White is, well, white-hot these days. See how to best use the hue in your bedroom
If you took our recent bedroom color quiz and were disappointed that white was not an option, this article is for you. And you also happen to be in good company, because it looks like decorating with shades of white will continue to be a popular design trend heading into next year.
But even though white goes with anything and everything, and therefore seems an easy color to decorate with, it still requires attention to the details in a space to make it sing. Let’s take a look at some excellent examples of white done right in the bedroom.
All-white bedrooms can appear soft, restful and comfortable, like the bedroom shown here, or they can look flat and cold. It’s the little details that make all the difference.
Architectural details. Since you aren’t using swaths of contrasting color to make a visual impact, you need to consider the other elements that can make a space inviting — namely, the textures, shapes, sheen and architectural elements. Here the exposed wood framing offers the perfect textured backdrop to help to break up the expanse of white, giving the space a big boost of rustic charm.
This gorgeous bedroom uses texture as well as interesting architecture to catch the eye. There’s a lovely view out the window, but I’m drawn to that fantastic architectural detail behind the bed. When you keep the color palette so restrained and neutral, you can (and should!) add drama via unusual shapes and textures.
This clean and simple bedroom has a handful of focal points that amp up the ambience: the view out the window, the charming fireplace and the steel rods at the ceiling, which serve a structural role but are also visually impactful. It’s important to have at least one interesting feature in a minimally decorated all-white space, to avoid projecting a cold and institutional vibe.
This white bedroom is anything but cold. It’s another space that has a cozy cottage vibe via a ceiling and walls clad in white painted wood. And materials taken from nature, such as the warm-hued natural-fiber rug here, go a long way in bringing warmth to a room.
Lighting. Another important element to consider in a white bedroom is lighting. While it’s true that all-white or mostly white rooms will feel light, open and airy, they still need light — preferably warm white light. And, if you have interesting textures in the space, think about adding wall-skimming light fixtures to play them up.
Sheen. An often neglected, but very important, design element is sheen — the reflective quality of a surface. You may want the ceiling and walls to have a flat sheen, but there are many options for adding shiny metallics and other sparkly finishes to a bedroom. A little bit of shine goes a long way, though, so use super glossy or reflective surfaces thoughtfully, on a few pieces that you want to really stand out.
Layers of off-white. An easy way to subtly break up an all-white space is to layer in off-white hues. If you prefer a warmer palette, take a look at light tans. For a cooler palette, you’ll want to incorporate light grays. The room will still have an all-white vibe, but the slight layering of color will offer a little variety.
Accessories. This bedroom has good bones and therefore doesn’t need a whole lot of color to jazz it up. But even if your room isn’t similarly blessed with charming architectural details, you can add appeal via furniture and accessories. Ultimately, it’s all about those little details.