Four simple rules to follow for a stylishly dressed bed

Jennifer Morgan,
Interiors Editor

Colder months mean layers and we’re not just talking about your winter wardrobe… 

How to dress a bed

Your bed is the perfect place to experiment with your style, building up layers of colour, pattern and texture as well as embracing the change of season. As top interiors stylist Sally Denning says, ‘I’ve styled so many beds over the years, but a relaxed look is key for me – it’s all about keeping it inviting and piled high with different textures.’

Start with small updates

Swap your plain white sheets and pillowcases for coloured ones – it’s a great way of introducing an accent to your scheme, as Jody Ewen, Partner & Assistant Buyer, Decorative Bed Linens, explains: ‘Adding a pop of colour with bedding is a quick and easy way of updating your look, especially if you don’t want to add colour to the walls, like in a rental property for instance.’

Prop your pillows up for hotel chic (a great way of adding height to your bed), or stack one on top of the other for a more casual look. Top pillows – ones you remove to sleep – are great for maintaining that just-ironed look each morning. ‘Coming home to a made bed after a long day is one of life’s little pleasures,’ says Jody. ‘For a more formal hotel look, layer square, Oxford and standard pillowcases, or for relaxed style, choose 100% linen for laid-back cool.’

Throw on textured layers

For an extra touch of luxury, add a throw. Use a quilted one to introduce texture – think velvet, silk or jersey – and look for on-trend shades of ink, charcoal and emerald. Look at the quilting on your throw, as narrow lines of stitching in one direction tend to give a sleeker, more contemporary look than large ‘squares’ (often formed by single stitches or French knots), which are puffy and give more of an indulgent feel.

A throw is a great cover-up, but follow a two-thirds/one-third rule when it comes to its styling – just use on the bottom section of your bed, giving bed linens and cushions chance to shine too. ‘A simple, great-quality throw can be just as impactful as a busy curation of eclectic cushions,’ says Jody.

Top with a blanket

Just as you would add a knitted scarf to your winter coat, dress your bed with a cosy blanket, casually ruched along the bottom third of your bed, on top of your quilt. ‘I’ve got a Welsh blanket on my bed at the moment,’ says Sally, ‘and on top for a brighter pop of colour, I’ve added a thinner knitted blanket in yellow.’

If faux fur is more your thing – and it’s absolutely perfect for layering – then swap the quilt on your bed for a fur throw. ’There’s a big trend in playfully coloured faux fur,‘ says Jody. ‘It feels amazing and looks great – there’s something about a tactile faux-fur throw that evokes a feeling of snuggling up as the nights draw in. For extra cosiness, don’t forget the matching hot-water bottle!’

‘Push the hygge vibe further by building up those layers through textures,’ Sally explains. ‘Mix and match wools, loose-weave throws and rich velvets along with sheepskins to create a cosy and welcoming scheme. I think it’s important to style a space that you can retreat to, somewhere that makes you feel truly relaxed.’

Amass cushions to make it cosy

Enter the age-old interiors debate – just how many cushions should be on your bed? ‘There is no such thing as too many,’ says Jody.

‘I like lots of cushions on a bed – it’s all about cosy for me,’ says Sally. ‘I tend to mix big oversized linen cushions, which are ideal for when you’re reading, with smaller rustic linen ones and an accent one in a velvet for a nice colour pop. Mixing and matching colours and textures makes for a relaxed, layered look.’