White rooms are trending right now. I see images of them almost everywhere I look, and clients keep asking for them. But if a white room isn’t carefully executed, it can end up being cold and uninviting. One way to warm up a white space is by introducing wood. Not only does wood add warmth, but it also has richness and texture. Here are six ideas for using this appealing combination in your living room.
White & Wood 1: Corben Architects, original photo on Houzz
1. Built-In Brilliance
A warm wood tone on a bank of built-ins makes this white room more interesting and gives it a strong focal point. Plus, every room can use more storage.
Why it works: The white walls help keep the space open, and the sheer white curtains let in a lot of natural light. This bright base provides great contrast for the wood focal wall.
The multiple wood tones in the cabinetry, coffee table top and flooring also give the room more dimension. The tones are consistent, so they blend well without having to be exactly the same.
Get the feel: The built-in bookcase is a great place to start. But to achieve the look for less, consider using modular bookcases that come unassembled.
White & Wood 2: Whitten Architects, original photo on Houzz
2. Fifth-Wall Focus
Ceilings often go unadorned, but they have an important role to play in a well-designed room. Take a cue from this room, and pull the eye upward by adding wood to the ceiling, aka the fifth wall.
Why it works: The white walls allow the wooden ceiling and trim to stand out, creating a strong architectural presence. Even though the ceiling is darker, the medium-to-light wood prevents it from feeling heavy.
Get the feel: A natural wallcovering, such as grasscloth or cork, also can bring warm wood tones to the ceiling.
Lamps: Cerno; couches: Room & Board; ceiling beams: Douglas fir
White & Wood 3: Casa Vilora Interiors, original photo on Houzz
3. Pattern Play
A white room is a great canvas. Use the space to add subtle patterns and textures.
Why it works: The white walls and custom linen drapery create a clean backdrop for a palette of tan, taupe and green. The wood tones then repeat in the rug and leather upholstery, as well as in the art and accents.
The wood coffee table provides a strong focal point and a natural feature in the room. The midcentury furnishings also help create a collected-over-time feel.
Get the look: Pick pillows and other accessories that have interesting textures and subtle patterns.
Paint on walls: Snowbound, Sherwin-Williams; coffee table: High Fashion Home
White & Wood 4: Brittany Stiles Design, original photo on Houzz
4. Gallery Wall
A gallery wall of wooden frames makes this a cozy and inviting living room.
Why it works: The white walls and white upholstery pieces create a great backdrop for the varying tones and textures of the woods in the room. The tan leather on the chair picks up some of the wood tones in the frames and shades. The repetition of wood throughout the white space also helps keep the room balanced.
Get the look: Create a gallery wall with wooden frames to showcase black-and-white photos.
Hans leather armchair: Dwell Studio; sofa: Crate & Barrel; white custom glider and custom ottoman: Brittany Stiles Design; mirror: Pottery Barn; shades: Granddesign Decor; Delcourt swing-arm wall lamps: Lamps Plus; rug: Rug Resources
White & Wood 5: Wall2Wall Interiors LLC, original photo on Houzz
5. Dark and Handsome
Dark-toned flooring, wood furnishings and bright white walls make you feel as though you’re stepping outside.
Why it works: The natural materials lend a sense of indoor-outdoor living. It starts with a dark-toned floor that creates a stark contrast between the walls and the rug. The live-edge table, natural woven rug and greenery connect this room to the views just beyond the windows.
Get the look: Shop for natural materials and furnishings, such as a live-edge coffee table, when purchasing new living room furniture. Then add plants — or faux plants if you don’t have a green thumb.
White & Wood 6: Joseph Farrell Architect, original photo on Houzz
6. Weathered Goodness
Warm up a room by using woods that have a weathered patina. It gives the living room a lived-in and comfortable feel.
Why it works: The distressed white-oak floor and the natural woven rug ground the room. The varied whites in the wall color, upholstery and accents make the room feel soft and open.
Get the look: Visit flea markets, estate sales and garage sales to find well-made, one-of-a-kind furniture pieces with vintage, worn charm. You can also paint items with milk paint or chalk paint to achieve a subtle weathered look.