Bed-Ed 101: How To Layer Whites For The Ultimate Year-Round Bed

In the spirit of winter and New Year wiping-the-slate-clean-ness, we’re covering one of our most frequently asked topics: how to do white decorating in a way that looks fresh and inspirational, instead of art gallery–cold or sterile. We’ve already discussed popping whites with a hint of pretty pastel, some phenomenally gorgeous all-white bedroom designs, how—and where—to use white rugs, and even art that gives white an unexpected spin. Today we’re focusing on the mother of all white-on-white decorating topics: how to layer whites in the bedroom for a look that’s cozy, calming, and perennially cool.  Here’s how to decorate with white bedding in just a few simple steps:

Plan for a minimum of four layers. Our favorite seasonal bedding wardrobe always contains the following basics: sheets, a blanket or matelassé coverlet, a duvet cover or quilt, and a throw. In the warmer months, you can fold down the top layers and sleep under the lighter ones, while in the winter, you can pull everything up for the ultimate sink-into-it comfort.

Shake up proportions with differing lengths. If you opt for a quilt or duvet on top, try allowing a bit of blanket to peek out from underneath, or add a bed skirt for even more texture. If you have a bedspread that goes all the way down to the floor, focus on layering pillows, shams, and a throw on top.

Contrast textures—lots of them. When you stick to a single color palette, you almost can’t go wrong with the type or number of layers. We love smooth cotton sheets paired with cozy fleece or chenille blankets, velvet or plush-textured quilts, lofty duvets, and nubby knit throws.

Look for dressmaker details. You’ll be floored by how the smallest details can elevate the look of your entire bedroom. Smocking, ruching, pintucks, ruffles, buttons, appliqué, embroidery—all of these dressmaker details add depth, dimension, and character to a bed.

Pile on the throw pillows, and shams. We usually opt for a minimum of three, following this general rule: choose at least one set of shams that matches your middle layer (matelassé coverlet or blanket) or bedcover (duvet, quilt, or bedspread), and add in two additional white decorative pillows or shams in either the same shade of white or a slightly different shade, and in complementary patterns/textures.