There’s a lot to love about all-white rooms—their blank-canvas quality, their perennial ability to look polished, their easy pairing with décor products in a wide variety of styles. And while many top interior designers are big advocates of the clean, restful feel that’s often achieved by going the white-on-white route, they know there’s a fine line between clean and uncluttered and art gallery. Their secret? Incorporating a single other color, in well-placed pops, to contrast with white.
While one of the great beauties of white is that it works with any other color—and they’ll, in turn, bring instant warmth to an inherently cool tone—some colors have more heat than others. Here’s your color key for pairing with whites:
• If you’re looking for more of an inviting, enveloping feel, aim for earthier hues like brown, ivory, sand, garnet, gold, shale, and clay.
• Brights—think fuchsia, turquoise, tangerine, and lime—are energizing, and will lend a mostly white room design a burst of vibrance.
• Pastels like lavender, aqua, butter, and ballet pink create a feeling of lightness, ease, and even ethereality.
• Midtones, which fall roughly halfway between brights and pastels, tend to be more saturated and have a character that’s all about depth and dimension. French blue, coral, sage, and mauve are all good bets.