One of the best parts of staying in a hotel is a luxurious breakfast in bed in the morning. But — as anybody who has ever spilled their breakfast knows — there are few things more embarrassing than toppling the tray over onto pristine white bedsheets.
Considering that people are not, on average, pristine beings, it may seem counterintuitive for hotels to use bedsheets in the color easiest to stain. But therein lies the genius of bright white bedding.
Guests wouldn’t really want bed linens that hide stains. After all, how would you know for sure that the sheets were clean if stains could be easily camouflaged?
White sheets are one effective way for hotels to prove their standards of cleanliness. Much like how the wealthy used to wear all white to show that they could afford to keep it clean, hotels use all white linens to show luxury. (Although, admittedly, even less luxurious hotels use white sheets.)
The Westin is credited with popularizing white linens for hotels in the 1990s. According to the brand’s vice president of design, the white bed created a “halo” effect and made guests think their room had been recently renovated.
There’s also one very practical aspect to white beds. The all-white color theme tends to carry over into the bathroom (for towels and bathrobes). When hotel staff do the washing, they can throw bed linens, towels and any other dirty fabrics into the same washing machine without worrying about any colors running.
And, when worst comes to worst and the bed is stained beyond recognition, white sheets are fairly easy to bleach away.