Secrets of a Well Dressed Bed

August 24, 2011

I see so many pretty made beds in shelter magazines and on Pinterest.  After concentrating on a few design styles that appealed to me, I feel like I finally got the look of my own master bed just right!  With up to a third of our lives spent snoozing under the covers (hopefully getting a solid 8 hours a night), a great mattress and comfortable linens are a worthy investment, plus how fun is it to dress up our beds in our own personal style? 

What’s the secret to a well dressed bed you might ask?  I thought I’d ask an expert for her best tips.  I’ve been a fan of Annette Tatum’s style for years, and I completely love her line of sophisticated and soft patterns for both adults and kids.  I asked Annette to offer up some suggestions for a well dressed bed, and she was kind enough to share her secrets!  (I added the inspirational images along the way to illustrate.) 


annette tatum blue gold bed


Tell us Annette in your expert opinion, what is the secret to a well dressed bed?


1. Think in Layers 

“I am a big fan of layering solids and prints on a bed.  I also like to have a basic white always on hand as well as an assortment of prints that I can mix in depending upon the season.

turquoise tulips bliss tumblr

via Turquoise, Tulips & Bliss


2. Always Consider Personal Comfort 

I usually have two duvets on my bed.  Mine is a California King so I have my king size duvet and then fold another twin size at the bottom.  That way if one person is cold, the other person does not have to be hot. 

elle decor bedroom

Elle Décor


3. Pillow Talk

For a King bed, I have three Euros, two King pillows and two standard pillows, for a Queen bed, I use three Euros, two standard size pillows, and a decorative pillow, and for a Twin bed, one Euro sham and one Standard pillow. 

twin beds euro sham



4.  Skirt or no Skirt? 

As far as a "skirt or duster" for the bed, I am in favor of both options, it’s a personal choice.  There are so many different beds on the market it really depends on your style.

tobi fairley bedroom

Tobi Fairley


5.  Pattern Play

The rules I use for pattern on the bed are as follows, regardless of the size of the bed.

A.  Starting from the bottom, choose your duster.  Usually it’s a solid in heavier fabric such as linen or else a striped pattern to add length and height to the "look" of the bed.  I recommend tailored duster for a more clean look or a ruffled for a more romantic look.

B.  Duvet.   This is usually a solid or else an overall large print.  Something that is not going to take over the room, is simple, and can be easily incorporated with other patterns.  Large cabbage roses, simple Indian motifs, and classic couture brocade patterns are a great starting point for a bed.

house and home bedroomHouse & Home

C. Euro shams (measuring 26” x 26”) are always a good size. Some small detail edge such as a flange or small ruffle adds texture. Since these are not the pillows you sleep on, they can be more decorative.

D.  Whether a king or standard sham, here I layer small to medium patterns on the bed.  Since these are the "sleeping" pillows I also keep an extra set of cases (and often on a King bed an extra pillow) that is "my favorite" which I tuck away behind the Euro shams when the bed is made.  Sometimes the "sleeping pillows" are often the most used or "loved" so they might not need to be on display.

E. Decorative bolsters or small accent pillows. These are the ‘wild cards" on the bed, and the one of a kind element that can be added to the bed for fun. They can be layered on top of the other pillows in the "front" of the bed for depth and color.

house tweaking via pinterest bedroomPinterest

F.  Throw blankets.  Layering a throw at the end of the bed is another great way to ‘ground’ the patterns  and add a pretty accent to the foot of your bed.

style at home master bedroom green throwStyle At Home

G.  Sheets: I love nice sheets and there are so many on the market that have fun with not only white but a set in a small complimentary print or another accent color. 

Either way "making your bed" can be just as fun as fashion.  With all the great options in print and color you can now make your bed "fashionable".   Sleeping does not have to be so serious anymore, so create the bed of your dreams!”

Thanks so much for your fabulous tips Annette!  Pop into her shop for a peek at some of the prettiest linens on the market.  You can also follow Annette’s blog for even more style tips. 

Annette was kind enough to offer up a copy of her book to one of you!  In ‘The Well Dressed Home’ Annette details how to take your fashion sense and translate it to your home décor, love that! 

annette tatum well dressed home


For a chance to win the signed copy of her book, answer one of these two questions.   What’s your favorite thing about your bed, or what’s the one thing you want to change?

To purchase a copy of Annette’s Book at a 20% discount, simply enter the code girl here!   Giveaway ends Sunday August 28th at 8 p.m. PST.

** Note I’m updating the posts for the recent giveaways later tonight and will send personal emails to the winners! 




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252 Responses to “Secrets of a Well Dressed Bed”

  1. Kate says:

    I have a black iron bed with a modern design with both a headboard and foot board and I love the photos of the beds in your blog. I like the style of my bed and have a dust ruffle, but have difficulty making that look nice with the foot board. Hmmmm. I also liked the bolsters in the pics…. stunning.

  2. Kathy says:

    Thanks for the tips. My fav thing is my buckwheat pillow hidden under my two euros. My least fav thing is the flower pattern on my duvet color. I liked it enough in the beginning, but the style is starting to wear on me.

  3. MelissaJane says:

    Hmmm. I love our quilt, which is new. And I am looking forward to finishing refinishing the bed I am in the midst of working on and getting that set up. I wish I could do a ‘fancier’ bed styling but it doesn’t work with my fussy husband and bed-jumping kids.

  4. rachie says:

    I would love to get some nicer sheets for our bed. We only have the ones that came with our comforter set, so they’re pretty cheap and the wear is showing quickly…they’re stretching out and not fitting like they did a year ago. I’d love to invest in some nicer, crisper ones!

  5. Christina K. says:

    My bed is big and comfy but that’s about it. I would love to incorporate some personality and style to it and I know this awesome book but would help! Great post Kate…very inspiring!

  6. EmilyR says:

    We love our bed, but it’s time for some new pillows, both sleeping and decorative!

  7. Jess says:

    I want to be able to make my bed comfy AND CHIC! I am always afraid to use the wrong patterns or either go overboard or not take enough risk. Good article, gives me lots of good advice for “fool-proof” style

  8. Linda says:

    My favorite thing about my bed is my down comforter. So soft and comfy. Makes it hard to get out of bed!

  9. shiori says:

    Sadly, when we moved into this place I sort of messed up the wall behind the bed. (3M is sometimes not my friend.) So I plan to plaster the mistake, paint stripe(s) one shade, paint 6 pieces of duron a lighter shade, then hang pics in smaller frames on the duron. I really hope this makes sense cause it does in my head. And I want a new bed. This gives me inspiration to get moving a little quicker. I just need to decide on the colors.

  10. Sabina K says:

    My favorite thing about my bed is how Comfortable it is – hubs bought the mattress on his own when we got married and it is the BEST ever. I dread the day we have to buy a new one.
    I’d like to change how the bed LOOKS. I keep trying different things – but I cant’ seem to “get ” it .

  11. Kristin says:

    I LOVE that we are getting rid of ours! Can’t wait to DIY our new headboard.

  12. Margaret Pereira says:

    My favourite thing about my bed is the white comforter. I love it. It looks crisp and can go with an assortment of pillows. I can change up the look by changing the pillows. I would love to change my headboard, it’s wood and I am in love with upholstered headboards. Love your bedroom.

  13. Jenny says:

    I still have the bed and bedding I had in college and I moved 2 weeks ago and am ready for major redesign. I’m turning an antique door into a headboard and switching to seriously textured all-white linens. I couldn’t be more excited!

  14. Cathie says:

    I love my sheets and pillows; that’s where I splurge, and I won’t buy cheap sheets just because I need them-I’ll wait for a sale on the good ones.
    We do need a new mattress, though-we bought one a few years ago, and we didn’t have enough money to buy a good one. We are not small people-we need a nice firm bed.

  15. Lauren says:

    I would love to change all of our bed linens. The sheets are standard white but not very soft. It’s difficult to find a duvet set that I like because we share our bed with a 55 lb black lab and I’m drawn to whites. I would love her design book! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  16. Matia says:

    I would like a new set of sheets. I love the yellow florals from your House and Home reference.

  17. Jeanna says:

    I will be moving into an apartment with my husband, and we’re newlyweds that have nothing, so I guess you could say that everything is going to be changing. This post was really great because I’m looking for bedroom ideas and picking out a bed today:)

  18. Bonnie P says:

    I love the simple lines of my Ikea frame and headboard.Still working on the right pillow mix.

  19. Sarah G. says:

    Thanks for this post! I was wondering what the perfect mix of pillows for my king size bed would be! Now I know.

  20. Kathy says:

    My favorite thing about my bed is the handsome devil I share it with! Otherwise, nothing. The HD picked it out and I can live with it, but we really could stand to redo it all – sheets, duvet, pillows – everything. I’d love to be inspired by Annette’s book!

  21. Sheila says:

    I love lots about my bed. I guess my favorite thing about it is that it is a sleigh bed. I also love my white jacquard (spelling?) duvet cover and shams set. It goes with everything.

  22. Stefanie D. says:

    fav thing about bed is i can lay down on it

  23. Leslie M.P. says:

    Our bed is my husband’s grandmother’s set she got when she married. It is a beautiful bedroom set, and I have always loved it. The one thing I would change is that I need a colorful throw for the foot of the bed. I am working on an afghan and hope it will be done by fall!

  24. I like the way you designed bed so beautifully. I think Bed should be more comfortable and if it is attractive as well, it would be the best combination.

  25. Kristin says:

    I need a new mattress, but I love my headboard.

  26. Nicole says:

    Overall, I love our bed, but I cannot wait to upgrade to a king size in our next house! I would also love to ad a few striped decorative pillows and find a comfy throw for the winter.

  27. sangeetha says:

    My favorite is that it is made of natural wood that is getting this awesome patina on it. I hate my mattress, definitely needs to be changed

  28. Alena says:

    What a beautiful book and a great post – I’m always looking for ways to prettify my bed :)

  29. Leanne Wight says:

    Thanks so much for this post and the beautiful pictures. My husband and I have been bickering over how to arrange our decorative pillows on our bed, and a couple of the pictures really helped. The one thing I would change about my bed is my sleeping pillow. Icannot find one with just the right softness/firmness or the right height. I wake up each day with a neckache. Definitely need to work on that!:0)

  30. Shannon says:

    Our bed is a big,very comfortable family bed, but it is not very pretty to look at. White down comforter and yellow sheets…

  31. beth says:

    my favorite thing about our bed is that it is super comfy. i like our linens right now, but that’s about it….the rest of the room, the head/foot board, ick.

  32. Kate says:

    I LOVE my new duvet cover its Sakura from C&B. I had been pining over it for a guest room forever and finally convinced my hubby to let us get it and use it on our bed (since we don’t have a guest bed yet…) Several gift cards later! IT looks great. I paired it with some bright green sheets for summer and will probably use brown or orange for fall. It makes me so happy just to see it even when its not “made”. :)
    What I don’t like is that I don’t actually have a bed or headboard just a frame… I would love to have any room for our future house completely finished with furniture but we move a lot and lack the funds. I am also still figuring out the whole style thing so I am interested to see what this book has to offer… :0)
    Great post!

  33. Cherri Engle says:

    I love every ‘bedding’ photo that you shared. They are all inspiring. I am fairly content with my bedding right now. I just switched to a ‘lighter’ duvet for the summer and it doesn’t ‘totally’ match my bed skirt and Euro shams but it blends good enough. I can’t wait to put my heavier duvet back on the bed for fall/winter so that the look is more cohesive. Thanks for the give-a-way opportunity to get her book. Be blessed.

  34. Debbie says:

    My favorite thing about my bed is the fact that I can’t seem to ever get out of it (it’s so comfortable). Thing I would change: The fact that we can’t use our Amish quilt because the cats like to claw at it. Uncool, kitties!

  35. Erin says:

    I wish my bed was bigger! Can’t wait to move into my house with my fiance and get a bigger bed to style and sleep on!

  36. Jennifer says:

    I’m dying to get a new headboard….a beautiful upholstered one for sure. There’s nothing that I really like about my bed right now, except my two adorable little pubs that cuddle up with us at night!! I sure could use some “Well-Dressed Home” inspiration!

  37. Elizabeth says:

    I love my DIY fabric headboard that was inspired by you! Not to mention its my favorite spot in the house as well as my dog’s (little 10 lb ball of fur and love!)

  38. Holiday says:

    I just got into a master bed re-do. I got some Serena and Lily sheets and I’m just now thinking about pillows. I know my husband will totally freak if I have a bunch of things on there that he has to move every day, so I’ll need to be very careful to also make it seem useful (for reading or comfort watching tv).

  39. Christy says:

    I love my organic cotton blankie from West Elm. It’s soft, cozy and not too warm. I dont even sleep with a sheet on top anymore. It’s perfect!

  40. Charade says:

    I love the “guts” of my bed – both an air bed and a memory foam – which is like sleeping on a marshmallow. BUT, I sure could use some help making it beautiful and inviting.

  41. Olivia Juenke says:

    My favorite things is that I finally bought the expensive linen duvet cover and euro shams in natural and white that I have coveted for over 4 years!!!!! Now, I just need help with the rest of the room…. or time to do what I envision for the rest of the room ;)

  42. Amanda says:

    I love my Ralph Lauren corduroy duvet I got on clearance eons ago. It is the perfect muddy green that plays well in all seasons. I don’t like the blanket (hate would probably be more accurate) that lives between our sheet and the lovely duvet. It is simply the wrong size for the bed, and ugly to boot. It can’t be seen, but I know it is there!

  43. Andrea Watts says:

    I like my memory foam mattress

  44. Abby says:

    I want to change the look! It’s comfortable to sleep in, but needs to be dressed up and made it little more romantic and a little less like a college students-since we’re both done with school and married for 3 years!

  45. Rachel H says:

    I love our King bed but we are in the process of updating it. We have a new duvet and skirt but are REALLY wanting to do a DIY head and foot board. And more pillows!

  46. Jolene Monteath says:

    What WOULDN’T I change is the better question!! First and foremost I really really need a headboard and frame for my bed. Still searching for the perfect one :)

  47. StaceyBull says:

    My favorite thing about my bed?? My sheets!!! They are a super-nice set I found on clearance some years back (and are starting to fray at the edges, but they are so darn soft and comfy!!). I’ve been looking for another set like them for years, but none others seem to measure up.

  48. Jess says:

    I love our sheets. They are comfy and soft and put me right to sleep.

  49. Darby Hawley says:

    Love this post. Now I need to get back to my bed and make it up properly :-)

  50. Lorrie says:

    My favorite thing about my bed is how wonderful I feel when I climb between crisp sheets, stretch and then snuggle up to my husband and fall asleep.

  51. Maria says:

    Thank you both for a great post. I love my bed and I love to sleep! But I’ve had the same set of sheets for probably 8 years! I definitely need new ones. A friend gave me a duvet and various pillows so time ago. They are good quality and I am very grateful for them, however, the fabric is dark and dated and I could definitely replace them and have the sheets, duvet and pillows all work together. I’ve been purging a lot of stuff around my house lately and now the areas are clear of clutter I want to repaint and restyle the rooms. The tips in this post will certainly help.

  52. Heidi says:

    Mmmm, one thing I love about our old full bed was that it was FREE!!! I want a new bed, new bedding, and a new mattress stat!

  53. Monique says:

    I love my funky 4 poster bed, the bedding and most importantly, the side-sleeper pillows that were a splurge, but totally worth it! The thing I do not like- my guest bed… I need inspiration to make it unique and fun for friends and family. I’ll definitely be using these tips- thank you!

  54. Maria M says:

    Love my bedding…but I’d love to replace my too soft mattress. Realized after reading your post I really do need the third Euro sham … would love to win book to get more great ideas.

  55. Great tips on bed making! I’m also loving the trend of off centered throw pillows to help make the room feel more casual and relaxed. Never thought of the Euro sham staple – a great idea for a girl that likes a lot of pillows :)

    Also enjoyed the example photos associated with each tip. It gave me some ideas on pattern layering – specifically around balance and proportions. With my duvet cover being a little busy in pattern, I definitely realized that a larger print is needed to help complete the look.

    Keep up the thoughtful tips and tricks!

  56. Beccy says:

    My favorite part of my bed has got to be my husband sleeping next to me. After that, its the feather topper — we just sink in and….ah!!! wouldn’t change a thing! FYI—love your site!

  57. Megan says:

    I’ve suddenly been in a mood to re-do my bed and this post came at the perfect time! Thanks for the tips!! I love my comforter (my bff made it for me), but I’ve had it awhile and I want to make a change. hmmmm…

  58. Holley says:

    I love the red, gray and blue color scheme! I used soothing pastel blues and greens on my bed and window treatments and I love the peaceful restful feeling I get every time I walk through the door.

  59. glenda b says:

    I love how comfortable our king sized bed is and how it feels like a big hug at the end of the day. I really need to thing about refreshing the current bed skirt or maybe just doing without one.:l

  60. Andrea says:

    What a timely post! I am currently shopping for new bedding…six years with the same stuff gets a little dull. These tips were great and will definitely help me as I put together our new look.

  61. My favorite thing about our bed is the quilt that I made for it! It makes it more personal & more us :) I would love to change the actual bed frame itself though to something a bit nicer…

  62. I’ll answer both!

    What’s your favorite thing about your bed?
    The fabrics, I’m using silk, faux fur and expensive sheets…the investment is so worth it!

    What’s the one thing you want to change?
    The room has turned a bit dark for my liking…would like to brighten up the bed some!

  63. Michelle says:

    My favorite thing about our bed is the size, Cal King, which is such a luxury! The thing I like least is our comforter. It is dated, and showing wear from kids and pets. An update is in the works. Hopefully sooner than later!

  64. Tara M says:

    I love a small, long, narrow pillow I hand sewed and hand beaded. It doesn’t quite go with the room yet but it is really fun and decorative. I really want to make a new duvet cover. Something that pulls the room together and makes a statement.

  65. Hillary says:

    I love my mattress, but would like to change the headboard (I attempted to make one on my own and I’m not in love), as well as find the perfect dust ruffle and some accent blankets and new sheets… I pretty much have alot of work to do on my bed.

  66. Elisabeth says:

    That looks like a beautiful book; I would love to page through it! About my bed… I don’t like too much about it at this time except for the frame; it’s an iron canopy and I am crazy about it! But that’s about it. I don’t like my mattress, I don’t like my pillow and I don’t like my bedding. I’m just not sure how to put together something that I will like, and I don’t really care for bed-in-a-bag solutions. I’ve bought a couple of those in the past and they just didn’t strike my fancy too much.

  67. Marianne Stenlund says:

    Oh, how I wish I could have a bedframe but if not that, then at least a homemade headboard from your tutorial. My bedroom just doesn’t flow so I think I just need to start over….we got the bedspread 6 years ago and I think I thought I loved it then but really I think I liked the embroidered pillows the most instead of the actual bedspread. Oh, how I need this book to guide me in purchases so I don’t hate something 6 years later!

  68. Danielle says:

    What I love about my bed is the mattress! It’s so soft and comfy mmmmm…

  69. Kate says:

    My bed is a poster bed made for a canopy but all the inserts for the canopy frame are broken off. I have always wanted a canopy over my bed. It seems so romantic. the one thing I would change is to have a romantic yet untraditional canopy!

  70. Libby says:

    Love my mattress, definitely need a new headboard! Some great ideas in this post — thanks!

  71. Jenny says:

    I’ll play!

    The thing I love about my bed is the quilt I made for our 15th wedding anniversary.

    The thing I’d love to change is the skirt/pillow shams that match the old duvet.

    Thanks for the tips. They’re great.

  72. erica says:

    i love my fluffy duvet, i can take the inside out when it is too hot or change the cover for a new look. i hate that my bed squeaks every time i turn over though, as soon as i can, i am changing that bed frame.

  73. Torey says:

    Favorite thing is that we finally have a king size bed and I have memory foam on my side (husband decided he didn’t like his. . too bad, his loss). What I need to change. . .everything else! Hoping to make/buy an upholstered headboard in the near future (maybe using the memory foam that hubby ditched?). :)

  74. Beth says:

    Great tips, thank you! I would like to find the right decorative pillows for our bed.

  75. Sally says:

    Would love a King bed one day!! But for now I love the toile pattern we have going on in our room!

  76. Pilar says:

    I Love my king size bed, I need a new duster. I enjoyed all the advice on what kind of pillows to use.

  77. Ashley says:

    What I love most about my bed is my seagrass headboard! Hope I win!

  78. Megan says:

    What I love most about my bed is the patchwork quilt made from my grandmother’s scrap fabric.

  79. Carole Carnley says:

    I love that my bed was our gift to ourselves for our ten year anniversary. I would love to get a REALLY nice bedding set. I have a great duvet that I bought from Ikea in Germany about 8 years ago. I go back and forth between that and a light green hand me down comforter. It is time for a change. :) Hoping that while I am in Turkey I will be able to find some fab fabric at a steal and I will be able to make something. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  80. April says:

    What I would like to change about my bed is to add a fabric headboard. If I only had the time!

  81. Lauren says:

    Really like the tip of having a bed-sized quilt plus a spare twin-sized quilt. Ooooh eeee that’s snuggly.

    Upside of Canadian summers?? I can put this to work right away. You’re all jealous, right?

  82. Great post! This is something I always struggle with. My favorite part of our bed is the new quilt my mother-in-law made for us!

  83. Laura R says:

    I love my four post bed and because it is so high off the ground, i always feel like a Princess!

  84. Annie says:

    I love the colors of my bedding: a soothing blue-grey-green and lots of white

  85. Annie says:

    Hi – my favorite thing(s) are my down pillows and I would love to add some color to my all-white look, but I am having a hard time deciding which color and how much!

  86. lisaroy says:

    My favourite thing is my memory foam thick pad on top of my mattress that makes me feel like I’m floating in a bed of meringue :)

  87. Lindy says:

    I love my cream silk duvet cover that I got on clearance from Bed Bath and Beyond.

  88. Lindy says:

    I love my cream silk duvet cover that I got on clearance from Bed Bath and Beyond.

  89. Kim says:

    I need to add more color to my bed with some nice pillows.

  90. Robin says:

    I’d change the fact that we don’t have a bed frame!!! Drives me crazy!!! Much to easy for the kids to climb on and mess up!! (But I do love their morning snuggles!)

  91. I love my bed! It is the first piece of furniture my hubby and I ever bought together, when we were prego with the first of four kids. It is a modified simple sleigh bed. I wish the wood was a different color, but not enough that I want to put the work in to change it! :)

  92. Meredith says:

    I love my bed frame–King size Ikea Hemnes. It is simple and sleek. Love it. I would like to add more bedding. Just more pillows and maybe another blanket to add more color. :)

  93. Christi says:

    My favorite thing about my bed is that the whole family fits! From the husband, to both kids, to mama and the golden retriever–we can all snuggle in and get cozy!

  94. Rhonda says:

    I just thought I loved my bed until I read this today! :} I love my soft sheets but think it’s time for new ones. I love them so much that I wash them and put right back on! Kinda getting worn out now.!!
    Would love to start over and get all new bedding because my taste is differant now.
    I love your blog Kate. You have me hooked on the blogging world now and I just can’t get enough.
    Thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas!!

  95. Linda M. says:

    I don’t like my headboard because there isn’t one at the moment.

  96. Christina says:

    I love that our bed is big–a King–so I have lots of room ofr comfy pillows. I hate our mattress! It has two huge dips in it where we sleep and it kills us every night. We’re saving our pennies though, to get an awesome one. Also, I’d like some Euros and fun decorative pillows.

  97. ellen says:

    My bedroom is in the middle of a renovation, but what I am looking for is a light quilt to layer over our duvet – on my side only as I am the one who is always cold.

  98. Eva says:

    I love my mattress, It is memory foam and sooo comfortable.

  99. Monique says:

    Beautiful pictures and great tips. I’m in the middle of trying to decide what changes to make on our bedroom.

  100. Suki says:

    The very first thing I want to change is getting a bed frame. When we moved last year, the lame metal frame broke and so we just put our box springs/mattress on the floor. I know what type of bed I want and I even printed out Ana White’s plans to make it. We just haven’t had the funds quite yet for it.

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