How to Make a Bed

by theartofbespoke in Designer style at home

With summer on the horizon, it’s a good time to rethink your bedding. But making a great-looking bed is harder than it sounds. Here are our tips..

Scroll through the interiors blogs and you’ll see fancy-looking beds decked out with any number of cushions, throws and eiderdowns. It’s a look that makes the average British double, with its duvet and four pillows, look decidedly measly. Yet it’s often surprisingly tricky to recreate at home.

John Lewis is a good starting point – on its website you’ll find a video devoted to the subject. And JL’s assistants are useful people to talk to about thread counts, tog ratings and all those other mystifying linen-related terms. When it comes to thread counts, the general thinking is the higher the better, though, as with sunscreens, the difference is negligible once you get above a certain number (in this case, 300). And there are other factors, such as fibre quality, to bear in mind.

Tog ratings, meanwhile, describe the warmth level of duvets. Traditionally 4.5 tog duvets were used in the summer months, but these days all-weather duvets are more common in Europe, say linen suppliers Richard Haworth, with 10.5 tog duvets being the right choice for those who share a bed.

‘You spend a third of your life in bed, so you really do get to benefit from the luxury of great-quality cotton or linen.’

Peter Tasker, of luxury bed manufacturer Vi-Spring, suggests keeping it natural when it comes to pillows and duvets. ‘My choice would be wool,’ he says. ‘It’s an amazing fibre – one of the best at regulating temperature, and it breathes.’ But he’s also quick to stress how important it is to buy a good bed, pointing out that ‘no amount of fancy linen will make a poor bed better in terms of sleep quality.’

Interior designer Sophie Paterson thinks that bedding is worth investing in. ‘Always buy the best-quality sheets you can afford,’ she says. ‘You spend a third of your life in bed, so you really do get to benefit from the luxury of great-quality cotton or linen.’

When it comes to how your bed looks, white is a failsafe option – a notion the White Company based its whole business proposition around. It’s also easy to come by – you can source antique white bed linen at flea markets or on Ebay, or buy it inexpensively at online stores such as the Duvet and Pillow Warehouse. Tasker, meanwhile, recommends upscale brands like Frette and Yves Delorme.

‘I always choose crisp white for my bed sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers,’ says Paterson. ‘If you want to inject some colour, pick a design that has a border in a colour. This is a more sophisticated way of introducing colour than having a block colour or printed duvet set.’

That said, a printed duvet set is the lazy person’s shortcut to a pretty bed – after all, vividly patterned sheets lessen the need for extras like throws and cushions. This is where it’s worth looking to fashion designers, many of whom do a sideline in luxury bed linens. Try those known for using pattern, like Diane von Furstenburg, Missoni or Roberto Cavalli. You’ll find a good range at Amara.

But, ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Tasker might favour wool, but Paterson would opt for something more glam. ‘For the ultimately styled bed, I’d use a bedspread, then dress this with a casually draped cashmere or faux-fur throw on top, and then three large cushions at the back with three smaller ones in front,’ she says.

And, lastly, don’t forget the headboard. ‘In terms of the look of the bed, these are really important,’ says Tasker.


Vi-Spring –

Richard Haworth –

Brinkhaus  –

Sophie Paterson Interiors –

The White Company –

Frette –

Yves Delorme –

Amara –

Recommended Editorials