White Bedroom Design & Decorating Ideas

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White Bedroom Design Concept

Few designs are brighter than color schemes and patterns with a white base. In the artistic and literary world, the color white is associated with purity and serenity--and it's true-a white color scheme is one of the best ways to create a comforting, breezy, and relaxing space.

Bright and bold colors are common interior design themes for contemporary bedrooms. Pastels, earthy tones, and even bright purples, pinks, and teals all create trendy looks, but none of these tones can replicate the serene look and feel of a white bedroom. For a truly unique, simplistic, and streamlined environment, consider decorating your bedroom with a white theme. Incorporate your favorite modern, classic, or contemporary structural elements, but rely on the color white to guide your overall effect.

An All White Bedroom: Is It Right for You?

A white theme can help you create an elegant, streamlined, and relaxing space; however, the color is not right for all lifestyles. Make sure that you evaluate your needs before giving a bedroom a white theme. Otherwise, your space will be more stressful than relaxing.

  • Keep in mind that white surfaces can become dirty very easily, especially if you have kids, pets, or extensive foot traffic through your bedroom. Over time, with age, white sheets may turn yellow, especially if you need to wash them often. If you have white furniture, you will need to make an extra effort to wipe down surfaces often since dust and dirt may show.
  • You may want to stay away from a white theme in kids' rooms. Children are messy, especially if they play sports or enjoy arts and crafts. If you have a busy and active lifestyle and cannot commit to keeping your room as clean as possible, then you may want to base your theme around a darker color that won't make dust and dirt as obvious.
  • If you would like a white bedroom in your home, consider using your theme in your spare room or guest area. Typically, these rooms are not used as often, so you won't need to worry about cleaning, and you can even keep items covered if you are concerned about dust. Give the room a quick dusting when it needs to be presentable.

White Bedroom White Bedroom

How To Decorate With White

There are several ways to achieve a white color scheme. You can incorporate white in your bed sheets, pillows, furniture, walls, lights, curtains, rugs, floors, and décor. For an extreme look, you can make everything white, cream colored, and off white.

Choose one white or three subtly different shades of white to create a uniform effect. If you'd prefer to incorporate other colors such as gray or black, you can use accent details and decorative items to simply make white your dominant color. Including other colors will help bring versatility and contrast to your white color scheme. Also, adding one or two other colors can help create the look of a specific theme. While black and white is great for modern design, royal blue and white resembles a Grecian villa. Red and/or green and white is a great way to add holiday decor to your bedroom, and purple or pink and white creates the feel of a fairy tale or princess themed room.

If you choose to work with shades of white, choose no more than two or three shades. Otherwise, your room may appear chaotic. Even if you choose a few shades of white and off-white, make sure that you pick one shade as your dominant color to cover 50 percent or more of your room. The varying shades should be a subtle addition to a white color scheme.

White Bedroom Styles White Bedroom Styles

Although most design theories suggest that you should select at least two colors for complementing affects, it is acceptable to stick to one additional shade for a white bedroom. You can use other design elements such as natural and artificial light to add varying tones to the look of the room.

You can even include subtle patterns on your decorative elements on your linens, pillows, and curtains. Just be sure to avoid bold prints that may overwhelm the space with other colors. White should be your dominant theme throughout the room.

Seasonal White Bedroom Decor

White bedrooms are as practical as they are aesthetically pleasing. Seasonally speaking, white is an ideal color choice for the summer and spring. When the temperature is hot, heat transfers more easily through darker colors. On the other hand, colors such as white will reflect light.

With a white bedroom, your space will feel fresher and cooler. White colors and patterns also tend to come in lightweight fabrics that are ideal for warmer temperatures. A white color scheme provides a straightforward and simple strategy to help you transition away from fall and winter motifs.

Lighting & Mirrors

Your lighting options will help you add subtle color tones to your white bedroom linens, walls, and décor. Select lamps, chandeliers, sconces and other lighting fixtures that resemble the particular design theme you want to evoke in your bedroom. An all white minimalist bedroom would do well with a thin, tall stainless steel lamp, while a Cape Cod themed bedroom would look better with a wider, wooden or ceramic lamp. 

For a streamlined overhead lighting option, consider recessed lights with adjustable brightness. The lighting fixtures should all be one color in silver, bronze, gray, or chrome. For elegant and traditional design themes, use chandeliers and sconces along with table lamps. 

White Bedroom Lighting White Bedroom Lighting

Layer several different types of light, and feel free to experiment with different bulbs. Try to avoid bright-white compact fluorescent lights, since these might overwhelm your already-white room. Instead, use a combination of LED lights, halogen bulbs, and natural lighting options to achieve varied effects throughout your room. Allow plenty of natural light to brighten you room, and use scented candles for extra sensory comfort.

White Furniture & Décor

Not every furniture or decorative item needs to be bright white. You should feel free to include other colors, especially if you plan on mixing up your color scheme every season. Usually, the best colors to choose are more subtle tones such as silver, beige, or other pastel shades. Even include a few bold colors if you would like. No matter what you choose, make sure that you do not select colors that can become dominant over the white. Additional colors should be extremely subtle and secondary to the overall white color. If you find a piece of furniture that you love, but isn't white (or even a lighter shade), consider purchasing it and painting it white. This vastly increases the amount of furniture available to place in your bedroom, and allows you the freedom of designing the perfect white or off white shade for beds, nightstands, tables, chairs, dressers and more. 

White Floors

Carpets, hardwood floor, and natural stone are all ideal options for a white bedroom. No matter what material you choose, make sure that it is the lightest shade possible. Try tan or gray if you are installing wood or stone floors and cream colored if you are installing carpets. Keep in mind that some surfaces are easier to clean than others. Hardwood floors and natural stone are easier to wipe down than carpet; however, carpet is less prone to scratching from pets, accidents, and spills. Carpet is also less expensive to replace in the event of damage. Make sure that you choose a flooring material that complements your unique lifestyle.

White bedroom design doesn't have to be boring, overwhelming or even any one style. Create a white bedroom that reflects your personal style, and create a bright, relaxing space you enjoy night after night. 

Last Updated: February 21, 2012
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About Ritika Puri Based in California, Ritika Puri has worn a number of professional hats ranging from blogger to quantitative researcher, martial arts instructor, and cartographer. No matter what she does, she loves to write and specializes in topics related to home improvement, personal finance, and business. She writes regularly for Investopedia.com's Financial Edge section, and her work has appeared on SF Gate, Yahoo! Finance, and The Chicago Sun Times Online. She holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from the University of California at Irvine.  

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