A simple, carefully considered bedlinen scheme is enough to give even the most minimally furnished bedroom a warm and welcoming feel and a sense of personality. Considering we spend around a third of our lives sleeping, there’s no better reason to invest in quality bedding and sheeting. The benefits are two-fold: an enviably beautiful bedroom and a really great night’s sleep.
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The focal point of any bedroom is a warm, inviting bed. Layering your bed with new colours and seasonal textures is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to update the look and feel of your bedroom throughout the year. Inside Out style director Glen Proebstel says, “Start with a neutral base, then add a top sheet or throw in dark greys, rich browns and indigo colours for texture and depth.” For the summer months, soft greys and blues can be complemented with a pop of bright citrus – try a zingy scatter cushion in vibrant yellow or orange.
Think seasonal tones, such as indigos in cooler months and soft greys in warm – then add brights.
It’s a common misconception that the quality of bedlinen can be determined by thread-count. Angela Burlizzi, of Analu, a Sydney company that specialises in luxury Italian bedding, insists the quality of cotton is defined by the length, fineness and strength of the fibre itself. Thread-count (TC) is not a foolproof indication of the calibre of a product and is simply a literal measurement of the number of threads in each square inch of the material (the higher the thread-count, the denser the weave and the heavier the fabric).
Similarly, Tom Adair, from Abode Living, a Melbourne-based brand that offers locally designed bedlinen, warns that a high thread-count doesn’t always mean a comfy night’s sleep. For instance, anything that is 600TC and above can be fairly heavy and warm, so in summer, a lighter-weight quality linen sheet set with a thread-count as low as 50TC is preferable and equally luxurious.
Poly-cotton blends are easy to care for and require little or no ironing – a good choice for quilt covers. When it comes to natural fibres, cotton is soft, comfortable and breathable and ideal for sheets. Linens and cottons also age well – a good-quality cotton sheet will become softer with each wash and should last around 10-15 years.
Mix and match materials. Luxurious linen or fine cotton sheets work well with a cotton-mix doona cover for a perfect balance between budget and indulgence.
Chunky knitted throws and cushions are a perennial favourite, and give big personality to the most basic bedlinen scheme. Again, natural fibres will always reward – try blankets and throws in merino wool, mohair or cashmere for true extravagance.
In warmer months, it’s a good idea to replace heavy woollen throws with a lightweight alternative, such as waffle-weave cotton or a loosely woven linen throw. Sustainable bamboo fibre is also beautifully soft and, like cotton, is breathable and absorbent. It has the added benefit of being hypo-allergenic and has natural anti-bacterial properties, making it an ideal choice for children’s rooms.
If you’re wary of adding colours and textures that feel too daring or extravagant for your interior, a vibrant throw-rug is a low-risk solution. Bright patterns, chunky weaves, stripes and even polka dots are becoming more and more popular in the bedroom – and are easily updated with the coming of a new season.
A simple throw rug can transform basic bedlinen into a thing of beauty. A vintage rug adds instant warmth and tactile appeal through pattern and texture.
With the great variety of beds and mattresses now available, buying bedlinen is no longer as simple as selecting a standard-sized sheet for a standard-sized bed. New mattresses now often feature a built-in ‘pillow-top’ – this results in an extra-deep mattress, requiring generous-sized fitted sheets. Such sheets are available from specialist bedlinen manufacturers (source your nearest through True Local); just ensure a depth of 45cm-50cm.
Many bedding specialists recommend an oversized doona to help create a sumptuous, generous look that spills over the edges of the bed in much the same way as a comforter does. Ben David, from Kas Australia, says, “Double beds look best with queen-sized doonas – but remember to check the height of your bed before up-sizing your bedding.” In children’s rooms, a king-single bed is recommended.
It is a great investment that will carry through to the teenage years; team it with a double doona for an extra-cosy feel.
Oversized doona covers look great in a classic, traditionally styled bedroom. If you’re going for an eclectic feel, contrast layers, textures and lengths.
Layering is the key to a perfectly styled bed. Always start with an underlay, to protect your mattress. A top sheet, while not obligatory these days, gives a crisp finish. For something different, try a top sheet in a contrasting colour; it will create a sleek, striking look when folded back over your doona.
Wool blankets may not be as commonly used as they once were, but they are excellent stand-bys for winter – reassuringly snug and handy to use mid-season with a doona. “When things get really cold, try adding a blanket between the top sheet and the doona, so the warmth of the wool insulates the body,” says Glen Proebstel.
The quality of your doona also affects how sumptuous your bed looks. Goose down has a plush ‘puffy’ appeal and will not separate and clump over time in the way synthetic filling can. An all-natural alternative for allergy sufferers is silk floss – more compacted and flat in style, silk doonas make the perfect lightweight summer quilt and look great in contemporary bedrooms.
Above all else, the bed should always feel comfortable. By trusting your instincts and following the colours and textures you respond to instinctively, you’ll soon be settling into a bed worthy of your personal style.
“Keep things simple and invest in quality bedding rather than a mountain of cushions and throws – which often end up on the floor every night.” Glen Probestel, Style Director at Inside Out magazine.
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