This is the Real Reason Comforters are Always White, According to Experts

published Jan 12, 2020
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Credit: Minette Hand

As someone who is the proud owner of a cozy white comforter, which I prefer to a duvet any day, I appreciate the fact that the hue makes my bedroom feel a bit more calm, sophisticated, and hotel-like as I unwind each evening. And I’m not alone in my preference for white bedding. I frequently spot white comforters in different home tours here on Apartment Therapy and on various bedding websites, which begs the question: Why are so many comforters this color? To get the definitive answer, we turned to a few home experts.

“The trend in white bedding, particularly comforters, started because of a very practical reason,” notes Alesandra Woolley, sleep coach and executive editor of Mattress Advisor. “Comforters were traditionally made with white or light colored down feathers that would naturally poke through the outer shell. So a white cover helped hide these feathers from showing.” And given that some people opt to place a duvet cover over their comforter, the white shade is once again key. “If comforters were a darker color, they would show through the fabric of the duvet cover,” says Karin Sun, founder of the bedding company Crane & Canopy.

While it may seem counterintuitive, white fabric may actually require less maintenance over time as well. As Rohit Rana, cofounder at Royal Egyptian Bedding, notes, white comforters do not need to be dyed at all. “Any color other than white can have what is called a ‘breakdown effect’ on the fabric fibers, especially if a poor quality fabric is used to make the comforter,” says Rana. “This means the fabric will get thinner as a result of the dyeing process and be more prone to breaking down, unraveling, and getting holes.” Good to know!

But what started as a simple aesthetic solution has come to symbolize much more, with white bedding “representing luxury, freshness, and cleanliness,” according to Woolley. And, she notes, “The good thing about the color white in these cases, is that you can visibly see if the comforter is clean, which can be reassuring when spending the night in a bed that’s not your own.” This is probably the reason white is such a popular choice in the hospitality industry.

While white bedding may seem too plain to some, it can, of course, be dressed up in a number of different ways. “Solid white bedding sets the tone for a calm and serene bedroom and allows for mixing and matching of throws and pillows that you can change our seasonally,” says Holly Waterfield of The Brooklyn Home Company. “For example, these modifications could be a great wood plaid blanket in the winter or linen throw in the summer.” White really does go with anything, so the sky is the limit with what you can layer on top of your solid comforter. And if you’re in an open space like a studio, you can literally rest easy knowing that your white bedding will play well with other elements in your room.

Of course, if you’re spill-prone, you might opt for a darker shade of comforter to avoid countless trips to the laundromat. But if you have the willpower to keep your bedding clean and free of crumbs and coffee stains, there’s no other reason why you shouldn’t hop on board with this trend!