Sleeping Beauties

Bed down in style via hip duvets, posh pillows and more

March 9, 2012

Tropical birds in blue-green crewelwork headline on Anthropologie’s Cockatoo bedding ($98-$548), which could mix well with tans, too.

For a few years now, the image of a perfectly dressed bed has come straight from a luxury hotel. Picture a sleek sleep zone done up in crisp white sheets, with a streamlined white duvet neatly folded at the bottom. A blanket or a couple of artfully placed throw pillows provide a pop of color.

It’s all very chic, of course. But an all-white world for catching winks isn’t the only option for those who want to slumber in style.
“Hotels helped people understand luxury and that there is better quality bedding and different layering techniques” says Keith Hagood, president/general manager of e-tailer the Company Store.

Now nesters can take what they’ve learned on vacation (or from streaming HGTV), and add their own twist, whether it’s a batik quilt or sheets in punchy orange. “Don’t limit yourself,” says Lauren Liess, owner of Herndon, Va.’s Lauren Liess Interiors. “If it’s a color you love, go for it.”

But to save your boudoir from resembling a circus tent, keep large components neutral, aka white, taupe or even gray. “Gray is the new tan,” says Jonathan Pierce, a Nashville, Tenn., designer and star of HGTV’s new “Interiors, Inc.,” (Sat., 9:30 p.m.). “It’s warm and wears better than white.”

A neutral base offers the flexibility to add seasonal accents or simply change things out when you get bored. “In fall and winter, use pillows with texture — fur, suede, damask,” Pierce says. “Then for spring and summer, take it lighter with linen or floral pillows.”

Prints can help add interest, but attempting to combine two or more might result in a monstrous mash- up. “With patterns, the important thing is that the scales are varied,” Liess says. “If your quilt has a big print, make sure your sheets are striped or have a smaller print.”

For Hagood, nature-inspired prints are big right now, such as from leaves, branches and flowers like mums. Anthropologieis excited about items such as its Cockatoo Bedding, a collaboration with costume designer Catherine Martin that resulted in a duvet starring crewelwork feathered friends. “From afar it looks like a feminine, floral pattern, but it’s really gorgeous birds in a watery palette,” says Chris Sotz, merchandise manager of home soft goods for Anthropologie.


Viesso pillowcases ($135 per pair), vintage Hill Tribe textile/linen pillows ($245-$275), Grande Hotel Sheets ($277 per set) and a matelasse queen spread ($245, all Timothy Paul).

To avoid a bed-in-a-bag vibe, mix pieces from different retailers or collections. “It gives it an eclectic look,” says Aimee Wedlake Lange, owner of Valerianne(111 Church St. NW, Suite 201; Vienna; 703-242-1790). Her shop carries nearly 20 brands like John Robshaw and Anichini. You’ll find a similarly eclectic, luxe selection but with a decidedly exotic bent at Timothy Paul Bedding + Home (1529 14th St. NW; 202-234-2020).

Still, less is more now, whether you’re talking bed skirts (think tailored, not frilly) or pillows. “You don’t want it to take 20 minutes to undo your bed to get into it,” Hagood says. So limit your decorative poufs to just a few. Or lay a body pillow covered in a cool pattern horizontally across the bed.

Just as with clothing, a layered look often proves the most versatile approach. “We make a lot of our beds with a coverlet and duvet folded at the foot,” Lange says. “That gives customers a couple of ways to sleep. In the summer, they can sleep with just the sheets and coverlet. If they need more warmth, they can pull up the duvet.”

When choosing bedding, quality matters. “Buy the best you can afford,” Liess says. “You will regret buying cheaper bedding.”

“The main thing to look for is a natural fiber content,” Lange says. “It’s going to last longer if you get 100 percent cotton versus polyester. Cotton breathes better.”

A basic duvet makes for a good investment piece and lets you play with colors and patterns through duvet covers. “A lot of duvet covers are reversible, so you get two looks in one,” Hagood says. “And they take up almost no space in the linen closet.”

Whether you opt for a funky print or a soothing solid, your bedding should make you excited about calling it a night. “You spend a lot of time sleeping,” says Sotz. “So you should go to bed in a space where you feel really comfortable. At the end of the day, it has to feel good.” Then, sweet dreams will surely follow.

Pillow Talk

Your bed should be restful, but understanding all the different terms can be downright tiring. We asked our experts for some helpful definitions, so confusion won’t keep you up all night.

Down
The light, fluffy undercoating that geese, ducks and other waterfowl have to keep them warm, down has a 3-D structure that allows for thousands of air pockets, which trap warmth and make it a good insulator.


If you opt for a more neutral duvet cover — say tan linen or beige velvet — a colorful pillow ($85, Blisslivinghome.com) can bring color and style to your sleep space.

Duvet
A duvet is a down-filled quilt. A duvet cover is the often- decorative wrapper that goes over the duvet like a giant pillowcase.
euro pillow/sham This large bed pillow and its cover, which measures 26 inches by 26 inches, is typically put against the headboard.

Fill Power/Loft
The number of cubic inches 1 ounce of down will fill under specific conditions of temperature, humidity and load. Fill power or loft ranges from 300 (for a lower-quality down) to 800 (the highest quality). The larger and more mature the bird, the larger the down clusters and the higher the loft will be.

Matelasse
This French term refers to quilted textiles that appear padded but aren’t. The fabric is tightly stitched, quilted or woven on a jacquard loom to create a raised design on the fabric.

Percale
Percale sheets are plain in weave and characterized by a matte finish and crisp feel. The weave feels cool to the touch and is lightweight and breathable.

Thread Count
The number of yarns per square inch in a fabric, thread count is a technical count of the warp and weft of the fabric. The higher the thread count, the finer the yarns,but this doesn’t always mean that sheets with a high thread count are more luxurious or softer.

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