White color in the interior: how to use and what to combine with

We tell you how to use this controversial color in the interior, what shades to combine it with, and how to make it look advantageous.

Of all the achromats, this one is truly the most unique. For all its versatility, for many, it causes conflicting associations, and it is not always clear how to work with it at all. In this article, we will take a closer look at color combinations with white in the interior using ready-made color schemes as an example and also give advice on how to use this difficult shade correctly.

Advantages and disadvantages

White interiors evoke different emotions for a reason. This achromat, although it belongs to the basic tones, requires a thoughtful approach and careful selection of surrounding shades, materials, and textures. Consider the main advantages and disadvantages of such a palette.


  • White is universal. This applies to both color (it is combined with any shades, whether it be neutral beige or bright red), and design in general. There is no such style where light achromat would be inappropriate, and for some, it is generally the main one. For example, the Scandinavian and Mediterranean styles are strongly associated with whiteness. But there is a place for it in a brutal loft, soft neoclassic, or restrained minimalism.
  • It’s the perfect backdrop. Think of the walls in any museum or art gallery. It is not for nothing that this color is chosen as a background: it does not distort other colors and does not draw attention to itself. Therefore, if you want to focus on furniture or decor, then choose a solid light finish.
  • Visually enlarges the space. One of the main advantages of achromat is the ability to visually expand the space. Combined with other similar tones (such as cream or pearl grey), open floor plans, and mirrored surfaces, it can visually double the actual size of the room – and this is very important for small apartments.
  • Non-marking. The fact that every speck will be visible on a clean light background is actually just a stereotype. Dark surfaces, especially matte ones, are much more easily soiled in themselves. And how long a snow-white wall or furniture will retain its original appearance primarily depends not on the palette but on the materials. Choose those that are not afraid of moisture and are easy to clean, and also use protective coatings.
  • Makes the room brighter. Another useful property of white is that it reflects both natural and electric light, and glossy surfaces will enhance this effect. Therefore, if the room is dark or the windows face north, this is a great option to make it more airy and sunny.
  • Compatible with any material. Achromat is also versatile in combination with materials, be it plastic or marble. And interiors with white wooden surfaces look especially cozy and light at the same time.


  • Too uncomfortable. The hospital ward is the main negative association with this achromat. And if in the bathroom the feeling of sterility is organic, then in the living rooms you want comfort and warmth. The problem is solved with the right companion colors, a variety of tactilely pleasing textures, and plenty of natural light.
  • Faceless. Another complaint about snow-white is that such an interior looks too faceless and boring. Just like in the first case, a varied palette will help fix this (even if it is almost monochrome, different tones will add volume), with an abundance of textures, and contrasting elements.
  • “Stuffy”. Indeed, like beige, pure whiteness can tire, creating a feeling of stuffiness. To avoid such an effect, you can use achromat in doses, combining with warmer and deeper tones, or choose a shade diluted with yellow, pink, blue, etc. In this variation, it looks much more natural, and calmer and does not “press”.

Combination of white with other colors

There are a lot of variations of color combinations with white, so we will analyze the most popular schemes that can be immediately applied to your interior.

Warm tones

One of the best combinations with white in the interior give calm natural shades in warm colors:

  • Classic beige.
  • Cream.
  • Coffee with milk.
  • Oat.
  • Sand.
  • Biscuit.
  • Almond.
  • Caramel.
  • Wheat etc.

To make the space look harmonious and cozy, it is important to maintain a single color temperature. So, cold white is not suitable here. It is better to take diluted soft shades with a pinkish or yellow undertone: ivory, milky, creamy, or champagne. Don’t forget to add some contrasting dark elements so that the interior doesn’t look too flat. This palette is suitable for any style: from sophisticated neoclassic to scandinavian or minimalism.


Together with black and gray, white creates a spectacular graphic combination.

In fact, this is not such a simple combination. It seems that since all three achromats are universal, there is nothing difficult in combining them with each other. On the one hand, yes. On the other hand, each of these colors has certain properties. For example, light shades visually expand the space, while black or dark gray, on the contrary, hides it. At the same time, they add dynamics and volume. Therefore, it is important to strike the right balance depending on the initial data of the room and what effect you want to achieve. The smaller the room, the more white it should be. If you want a more graphic interior – play on the contrast of black and white. If you want more comfort and tranquility, use different variations of gray, creating smooth transitions with their help. In general, the combination of white and gray colors in the interior looks very elegant and at the same time soft.

Tree and greenery

Naturalness is in trend now, so the easiest way to create a comfortable, cozy, and relaxing palette is to use natural textures and colors in it.

Best of all, wood and greenery are combined with each other. In the first case, it can be furniture, flooring (for example, parquet or engineered board), decor, slatted partitions, and even wall paneling. All this will be organically complemented by live indoor plants in beautiful flower pots or just color accents in natural green tones. White in this case will become a universal base, refreshing the interior and linking active textures together. This range looks especially organic in eco, Scandinavian, and boho-style.


The pastel range itself is multifaceted, so it can create a completely different atmosphere.

Achromat in this case is also most often used as a base: for example, for walls, ceilings, and overall furniture. Depending on what else is included in the color scheme, it can be a cold snow-white tone (it is combined with mint, blue, lavender, and pistachio) or warm creamy (looks good in the company of peach, pale yellow, grassy, ​​salmon). This palette is often used in children’s rooms and bedrooms, as it is very gentle, comfortable, and conducive to relaxation. But if it fits into the overall concept, then the combination of pastel colors will take root in the living room, bathroom, and even the hallway.

Bright accents

Finally, if you like bright colors and complex color schemes, you can decorate the space like an art gallery.

In this case, as always, it is useful universal 60/30/10 rule:

  • Snow white, champagne, or ivory – as a base. Usually, these are plain walls and a ceiling.
  • Neutral shade as an additional (for example, for large furniture, accent wall or floor). Most often it is beige, brown, or gray, but you can take a calm muted shade of blue, green, or orange.
  • Finally, the brightest color, which will act as an accent. You can limit yourself to one (for example, wine, indigo, or emerald ) or take several at once. But you need to use them locally and make sure that they are repeated in different elements of the interior: for example, in decor and textiles. 

Total white

Finally, an option for the most daring is a monochrome palette, consisting entirely of snow-white shades.

There are two options for implementing such a range:

  • Use white as a base, but dilute with 2-3 contrasting shades.
  • Stay strictly within one achromat (suitable for strict minimalism or hi-tech).

The first way is simpler and more familiar to most – it turns out a spectacular light interior, but with visual anchors that place the necessary accents. But the second one is suitable for those who love non-standard solutions and experiments. In this case, only whiteness is present in space, but different shades can be used. To prevent such an interior from looking boring or hospital-sterile, you need to add a variety of textures and think over multi-level lighting, as well as open windows as much as possible to let sunlight into the room. It is better that all surfaces are matte – the gloss will make an already rather cool palette uncomfortable.

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