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Dos and don’ts for making the ‘all white’ look work in your bedroom

If you love the ‘all white’ bedroom look that has outlasted most interior trends, read on for top tips on how to truly master it and make it work.
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Delicate, airy and yet oddly cosy, there’s something charmingly aloof about whitewashing your bedroom’s décor. It’s a look that exudes laid back loveliness, a beautiful blank canvas filled with possibilities. But just because it involves mainly one colour, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to get right. In fact, quite the opposite, it can actually be harder to achieve than other, more complex colour schemes. This is because there’s a fine line between that effortlessly chic all-white aesthetic, and a room that feels sterile and cold.

So with that in mind, before you head out on your hunt for all things white, be sure to read these simple rules to make sure you do nail the look, and don’t kill it.

Do paint your walls white

It goes without saying that, for the all-white look, you’ll need an all-white base. Don’t be tempted to go for anything other than white! We’ll allow off-white, but even cream won’t cut it and will really confuse the focused direction of your décor theme.

Don’t go for white carpets

There’s something of the shabby-chic in the all-white look so pale, pristine carpets just won’t fit the bill and, what’s more, pose a serious cleaning hazard. Opt instead for rustic exposed wood flooring bleached or painted white (and the paint job doesn’t have to be perfect either – a patchy, ‘unfinished finish’ goes, as this all adds to the imperfect charm of the space).

Do go for white bedroom furniture

Once you’ve got your floors and walls sorted it can be tempting to feel like you’ve ‘done enough’ to get that all-white vibe on the go. But you’ll soon see that it only takes one dark-wood piece of furniture too many to eradicate your efforts. It’s not that you aren’t allowed to incorporate some statement pieces of furniture of a different colour but, as a general rule, try to keep around 80% of your furnishings white. Long story short: don’t shy away from placinga gorgeous white chest of drawers (like this stunning Corndell Ambriella 7 Drawer Chest) next to a chic, Parisian style white dressing table, next to a white-framed full length mirror next to your pretty white bedframe. It may seem like it’s going to be overkill but (and you’ll have to trust us here), it won’t be when you follow the tips below.

Don’t stick to one shade of white

See that gorgeous white chest of drawers we mentioned above? It provides a perfect example of how mixing up your shades of white can really help to layer up the look and give your bedroom depth. That’s because it comes in a variety of tones from the ‘white spectrum’, including the just-off-white and aptly named shade, ‘cotton’. Incorporating tones like these into the space will create definition without ruining the harmony of your décor theme. It’ll also help to prevent things from looking sterile and clinical (not quite the understated glam look you were going for).

Do incorporate muted accent colours

This part can be tricky to get right – you’ll want to break up the space subtly and artfully, in a way that doesn’t shatter the all-white effect you’re going for. This requires a careful touch when it comes to accessorising with different colours. Try to stick to greys and pale blues where possible, in the form of heavy knit blankets, throw cushions and artwork. The occasional spray of pretty pink or violet flowers can also add a dash of colour without detracting from the theme. Finally, be sure to avoid any really bold or garish colours as they’ll instantly kill the look, and remember the 80% rule above – try to bare this in mind for accessories too as this helps keep your theme on track. Speaking of which…

Don’t veer away from your theme

The all-white look does require a certain amount of commitment, so it’s important to be strict with yourself when out shopping. Don’t get tempted by bedroom purchases that break your theme, as you’ll soon end up with a space that simply doesn’t make sense. But that’s not to say you can’t still have fun in refreshing your décor from time to time, which brings us on to our next point:

Do layer up with interesting textures

You may not be able to go as ‘mad’ with colours as with other décor themes, but the all-white look craves interesting textures, so don’t shy away from building up an eclectic array of accessories. Think faux fur rugs, scandi-style woven tapestries, cable knit throws and bohemian tassels.

Don’t go too heavy on the creams

Finally, be wary of automatically assuming that cream is the best friend of white when it comes to interior design. In fact, the two shades can end up clashing, with cream often taking on a slightly ‘dirty’ tone next to pristine white. The odd cream touch in the form of a cute decorative pillow or two should be harmless, but in general try to take your alternate colours from the grey/blue spectrum. You can even incorporate some natural wooden tones - dark or pale browns work great with this colour scheme so long as you use them sparingly. Think a rustic dark-wood coffee table in the corner of the room, or a set of pale oak bedside tables.

When done right, the all-white aesthetic is distinctive, space-enhancing and calming. Plus, it’s one of those rare looks that never goes out of style, blending clean-cut modernity with that appealing, bohemian vibe that’s been going strong since the 1920s. So if you feel that your bedroom is in need of a lift, go for a colour scheme that oozes unique charm, and which stays relevant all year round. Sold? Us too.

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