It’s September (I know, WILD) and with fall knocking on our doors, getting cozy is basically my top home priority. So today I want to talk about the importance of a cozy bed, the easiest way to make it, and how to choose the perfect bedding. At this point in my styling career, I can say that I am a bed-making (styling) expert, just like my parents dreamt for me as a child. All of those years of chores weren’t for nothing! But like anything, when you’ve done something for years and when you’ve made HUNDREDS of cozy looking beds, you forget that it’s not that simple for everyone. There are a million ways to make a bed look inviting, but I want to tell you my NO-FAIL formula that hits the mark every. single. time. But before you learn how to make a bed look so good you just want to jump in and ruin it…you need the right bedding.
I know that we’ve talked a lot about adding more color into our homes this year but your bed can (and maybe should?) be exempt. Lately, I’ve been finding myself pinning a ton of textural neutrals – the kinds of things that will work just as well in a bedroom today as they will in 5 years, no matter what decor style I end up transitioning to next. (Any bets on the style of the new house???) Right now, I’m a big cheerleader for bedding that’s simple, practical, and sustainable.
There really isn’t anything like a neutral-toned bed, full of luxurious textures. I’m getting sleepy just thinking about it! (The good kind, of course). I think most of it comes from really wanting a calm place to retreat at the end of the day – so if you’re in this same boat and just want to feel like you’re collapsing into a hotel bed at night, I AM HERE TO HELP. We could all use a bit more relaxation in our lives about now…right?
My go-to formula for styling my bed this fall is so simple and I promise you’ll be able to pull this off in your own home. There are a lot of ways to make your bed – and we’ve written about a lot of them before – but we’re going with the low-maintenance, I woke up like this plan for Fall 2020. Ready? (Also, in case you’re interested, all the pieces in today’s post can be found right here.)
- Sheet set
- Duvet (yes, and use the matching standard-sized sham)
- Accent pillow
- Lumbar pillow
- Textured throw
This is a formula that ALWAYS WORKS and is actually so simple and minimal, while making the bed look pulled together and cozy. Hand me the Pulitzer Prize, please.
The key here, though, is the texture. Neutral bedding and simple styling can run the risk of being a little boring and one-note without lots of texture. The chambray sheets, the waffle-knit blanket, the gauzy duvet cover, the knit pillow above – it all just screams hey, come on in. Take a little nap here. New-to-me brand, Boll & Branch does this type of simple, keep-forever, mix and match bedding SO RIGHT, and they graciously partnered with Team EHD so we could play designer again and get our styling legs back under us. (Shoots? Reveals?? What are those??)
When it comes to neutral textures, layer them on. Unlike colorful patterns, you don't have to worry about layered textures competing. The more you've got the more organic and cozy your bed will look and feel.
You may or may not know this about me but I tend to skip the euro sham (the big square ones) and head straight for the “sleeping pillows.” They make the bed look more modern and relaxed but still pulled together. So just get four pillow inserts (king-size are always my personal favorite option, even in a smaller bed). And for this shoot, we kept it simple with just two types of accent pillows…and I mean, look how inviting that bed looks.
The chunky knit pillow here has that beautiful bold texture and perfectly complements the Boll & Branch lumbar pillow’s simple embroidery. You can see that they don’t compete for attention. Also, let me say again that a lumbar is truly the unsung hero of any bed situation – they can polish up any bedding combo instantly. My love for them has been well documented.
And let’s not forget to mention that with this pillow strategy, it’s just less to assemble in the morning. This means you’re actually more likely to make your bed and get to experience that ahhhh moment when you curl up every night.
A large lumbar pillow is the easiest way to achieve bed styling perfection without adding 6 extra pillows to your bed (because we all know those extra decor pillows end up on the side of the bed every night anyways). Boll & Branch sells a perfectly sized 14 x 34 lumbar insert, with several different and pretty covers to instantly make your bed look styled every morning.
When it comes to picking your own duvet/blanket combo, we have a rule of thumb for that, too: we usually go for a “fluffy” duvet or comforter with a “flatter” blanket. Double points if the “patterns” can speak to each other in some way like these did – the smaller scale waffle-knit and the larger scale window-pane both look like they’re in the same family…but they’re cousins, not sisters. It was also so easy for us to mix colors within this tonal, neutral palate. Oatmeal? Sand? Chambray? White? Gray? EVERYTHING WE PLAYED WITH WORKED TOGETHER, which made styling so fun. (10/10 for color curation, Boll & Branch.) Ah, we missed shooting new things for you!
It’s also so easy to make your bed look super inviting: just fold the comforter/duvet (and potential flat sheet, even though you don’t need one) forward far enough that it clears the back “sleeping” pillows. It does NOT have to clear your decorative/accent pillows, in fact, it is better if they’re layered on top, thus bridging those two surfaces. This adds depth and texture…plus, if your fitted sheet is a pattern or color, then it pops out more which is more fun. It’s like the cuff of a sleeve underneath your sweater – it’s just a little spice of something else that makes it look interesting.
As a side note, we’re also huge fans of how gauzy, soft, and natural Boll & Branch’s bedding is. When you’re working with textured bedding, you don’t have to worry about wrinkles – they’re PART of the charm. The brand did an awesome job at crafting these ideal base pieces that are so easy to throw on your bed and go – there’s no fuss. (And honestly, that’s perfect – seeing as the Henderson household has a no-fuss policy.)
Besides being genuinely comfortable (if you can’t tell by the literal cat nap happening above), a majority of Boll & Branch’s products are ethically made from fair trade, 100% organic cotton. If you’re curious, you can read all about the many efforts they’re making to build ethics and sustainability into every part of their process here. This bedding was not only great to shoot but after a quick test drive, we can wholeheartedly say it is COZY and LUXE. Since we are now huge fans, we didn’t want the bedding combos to end here.
P.S. Boll & Branch has graciously offered to take 20% off your order with the code 20EMILYH and the first 20 orders will receive a free Adirondack blanket with their purchase. This is better than their Labor Day Sale offer, so if you’re in the mood for some new super-soft bedding, the timing has never been better 🙂
On to the combos…
1. 20 x 20 Pillow Insert | 2. Down Duvet Insert & Pillow Set | 3. Link Decorative Pillow Cover | 4. Matelassé Duvet Set in White | 5. Waffle Bed Blanket in Pewter | 6. 14 x 34 Pillow Insert | 7. Chunky Knit Decorative Pillow Cover in Heathered Grey | 8. Chambray Triple Stitch Sheet Set in Light Gray
This is the combo we shot so you knew all of the products we used if you wanted to recreate EXACTLY. Sorry, the cat sadly isn’t included. I also wanted to mention that the pillow inserts come in different densities! So if you are someone who wants a soft pillow and your partner wants one with that’s more firm, they have you covered.
1. 20 x 20 Pillow Insert | 2. Down Duvet Insert & Pillow Set | 3. Leaf Decorative Pillow Cover | 4. Classic Hemmed Duvet Set in Shore | 5. Adirondack Bed Blanket in Dune/Ivory | 6. 14 x 34 Pillow Insert | 7. Heritage Sham in White | 8. Embroidered Sheet Set in White/White
This combo is a little more on the traditional side with the patterns and sham border, but it’s absolutely just as inviting. I really love the printed leaf pillow and Adirondack throw blanket in particular. They add the perfect amount of playfulness without losing the serenity and comfort we are going for.
1. 20 x 20 Pillow Insert | 2. Down Duvet Insert & Pillow Set | 3. Linen Stripe Decorative Pillow Cover | 4. Embroidered Link Duvet Set in White/White | 5. Pickstitch Bed Blanket in Pewter | 6. 14 x 34 Pillow Insert | 7. Matelasse Windowpane Sham in Chambray Blue | 8. Eyelet Sheet Set in Pewter
Did you think we were going to have a bedding combo post without a modern option?? No way. Well, first you know that I love that lumbar pillow. The stripes are subtle but perfectly pronounced and the tassels take away the stiffness that can creep into modern bedding. Also, notice all of the varying tones of blue and gray. That’s what gives it the cozy depth that we want.
Well, that’s it today for my neutral loving, fall season, simple, bed-styling tips. I do have to say THANK YOU to the lovely folks of Boll & Branch for giving us the opportunity to style and play with some beautiful, comfortable products – it was such a joy getting back into the swing of things. These are some great products – I may have brought a certain waffle blanket with me to the Mountain House just to “test” (it was too soft, guys) – and it’s all so versatile for fall and beyond. So if you are looking to upgrade your precious sleeping sanctuary, remember to use code 20EMILYH because they know good bedding. And as always, thank YOU for helping support the brands who support this blog. xx
**Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp
Your bed formula is very beautiful and photogenic! But I miss the era when your top-layer duvet, coverlet, comforter or bedspread was long enough to fully fold around your actual sleeping pillow. I like that layer of protection from dust, kids and critters (see kitty pic) for the real pillow that’s going to cradle my head each night. These longer bed coverings are hard to come by!
I would love to see a photo of the entire bed! I’m having a hard time envisioning the whole look with just a fraction of the bed shown in the photos.
Feel the same way about the photos…even scrolled down to see who took them and was surprised it was Sara.
You mention the offer code twice but they aren’t the same. You might want to clear that up.
fixed! 20EMILYH is the good one 🙂
Hey ladies, seriously considering buying a quilt and that glorious lumbar pillow. The two discount codes you gave are different though; will either work?
it is 20EMILYH! thanks for noticing 🙂
I never used a top (flat) sheet for years, but for the last 8 or so, I have.
Why? Because… I like a lovely (tends to be more expensive) quilt/duvet/doona cover.
Using the top sheet means I don’t have to wash and shorten the life of said expensive cover, because the top sheet gets washed regularly instead.
Same here. Also, it feels like something is missing when there is no flat sheet.
Looks so COZY and I love those blue grid pillows, I might have to do some upgrades for my bedding today. 🙂
SO PRETTY. so glad you are all back! can’t wait to see more reveals and thank you to boll & branch for helping provide us with some new beautiful pinspiration. i had heard very positive things about their bath sheets, but didn’t realize they also made bedding … and that striped lumbar is on sale?? very tempting…
I recently upgraded my bedding to Boll and Branch during their summer sale and I am so happy with it. Their waffle blanket is my favorite, it’s so good! I finally got a king size duvet for my queen bed and it’s magical. I almost have an EHD worthy bed now 🙂
Is there a source for the rug?
Very pretty, but I still love my washable Pendleton wool blankets the best.
Pendleton and Hudson Bay blankets are hard to beat! Plus the history behind those designs can be a good topic of conversation or just supporting the heritage. I love the gray stripes in Hudson Bay. The small tick mark stripes on the side identifying the size of the blanket is pretty cool too. It’s all in the details!
Love this! And thank you for writing more posts lately. The rest of the team is great, but there is only one Emily Henderson! It’s why I’ve followed for ~10 years. Love it!
If we’re one of the lucky “winners” of a free Adirondack blanket, how can we tell and how can we determine what size? Do we need to add it to the cart?
it would be added to your order automatically – no way to specify size. just a nice surprise when you open up your package 🙂
These are so beautiful! I’m wondering if some kind soul who sees this comment and has an eye for bedding combos can help me out! While I’d love a neutral bed, I have a beautiful comforter quilt that I’m keeping. The problem is that it’s textured and very vibrant so I can’t seem to figure out a good lumbar pillow/throw combo that plays well with the rich color and rosettes. Someone, helpppp!
(Comforter seen here https://poshmark.com/listing/Rosette-Quilt-from-Anthropologie-Purple-54f536eb4e95a32b3a01ce25 )
I love that quilt! You can’t go wrong with white or cream accents or even a lighter purple (as long as it has the same undertone – this purple looks more blue than red). I would think something soft and fluffy like a velvet texture would be great but a small scale waffle weave would speak to the square rosettes.
Thank you!! So sweet of you to reply! I love the idea of adding in a super small print waffle weave 🙂
This is perfect! Question: What bedding colors do you recommend for a medium gray bed with a linen texture? I have been very challenged in this. I am considering white walls or using Revere Pewter from Benjamin Moore. I’m very torn on which direction to go. Do I go white and gray with the bedding? I’m not sure.
What bedding do you currently have? Both white or grey would be beautiful. The white would give you more of a contrast with the bed, and you could tie into the grey bed by adding a small grey accent pillow or a grey lumbar pillow. Many colors go well with grey as well: dusty rose, green, and blue are all great combos. Good luck!
Thank you for the reply. I currently have white linen sheets with a natural color linen duvet and shams. It’s very boring and lacks any excitement. I love the idea of mixing white with grey and lots of texture. Do you think white walls would work well with this? I almost consider a neutral. I’m going for a cross between Scandi and French style if that helps.
Love this! And only buy all-natural bedding and clothing. Just purchased the Cable Knit Throw Blanket in natural – thank you for the introduction!
I was all set to order the Embroidered Link Duvet Set, then I checked the size on their web site and it is only 106 x 92. That size is a good 6 inches less than needed to just cover the mattress. So many are this way and it is a shame. Most people now have deeper mattresses and it is difficult to find nice sheets as well. I think that bedding companies need to rethink their sizes offerings.
Where are the photos above the bed from?
We love waffle blankets, and I’ve been in the market for one since we just upsized our bed. Lands End sells them way cheaper, though I haven’t purchased one yet, the reviews are good.
Lands End is having 50% off full price items!!
OK, I’m confused. For the traditional bed, you list a sham, and it looks like a euro sham, but then there’s a lumbar insert without a lumbar cover. Please help? 🙂
I absolutely love the focus on texture in these designs! It screams fall and sweater weather. I currently have an obsession with combining textures, but have to say that I think it works just as well with a more dramatic accent color.