White is trendy. It’s clean and pretty. And it certainly sets the tone for the rest of the room.
“White is a fresh backdrop that allows me to play with color,” local designer Sara Noble says.
Her backdrop, in this case, happens to include honed Carrara marble on a fireplace wall, one of her favorite upgrades in the new home. Already capturing attention with its asymmetrical design, the same wall also features a custom-built credenza. Designed with doors to hide the cable box and hundreds of magazines, the open shelving units display family photos and her children’s clay creations. The gallery wall above sprinkles in color through more family favorites, also concealing the flat-screen TV within its design.
“One art piece is by my daughter, another is a vintage photograph of my grandparents, and another is a custom piece of art I had commissioned for us,” she says. “The art makes me happy.”
Like the cherished gallery wall, good design doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Noble balanced high-end materials and upholstery, such as a white Sunbrella-covered couch, with modern, cost-effective furnishings.
You’d never guess, but the side tables are from Target. From the geometric mirrored look to the modern brass table in the corner, their budget-friendly sass fills the room—as does the Ikea bookcase that she rubbed and buffed in antique gold.
“It’s a perfect example of my belief that good design is mixing low-cost with high-end,” she says.
To break up the whitewashed room, Noble brought in her favorite Kelly green color. But because it can be a challenging color to find, she once again got creative, trimming the bottom of the skirt and the back cushion of the navy swivel chair with a matching Kelly green border.
Why it Works
Noble considers her home traditional in nature—but with a fresh, eclectic, colorful twist. Believe it or not, white is considered a color, too, and, as a base, “it allows the pops of color to be noticed and really sing in the room,” she says. From the green floral pillow and throw to the blue-and-white ginger jar and big blue blooms in the fresh flower arrangement, her color combo is spot on.
Though you think it might be hard to keep clean, spills wipe right off the white walls and couch in this space. With the white Sunbrella fabric, “I just throw the cushion covers in the washing machine, and it comes out good as new,” she says. “No one has to fear red wine at my house!”
One of the most important aspects in any room is lighting. Sara carefully considered her options, opting for mid-level lighting with sconces and lamps in conjunction with recessed overhead lights. “The branch sconces give the space a custom look,” she says. “And, as always, I am bragging about one of my Barbara Cosgrove lamps. The tall glass lamp is dramatic without being busy.”
Get the Look
1. Showing a little leg, Moooi’s Boutique Kimono sofa at Museo exudes elegance in the living room. Up its appeal with a decorative pillow or throw (below!) for an instant splash of color and comfort.
2. Featuring a popular color in a trendy geometric pattern, Happy Habitat’s Greek Key throw in emerald green is durable (made of recycled cotton), sharable and cute to boot.
3. Wilson Lighting’s sleek table lamp, with white linen shade, allows you to display favorite possessions within a fillable clear glass vase.
4. Exclusive to Crate & Barrel, the Remi bookcase, with slender frame, serves its purpose well and looks good while doing so. Find it in an antique brass finish with black powder-coat shelves.
5. The high-gloss white finish lends a modern take to a traditional shape with Ethan Allen’s 20-inch sunburst mirror.
6. Everyone loves shiny things. Get your fill with etched nickel globes from Barbara Cosgrove Lamps available in six or seven-inch diameter.