August 1, 2014 at 1:00 am

For Your Home

How to make white decor easy to live with

Just like with fashion, white isn't just for summer anymore — white is for year-round furniture and manufacturers are responding to designers' demands for such. (MCT)

It must be summer because I’m seeing white everywhere. But, just like with fashion, white isn’t just for summer anymore. White is for furniture.

If images of white sofas for your family make you want to shriek and run from the room, relax. There’s a great way to bring white decor into a home without fear of stains and sky-high dry cleaning bills.

Look to the white cocktail table. Dark, wooden tables really draw the light out of a space. Displaying seashells and white summery bouquets on a dark surface does little to brighten the setting. But these same items placed on a stark white or ivory surface bring a fresh breath of life to a living space.

Furniture manufacturers are responding to designers’ demands for lighter, more refreshing accent tables with an array of styles and textures. Bernhardt’s Granada collection offers some outstanding options.

A linen-covered rectangular cocktail table accented with nail heads is sophisticated and tailored. A glass topper protects the linen fabric from stains.

Or pairing two smaller tables to create one statement is easy to achieve with Bernhardt’s Granada Bunching Cocktail Tables. The clean, white lacquered finish is stunning. The gentle curve of the base softens the style and adds a flow to its surroundings.

Stone-topped tables are durable and bring a natural element to a room. The Circa cocktail table from Laurel House combines a travertine veneer top with an antique brass metal base. This is a good way to introduce small touches of today’s emerging brass trend. The smooth, round edges are perfect for families with small children and visiting grandchildren.

I have been a longtime fan of using ottomans as cocktail tables. The new Eglomise & Iron Cocktail Ottoman from Jonathan Charles’s Lux collection is chic and incorporates a creamy leather upholstered top with a soft, low-luster brass finish base.

Don’t overlook the opportunity to update your existing cocktail table with a coat of light-colored paint or a canvas slipcover. Yes, I said slipcover. If you can sew a straight line, you can stitch a slipcover for your tables. I found great instructions on the Dear Lillie blog, at bit.ly/1yo8CRe.

White is a year-round base color for all your other seasonal accessories: Set a striking fall setting with bright orange and golden accents; brighten the holiday season with silver and gold; and welcome spring with lime greens and pastel shades of pink and aqua. When next summer rolls around, bring out those beach shells and continue to enjoy the freshness of your white cocktail table.

Designer and home improvement expert Vicki Payne is host and producer of “For Your Home,” available on PBS, Create TV and in syndication. Reach her at ForYourHome.com.