Benjamin Moore 2016 Color of the Year: Simply White

Architecture & Interiors

Calling it ‘the silent hero,’ Benjamin Moore has selected white as its 2016 Color of the Year—more specifically, Simply White, one of the 250 shades of white the paint company carries. While that announcement may elicit a few yawns from color-loving design buffs, we die hard modernists think Simply White is, well, a fairly pristine choice. Whether used as neutral backdrop or made a statement in itself, white, like its esthetic cousin—minimalism—doesn’t hide behind bells and whistles; its no-frills purity forces the viewer to look more closely and pay attention to the important things: form, texture, shadow, tone. And, as the mostly white rooms, below, illustrate, white— in all its guises—is universal and democratic, an equally reasonable choice for living room, kid’s room, home office or hotel suite. The bottom line: it’s pretty hard to go wrong with Simply White.


A range of whites and graphic details complement glamorous moldings and arched windows in this all-white living room. Image via Architonic

Oh yes! How best to complement generous proportions, towering ceilings, and 19th Century ornamentation? With elegant low-profile 21st Century furnishings and fifty shades of white, that’s how. Ravishing wood floors, graphic details, and not a dollop of color illustrate just how to make a simply white modern living room complex—in all the right ways.


A Nordic-clean white workspace makes the best of classics by Arne Jacobsen. Image via 79ideas

It’s not just the Arne Jacobsen chair and AJ Table Lamp that has our attention in this Nordic-informed contemporary workspace. Just try making a mess against a backdrop of pure white. All the organizational devices in the world may not be able to keep us focused and productive, but all-white will. Shop the Louis Poulsen AJ Table Lamp here >


An industrial loft is transformed into an all-white minimalist haven. Image via Design Milk

Radical proportions make room for state-of-the-art modular units in this industrial loft space, where exposed brick, concrete ceilings, and rough-hewn bones are given a uniformly refined appeal—thanks to swathes of pure white.


A modern nursery is swaddled in neutrals and plenty of white. Image via Cissy + Marley

Proof that sweet and whimsical nurseries don’t have to be all colorful baubles is this brilliantly restrained contemporary nursery. By sticking to a limited palette of gentle neutrals and lots of white (a color scheme that’s been applied to everything, including toys), this modern baby room is rendered supremely elegant, while delivering a pitch-perfect soothing quotient.


A pure white dining room is a focal point in this futuristic contemporary home in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. Image via Ambrose Tézenas

Space Odyssey 2001 is reprised in this futuristic contemporary house in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. Eero Saarinen’s visionary design sensibilities—and a suite of classically modern Knoll Tulip Armchairs—help illustrate that white, when done right, can simultaneously invoke the past, express the present, and predict the future—immaculately.  Shop Saarinen’s Knoll Tulip Armchairs here >


A Manhattan home library goes white with a Saarinen Oval Dining Table and Tulip Chairs by Knoll, a grid of white shelving, and white marble floor tiles. Image via W Magazine

It’s all about book color in this Manhattan apartment’s stark white modern home library. A Saarinen Oval Table Dining Table and Tulip Chairs, along with marble tiles and a grid of shelves provide a large white expanse against which a collection of books are on display in full color. Shop the Saarinen Oval Dining Table by Knoll here >


The Eileen Gray room in the Marrakech hotel, Riad Mena, keeps its color scheme decidedly modern and creamy white. Image via Riad Mena

Morocco may be famous for its saffrons and indigos, but the Riad Mena, in Marrakech, keeps things low-key with a palette of grey and white, while losing nothing of its exoticism. The Eileen Gray room pays homage to the great Irish designer by including Mid Century furnishings, a small dash of red, and traditional Moroccan details—each of which is rendered uncharacteristically serene in shades of white.

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