If you’ve ever seen a really gorgeously made bed in a magazine spread or on your Pinterest dash, chances are you’ve wondered the same thing I have: What’s the difference between the way I make my bed in the morning and the way they do it? Other than the obvious answer (not being in a big rush on your way out of the bedroom in the morning!), the difference really is simple: those decked out beds probably have more parts and pieces than yours does. Especially if you bought your last bedroom set in a bag, it might be time to re-evaluate your bedding.
Get Plumped-Up, Picture-Worthy Pillows
While it might not be obvious at a glance, most fully-finished bedding sets include more than just your standard rectangular pillows. Typically, you want to start with two (for a queen size) or three (for a king) extra-large square pillows called “European cushions.” These big pillows are purely decorative, but serve to prop up your standard pillows to give them that soft, voluminous look.
A designer pillow set also includes more regular pillows than you might actually use, usually either in slightly different sizes or shapes or with different pillowcases for contrast. For a really easy combination, you can stack pillows covered with the cases that came with your sheet set against pillows covered with the slightly larger, more flared cases that came with your comforter set – usually a solid color and a pattern respectively, but in the same color family. If you want a really fancy, designer look, you can finish your pillow pile off with a few smaller accent pillows, too – like a decorative throw pillow or lumbar pillow or two. Just keep in mind you’ll either have to sleep with all those pillows, or find a place to put them at night!
Don’t Shy Away From Mixing And Matching
It’s really easy to buy a bedding set in a bag. In fact, most sheets and comforters are sold as sets. But one surprisingly simple tip from the pros is that all your sheets don’t have to match, and often shouldn’t. Choosing two different-but-coordinating flat and fitted sheets is a great way to add visual interest to your bed, especially if you mix and match your pillow cases as well. A combination of patterns and solid colors that pull from those patterns will give you a bold, varied look that still has a coordinated feel.
Duvet vs Comforter vs Quilt vs Blanket
Another important aspect for really understanding how to make your bed look great is knowing the distinction between different types of bed-toppers. The word “comforter” is often used interchangeably in the US to mean duvet, comforter, quilt, or blanket, but all four are distinctly different pieces of bedding. Blankets are the most common, and are usually thin (a single layer of fabric) used either to top off a sheet set in warm weather or as a layer in colder weather. Quilts are a little bit thicker and quite a bit heavier, with two distinct layers and some padding in between. Comforters are thicker still, made of two layers of decorative fabric filled usually with polyester or down and meant strictly as a top layer of bedding. Finally, duvets are much like comforters – thick, filled with down or wool – but rather than being made of decorative fabric, they’re covered with a decorative sleeve (or duvet cover) that can be easily removed and washed without damaging the fragile filling. All four can be used (some at the same time as another), but have very distinctly different looks.
Don’t Be Afraid To Accessorize
These days it’s particularly popular to accessorize with knit blankets, either with a loose, lace-like pattern or a thick, bold knit made with a super bulky yarn. They add a nice pop of color and texture to your bedding set, and can also be used as bed scarves – aka, left along the bottom of your bed partly as an accent, partly to keep your feet warm at night, and partly to keep feet or shoes from dirtying your comforter or duvet. Like an actual scarf, these aren’t meant to cover your entire bed, but to add a bit of visual interest opposite your pile of pillows.
Keep Your Bedding Neat, Tidy, And Clean… Starting With The Mattress
Of course, the most important part of building a good bedding set is the part you might never see: all the stuff you SHOULD be using to keep your mattress and pillows clean to extend their lifespan. Antibacterial mattress protectors go directly on your mattress before any other bedding and keep any gross skin, hair, pet, or other nasties from settling into a mattress you can’t wash. Mattress pads double down on this protection, while also adding a little extra cushion to your bed and helping keep your sheets from sliding or pulling out of place. Adding a protective pillow cover in addition to your standard pillow cases can also help extend the life of your pillow, keep your pillow cases in place, and even help alleviate allergies, since it’ll keep allergens from penetrating into your pillow.
Building a picture-perfect bed means having a lot of parts and pieces to work with, but don’t let the quest for a magazine-quality spread stop you from assembling a bed set that actually works for you. With a little care and effort, you can easily have both!