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The 6 Rules For Creating A Bedding Combo That Will Make Bedtime Even More Exciting (+ 16 Combos To Prove It)

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In true Jess fashion, because I have officially decided to design my living room first, I can’t stop thinking about my bedroom. I could honestly get a doctorate in avoidance, that’s how much I excel at it. But hey, the great thing about this particular character flaw is that I can still use it as blog material. Everyone but my living room wins. I beat the system!!

So yes, I’ve been thinking about bedding A LOT lately because I think I want it as the main source of pattern in the room. A way to still have a calm, peaceful space that’s got some excitement in the sheets (aka not all-white/neutral bed linens). And since quarantine is bound to last for a good while longer, that’s the only excitement those sheets are seeing for the foreseeable future. Mixing it up will be necessary.

photo by tessa neustadt | from: scott’s bedroom makeover with leesa + get the look

But the question is how and how much pattern are we talking here? Well, there are a few ways to attack this depending on the level of “excitement” you want. Here is what you (and I) should think about before shopping:

  1. Boldness Of Color Pallete: In the photo above, Scott kept his color palette neutral but with lots of contrast and textures. It says, “Hey, I’m not like those other simple beds. I’m a ‘cool’ bed.” While in the bedroom below, it has a variety of saturated colors that say, “I’m very cool, very fun, and do it with freaking ease baby.” Or you could do something in the middle with a soft color palette and bold pattern, like in the opening photo. It’s like Goldilocks but instead of beds, it’s bedding.
  2. How Many Patterns??: How “exciting” or “loud” do you want to go? Are you someone who is good with two patterns or five? And don’t forget that a blanket or a pillow’s texture can be considered a pattern… like with a chunky knit!
  3. Material Options: Speaking of texture, you should think about what materials are on your bed (ie linen, cotton, knits, etc). Are you like Brian who doesn’t like sleeping on linen sheets? Or do you enjoy their weightiness and LOVE how they look? The right amount of material/textures will give your bed added (quiet) visual interest.
  4. Pick Interesting, Not Neutral Combos: Go for something like a peach and dark olive green combo, or clay and salmon. Don’t be afraid to play with color.
design by oliver m. furth | photo by douglas friedman | via architectural digest

Ok, I left one topic out of that above list because it might be the most important when mixing exciting bedding and that is PATTERN SCALE VARIATION. This is what you want to have:

photo by tessa neustadt | from: sylvia’s makeover: ricky’s bedroom
  1. Have At Least One Component Be A Solid Color: Unless you want it to be a non-stop visual pattern party in your bed, you are going to want at least one solid (two is fun if you want to play with colors). This could be any component – your duvet, comforter, sheets, end of bed blanket, etc. I do think that having a solid color as one of your larger pieces will help the patterns shine more though:)
  2. Mix Pattern Scales Like Your Life Depends On It: We talk about this A LOT on here but that’s because we mean it. Make sure that you vary your pattern scales. If you have say, a small-scale pattern on your sheets, then pick a larger pattern scale for your duvet or end of bed blanket. Or visa versa.

Basically have at least of solid, a small scale pattern, and larger scale pattern in some configuration on your bed. And like I said before a “texture” like a knit can be considered a pattern.

photo by veronica crawford | from: our bedroom update (also how I feel about having a tv in the bedroom)

Now that you have the idea down let’s get into these bedding combos shall we?

1. Dusk Linen Sheet Set With Pillowcases + Gwendolen Coverlet + Light Gray Chunky Knit Bed Blanket | 2. Grape Leaf Linen Sheet Set + Estela Black and White Duvet Cover + INGABRITTA | 3. Organic Washed Cotton Percale Sheet Set + Quilted Sham Set + Linen Duvet Cover + Terracotta European Flax Linen Classic Stripe Box Stitch Quilt & Shams | 4. Peach Linen Fitted Sheet + Flounced Duvet Cover Set + Kahelo Quilt Set | 5. Clay Washed Linen Solid Sheet Set + Blush Washed Hemp Solid Pillowcase Set + Anholt Stripes Duvet Cover + Clay Chunky Knit Bed Blanket | 6. Pencil Stripes Linen Sheet Set With Pillowcases + Linen Dijon Duvet Cover + Ivory And Black Woven Cross Rylan Quilt | 7. Slate Percale Sheet Set + House No. 23 Marlo Duvet Set + Solid Herringbone Throw Blanket | 8. Navy Imperfect Plus Sheet Set + Luxe Duvet Cover + Lightweight Quilt

Again, I don’t hate all-white bedding but these are SO much more interesting to look at. I love #1 even if it’s not the look I’m going for in my room. But #3 and #5 are really intriguing. They are bold in color but still have a pop of pattern that I think makes them way more interesting. Special shout out to the quilt in #3. It might be my favorite! I kinda have a thing for striped as you are about to see…

design by three birds renovations

This bedding combo by Three Birds Renovations is making my eyes sing. I LOVE that horizontal striped top sheet and vertical striped duvet cover combo. Simple but interesting and the slight color difference is magical. Then you have the slightly smaller scale but different euro shams (again in similar but different tones). To top it off you have had the unexpected but grounding choice of the green bed blanket and bold gold pillowcases. This is a neutral color palette that is anything but boring.

So with all that drooling done with, let’s move onto some more combos…

1. Cedar Stripe Linen Sheet Set With Pillowcases + Cedar Linen Duvet Cover Set + Kenzie Oversized Throw | 2. Natural Flax European Flax Linen Classic Stripe Sheet Set + Dusk Linen Duvet Cover Set + Coyuchi Pismo Organic Blanket | 3. Olive & Peach Stripe Linen Duvet Cover + Cream Linen Duvet Cover + Cosmos Quilt Set | 4. Tic Stripe Organic Cotton Sheet Set + Dark Clay Heavyweight Linen Blend Comforter & Sham Set + Natural Chunky Knit Bed Blanket | 5. Printed Flannel Sheet Set + Neutral Micro Texture Comforter Set + Dark Clay Heavyweight Linen Blend Quilt | 6. Mist Linen Fitted Sheet + Carter Duvet + Ian Oversized Throw | 7. Lua Floral Sheet Set + Wendell Dusty Pink Quilted Duvet + Winter + Summer Cotton Coverlet | 8. Terracotta Linen Sheet Sets + Moderna Linen Quilt + Natural Chunky Knit Bed Blanket

I love that #1 and #3 have a soft but exciting look to them and I think those striped sheets in #1 are my actual dream sheets. But I really love how playful #5 and #7 are. Who would have thought delicate floral sheets would be something I would ever have loved past the mid-’90s?? 2021 is WILD y’all!

So that’s it! Now that we are in a new year and maybe you are shifting a little bit of focus away from your home office (?) and you wanting to freshen up your bedroom a little? Are you also wanting some more color and pattern to inject some excitement? I know all I want is my bed to look cool, inviting, and calming. Is that too much to ask?? You tell me!

And in case you want a little reminder sheet of what we learned today (and our favorite way to make a bed), here’s a graphic for you! Pin it so you’ll have it forever:)

Love you, mean it.

Opening Image Credits: Design by Three Birds Renovations

Fin Mark

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J R

Yay! I always love a good “rules” post 🙂

Lucy

Love the how-to and all the examples! I’m in the market for new bedding and this gives great ideas.

I’m curious to know if people make their bed like this as an ordinary, daily thing — beautifully turned back sheet/duvet, arranged pillows, blanket across bottom of bed. I feel I’ve done well if I actually make the bed. Are there people who go the extra step of styling it?

And, has anyone mastered the trick of getting a dust ruffle to stay where it’s supposed to, and do you do all the tucking to keep the blankets tidy . . . or do people just make the bed and call it a day?

Rusty

Lucy, yup, I make my bed every day, the whole thing.
Having said that I’ve never been a bunch of cushions and pillows girl. If I was, there’s no way I’d be fru-fruing pillows and cushions each day. I have four, normal sized pillows in addition to my quilt, a throw and a small Nepalese Llama wool blanket (sooo warm, yet soooo lightweight). That’s it, so mostly easy peasy.😊

Lane

I don’t do as much. I have 4 pillows, 1 season appropriate duvet, and a throw for my dog. Blankets and coverlets would make things too complicated for me and I’d feel constricted sleeping under. I make my bed every day. I also keep room temperature at 69 in wintee and 72 in summer. There’s no need for additional things

I make my bed every day! It takes less than a minute and a made bed is a simple thing that brings me joy every time I walk into the room.

I keep it simple — 4 normal pillows, one decorative lumbar pillow in front of them, turned back sheet + duvet (this is actually practical, it makes it easier to get into bed without moving pillows out of the way AND it’s pretty/shows off the contrasting sheet color). I don’t do the extra quilt/throw at the foot of my bed; it’s not really practical in hot California. No dust ruffles here, so can’t comment on that.

I do the whole thing! Takes less than 5 minutes, first thing on waking, and brings me joy then…and when I head to bed to read at night.

Elaine

Yup, I make my bed every single day. It’s a pretty simple routine of 4 pillows, folding back the duvet and a blanket for my cat. And it brings me joy, everything seems clean and calm to me when my bed is made! But I also fluff the cushions on my sofa and fix the throw before I go to bed each evening, so there’s probably a smidgen of OCD somewhere in my makeup 😁

Elaine — I do the same thing at night! Fluff cushions, fix the throw, put away that day’s clutter. I call it “resetting the living room.” Kindred spirit. 🙂

raq

I do this every day! takes 30 seconds and makes me feel good every time I walk into the room.

Denali

I dislike dust ruffles, so I just got an extra fitted sheet to put on my box spring and never have to fuss with it.

Ari

Oh man, this is exactly the post I’ve been needing. My brain fully broke trying to figure out how to do this on my own (why??). Thank you friends for making it so simple!

Alexandra Rose

This is just what I have been shopping for! Everything looks beautiful. I would love to see some organic and fair trade items as well as I’m trying to only buy items that fit that criteria. 🙂

Rusty

Yaaaay Alexandra!!!
Soooo great to hear you putting your money to work for better choices! 🤗🌏

Karen

Flax linen is where I just bought mine and they are amazing! They have a few fun colors too.

Rusty

Ha! Jess … you’re deliberately making us hold our collective breath by not getting a wriggle on with your living room! Naughty!
Get on with it!🤣

This is a nice tutorial on how to choose, mix pattern and actually make a bed.

My friend buys soooooo many quilt covers. She just cannot choose one sge likes for more that a week or so! She sees a nice blue colour and buys a blue quilt cover…. checks out a nice rust something-or-other, buys a new quilt cover.
I have a couple I rotate seasonally.
Clearly, I’m okay at choosing bedding, throws and the like, since people regularly stop on their way to the bathroom, passing my bedroom, and exclaim how much they like the bedding.
Gee … wish I was that good at choosing curtains (on a budget).😎

Lane

I love the round ups, but I can’t see much of them on my android phone. The pictures are too small to see the details. It’s also hard to match pictures and descriptions. It’s a little like reading a recipe and trying to find ingredient amounts. Perhaps I’m the only one. No one is commenting about this. I’m putting it out there just in case. You all work so hard on this. I’d love to view the content entirely

Marian

Lane, I have the same issue on my iPhone. You’re not alone!

Catherine

I’m on the hunt for new bedding and this has been weighing on me… does EVERYONE use a duvet??? I sleep very hot…and just can’t stand a lot of “coverage” in general (a weighted blanket sounds horrifying and I can’t stand cuddling). I’ve used a “lightweight” or “all seasons” duvet before and I still just get so HOT. A lightweight quilt is ideal, but it just looks so… flat. I know it’s my bedroom and I’m not a blogger/influencer/instagrammer so who cares, I just need to be comfortable. But I just wanted to get that off my chest, because every bedding guide I see seems to list a duvet like it’s a requirement. Is it just that they look better in photos because they make the bed fluffy and comfy looking? Hot sleepers… please weigh in.

Amanda McCullough

I’m a *hot sleeper and have varying thickness of duvets for different seasons….really light for summer and thick down for winter – easy to kick a leg out if too hot 🙂

Rusty

I’m a bit of a leg-kicker-outer, too!

Rusty

Catherine, I live in Australia and it gets hottttttt here!
I bought bamboo sheets and they are life changing!!
They breathe, last for ages and are so, sooooo coooooool!
You can also buy bamboo quilts and covers.
Even better, bamboo is really sustainable and environmentally friendly! 🌏😊

Roberta Davis

We didn’t use our down duvet for 20 years- just 2 blankets. A cotton waffle blanket and a raw silk blanket (very warm). Easy to fold back the top layer, which I often do.

Amy

We use a lightweight duvet insert with a very light duvet cover, and I sleep with the ceiling fan on and a box fan pointed at my side of the bed. Hot flashes, you know!

Kate

Catherine, I’m also a hot sleeper and I’ve put a LOT of thought into bedding! Had no idea that when I got married to a man who runs cool that bedding would be such a struggle. He calls me “the furnace.” I don’t think you need a duvet for your bed to look nice, but I’ve gotten accustomed to them now and don’t want to go back (formerly had a linen coverlet that my husband called a “tissue”). I found the weight of the comforter soothing. If you really don’t want to get overheated, start at the mattress level. Foam mattresses run SO hot! We have an Avocado mattress now that is much better. Then, don’t use a waterproof mattress cover. Plastic just traps heat. I’ve successfully slept on a breathable ikea mattress cover or more recently, Coyuchi’s organic cotton cover (just ordered Avocado’s for our new king bed but haven’t tried it yet). Another key is to use percale sheets—WAY more breathable than sateen. Lastly, we use Snowe’s lightweight down comforter year-round with a linen duvet comforter (used to have a thicker cotton mattelasse duvet but too hot). Hope this helps someone out there!

Kate

P.s. super critical for the comforter to be made of down, not synthetics, which don’t breathe at all!

Rusty

Kate, you’ve made such great points!
As a hot sleeper myse, the only thing I disagree with is the down. Wool-filled regulates body temperature significantly better (and nothing dies to provide the wool).

Denali

I sleep hot and so I don’t use a duvet. I don’t like them much either way, too finicky with the cover and all that. I use a flat sheet, a thin quilt and a throw blanket or two depending on the time of year and how cold my fiance is (those are small and generally just get pulled up on her side, so she gets extra warmth, but I don’t) — light layers. It feels better and looks great. In my opinion a good looking bed is less about a fluffy duvet and more about just the different layers of texture. Having 4 pillows also keeps the bed from looking flat; two for sleeping and two with shams that go in front when the bed is made. At night the pillows in the shams just get tucked up vertically against our metal headboard, which is also great for sitting up in bed and reading a bit or something — they still get actual use instead of getting pulled off the bed each night, but your mileage may vary depending on your headboard and mattress size. Also crazy helpful is that we sleep with a box fan running year round.… Read more »

Kirsten Ritter

Such beautiful combos are so helpful & appreciate the rules!! I learn so much from these kinds of posts!! Would love to find a mostly charcoal/black with a touch of white/cream throw big enough for the end of a king size bed. Striking out hard there. Anyone?

Megan

King size beds can be such an expanse. maybe they need their own post. It seems like you might want 2 blankets or experiment with some angles instead. One giant blanket to go allll the way across is a good question. Custom made? https://www.fabric.com/buy/0728153/wool-blend-plaid-suiting-tan-black

Courtney

I think I remember Emily saying that she prefers king pillows even for queen size beds?

Cris S.

I don’t know about Emily, but I do. It’s less about how it looks (though it does look good) and more about my hand not sliding off the end of the pillow while I (side) sleep.

Amanda

I’m the opposite! Instead of getting kind pillows for my king size bed, we just have 6 queen pillows on there. Originally this started because we already owned the pillows and cases, but my husband and I have realized that we love each having 3 pillows go build our pillow nests with, lol. I’m sure it looks a bit more visually busy, we just keep them all the same color though.

Amanda McCullough

LOVE the look but practicality dictates I have to make the bed all the way or the fur babies get their fur IN the sheets LOL!!! Sheets/blankets are my favorite way to play with color because I can change SO often!

Roberta Davis

Very nice collection of possibilities! This as my wonderful waffle blanket has become so old that it’s losing its waffle-y-ness and I just discovered a tear in one of our sheets as I was folding it. And though I love the light softness of our down duvet, it’s too hot. I do love that quilt from West Elm, too!

The waffle blanket I love SO MUCH is from Pottery Barn. I have it on my guest bed, too, and my sister raved about it so much after every visit that I finally bought her one. It is light, soft, cool but warm, and I use it alone in the summer or as a layer in the winter.

Cris S.

I thought I was finally getting close to settling on a quilt/bedding and then I saw my absolute soulmate of a bed covering and now am completely at sea. I can’t afford the fabric (even if I could find a supplier in the US, which I haven’t been able to do) and there isn’t really a substitute for this gorgeous William Morris patterned velvet https://www.sandersondesigngroup.com/shop/fabric/rouen-velvets/honeysuckle-and-tulip-velvet?code=DROF236939 . And I can’t spend a thousand dollars on a quilt anyway.

Sigh. Back to square one. What do you do when you can’t have what you really want?

Aimee

Love the format tweak! Thanks for including source and prices right next to the items. I like to know where I’m being directed before I click links.

Lauren Leonard

I simply need more Scott Horne content. His fear of saturated colors speaks to my soul. What are our thoughts on an update to the ’16/’17 house tour posts? Or will I have to hold out for book #2? :fingers-crossed:

I have the Flax Linen Stripe Quilt in Slate and LOVE it. I’m currently looking for more pillows to help make nighttime reading more comfy…and just generally love bedding! Thank you, Jess!

Marisa

This is so helpful! As a rule, should we avoid buying the matching quilt sham if we have a matching sheet/pillow sham combo?

I love the bedding from School House Electric but I couldn’t afford the whole set so I just bought patterned pillow cases… I love them paired with the rest of my all white bedding from IKEA.

I love posts like this one that help you put together a room. Thanks, Jess

Great post with beautiful ideas. I love a white bed with a colorful bedding combo, but I don’t like too many cushions and pillows. I’ve also recently discovered the benefits of silk pillowcases… great for your hair and skin.
XO
Anna From Italy

Molly

Love this – more combos, please! Also, I recently (accidentally) discovered the magic of striped bedsheets. You will never struggle with which way to orient the flat and fitted sheet again!

t. carney

Thank you, I love to see bedding options and I have a deep love for stripes as well! I have a couple of questions regarding king size bedding. Why aren’t duvets and covers ever large enough? Any recommendations on who has the biggest/best? Also I have a down comforter that is tropical weight(I live in Michigan) that I use year round and it is the perfect temperature but I want more “fluff”. I have seen that I could add an additional light duvet but I am worried that it will be too warm…or I need to find a new “fluffier” down comforter. Any assistance would be amazing;)

oh, I could also be in the market to replace some pillows if anyone has recommendations. Homegoods has a lot but it’s so hard to tell softness with the packaging?!

joyce

These are sooo expensive! I am an airbnb host (13 years of patterns!) and with 7 beds to do and an eco obsession, I buy used and sales exclusively. Each room has a color pallet and I layer it up. once you have some colors in mind, you just grab anything on sale,resale that blends. ( talk about options!) I have 2 beds w mixes of dots, one with squares and stripes. pick a pattern type, colors and it will all be your playground! Goodwill here in Seattle is a treasure trove, offerup to. I just got a barely used anthropology duvet w shames for $59on poshmark. I also suggest thinking beyond trendy stores/brands . Eddie Bauer, calvin Klein, even sears have all cotton well made solids , stripes, dots. I have also made faux fur throws from sale fleece edged w seam tape. Also think Rit dye BaBy!! pick a color that you like all shades of, as the exact tone the fabric will take is unpredictable. ( I have even done towels.. no they don’t bleed!( tho don’t bleach em.) keep on decorating! the discount decorator! ( hey emily how bout a tricks for saving $ column?I’m in!

Harmony A Bowman

Love this post! What’s the source of the main header image (white bed w/ pink & rust sheets)? That combo is gorgeous!

Jen

I don’t know how many adults have Murphy beds, but I plan to do so, because I can’t see giving up that much real estate 24-7 when I only sleep 1/3 the time. The size of a queen-sized bed is pretty much the ideal space to work out in; I want to have ceiling hooks above the bed space where I can hang suspension gear and maybe a cable system for weights. When I’m neither sleeping nor working out, the extra breathing room will help the desk and sitting areas feel more comfortable. I’m trying to figure out how to make a bed that is cozy and fun and also very simple to set up. Summers I’ll probably use sheets and a cotton blanket, tucked in under the mattress before I fold it up in the mornings. For the winter, I’ll store a big duvet in a trunk or coffee table to plop onto it every night. But how to dress it up? It doesn’t make sense to put extra pieces on it for looks seconds before sweeping them off to go to sleep for the night. So far I’m thinking of scrumptious fabric wallpaper in the area the bed… Read more »

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