How to Choose the Perfect Bed Linen

Cushions and curtains are so last season. Bed linen is now the biggest business in styling your home – for any age group! Emma Bangay pulls the covers back to reveal the top styling tips for any slumber lover.

As we head into winter, it's the perfect time to warm up your bedroom through the use of textures, prints and layering. Don't know where to start? Follow these guidelines to inject a sense of warmth and life into your existing design. 

Tucked up and on-trend

“I think there has been a great surge in interest in all things homewares in the past few years and yes, bed linen has absolutely been a big part of that,” says Tracie Ellis, of AURA Home fame. “One of the major shifts is that people are now seeing bed linen like fashion, something they can change each season instead of staying with the same bed linen for 30 years like our parents generation!”  Kristy Withers of Incy Interiors agrees that the popularity in pillows, doona covers and valances has been a long-time coming, but is entirely justified. “We spend much time in bed - it’s our sanctuary and the place we look forward to escaping to after a busy day, so it makes perfect sense to focus on the fashion element of it.”

Traditional tones and popping prints

Nordic stripes are a really popular perennial favourite. Update it annually with a pop of neon colour to deconstruct the formality and traditionalism of the stripe, Tracie suggests. "So by going with a traditional base – such as a nautical stripe – you can easily and playfully update it with splashes of fiery coral and neon limes mixed with beautiful soft pastel tones of mint and rose and matt metallic, for example."

Age appropriate interior additions

What works for the kids, won’t work for a young couple. Every age group has different trend focuses this season, explains Kristy. Here is her edit:

  • Kids

Geometric pattern and fashionably delicious monochrome with pops of colour has definitely made a comeback, she says. “A subtle influence in 80s design is also coming through with fluorescent colour also providing a playful elegance.”

  • Teens

Bold block prints provide a graduation from childhood pastels. Add a quirky, uplifting twist with a fun digital print design on a pillow or metallic edging to encourage teens to appreciate design and use it as a tool for self-expression.

  • Adults

“Beautiful textures with velvets, linen and embroidered detail will be very popular this season,” says Kristy. “Adults will flip out with the extensive range of reversible prints that are now available on the market. Quite literally!”

The laws of layering

Rich textiles and various textures lend themselves perfectly to layering, says Tracie. Never more so than going into the cooler months! “To achieve this look, layer your bed with a quilted coverlet. Use velvet cushions to bring some luxurious softness to your space and chunky knits and linens to create a warming winter retreat.”

The cushion count

How many is too many when it comes to pillows and cushions? Tracie promotes a personal approach. “I usually have four pillows on my bed and two or three scatter cushions,” she says, suggesting that experimenting is key to working out what works for you. “If you’re making up a guest bed, make sure you have four pillows of different firmness so your guest can find the perfect pillow for a great night’s sleep.”

Less can be more

“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,” agrees Kristy. But if your sleeping space is smaller - like in an apartment, warehouse or loft  (the latter whereby the bed may be visible to every visitor) you may want to pare it back a bit. “For smaller bedrooms that require a minimalist approach to styling, bed linen offers an opportunity to add luxury and formality without compromising on space,” she says. Stick with whites and light greys, worked back against a white, timber or metal bed for modern effect.

Clash dash

The bed is one domain where no rules apply with clashing colours and prints, but show some restraint or else all it will give you is a headache, rather than provide a haven. “Stand back and edit once you’ve created your look,” suggests Tracie. “Remember the bedroom should be a calming sanctuary.”

Top bed buys

  • Invest in quality sheets. “Don’t be fooled by thread count,” cautions Tracie. “Some stores market 1000 thread count sheets but that doesn’t mean they’re better quality, in some instances they are heavy cotton sheets woven with inferior yarn."
  • Be bold with colour and texture. If colour is a new area for you, start by introducing pops of colour with your cushions and throws only. “It’s easier to change up your look each season,” Tracie says, as opposed to getting bright, riotous doona covers that you will tire of in a few months.

The throw

Throw rugs are a great transitional addition to any bed. But as Kristy points out, positioning can be key to ensure there is balance and not just a mess.

  • Throws don't necessarily need to stay at the end of your bed, she assures. "If you have a large throw, pull it three quarters up the bed and you will add warmth as well as interest."
  • Drape a throw in a fun print over an upholstered headboard for a new look and keep it secure and in place using Velcro.
  • "Make simple bedding look more personal by folding a throw lengthwise and draping it across the end of the bed," Kristy suggests. 

Incy Interiors will be exhibiting at Kid's Instyle Trade Event, Australia’s destination for homewares and children’s product, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne (30 July –2 August, 2015). 

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