White can be a difficult color to pull off. It takes creativity and finesse to make white walls or cabinetry fresh and bright rather than blank. While white furniture can make a space look breezy and tropical or sophisticated and modern, white fabric can be very hard to keep clean. Still, with a little care and attention, white sofas or sectionals can make a bold, beautiful statement in a living space.
Grown Up Living Room Set
In many ways, white is a very grown-up choice for a living room set. After all, by virtue of being such a pain to keep clean, it isn’t often a first choice for parents of young children or lots of shedding pets. By extension, that smooth, unblemished surface of a white sofa feels more than a little bit sophisticated. While white might be a somewhat bland choice for the walls, it’s actually quite daring for a sofa or sectional Not only does it look visually crisp and bright, but it also surprises the eye because it’s a color that isn’t often used.
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White sofas paired with dark stained teak wood, broad-bladed bamboo ceiling fans, and gauzy white floor-to-ceiling curtains scream Caribbean resort – hot lazy days looking out over crystal blue water. This is a simple look to get in your own home as well. A basic linen slipcover can brighten up an old sofa, bringing some of that sun-soaked feeling into your living room. High quality outdoor furniture also works surprisingly well for this – especially in a sun room. Look for pieces that combine dark rattan wicker bodies with easily washable white sofa cushions that echo that island feel.
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High Contrast And Modern Materials
Modern design highly values contrast; a basic go-to color palette often consists of black and white, and nothing else. Black sofa sets are a little more common, but depending on what they’re paired with, they can either be quite casual or highly formal. The higher the contrast, the more modern the look – and the same goes for white sofas as well. White leather or leatherette and chrome is perhaps the most modern choice. Think designs that are rectangular to emphasize the smooth, sharp lines characteristic of a modern aesthetic. Neutral wood tones and natural greens will soften the look to make it more casual, while a white on white or a highly contrasted black and white decor will look quite formal. Bold colors stand out against a white sofa, creating a vivid, inviting space.
Many modern designs borrow from classic furniture forms. In fact, I’m starting to see more than a few modern designs that use old fashioned details made in modern materials (from leather to colorful poly-resin) to achieve an even more modern look. This works especially well in white (though you can’t deny the wow factor of a hot pink fainting chair from a company like PolArt) because white fabric shows every detail. The ruffling, tufting, and buttons characteristic of a period style turn into a stunning modern statement piece with a surprisingly sculptural quality.
Choose A Material That’s Easy To Clean
Once you’ve settled on a style, though, the most important thing you can do to keep a white sofa looking good it to make sure the upholstery is easy to clean. If you’re aiming for a breezy, tropical style, look for white sofas or sectionals that are either made with a slipcover or with cushion covers that are easily removed and machine washable. For a more modern style, look for a leather or leatherette that’s easy to clean. Regardless of the material, make sure to use an appropriate fabric protector. After all, the best way to keep a white fabric from discoloring is to prevent stains from getting to the fabric in the first place!
Not Quite White
White sofas produce a clean, fresh look that’s really like nothing else; they’re bright and dazzling in a way that no other color is. That said, if you love the look but know yourself (or your kids or pets) well enough to know that a pure white sofa won’t stay that way? It might be worth considering an alternative. Even slightly off white canvas can be much more forgiving than a pure white fabric; a pale beige can stand in for an antique white, especially for a shabby chic decor with a lot of natural light. Where white shows every mark, even slight off whites will actually help hide them, but won’t give quite the same dazzling finish.
White sofas certainly aren’t for the faint of heart – or the muddy of feet! But while they do call for a little more TLC, the result can be well worth the extra work.