Texture is the key to a cozy white room.

How to Make a White Bedroom Warm and Cozy

by Linda Erlam

An all-white bedroom is the height of luxury. With the availability of washable and durable fabric and surfaces -- an important consideration if you have children or pets -- white has become a feasible color scheme for anyone who wants the clean lines and uncluttered look of classic-all white. Decorating in an all-white scheme requires you to learn some tips and tricks that help you get that stunning, warm and cozy white room.


White has an undertone color that makes it appear either warm or cool white. A warm white has a pink or yellow undertone, while a cool white's undertone is green or blue. To check if your white is warm or cool, compare each white sample to a large sample of blue or yellow; one sample clashes with the white, while the other looks good, an indication of its undertone. If blue looks best with the white, the white has a blue undertone; the white has a yellow undertone if yellow looks better with it. In an all-white room, improve the cozy factor by using only warm whites.


Light also casts a warm or cool undertone. Fluorescent lights, for example, typically cast a cool, blue-based light. In rooms that face north, the natural light is usually a cool color, which makes the cool factor of any artificial lights more pronounced. Counter the effect of the northern light by using full-spectrum light bulbs that replicate sunlight and contain all the colors of the spectrum. Alternatively, use warm-white fluorescent bulbs, which are more readily available. Initially, full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs may be more expensive than regular bulbs, but since at the time of publication, a 1,000-hour incandescent bulb costs around 40 cents, which equates to less than .001 cents per hour over the bulb's lifetime, they are a cost-effective option.


Flat or shiny surfaces reflect more light than nubbly or textured surfaces; reflected light makes the room feel cooler. Choose carpets and fabric for drapery, upholstery and accessories with textures you can see from across a room, such as fabrics woven with yarns of various thickness. Install carved carpets and shag or long-surface area rugs. Textured wall surfaces -- plastered or wallpapered with grass cloth -- provide additional texture. Hang wall art with carved or distressed frames. Balls of twine, off-white rocks and books covered with nubby paper add additional texture.


Add maximum warmth by using warm-colored wood in the room. Wood is visually warm since it absorbs light, while stone, concrete, glass or steel reflect it. Just like old jeans or a worn leather jacket, wood is considered a neutral, which means that any natural wood color that you like will add warmth to your all-white bedroom. If you paint your floors or walls white, an antiqued or distressed finish that allows some of the natural wood color to show through increases the warmth factor.


When you look around a multi-colored cozy room, your eye stops and starts at all the little things that make the room special, landing on contrasting elements. These items help make the room feel smaller and cozier than if all the pieces were the same color. In an all-white room, the challenge is to provide some visual relief across the vignette that is the room. Use vertical lines such as tall floor lamps, for example. Install directional lighting on either side of the bed; sconces throw light both up and down. Vary the sizes and finishes of the frames for your pictures. In addition, modify the whites in your room provided they have the same undertone; for example, toss off-white cushions on your reading chair.

About the Author

Linda Erlam started writing educational manuals in 1979. She also writes a biweekly newspaper column, "Design Dilemmas," in the "Lakeshore News" and has been published in "Design and Drapery Pro" magazine. Erlam is a graduate of the Sheffield School of Interior Design and is a practicing interior decorator and drapery workroom operator.

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