature at New York University. I’ve moved around quite a bit in the last several years, most recently making the trip to London, and love transforming each new space into a comfortable retreat that feels like home. When it comes to decor, I’m most drawn to unique vintage finds and calming colors.
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