Interior Design

How to Layer a Bed

As summer ends, and we look ahead to the fall and the back to school time period, we’re covering one of our most frequently asked topics: how to put together the coziest of the coziest beds.  It was a question that I was frequently asked by the mothers of my children’s friends after spending the night. Today we’re focusing on the mother of all decorating topics: how to layer a bed. 

Specifically, we are focusing on the traditional classic white bed combination.  A good look for every season.

We will show you how to do white decorating in a way that looks fresh and inspirational, instead of art gallery–cold or sterile. We will show you how popping whites with a hint of a soft pastel, some phenomenally gorgeous all white bedroom designs, how—and where—to use white rugs, and even art that gives white an unexpected spin.

Here’s what you need when dressing a bed:

Plan for a minimum of four layers. Our favorite seasonal bedding wardrobe always contains the following basics:  sheets, a blanket or matelassé coverlet, a duvet cover or quilt, and a throw. In the warmer months, you can fold down the top layers and sleep under the lighter ones, while in the winter, you can pull everything up for the ultimate sink-into-it comfort.

Shake up proportions with differing lengths. If you opt for a quilt or duvet on top, allow a little blanket to peek out from underneath or add a bed skirt for one more layer of texture.

If you have a bedspread that goes all the way down to the floor, focus on layering pillows, shams, and a throw on top.

Contrast textures—lots of them. When you stick to a single-color palette, you almost can’t go wrong with the type or number of layers. We love smooth cotton sheets paired with cozy fleece or chenille blankets, velvet or plush-textured quilts, lofty duvets, and nubby knit throws.

Look for dressmaker details. You’ll be floored by how the smallest details can elevate the look of your entire bedroom. Smocking, ruching, pintucks, ruffles, buttons, appliqué, embroidery—all of these dressmaker details add depth, dimension, and character to a bed.

Pile on throw pillows, and shams. We usually opt for a minimum of 4. There are no mistakes here. This is art in real time.

When layering throws and shams follow this general rule: choose at least one set of shams that matches your middle layer (matelassé coverlet or blanket) or bedcover (duvet, quilt, or bedspread), and add in two additional white decorative pillows or shams in either the same shade of white or a slightly different shade, and in complementary patterns/textures.