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Design Agony: A Quick Update

Updating Basic Bedroom Furniture with New Bedding

Amy Farley_ Design agony_ bedding deisgn_ inspiration_ mood board_ 2

Hi everyone, it’s Remi reporting for duty with a bedding design agony question. Amy, one of our readers from San Francisco area, reached out to us in hopes of transforming her less-than-fab furniture with new bedding.

In (relatively) short form, I am struggling big time with finding bedding that I like. Our bedroom furniture (which will have to stick around for now, as we just moved into our house and swapping it out now is out of the question) is super basic. And probably painted wood, as it is a chocolate sort of brown. Design sin, I know. Ack!

I want a bed that is fairly low-maintenance (real talk: the biggest struggle of my life is keeping white sheets white, so while I love the look, the white duvet probably would kill me) but has a layered look and is still soft, airy, and calming without being boring. Also, slightly feminine without being over-the-top girly.

We use a duvet with a top sheet, which apparently makes us super weird, but my husband says the top sheet is a non-negotiable. I’m less of a fan of bedding that is super flat (i.e. just a quilt as the top layer)–I like a little squish.

Colors I love: grey, grey, grey. All the grey. Peaches and corals are awesome as well. None of the above are mandatory. I trust you lovely folks more than I trust myself. Hence the email.

Amy Farley_ Bedding design_Before

Check out these images of her existing bedroom set up. We love the corner window, which looks like it gets great afternoon light; but with the carpet,  existing paint colour and  dark furniture the room felt very drab.

Amy Farley_ Design agony_ bedding deisgn_ inspiration_ mood board_ 2

Now this is what we’re talking about. Ginny & I got started by looking through Amy’s inspiration board and the direction was clear- make the room feel light & bright without a lot of use of white. It’s not as easy as you’d think, but hey we’ve all been there with not-perfectly-white sheets.

Amy Farley_ Bedding design_LOOK 1

Ikat Euro Shams | Pink Pillow Cases | Grey Pillow Cases | Kilim Throw Pillow | Pink Linen Sheets | Ikat Duvet Cover | Yellow Throw

The first look is certainly the more playful and feminine, with the blush sheets and patterned duvet cover. After looking through Amy’s pin board, we kept with her love for soft grays, adding in hints of blush, yellow, and graphic patterns to keep her bedding lux but lively.

Amy Farley_ Bedding design_LOOK 2

Border Euro Shams | Coral Sheet Set and Pillow Cases | Light Grey Linen Pillow Cases | Grey Patterned Pillow (no longer available) | Pink Pillow | Light Grey Linen Duvet Cover | Grey Geometric Throw

Both looks feature the same airy & calming color palette for the most part, but the second is a bit more unisex. In the execution of both looks, we suggested she switch out her overhead light for a Capriz Orb pendant she had laying around.
We of course wanted to include white in the bedding– so wherever we specified white(ish) bedding we made sure there was a pattern to distract from any stains down the road. Since Amy wanted to change up her wall colour, we called out Pavillion Gray paint from Farrow & Ball and recommended swatching alongside Lamp Room Gray & Dimpse, since lighting is different in every space.

Hi Remi (& team),
This is the best day ever! Thank you so much for the thoughtful work you put into these two beautiful looks. My new design agony will be which look I like better, because they are both so fabulous (though I think I am leaning towards look 1). I love the linen, I love the textures, I love the color–I might have to divorce my husband and marry these mood boards. 😉 
I was feeling such a strong itch to abandon my furniture (which is not that old and still in great condition) after moving into our house, but you have done such a gorgeous job picking patterns, colors, and textures that speak to what is already in our home, that I am giddy thinking about how beautifully these changes will transform the room. You’ve nailed exactly what I wanted, even though I wasn’t 100% sure what that was. And I deeply appreciate the thoughts about swapping the light fixture and changing the paint. I’ll get some paint swatches and see how they look in the bedroom. I can’t wait to get everything set up in there and to work on art for the walls and perhaps swapping out the lamps on our nightstands. 
This experience really reinforces for me how useful it can be to enlist the help of experts to make sure you’re truly satisfied. You guys are awesome! 
We love hearing a review like that and could not be more thrilled that she is so happy with the two different options. Which one is your favorite for her room, or which one would you pick for your own. Any design agonies that you are having on your own? Let us know below and we might just tackle it for you here on the blog. In the meantime if you are craving more Design Agony and E-Design posts? Check these out: Should We Paint Wood Panelling?, How To Layout A Narrow Living Room, Kitchen Nook Refresh, Cures For A Maple Orange Kitchen, Master Bedroom Refresh Plan, A Rustic Mid-Century Family Room, Neutral (Well Mostly) California Nursery.

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  1. This is making me itch to change out my duvet! There has been so much news on brooklinen company in NY, maybe I’ll check that out…

  2. Love this so much. Such fun combos and looks. I might need to go shopping now

  3. This could be my bedroom–very similar circumstance and existing room. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Oooooh, I love option 2! I may steal some of those pillows for my bedroom – dark blue/gray walls, dark floor, LOTS of light, bright white linen-look curtains and windows covering 2 of the walls… A bit of pink might be nice!

    A tip for those who love white sheets but can’t keep them white (black cats on the foot of the bed, ALWAYS) – as long as you have a patterned duvet cover and make the bed so the cats don’t lie IN it, white sheets are fine. 🙂

  5. I’m convinced there must be something about American washing machines that means they don’t keep whites WHITE! I have never had a problem with keeping anything white at home (I’m from the UK) but when staying with friends in NY recently I used their washing machine, and noticed that my white vests etc came out looking grubby. Wonder what it is?!
    Great inspiration anyway, and what a fabulous endorsement from your client!

    1. that is an intriguing and interesting observation…

      1. It’s actually just occurred to me that it might be the powder/ detergent that is different, not the actual appliance?!

        1. I have this duvet cover http://www.westelm.com/products/organic-braided-matelasse-duvet-cover-shams-b1107/?pkey=cbedding-sets%7Cbedding-duvet-covers and LOVE it. I’ve owned a lot of duvet covers over the years, but this one is definitely my favorite. I’ve had it for about 2 years now, and it’s still in great great condition even though my cat loves to get under the top and play super kill pussycat through the fabric with my husband. It’s also still for sale and still full price, which is amazing at west elm where they switch stuff out so frequently. Great, great duvet cover, right color for this as well.

    2. Right? I also find it much easier to keep things white than any other colour. But I don’t have the comparison to US. It could be water, pipes, washing powder or just not separating the whites properly… (my mother was really very strict about than and now am I) From time to time I wash the stuff that can bear it on 90°C or at least soak it overnight.

      1. I think hard water is a problem with it, too. I can’t keep whites white, even with a water softener, though.

      2. I use white detergent for my whites and often add in one of those added whiteness tablets. And then I use colour detergent for colours. I always split them up too. Whites, darks and bright colours. I always do bedding (and towels) on a higher temp too and that seems to help. 🙂

    3. I live part of the time in the UK and part of the time in New England. I’ve been thinking the same thing, but in reverse! That is: I can’t get my whites as white in the UK. I put it down to laws about what detergents can contain for safety/environmental reasons, imagining that EU law protected water resources somehow at the expense of whiteness. On the other hand, I’ve discovered Vanish Gold stain removers in the UK, which are awesome, and I now bring these back to the US with me.

      But since you find the opposite, I’m puzzled about what is going on. I find that the language used in British products is different from the language in American products. Not sure what ‘non-bio’ products are, for example. Does that mean they don’t have what in America is called ‘enzyme’ action? So, I find it hard to choose which detergents to use (currently using little Surf packets that smell of lavender).

      Anyway, I have no trouble keeping whites white in the US, so it can be done. Although, I imagine that differences in mineral content of local water supply, and, maybe, laws specific to one state or another. Also, the products one uses and how the washing machines function. In the States I have a big high-end washing machine. In the UK, I have a smaller, bottom-of-the-line model and that could make a difference.

      I can’t believe I’ve just spent many minutes talking about how white my laundry is!

  6. I’ve been dying to redecorate our room, and the gray duvet in Look 2 is perfect! I also am concerned about keeping a white duvet bright…they look beautiful, but with the amount of time I spend on our bed doing homework or small craft projects late at night during a Netflix binge… 🙂 I also like the soothing feeling I get from the gray.

    1. We have it in white, and it has stayed nice and crisp even after many washings, and their linens get softer and softer every time you use them. You will not be dissapointed with either one.
      xx

    2. And I have the duvet from look 1 in white and it has been great! I just immediately use a Tide pen on stains and use OxyClean in the wash and it cleans up.

  7. I would think it’s super weird NOT to use a top sheet?

    I wish Farrow & Ball had stores in more states.

    1. Yeah, I like a top sheet even with a duvet cover because taking the cover off for every wash is a pain in the ass. Plus I’m a hot sleeper and the sheet gives you more temperature control options. Some people are very anti top sheet though ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .

    2. Yeah, I like a top sheet too, even with a duvet cover. Taking the cover off for every wash is a pain, and I’m a hot sleeper so I like the sheet option if I throw off the duvet. Some people are super anti-top sheet though ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .

  8. My favourite look is the n.1, I love the blush pink tone of the pillows!
    XO
    Anna From Italy

    https://society6.com/sierraf31?curator=sierraf31

  9. Greetings. I have a design dilemma. I love our open plan living room/dining room, but the lighting is TERRIBLE. There is one ceiling fan with a dim light in the middle of the room. Unfortunately we have to keep the fan because we don’t have AC and we live in LA. We also rent so we can’t rewire anything. So we can only really do floor lamps, plug-in sconces and a swagged hanging lights. Thoughts?

    1. I’d be interested in a reply too. I’m in an L-shaped studio apartment with the same problem — no ceiling fan but one “boob light” for the entire space which is not centered over the dining area or anything else. And I float the sofa with no electrical outlet on the floor. Currently have lamps on either side of the bed and one table lamp by couch with a long extension cord out of traffic area. I really need more light in the living area. Kitchen & bathroom have industrial (and not in a good way) fluorescent rectangular ceiling fixtures — plenty of light but exceedingly ugly.

  10. Both selections are beautiful! Must. Have. Blush. Pink. Sheets!

  11. Thanks so much for the suggestions! I just bought a duvet yesterday and was browsing all over the internet to find ideas for what type of cover and sheets to get.
    Loved Look #1 and am now putting all the items in my shopping cart. West Elm doesn’t seem to carry the pink Belgian flax linen set anymore – they only offer four color options and pink is not one of them. Any thoughts on how to get that? Or, perhaps, suggestions on similar pink linen sets from other stores? Thanks!!

    1. Hey Zoha,

      The sheets are the Belgian Flax Linen Sheet Set. The rose sheets are sold out for twin and California king beds, but they are available in the other sizes. If you click the size sheets you want, the rose option pops up. Hope this helps! They are crazy comfortable, and the rose is gorgeous in person.

  12. Hi how wonderful these design are i like these design#living room design http://homedepottips.com/category/living-room/

  13. Hi
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  16. Love these design question things! They are so helpful 🙂

  17. Well since you asked! We’ve been furnishing the living room in our new house (for a year! New babies can do that to a house…) and need to pick a swatch/fabric for the chairs we finally decided on. We want it to go in our current house but the chairs are an investment (Hay A lounge chair) and we want them to move with us when we grow out of this house. How do we choose?! Especially when we’re still adding art/tables/lighting to the room.

  18. Your blog is really interesting and inspiration to many. I’ll be looking forward for more of your posts. Keep it up! I will follow you ..

  19. Such great choices, each one is better then the last!

    http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

  20. Hi Emily and team– I have a design agony! How do you update a brick fireplace and traditional mantle/built-ins to look more clean and modern, I’m a budget-friendly way?

  21. I’m a fan of option 1!! I love everything about it, especially that pop of yellow!

  22. I *LOVE* the rose linen sheets and have already clicked through to order. From Amy’s inspiration board, however, I’d love to know the source for the navy geo-patterned rug (the one in bottom left corner) and the moroccan tassel blanket (but especially the rug). I’ve been desperately looking all over, and this totally fits my needs. Thank you!

    1. Hey Jennifer,

      I am the Amy in question! I went back to my Pinterest board and followed through to the blog post that the image came from. Both items (the rug and throw) are apparently from West Elm. Unfortunately, they both seem to be massively sold out. But just in case you can work some magic calling all the West Elms to see if there’s one siting around, they are:

      Rug: Traced Diamond Kilim Rug
      Throw: Cotton Tassel Throw

      They do seem to have the rug still for sale on West Elm’s Australia site (the original blogger is in Australia) but I don’t know whether they would ship to the US: http://www.westelm.com.au/traced-diamond-kilim-rug-t2579

      Good luck! That rug is indeed adorable 🙂

      1. Thank you, Amy! I really appreciate it.

      2. UPDATE: I found a smaller on available on WE here in the US! I needed it to layer over a larger jute rug, so although I would have preferred one slightly larger, I ordered it anyway. Thanks again, Amy!

  23. I LOVE Look 1, all that pink linen, but I can’t find the Yellow Throw! I clicked through, but the link seems to be to a different throw (Landyn Gold Chunky Knit Throw). Thoughts? Thank you!

    1. Hey Liz,

      The throw pictured is called the Lark throw but when I bought it, it was already on super deep discount (like $19 of awesomeness). I don’t see it anywhere on Crate & Barrel’s website right now, but maybe if you call around? They had a couple left at my local store when I went in early July.

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  29. Thank you so much for this post! I’m finally doing my guest bedroom and absolutely love Look 1. I’ve purchased all the bedding and couldn’t be happier! Any suggestions on a rug? I have dark gray wood floors in a herringbone pattern and a white bed frame. Walls are TBD. Any recommendations would be appreciated!!

  30. Hi, Please tell me where to purchase the wood platform bed that is shown in in this link:

    https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/window-treatments-orcondo-3.jpg

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  31. Great… this is really what we want to know at this moment. Thanks!

  32. When you open your new set of Vaulia Home Collection you’re most likely desirous to grasp on the bed directly. whereas we are able to perceive your want to try to to therefore, we tend to powerfully advocate that you simply wash bedding before you employ it for the primary time.
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    Shipping Bedding

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  33. I love the inspiration pictures you have suggested and the colors you have put together for her. It totally changes the mood of the room from drab and uninviting to cheerful and inviting. The subtle colors with the grey just make it really beautiful.

  34. Check out these images of her existing bedroom set up. We love the corner window, which looks like it gets great afternoon light; but with the carpet, existing paint colour and dark furniture the room felt very drab.