Style Shortcuts for a Beautiful Bed

Just as a suite of furniture is boring and predictable, the same goes for your bed. It’s time to ditch the “bed in a bag,” and think of your bedding like your wardrobe.

For inspiration, we asked Meg Carroll of Bedside Manor and Leslie Spitzer-Blesius of Jolie Maison, to share their tricks to making a beautiful bed.

Tips No Matter What Your Style

Before you start with the “look,” our experts recommend getting the basics right:

  • Just like your wardrobe, start with a few high-quality, timeless pieces that will last.
  • You spend half your life in bed—invest where you’ll get the most comfort and value. Don’t skimp on basics like your mattress pad, pillows, sheets and duvet.
  • Natural materials breathe and feel infinitely better to the touch.
  • Take into account your lifestyle. If you aren’t compelled to make your bed everyday, a crisp, traditional bed might not be your best choice. On the other hand, if you are a neat freak, stay away from raw linen.
  • If you have kids and dogs who love your bed too, make sure your bedding is washable. Finer linens actually launder and last longer than lower-quality pieces, but use a fine linen wash ideal for keeping fibers intact.
  • Remaking your bed can be as simple as adding a gorgeous pillow.
  • If you crave seasonal change, swap out your cotton shams and throw blanket for richly colored velvet in winter.


  • Custom linens aren’t necessarily cost-prohibitive. Both stores offer a wide range of linens, with many lines comparable to prices offered at national retailers and department stores.

Look Book for Bedding Styles

While these ladies are the last ones to prescribe anyone to a “formula” when it comes to dressing your bed, they offer a few guidelines (and beds of their own) for the novice looking to achieve a particular look.

Traditional rebooted

  • Certain patterns and elements read as traditional, like plaids, delicate florals, layered shams, embroidered sheets and coverlets paired with duvets.
  • Traditional doesn’t have to mean staid; think refined and tailored with a twist. Swap a frilly bedskirt for a sleek boxspring cover, or go bold with a vibrant satin skirt or fur-trimmed boudoir pillow.


  • Layered, pressed shams (euros, standards, boudoir) are the standard.

Muted and modern

  • Swap pattern for texture like luscious cashmeres, supple sateens and luxurious natural linens.
  • Keep it simple. No need for bedskirts and layers of pillow shams you never sleep on. Stick with the pillows you sleep on, and a simple graphic throw pillow or two.
  • Sparsely decorated doesn’t equal discomfort. Choose minimal elements with the highest quality you can afford.

Playful and patterned

  • Test drive your pattern at home and not just in the store, since it will be a strong decorative element in your room. Unlike the Internet, Bedside Manor and Jolie Maison both offer design advice and will let you bring swatches home.
  • Less is more—or more is more—when it comes to the rest of the décor in your bedroom. Nothing in between. Opt for either a neutral backdrop or amp up the pattern everywhere.
  • Use a smaller pattern for the sheets, which will read as a solid, and save the large pattern for your duvet cover and pillows.


  • Have confidence in picking your patterns. Go for similar hues and movement (for example, it’s difficult to mix formal and informal patterns) or go disparate enough to seem purposeful.
  • Patterned can be traditional (think toile, checks and Yves Delorme petite prints) or more global in feel (like John Robshaw).

The all-white bed

  • An all-white bed is a great way to draw attention to the strong lines and graphic appeal of a wood or metal bed, or to tone down intense color or pattern elsewhere in your room.
  • Not all whites necessarily match. White to one vendor can be ecru to another.
  • Monochromatic doesn’t have to mean flat. Add visual interest with texture instead of color (like a matelassé coverlet, sateen shams, embroidered neck roll, and mohair throw).



Photo captions

Lead: Shades of brown and platinum make a versatile, traditional bed. By Jolie Maison.
2: Velvet shams and throw add a seasonal richness to a timeless pattern. By Jolie Maison.
3: A fur-trimmed throw pillow and textural sham add visual interest to a neutral palette. By Bedside Manor.
4: A petite print on the sheets plays well against the bolder pattern and hues of John Robshaw’s linens. By Bedside Manor.
5: A crisply made all-white bed shows off the graphic lines of an iron bed. By Bedside Manor.