If you want your bedroom to serve as a refuge from daily stress, one piece of furniture is more important than all the rest: the bed.
But you need to do more than just choose a good mattress and bed frame. How you dress the bed — whether you create a pared-down crash pad of white linen, say, or a mountain of down topped by a pile of colorful pillows — affects the way a room feels.
It’s similar to fashion, said Deanna Wu, the vice president of merchandising at the bedding company Brooklinen: The way you dress your bed should communicate something about how you want to live.
Area. “You can even put your hand on it in the store, and the percale will feel cooler than the sateen.” Percale is popular with people who often feel too hot under the covers.
Frette, adding that higher thread counts can sometimes result in thicker, less breathable sheets.
What’s underneath the fitted sheet matters too. If your mattress isn’t as comfortable as you’d like, consider adding a mattress pad.
Chad Dorsey, an interior designer based in Dallas, who frequently uses a Hotel Collection pad from Macy’s. “It doesn’t get too hot and has just the right amount of volume.”
Add Layers for Warmth
There are two basic strategies for bringing warmth to a bed: adding a duvet or using a bedspread, sometimes in combination with a blanket.
For years, down-filled duvets, wrapped in duvet covers, have been de rigueur. They are so fluffy, comforting and good at regulating temperature that many people abandon their top sheets altogether, adopting a European-style approach to making a bed with a fitted sheet and a duvet — and nothing else.
If you don’t use a top sheet, the choice of fabric for your duvet cover matters more, and it should have a similar feel to that of your fitted sheet. For that reason, some duvet covers are made with a sandwich of two materials. “A lot of our duvet covers that have an ornate jacquard on the top, the underside is actually just a plain sateen weave, so what’s touching your skin is still soft,” Ms. Foley said.
Coyuchi, Parachute Home and Hale Mercantile are introducing more options.
2Michaels. “Now it’s changed, and you can find great coverlets and bedspreads again, which we prefer.”
A bedspread allows your bedding to change with the seasons, Ms. Michaels said, by making it easy to layer wool blankets underneath in the winter and to remove those blankets in the summer. The look of the bed also tends to be more tailored than a bed with a duvet.
If you can’t decide which approach is best, it’s possible to do both. Mr. Dorsey has dressed some beds with a bedspread before adding a folded duvet at the foot of the bed. Other designers do the opposite and cover the mattress with a duvet, then place a thin, folded quilt at the end.
Josh Greene, a New York-based interior designer, also likes to use a single decorative pillow, in a very specific size. “I usually do a big lumbar, and my favorite size is 17-by-36,” he said, which is large enough to show off a patterned fabric. “You don’t want it so narrow that it looks like a noodle.”
Other designers prefer to use many more, even if that means making the bed is more laborious. A traditional way to style a bed is to pile on two large euro-square pillows, sleeping pillows and decorative pillows. The euro squares are typically placed against the headboard, standing up behind the sleeping pillows, Ms. Foley said, and then a cluster of throw pillows is added at the front. The euro squares should be in matching pillowcases, but the throw pillows can have different colors or patterns.
For decorative pillow inserts, firmer is better, Mr. Greene said. “I always buy extra-firm,” he said. “You want the shams to always look full and tight, because you’re only putting them on for decoration.”
Play With Color, Pattern and Texture
For the ultimate in simplicity, choose a single color for all of your bedding. Making everything white, for instance, can conjure the feeling of hotel-like freshness every time you slip into bed.
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