White walls are hot in 2016. The year kicked off with Benjamin Moore naming “Simply White” as their 2016 Color of the Year  (Sherwin-Williams soon followed suit with “Alabaster”) and Vogue Magazine profiled their Top 10 Shades of White for interior spaces. This achromatic wall trend, while lacking in hue, is anything but lackluster or boring. In fact, fresh white surfaces create the perfect canvas for mixing up a spectrum of vibrant color pops and daring prints or showcasing high-contrast textures and bold statement pieces.   And the best thing about white walls? They’re actually timeless. You can easily take white walls into 2017 and beyond. Dress them up, dress them down, switch up your decor each season to experiment with new trends; a white wall will remain your perfect backdrop. The possibilities are endless!   Ready to explore your options? Start here.  

First - Choose which white is right for your space.

Shades of white are nearly limitless and each one can evoke a different mood and feel. Creamy whites will add a touch of warmth and comfort to your space while a cooler white tone can produce a crisp feeling of newness. Test out a few colors first before committing—either by bringing color swatches home or painting a few strokes of different white shades on your wall—to see what works best for your space.   Bonus tip: pay special attention to sheen when you choose your wall paint, particularly with white. Avoid matte finishes in rooms that often need to be wiped down or cleaned, like the kitchen or bathroom. Eggshell or semi-gloss paints are a better choice in those areas.  

Next - Feature and blend bold furniture and accent pieces.

Here is where you get to have the most fun. Try any (or all) of the following:  

Choose a color scheme.

Deciding on a color scheme for your furniture and accent pieces (lamps, vases, pillows, throws, rugs, etc.) can seem like a daunting task at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with a color or two that you love, or know that you want to incorporate in your space. From there, explore coordinating colors with a good ol’ fashioned color wheel (about $3 at your local art supply store), or with free online tools like Coolors and Colour Lovers.   Bonus tip: Some interior designers recommend a 60-30-10 color ratio (60% dominant color, 30% secondary color, 10% accent color).  For your white wall room or home, this could translate to 60% white (your walls), and your remaining colors will come from your furniture (30%) and accents (10%). This is not an ironclad rule, but could be a helpful guide if you find yourself overwhelmed with too many color options.  

Feature a statement piece

Afraid the bright orange mid-century sofa you’ve been eyeing might be too flashy to bring home? Don’t be. Now is the perfect opportunity to select a bold “statement” piece of furniture in an adventurous color or rich texture to serve as a main point of visual interest in a room. Read up on Elle Decor's tips for making a statement piece work in your home and browse Pinterest for ideas and inspiration.   Bonus tip: contrasts heighten visual interest. Consider pairing a fresh, cool white paint with a vintage statement piece for a new v. antique contrast.  

Include (and mix!) patterns

Here’s another opportunity to be fearless. Once you have your color palette selected, explore prints to pair against solid colors, or even consider mixing patterns. HGTV has excellent ideas on how to mix patterns successfully but a good rule of thumb is to pair larger, bolder patterns with smaller, simpler ones for an interesting mix that won’t overwhelm the eye.  

Create your own art gallery

There’s a reason why art gallery walls are typically white; they limit distractions from the artwork on display to give it the spotlight it deserves. Express your personality through visual art in your home. Design your own pieces if you’re artistically inclined, buy or commission art from local artists in Northern Virginia or browse work from indie artists on Etsy and Society6. Consider displaying your art “salon style” in non-matching frames of various shapes, style and sizes to add a chic bohemian vibe to your space.   Feeling inspired? Find out which white is best for you, explore your color pops, patterns and statement pieces and share your designs with us on Facebook and Twitter!