Is White the New Gray?

Crisp, cool furnishings in today’s most on-trend neutral

A bold statement-maker, the Kensington console from Hooker Furniture offers a modern take on white. HookerFurniture.com

A bold statement-maker, the Kensington console from Hooker Furniture offers a modern take on white. (hookerfurniture.com)

Fresh, clean and sophisticated—white is on-track to becoming America’s new favorite neutral. This white-hot design direction offers a lighter, refreshing alternative to the shades of gray and greige that have dominated interiors in recent years. While gray provided a welcome alternative to ‘builder beige’ walls and plain, tan sofas, white offers a lighter and brighter neutral option that truly goes with everything.

At the spring 2018 High Point Furniture Market in April, manufacturers and designers debuted a range of looks embracing a simplified color palette centered on white. The perfect neutral, white can be paired with warm or cool tones, and dressed up or down to create a range of looks. Both practical and pretty, white fabrics are making their way to retail stores in a variety of weaves and textures, typically in performance fabrics for easy cleaning. From traditional to modern, farmhouse to cottage, white fabrics and furnishings complement all furniture styles. 

Here are a few examples of how white is making a well-designed impact in homes: 

A bold statement-maker, the Kensington console from Hooker Furniture offers a modern take on white. HookerFurniture.com
hookerfurniture.com

A bold statement-maker, the Kensington console from Hooker Furniture offers a modern take on white. Perfect for an entryway or anywhere you want to create an eye-catching vignette, it features storage, bold hardware and a metal base that creates the appearance that it’s floating.

The Sector white dining table from Modway offers the perfect blank canvas for elegant tablescapes and creative food presentation.  Modway.com
Modway.com

The Sector white dining table from Modway offers the perfect blank canvas for elegant tablescapes and creative food presentation. Boasting sleek lines and a distinguished presence, it features a high-gloss white laminate top paired with a gold stainless steel X-base. A versatile addition for the modern home, it comfortably seats up to six and works equally well in a dining room or as a conference table in a home office.

Relaxing in comfort and style is easier than ever with the Radcliff reclining chair from Barcalounger’s Modern Expressions recliner collection
Barcalounger.com

Relaxing in comfort and style is easier than ever with the Radcliff reclining chair from Barcalounger’s Modern Expressions recliner collection. Its contemporary white leather cover is accented with curved, exposed-wood arms finished in black.

Hekman’s Sierra Heights bedroom collection features a soft, neutral finish that helps create a relaxing master bedroom retreat
Hekman.com

Hekman’s Sierra Heights bedroom collection features a soft, neutral finish that helps create a relaxing master bedroom retreat. A sumptuous fabric headboard upholstered in white complements the white finish of the dresser and nightstand.
Perfect for stylish small-space living, Sarried’s bar with matching stools captures the designer look of white marble.
sarreid.com

Perfect for stylish small-space living, Sarried’s bar with matching stools captures the designer look of white marble.
White ash veneers and brushed stainless steel hardware add depth and dimension to this modern nightstand framed in stainless steel and topped with glass
universalfurniture.com

White ash veneers and brushed stainless steel hardware add depth and dimension to this modern nightstand framed in stainless steel and topped with glass. Part of Universal Furniture’s Paradox collection, it features two storage drawers and an open shelf area perfect for keeping essentials close at hand.
The Tracy coffee table in Carrara White from Bellini Modern Living
bellinimodernliving.com

Minimalist in character, the Tracy coffee table in Carrara White from Bellini Modern Living boasts a beautiful Italian marble top with a geometric metal base in a contemporary gunmetal finish. Use it alone or nest it with tables in various marble colors from the same collection. 
White is equally popular in outdoor furnishings these days, as seen in the Nautilus outdoor sectional from Padma’s Plantation
padmasplantation.com

White is equally popular in outdoor furnishings these days, as seen in the Nautilus outdoor sectional from Padma’s Plantation. Easy-to-clean fabrics make it practical for outdoor spaces, while a hand-woven Kubu weave over an aluminum frame provides the comfort of an indoor sofa.

Striking in its simplicity, white is taking the lead in home furnishings introductions. Its timeless influence can be seen in light wood finishes offering a refreshing take on classic silhouettes and upholstered furnishings that appear fresh and bright in clean white covers. Following the lead of fashion and the dominance of white surfaces in kitchen and bath design, white home furnishings are a leading influence in top interior designs.

Trisha McBride Ferguson is a writer, trained interior designer, and style editor for the home furnishings industry.

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