Making Your Bed

- Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Did you make your bed this morning? I did. I do every morning. It’s my first task of the day, before I get dressed, before I grab that first cup of java. I guess I was trained that way because as a kid I did not dare to come downstairs for school without making my bed first. My mother instilled a sense of neatness in me from an early age and for that I am forever grateful. It is a good habit. So, while I cannot say it is a routine I find particularly enjoyable, I do find the benefits quite pleasing. There is something soothing about tidying up your personal resting place and having it ready to welcome you in the evening.

What I do enjoy as an interior designer is designing or “dressing” a bed for clients. There are so many components to consider and the myriad styles offer endless possibilities for personalization. It is the spot where my clients start and end their day and I want them to absolutely love it. If they are happy with the end result then I have successfully done my job.

I actually made a lot of beds this morning. Company is coming for a long weekend and I want to ensure peaceful repose for my guests on their holiday. I have 3 people arriving, two adults and their 10-year-old daughter. The parents get the guest room and that means Margaret, my goddaughter, will get the daybed up in the loft, which is a space primarily used as a painting studio. I think she will like the idea of getting “the penthouse” to use as her room and, as a budding artist herself, may find the space inspirational.

Since I only see her a few times a year I wanted to make it special for her visit. I bought a set of pink satin leopard-print sheets to dress the bed, perfect for a little girl. I also found an unusual, bright fuchsia “poodle fur” fuzzy pillow to add an extra hit of texture and glamour. It is something she can take home with her as a memento of her travels and it will go with her pink-themed room at her house in Richmond. And who wouldn’t want to indulge a ten-year-old and help her tap into her inner diva? Well, her mother may not agree with my thinking, but I will deal with that later.

As with so many things in interior design, there are no rules to dressing a bed, however, there are guidelines. Remember, the bed is the main event, it has a prominent role in directing the room’s décor. First and foremost there should be comfort. Make sure the foundation is a good one. If the mattress is lacking in plushness, add a down-feather pillow-topper. Select sheets of a high thread count for a luxurious feel. You can mix patterns: stripes, solids, geometrics or florals. Make sure there are plenty of sleeping pillows, some firm, some soft.

Once you have established the basic foundation it is time to consider the finishing touches. Personally like to use a simple bedcover to build upon, such as an ivory, quilted, matelasse coverlet. I find in our warm climate this is usually enough warmth and can be supplemented with a blanket underneath when needed. Plus this neutral background allows you to add interest with other decorative elements.

When designing a bedscape for a client I try to mix it up a bit. Sure, I could order a “bed-in-a-bag” ensemble but I like to take it a step or two further - not too matchy-matchy and predictable but more thought-out and unexpected. Add a punch of color or texture, try using different size and shapes of pillows: a neckroll, euro-squares, even a sphere.

A bed should be inviting, comforting, and enveloping, as well as being a feast for the eyes. Just remember, in order to enjoy it to the fullest when you crash in the evening it need to be made up in the morning.

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