If you’re ready to shake off that subdued winter palette and give your bedroom a big boost of energy, we’ve got your guide to incorporating bold patterns into your bedding. While prevailing decorating wisdom often says that a “blank slate” approach, featuring a white quilt or duvet with a bit of color in the accessories, like decorative pillows and throws, creates the best sleep environment, we beg (bed?) to differ. Here’s why.
The Kick-Back-and-Relax Bedroom
For a bedroom that feels easygoing and restful, you’ve got two great choices. In this first example, we’ve combined two takes on the classic stripe—one wide and high-contrast, and the other with a hand-drawn, dotted-line appeal—in just three elements: the sheets, and a soft chenille throw and decorative pillow. Then we layered solids in three neutral shades—white, pearl grey, and shale—on top, so you get stretches of solids broken up by bits of pattern.
For this version of easygoing bed decorating, we chose a two-tone botanical duvet and sham as the focal point. We kept the layering to a minimum, and stuck with the same palette for all other elements—white sheets with a subtle embroidered stripe, and a box spring cover in shale. Note all the crisp, tailored silhouettes here, and the shades-of-grey stripe in the rug that picks up the colors of both the duvet pattern and the sheets.
The Urban Sophisticate Bedroom
The key to urban bed dressing is simple: rely on one great, eye-catching pattern, with a solid or two thrown in for complement and contrast, or choose two patterns of varying scale, with a bold pop of color for a contemporary look. Easy, right?
For this bed, we chose an on-trend indigo palette, and layered a bold, graphic quilt and sham with a solid linen duvet and shams. White sheets with a narrow embroidered stripe in the same inky hue were a no-brainer. But what sets this bed apart is the unexpected burst of citrus in the beautifully textured linen decorative pillow, complete with soft fringed ends.
Coral—a decorating standout for the past couple of seasons—might not be an unexpected color, but it has an instant uplifting, vibrant feel, especially when paired with a cool neutral like grey. We played off the great graphic print in the quilt (reversible—and adorable!) with solids in steely grey and bright coral linen, then tucked in two coral-and-white stripes in the sheets and throw. Note the different scale of the two stripes, which helps keep the eye moving over the bed.
Bold Perspective Bedroom
Not for the faint of decorating heart, this approach marries multiple patterns on the same bed (and even the floor), without going over the top. How, you ask? Just stick to a two-color or all-neutral palette, and you can mix like a master.
After looking at the neutral botanical and graphic patterns on the more streamlined beds above, we indulged in a bit of Wouldn’t It Be Fun If . . .? So bold and graphic, meet petite flower . . . not to mention another cool graphic pattern in this micro-hooked wool rug. And though we wanted to break up the pattern with solid white, we couldn’t resist this narrow-stripe embroidered sham—a fourth pattern, but a subtle one. We topped off the whole stylish shebang with an extra decorative pillow in a sandy solid not yet represented in this all-neutral palette.
Here’s another take on using four patterns on the same bed. With ink and white as our palette, we took two ethnic-inspired patterns—in the quilt and shams—and combined them with the same hand-drawn stripe that looks so laid-back in the first section of this post. We broke up the pattern with expanses of white matelassé . . . and we really liked it. Then inspiration struck. What would it look like it we polished off the look with a vintage French country–look linen pillow embroidered with tiny knots in a lacy pattern? Two words come to mind: decorating alchemy.