Why hotels should add pops of color to their bedding

The all-white bed has become standard in hotels across the spectrum, but as designers and hoteliers leverage color as a signature element or a touchpoint for the guest experience, elements of color are finding their way into bedding. But straying from the traditional path can present some logistical challenges. 

TJ Yu, founder of bedding company Flaneur, has seen lots of signature colors pop up in boutique hotels across California, from websites to brochures to keycards. “That colorway permeates from the first moment someone learns about the hotel on Instagram or Pinterest,” she said. The color helps a property, whether branded or independent, express its individuality. “What’s special about me? Why [should a guest stay in] this hotel? Every hotel wants to answer that question.” 

Michelle Wildenhaus, principal and director of marketing at Studio Twist, agreed with Yu that adding color to a bed gives a hotel the opportunity to set itself apart from the competition. “It gives you a chance to talk about your brand, your sense of place, to speak to something that is unique to your property and give you a signature,” she said, noting that her company is working on colorful patterned fabric for a property’s headboards. “If there's something unique about the bed—in addition to the rest of the room—that's more memorable.” Beyond the traditional colored bedscarf, she added, her company has been wrapping “bedsocks” around the boxsprings. “It can add some color and some additional texture and pattern to the room.”


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While colors can help a hotel create an identity, adding those colors to a bed poses risks. “Designers get bored with all-white [beds], but the hotel guest doesn't get bored with all white, said Greg Eubanks, group VP of hospitality sales and marketing at Standard Textile. “As a matter of fact, those pops of color that are added to the bed, whether they be in bed scarves or pillows, many hotel guests view those as dirty and unwashed. Even if you’ve just washed them, they don't know. They assume they are soiled. So they take them off the bed and throw them on the floor.” At that point, he added, the scarves and pillows really do become dirty, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Since every element of a bed should be washed regularly, Yu recommended that hoteliers consider how well any piece with color will stand up to a hotel’s laundry policies when selecting materials. “They’re bleaching the sheets on a daily basis, and even the most beautiful saturated dyed colors can run into fading issues over a period of time,” she noted. 

If color isn’t feasible, texture can also be a good way to set a bed apart. “Those who want a pure white bed are moving toward textures [and] linen looks,” said Ahmet Sapmaz, VP of global business development for Valley Forge Fabrics. Hotels without ironing services, he added, can get a top sheet with a wrinkle effect to hide real wrinkles, saving time and money while maintaining an aesthetic. 

Photo credits: Studio Twist, Flaneur, Valley Forge & Standard Textile