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Our New Master Bed Design

I (we) have a new master bed (and nightstands) and that room is starting to get exciting. Every single night I get into bed thinking,  this is the most comfortable, big, sprawling, grand bed in the world. We had it custom made and, while I learned a thing or two about designing furniture during this process, I still love it so very much.

When I first started shopping, I pinned the hell out of the internet. Remember my 32 beds I almost bought? I was racked with indecision. I kept coming back to this silhouette:

Breckenridge Bedframe Construction Master Bedroom Emily Henderson Design Inspiration

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

I love how these are all wingback, but super squared off, simple and without a lot of bells and whistles. You feel enclosed and cozy and ready to snuggle, cuddle and never leave on Saturday mornings. But all of these had proportions that weren’t right for me or the room. The top left and bottom right are both Restoration Hardware, which I love, but they are really tall and they are skirted and I wanted a slightly lower and more modern base. Then the top right (Serena and Lily) is awesome but a lower profile than I wanted (we read to the kids a lot in bed so want to be able to lean fully on a soft surface). The bottom left is almost there but that floating base is too contemporary for me.

So I enlisted one of my very talented designers, Remi, to help me execute the perfect bed. I showed her the inspiration and she started some renderings:

Breckenridge_Emily Master Bedroom_Drawings_Bed Frame 1 Breckenridge_Emily Master Bedroom_Drawings_Bed Frame 2 Breckenridge_Emily Master Bedroom_Drawings_Bed Frame 3

All of that looks really boring, but what you have to realize is how much time it takes to perfect each dimension and joint. Remi did a great job of figuring everything out and really solidifying a proper design. Once we signed off on the construction, it was time to choose the fabric. I went back and forth between wanting something light (cream linen) to something dark (indigo). But then I was afraid that that would look too simple and boring for me because I don’t really want patterned bedding and I don’t like too many accessories in my bedroom. If I hadn’t cared as much about the photographs I may have gone with a more solid route, but once I saw this Rebecca Atwood fabric, I stopped and said, THIS. IS. IT.

Breckenridge Bedframe_FABRIC SELECTION_rebecca atwood marble_emily henderson

I debated between the blue and the taupe and even instagrammed about it to help with the decision. I love the taupe because I knew that it would feel more quiet, less contrast, and a tad more sophisticated (taupe = you are an adult). But you guys voted OVERWHELMINGLY for the blue. I was like calm down, I got you. I thought about how happy that blue fabric made me (very) and how good it would look in photographs (extremely) and decided that that was it.

Our furniture dude started building the bed and I recieved some updated photos from his shop. It was looking really good.

Breckenridge bedframe_building the frame_upholstery process_DIY

Here she is – all big and grand and blue and a little nutty, but totally awesome:


What I love about it: the little wings make you feel super cozy and enclosed, but they aren’t so deep that you can’t turn on the lights. We still have these threshold lamps which I love, but now that we have those new dope leather nightstands I kinda want something that’s cream or white. Those nightstands are from Made Goods which is a wholesale furniture design company who have so many amazing pieces that I’m dying to own. It’s “to the trade only” but you can buy them at various online resources like Mecox and Candelabra for a higher retail price. We got them for a client and fell in LOVE with them so splurged on them myself (it helps to have a resale license at times because it’s a hefty discount). For sconces I’m thinking these – although they are very popular and backordered so I have to be patient. I love that they are swing-arm but still have a fabric shade (not metal) for better overall light.

Back to that bed.

I LOVE how big it feels when I’m in it. Because we did the side rails at 3″ it added a lot of width to the bed which is something that I both love and wish that I had done differently. When we were designing it, 3″ felt like a good scale for a king sized bed, but what I didn’t really calculate in was that the fabric and batting would be on top of that making it closer to 4″. then the joints with the wings add another 4″. Look here:



If I could go back in time I would do 2″ to reduce the overall scale of the bed. But again, when you are in it, the scale is so amazing. Both kids and us can wrestle, jump, cuddle, read and even put our drinks on the side rails. Its kinda a dream. A big, wild, nutty dream of a bed.


Clearly I’m not done with the room, and it’s not styled or anything. Here is what I have left:

1. Switch out the rug. This was our old rug in the living room and I love it but it’s too big as you can see – going pretty much wall to wall. It’s also a lot of blue so I just ordered a swatch of this rug to see if it would be better in there. In a perfect world it would be white but the entrance to the deck is in our room so there is a lot of toddler/tipsy-friend foot traffic out there.

2. Add sconces. Like I said, I’m leaning towards these because they have some black/gold white and I don’t have to wire them into the wall.

3. Add art. I originally bought the X and O embroidered pieces of art for this room but then they looked so sweet in Elliot’s Nursery that we left them there, but I may try them in here. If not, then I might just put that mobile back up as I love it and it will look so good with the blue in the bed.

4. Add some color in the bedding. I’m thinking blush or ochre – my two favorites that work with indigo. Brian and I are now officially obsessed with the quality of Parachute bedding. I knew it was pretty but after sleeping with it for months, I can say that their actual duvets and pillows (inserts) are so amazing. I love the percale covers and linens as well, but I never knew how much splurging on a insert would change my night-life.


5. Add a bench. It’s just so big that I need a really long bench and I don’t have an ideal one in mind. Nothing too boxy but also nothing too leggy. Not blue, probably not white and not leather, so I guess I’m down to wood. I may have to design it….stay tuned. While I love that bed and pattern, I feel like, especially in this shot, the footboard looks HUGE (which I know is also because it’s closest to camera) so I think adding a gray rug and a bench will help break up that sea of blue that is even too blue for me to handle (perhaps I should check this post).

Thoughts? Feelings? Feedback? I know it’s cuckoo, but once all those things above are fixed I feel confidant that you will love looking at it as much as I love being in it – which is A LOT. Speaking of WHY AM I WRITING THIS WHILE WATCHING THE BATCH INSTEAD OF LAYING IN THAT STUPIDLY COMFORTABLE BED?

Eh? Are you scared or excited?

To see more of our master bedroom progress check out: The Master Bedroom – Where We Are Now, The Master Bedroom Wallpaper, Our Master Bedroom Progress


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90 thoughts on “Our New Master Bed Design

  1. Love the bed and fabric, I’m one of those that voted for the blue! Ran across those nightstands online a few days ago and have been obsessing over them and several others on Made Goods website. Good to know that my taste is corroborated!

    Question: Is there a reason that the bed isn’t centered to the wall? Seems strange that the nightstand is so tight to the far wall. Is it because of the door to your bedroom?

    1. I wondered that too at first but I think I see a door on the left side of the photo. They must have needed room to open and close the door.

    2. Yeah. I think when she finds a smaller rug, it will help anchor the off-center bed/nightstands.

      1. Yep, You are all right 🙂 Tight wall, indeed. which was why I was so psyched when i found those small-ish nightstands that don’t feel too small.

        1. I had the same problem with my bedroom door opening onto a small wall, so I changed the hinges so that the door opened outwards. I love the new bed and nightstands – so beautiful!

    3. i’m wondering the same thing – about why the bed isn’t centered on the wall – i have a feeling if there was a photo taken from a different angle the mystery would be solved…. or maybe emily will hit ‘reply’ 🙂

      1. Nice fix Luisa! I was thinking maybe a pocket door, but obviously your suggestion is much less invasive.

  2. Well it looks spectacularly comfy and the fabric is AMAZE. Can’t wait to see it styled! I’m really intrigued to see what bench you chose.

  3. Love the pattern on the bed! What did you do with the old bench at the foot of your bed? I loved that one!

  4. At first glance I thought it was going to be a little intense, but the more I look at it, the more I absolutely love it and think it is perfection! It totally reminds me of swirled ice cream (a really sophisticated, high end swirled ice cream of course) which is a really, really good thing because ice cream = happiness 🙂 So glad you went for the bold option! It’s a showstopper!

    1. The first time I saw it I thought it was intense, too, but yes – it just gets better and better and better everytime i look at it.

  5. What a beautiful, bold statement! Love the chunky pillow you have on the bed. Would you share the source?

  6. I think I’m going to have to stare at it for long to decide if I actually like it… I love the fabric but over the entire bed seems like it’s a bit much. I think the side rails and foot board could have been done is a dark navy (match the darkest blue in the fabric) or a white. That way the headboard would be the focal point since it’s such a busy pattern.

    I would agree with you that the 2″ width probably would have been better on the side rails.

    I think it could just be seeing the bed without everything else finished in the room. I’m sure it’ll come together really nicely (lol and it really doesn’t matter what I think anyway!)

    1. agree with the headboard with the fabric and then the rest in a darkest blue tone picked from the “marble fabric” or the white from the fabric. but i gotta say Emily you’re gutsy that your wrapped that fabric all now has an unique look.

  7. That bed is truly wild and wonderful. The fabric is amazing. Makes me imagine a beautiful modern boat made of waves where you sleep on a cloud! Finding myself picturing a soft, rope-like hemp rug… (Also curiously inspired to google pictures of the Old Man and the Sea. I love a stormy sea painting.)

  8. LOVE IT as usual! I love Rebecca Atwood prints- she really is a genius. And kudos to you for taking such a bold step in designing your bed with that fabric. I absolutely love it, but I tend to be the minority in bright prints. I actually just recovered my headboard this weekend with one of my print designs and posted it today here:

    My husband actually LOVES it which is the greatest achievement of all time so I’m happy!

    Can’t wait to see what else you do with the space!

  9. That bed is LARGE and IN CHARGE 🙂

    We spent so many fantastic hours in our bed with our kids … it’s a great investment. And then when the kids aren’t in there so much, it is so luxurious for the grownups. All the room in the world. Before we got a big bed I couldn’t imagine it but now that we have one … it’s so fabulous.

  10. Would you mind sharing how many yards of fabric it took to cover? I’m considering doing something similar and I’m trying to get a rough idea.

  11. Question: I also have a blue bed and a white comforter, but my issue is how dirty the comforter gets, especially with an 18 month old and two cats (one of which is tuxedo). The ends also get kind of gross from skin oils.

    White comforters look pretty, but how do you keep them practical and clean!?

    1. Ours washes really easily (once a week) and we honestly don’t have a problem with that. Of course sometimes my spray tan does get on it and I have to wash it more … 🙂

  12. DROOLING!! This bed is drop dead gorgeous and I just want to crawl into it. I’m a big Rebecca Atwood fan, and I think this is such a mega rad use of that fabric! YASSS!

  13. Spectacular. Truly. It is like your personality in a bed — warm and welcoming but also sophisticated, fun, and a bit wacky. What’s not to love? It is such a strong focal point it will ground all the neutral, calm, textural elements you add to the room. Wish it was mine.

  14. This is the most beautiful bed I have ever seen (perhaps with the exception of a ridiculously awesome modern brass canopy bed I saw on Pinterest that even my husband was like “wow”).

    I love it. That fabric is everything.

    You are a genius and everything you do is magic.

    I wish we were friends in real life. /rant

  15. I’m so happy for you! As someone who left her bedroom / bath until v-e-r-y last (we remodeled the rest of the house pretty soon after moving in but then it was five more years until I attacked our bedroom / bath) I know the feeling of having something wonderful just for you (and your family cuddles).

    (our taste is wildly antithetical) My madly patterned bedroom makes my shoulders relax and me breathe easier just being in it. I love our big cosy bed which fits all of us (and my children are now 10 and 12), including four cats and a dog. There is just something to be said for having that haven.

    Enjoy, and the sweetest of dreams!

  16. Did you treat the fabric in any way to prevent stains?

    And I’d love to see ocher bedding. It would look gorgeous with that blue.

  17. It is the sea of love bed! Congratulations on a gorgeous design – it’s a stunner of a bed.

  18. I love love that you said blush is one of your favorites with indigo. We have a duvet that is similar color and pattern as your actual bed fabric and I have been dying to add some blush into the rest of the room but have been struggling to find inspo pics of indigo and blush. Can’t wait to see the end results because I need some photo evidence to convince my boyfriend that blush will look great with the indigo before we make the leap 🙂

  19. Ha! I thought you were supposed to keep the cats off the bed! But a snoozing black kitty is my favorite bed accessory (there’s one on mine right now). Your new bed is gorgeous. Love the short wings and the fabric is to die for.

  20. Love it! Isn’t it awesome to have the perfect piece of furniture? I’m all for custom designs if one can do it… pays off in the end, as you’ll have it for years and years! It’s a showstopper!

  21. Looks like a giant, wavy sea of happiness to me! (It makes me a little dizzy looking at it but the bench will help cut down on that). I think the design and scale of the bench is muy imporatante. Love your ideas on the rug and sconces and can’t wait to see the results!

  22. Definitely a bold statement. Not my style, but then again my master bedroom looks like a terrible “before” picture so what do I know. More than anything I’m curious about your design choice because the room seems too small for such a large bed. From your “top design tips” post you talked about furniture scaled to the room so maybe your room is bigger than it seems or scale doesn’t come into play for beds, as in you choose the size bed you want and make it work? Curious because we’re thinking of changing from a queen to a king and your scale tip made me think we should keep the queen but now this post make me think- who cares if the bed swallows up the room!

    1. HA. Yes, the bed is big and probably too big for the room. That’s why I wished I had shrunk the dimensions by a couple of inches. we needed a king bed, that is not negotiable but I wish this one was a tad bit smaller for the proportion of the room HOWEVER its like laying on the most comfortable huge sofa ever -you know its kinda too big but so glad for every inch. 🙂

    2. My master bedroom is on the small side as well but my fiance is adamant about getting a King bed so I’m just going with it, although a Queen would definitely give us a lot more space in the rest of the room. It looks about the same width as Emily’s bedroom above, so that gives me hope that a big bed won’t look ridiculous. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to make it feel more “cozy” and less “small and cramped”.

  23. BEARCAT!!!!

    This might be a little predictable, but I could see a some sort of upholstered/cushioned brass bench at the end of that bed.

    Love that fabric too!

  24. Great post! While the fabric is not my personal taste it’s gorgeously made piece of furniture and totally looks like a bed you would want to dive right into. I always love hearing how you’ve arrived at your decisions and what you might do differently.

    I love the nightstands, and they make me think that a camp bed (would probably have to be custom to be long enough) might look very cool – or just a leather and wood bench.

  25. Well…that fabric is intense, it’s beautiful, reminds me of the sea, waves and ripples, better I think in small doses, but on that enormous bed….it’s a bit overwhelming especially from the front and it seems to swallow everything else in the room. I’d get tired of that pattern pretty quickly, but we all have different opinions here, the verdict is pretty divided right now. Maybe when the entire room is styled as you want it to be it might play out a little softer on the eye.

  26. Oh, my. That bed is cuckoo in the best possible way. Your kids’ childhood memories will all definitely involve that fabric. They will want to wear wavy, blue marbled dresses and ties forever and feel snuggly and loved whenever they do.

  27. Love it!! I don’t think I could quite pull the trigger for my OWN bedroom – but that’s why I LOVE reading your blog and seeing your designs! You’re kinda my alter-ego…. The gal I wish I was! (But am not quite bold enough to be)
    Hahaha – and as always, love your open honesty and writing style. Nailed it, Em!

  28. One of the things that has me keep coming back to your blog is that you don’t traipse down the safe road every time. The bed is bold and beautiful. I look forward to seeing how to finish out the rest of the room. May you have many years of wonderful rest and cuddles here.

  29. Not my favorite thing you’ve done but I trust you and can’t wait to see it finished. And maybe I missed it but did you do a post on mattresses? We’re due for a new one and I’d love some input.

  30. So excited! It’s sooo beautiful. It’s totally you but unexpected at the same time and just a statement but the blue keeps it from being kooky. Completely in love.

  31. Hi Welcome again! My friend is shifting to his new home and he is looking for cozy, low bed. And, in this post I found link for 32 beds and I went through them. I loved bed no.4 and 6 from simple upholstered beds section and I am sure he will love those beds too choose one of them.

  32. This is very very cool. I’m so excited to see how this evolves over time!

    I have a bed styling question! I live in in Richmond, VA where summertime is a balmy 100 degrees (don’t forget that demon, humidity! Don’t you just love boob sweat?!) and winters dip down to the teens. Any advice for styling bed linens throughout the year in a more temperate climate? How do I make my bed cute in the summer when duvets are not an option? Also any tips on how to make coverlets or quilts or bedspreads look better when they normally don’t look quite as luxurious as fluffy down duvets?

    Also any tips on where to get coverlets? (I looked at parachute when I read this, so excited, and of course they only offer duvets)


  33. So beautiful! I don’t know how you sleep – I would be awake staring at the loveliness all hours of the day 🙂

    Are you planning a bed + nightstand combo post similar to the one a while back on dining room tables and chairs?? We are in the process of renovating our master bedroom, and I’ve been stumped for a while. There are a few beds that are sold individually but also part of a set that we’ve been leaning toward. I loathe the idea of buying the set, but can’t seem to find the right bed + nightstand combo on my own. A post on how to break up a “set” could be incredibly helpful as well!

  34. Love the bed. Love learning about the design process of these custom pieces. So cool to see the wooden frame. I often wonder what’s actually inside of the furniture I’m buying–thanks for an inside look at a great piece!

  35. The bed is gorgeous! But the off-center placement is a teensy bit jarring. Would a pocket door work in the room?

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  37. Question for Emily: Can you explain why you prefer fabric shades on your sconces? I know you said “better for overall light” but I’d love to hear more about that. I’ve been looking at swing arms for a loooong time and I need to make a decision. The ones from Restoration Hardware are great — but I was seriously thinking metal. Thanks!
    ps, LOVE the bed!

    1. We’re actually going to be posting a huge roundup of swing arm sconces soon where I’ll talk all about them 🙂

  38. I love your work, think you are hugely talented, the bed is not my favorite of your stuff.

    But, not everyone has to like it!

  39. Lovely, I wish I had the space in my bedroom for such a winged bed, and the fabric is gorgeous. It is the combination with the carpet that make me feel “mweh”, too much movement so close to each other. On the other side I understand that a solid blue is just as “mweh”, so I have to think about what would I put there if I were you (if you have a beautiful wooden floor I would avoid a carpet right there and eventually add another, smaller one a bit further for you and the kids to lay and play)

  40. Cautiously optimistic! It’s a lot for a bed, but I also desperately want to sleep in it. I think once situated in the right surroundings it’s going to be un-leavable 🙂

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