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Shelving fills the wall area above the bed nicely and provides a prime spot to showcase art and lightweight objects. Just be sure to follow the mounting instructions carefully. You can’t go wrong with shirting-stripe patterned linens—they’re gender-neutral, especially in shades of blue and gray.
Styling Smarts: The Bedside Table
While it doesn’t have to be an official nightstand, opt for a piece that offers storage. Models with drawers conceal clutter best, but if you’re in a tight space, try a stool or chair.
Get the Look: Fairwater Collection Full/Queen Comforter 3-Piece Set (comforter and shams), nordstrom.com, $150. Fairwater Collection Euro Shams, nordstrom.com, $50 each. Mason Quilted Ombre 36 x 16-inch Pillow with feather-down insert in White, CB2 stores and cb2.com, $90.
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Traditional with a Twist
Room with no view? Center a mirror over your bed and give it the window treatment—flanking it with curtain panels hung from a rod. Classic hotel linens with a thick border complement the setup and frame the bed’s shape beautifully.
Punch up solid white bedding with a printed toss pillow.
A little decor goes a long way. Stick to essentials like a lamp and an accessory or two, such as an alarm clock or framed photo.
Styling Smarts: The Throw
Lay a folded blanket at the foot of the bed for chilly nights. Then tuck it away in the warmer months.
Get the Look: The Linden Grey Border Duvet Cover and Shams, craneandcanopy.com, $35 to $159 each. Tommy Bahama Throw, HomeGoods stores for similar styles, $30. Threshold Casa Roca Frame in Gold, target.com, $13. HomeGoods Distressed Nightstand in Charcoal Gray, homegoods.com for stores, $60.
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This look is all about layering textiles with various textures. Mount a curtain rod over your bed to display a favorite throw or tapestry, perhaps from your travels. Tassels make this trend, so look for pillows and throws trimmed in fringe or pom-poms.
Styling Smarts: Euro Shams
Wooden or metal headboard owners (or anyone who has a faux version) shouldn’t skimp on Euros. A set offers support and comfort when sitting up in bed. No need to line them up perfectly straight—overlapping pairs are inviting.
Good to Know: Starting in spring 2017, all West Elm 100% cotton bedding will be certified organic.
Get the Look: Organic Half Moon Duvet Cover and Shams, westelm.com, $29 to $129. Hable Dot Shams, garnethill.com, $78 each. Anthropologie Collaged Majida Throw (shown as a wall hanging) anthropologie.com, $148. Nate Berkus Striped Tassle Throw Blanket in Ivory, target.com, $35. HomeGoods Handcrafted Throw Pillow with Tassels in Brown and Cream, homegoods.com for stores, $50.
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Peel-and-stick wallpaper in a pretty pattern delivers the decorative punch of a headboard without the bulk and high cost. Trace your desired shape on panels, cut to size and install following manufacturer’s instructions. This digitally printed, watercolor-inspired stripe is made out of fabric, so it’s easy to reposition (and ultimately remove) in case of a mistake.
Small-scale prints (tiny dots, mini florals, ticking stripes) are visually quiet, making them well-suited for sleep spaces.
Quilts are back and better than ever. This medium-weight Parachute design updates the classic box pattern with its washed linen front and soft cotton reverse, so you get the benefits of both fabrics.
Styling Smarts: Bedside Lamp
Tabletop lamps provide a soft glow for reading. Add a dimmer for ambience. Drum-style shades work with any decor, but a task lamp may be best for true directional light. To free up nightstand space, try a wall-mounted or swing-arm sconce.
Get the Look: Rebecca Atwood x Chasing Paper Stripes in Grey, chasingpaper.com, $40 per 2 x 4-foot panel. Parachute Essential Quilt in Graphite, parachutehome.com, $229 for full/queen. Parachute Essential Shams in Graphite, parachutehome.com, $80/set of 2 standard shams. Hable Printed Percale Bedding in Pink Stardust, garnethill.com, $40 to $168. Threshold Herringbone Ceramic Table Lamp in Gray, target.com, $35. Nate Berkus Fringe Oblong Decorative Pillow 18 x 18 inches in Gray, target.com, $25. HomeGoods Throw Blanket in Cream and Gray, homegoods.com for stores, $22.
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Pro Shopping Tips
How to Choose the Best Bed Linens
Karin Sun, founder of luxury bedding company Crane & Canopy, makes bed linens for a living. Here's her shopping cheat sheet.
Thread Count Generally, fabrics with higher thread counts are manufactured from finer threads, which results in a softer, smoother feel. But no need to go into the thousands—300 to 430 is the sweet spot for a premium option.
Material Poly-cotton blends and polyester styles such as rayon or Tencel are less prone to wrinkling, but they’re also less breathable than 100% cotton. If you tend to sleep hot, you’re better off sticking to an all-cotton product.
Staple For cottons, the longer the raw fiber, or staple, the higher the quality. Bedding made from long and extra-long staples will be more durable and pill less over time.
Weave Choose a smooth cotton sateen for silky and lustrous bedding. Crisp-sheet lovers will prefer percales.
Country of Origin Location can be misleading. While Egyptian cotton had long been synonymous with best-in-class, over the years things have changed. Other countries, especially Italy, produce high-quality sheeting too.
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Pro Styling Tips
How to Get Your Perfect Look
Creating your dream bed shouldn’t be a nightmare. Jill Edwards, a New York–based stylist who specializes in soft goods, stuffed the duvets and fluffed the pillows on these pages to perfection. Here, her recommendations for a beautiful setup.
What’s inside matters. Buy the best pillow inserts you can afford, and choose feather down comforters and duvet inserts (as long as no one’s allergic). Generally speaking, down holds its shape better versus polyester fiberfill, which tends to clump and stiffen. Macy’s Charter Club Vail Elite Soft Density down pillows are a reasonably priced standard-size option when on sale. Unison, a Chicago home furnishings company, sells U.S.-made down bedding at unisonhome.com.
Bigger is better. A Euro sham typically measures 26 x 26 inches, but a 28 x 28-inch insert will completely fill it. Rule of thumb: Buy slightly oversize inserts for throw pillows as well.
Don’t waste time ironing sheets. The undone look is in. If creases drive you crazy, misting linens with a spray bottle of water will ease out wrinkles.
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Organic cottons are free of toxic pesticides and fertilizers, which lessens their impact on the environment although it raises their price. If someone in your family has skin sensitivities, certified organic textiles like these options may be your best choice.
This California-based company brought organic cotton bedding to the United States 25 years ago and continues to lead the category with luxe linens sourced from Fair Trade farms and factories.
Honeycomb Blanket, coyuchi.com, from $178 each
Boll & Branch
Organic flannel sheets and shams are super cozy for the winter but still breathable.
Flannel Sheet Set, bollandbranch.com for wait list, from $250
Organic cottons tend to be solids, but if you look for patterns, you can find them. This cloud-colored marbleized cushion would be great paired with plain white bedding.
Glacier Bay Square Throw Pillow in White/Blue, bedbathandbeyond.com, $60
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This new line of bedding from NuSleep captures and releases moisture so that your body can maintain its ideal core temperature.
NuSleep Powered by 37.5 Technology Bedding, nusleepbedding.com, $30 to $199
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Best Modern Mattresses, Part 1
Every seven years or so, treat yourself to a new mattress. Consider these new modern models—all ship directly to your door. They also offer no-risk trials if you need to sleep on it, literally. Most don’t even require a box spring.
Cocoon by Sealy
A classic memory foam mattress that comes in two styles, Classic or Chill. The latter features special cooling technology.
Cocoonbysealy.com, $399 to $999
Bonus points go to this mattress for its two anti-microbial layers that kill bacteria and protect against allergens like dust mites.
Hyphensleep.com, $475 to $875
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Best Modern Mattresses, Part 2
Soft and firm come in the same package—simply rotate the bed 180 degrees to find your preference. You can also remove the cover for dry cleaning.
Ososleep.com, $700 to $1,000
Three layers of foam deliver bounce, contouring pressure relief and core support. Leesa’s charitable too: For every 10 mattresses sold, they’ll donate one to a homeless shelter.
Leesa.com, $525 to $1,040
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Calming, Soothing Lavender
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Sophisticated Underbed Storage
Leave the plastic underbed containers to college coeds—instead, try a sophisticated braided rattan bin. The lid keeps dust bunnies at bay, while the cotton lining lets whatever’s stored inside breathe.
Ikea Römskog Underbed Storage Box, ikea.com for stores, $50
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Rise and Shine
Sleep experts frown on having your iPhone be your alarm, so go back to a clock or the Philips Wake-up Light. Designed to mimic a sunrise, the lamp slowly gets brighter half an hour before your scheduled call time.
Philips Wake-up Light, usa.philips.com, from $140