Top American designer Robert Stilin on choosing the perfect shade of white for a bedroom

Designer Robert Stilin reveals his theory behind selecting the perfect shade of white for a restful retreat

white bedroom walls Robert Stilin
Bedroom designed by Robert Stilin
(Image credit: Stephen Kent Johnson)

New York− and Hamptons-based designer Robert Stilin makes no excuses for his love of white walls—especially as one of his favorite modern bedroom ideas. In fact, according to Stilin, white is anything but boring. “White rooms take on a different look as the light changes throughout the day and from season to season,” says Stilin. “They can go from extremely washed out from the sun to shadowy and moody on a grey day.” But with hundreds of white paint swatches to choose from, selecting just one can be overwhelming. 

The designer suggests considering the room’s natural light, the brightness (or lack thereof) of the various light fixtures, and the feeling one wants to create in the space. 

white bedroom decor by Robert Stilin

Bedroom designed by Robert Stilin

(Image credit: Stephen Kent Johnson)

Choosing the best white paint for interior walls can be daunting. “If you are concerned that the room lacks light, simply go with a brighter shade of white,” explains the designer. “I love a crisp, fresh white such as Benjamin Moore’s Super White and Decorator’s White because they work well in any room. And for a bedroom that is moody and cozy, go with a shade of white that is a bit darker and warmer.” Whether it’s a bisque-like tone or a white with the tiniest hint of blue or lavender, Stilin encourages people to go with their gut and not overthink it. “Picking out a color is intimidating, but you can’t make a mistake with white. It’s tried and true.” The designer’s only caution: Most whites tend to yellow over time, so be mindful of that when selecting a shade.

Love white but want to spice things up a bit? One of Stilin’s favorite bedroom schemes is a mostly white room with a deeper color—think deep blue or grey—that anchors the wall behind the bed. “It feels really fresh,” says Stilin. “I just love that contrast between light and dark.”

Alyssa Bird

Alyssa Bird is a New York−based freelance writer and editor with experience covering architecture, interior design, travel, hospitality, and real estate. She has held editorial positions at Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, and New York Cottages &Gardens. When she’s not writing about dreamy spaces, you can find her tweaking the decor in her own Brooklyn home, honing her green thumb, testing out a new recipe, or scouring for antiques.