Designer Palette: Rethinking White

Rethinking White

"A couple of years ago, the thought of a space with white walls made me shiver," designer Khristian A. Howell says. "However, something has shifted for me lately, and now all I want is a blank canvas on which to layer rich neutrals with piles and piles of yummy, colorful textiles and accessories." This palette is a reexamination of white and the possibilities it holds.

Designer: Khristian A. Howell

Getting Started:

Use a ratio formula to help you put together a color scheme. Choose one main color to serve as 40-60 percent of your color palette, then one to two supporting colors to comprise 30-40 percent of your color palette, and fill the remainder with one to two accents. Thinking of color this way can help you determine how much of each color to use. Go to the next slide to see how this scheme breaks out.

The Colors

With a foundation of white, anything can go. Designer Khristian A. Howell uses golden yellow and rich brown as supporting colors, with pops of slate blue and dusty pink as accents. The final palette is set to offer a warm, modern, urban vibe.

Rethinking White: Light & Gold

Brushed-gold antiques and soft lighting bring warmth to white and enhance the color palette.

Rethinking White: Open Space

This color scheme will work well in an open-concept living room. When working with open layouts, repeat colors in the different zones of the space. For example, if you use blue on pillows in the living area, used blue cushions on the chairs in the dining area.

Rethinking White: Into the Woods

Designer Khristian A. Howell says to consider cladding a feature wall in reclaimed wood. "It would be a great contrast to all the white and would help make the space warm and inviting," Howell says.

Get the Look

Ready to decorate? Shop the products that will help you bring this look home!

Shop the Look!


Brown-and-white fabric: Sawhill in Chocolate, 71031-103, Duralee;

Use for: Window treatments

Brown striped fabric: Bowen Stripes & Solids in Brown Sugar, 36110-631, Duralee;

Pink-and-gray fabric: Pattern 42241-198, in Petal, Duralee;

Blue fabric: Pattern 15441-19, in Aqua, John Robshaw Collection, Duralee;

Use for: Pillows

White paint: Arcade White, The Sherwin-Williams Co.;

Use for: Walls

Pink paint: Cat's Meow, Benjamin Moore;

Yellow paint: French Quarter Gold, Benjamin Moore;

Use for: Accent furniture


Neutral colors range from the lightest of beiges to the richest of grays. See how to use neutral colors in your home decorating. Plus, learn how a neutral color scheme can be brought to life in any room.

More Tips

Get more tips for using neutrals in your decor.

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