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Style in Color
How to pull-off an all-white bed that’s lush, inviting and ever so practical.
MEET THE DESIGNER Betsy Burnham
Born and bred in New England, Betsy Burnham is an influential presence on the design scene in Los Angeles, where she marries classic, East Coast–inspired interiors with California cool. Since launching her eponymous firm in 1996, her work has been featured by House Beautiful, The New York Times, InStyle, and more. Whether she’s transforming a beachfront property or a hilltop home, her livable interiors bear a timeless style that’s a little bit country club and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.
Ensure your white linens look serene and inviting rather than stark and minimalist by focusing on softness and comfort, Burnham advises. Heed the details: “Pillows should be just the right side of overstuffed, duvets can be piled on, and blankets the loftier the better. Two plain white pillows lying flat may look chic in a photo but, in person, no one wants to hop in.”
Master the Mix
To avoid a look that falls flat, Burnham recommends mixing tones and textures of white. “For instance, white and ivory together are perfect.” Feel free to mix sets, as well: “Add pillowcases with fancy trims, or even extras that are striped. Pay attention to textures and layers.” For a rich finishing touch, the designer loves a neutral cashmere blanket, a white duvet piled at the foot of the bed or a pale Moroccan wedding bolster pillow at the head.
Think about Textures
When choosing textiles for an all-white bed, Burnham mixes different weights and details for a layered look. “Chunky knits are great; cable knits are my personal favorite,” she says. Other textures to consider: Pale faux fur, plush velvet, crisp borders and fringed blankets.
Add a Pop of Color
If strictly white is not your style, introduce a dash of color. “The simplest way is with one-color embroidery,” Burnham says. “Look for sheets that have a piping stripe or scallop—or better yet, a monogram—in an accent color.” Other easy styling tricks are a mismatched sheet in a pale color like blush or light blue, a plaid blanket or a single pillow made as the perfect finishing touch.
Make it Last
“An all-white bed is classic,” says Burnham. “It won’t go out of style.” Since the look is timeless, be smart selecting your linens. “You can invest in luxurious white sheets and never tire of them,” she says. “Just enjoy them for years as they get softer and better with age.”