At the beginning of the 1970s, a particularly ‘domestic’ revolution was taking place, this wasn’t the ‘Chuck Out Your Chintz’ advertising campaign (as extolled by Swedish furniture giant, IKEA) – that came later. Households up and down the country were, in fact, joyfully ditching blankets, eiderdowns and flat sheets – breaking free from the chains of endless bed making and the ironing that entailed…
This was ‘the dawn of the duvet’, its cover and fitted sheet (and no, this isn’t the title of a bad sci-fi movie). In fact, if you were to analyse landfill of this period, you would probably find the earth’s strata layered metres deep with blankets, sheets and quilts… With its myriad selection of patterned polycotton covers, the Continental duvet represented more design fun and freedom for women. No excuse for men not to make a bed and no more hospital corners…
Duvets vs sheets and blankets
Now here’s the rub. If you have ever had the pleasure of sleeping in a bed with sheets, blankets and quilt – and let’s face it, these days you may only have experienced this in a luxury hotel – you might quietly mourn the passing of traditional bed-making not only for the way it looks in a room but possibly for the night’s sleep it gives you.
Of course it’s clear, that without ‘staff’ or devoting your entire day to washing and ironing why the duvet revolution took hold. But it is interesting how these days the key ingredients for a luxury or boutique hotel room, will often now include, woollen blankets, the best-quality cotton sheets, silk eiderdowns, super large headboards and valances. Who can dispute how fantastic it looks and feels to sleep *tucked up in a bed with freshly ironed sheets.
*(tucked up = when sheets and blankets are tucked in to mattress and you are in effect semi-swaddled!)
20th century nostalgia
In the early 1990s Cath Kidston spearheaded the nostalgic ‘vintage look’ which focuses on floral decorating themes from the 1940s to 1960s. This look is still enthusiastically embraced for its femininity and general sense of cosiness by many people including instagrammers such as @tamsynmorgans and @lisa_loves_vintage. I also adore too the quintessentially English fabrics and wallpaper designs from Cabbages and Roses and Peony and Sage.
It has been proven that the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep has made the difference between achieving a bronze or a gold medal at the Olympics, to getting better grades at school or even living a little longer. Some people fall asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow but for others, a little coaxing is required such as turning off all electronic gadgets, getting a regular bedtime routine to spritzing a little lavender across a pillow.
10 top styling tips for ultimate bedroom style and hopefully a decent night’s kip too!
1. Turn down the heating – you will sleep better in a cool room
Create a luxury hotel-style bed with either the best-quality blankets, sheets, quilt or bedspread you can afford. Or for ease of upkeep, swap the blankets and top sheet for a duvet and cover. Take inspiration from UK interior designer Kit Kemp and her immaculate hotel bedroom style…
2. Choose a supersize headboard
3. Find a bed that creates just a little drama in your room.
Style your bed with a quilt and maybe a reindeer or sheepskin rug in the winter time. You can find vintage quilts in vintage shops, car boot sales and in online auction sites but for a spot of luxury this Autumn, depending on budget you might also consider a made-to-measure quilt from the following: Counting Lambs, The Dormy House or Vanessa Arbuthnott;
Chloe Lamb, owner of quilt and Eiderdown makers, Counting Lambs believes that “there is a growing trend in interior design and also in fashion to purchase well made, high-end goods which may be more expensive but look better.” Chloe was inspired by all the fabulous Eiderdowns in the TV series Downton Abbey and believes “that the importance of sleep with people’s demanding and pressurised lives, means that their bedroom needs to be a cosy sanctuary as well as somewhere that will look spectacular too”.
(Photos left and right: Eiderdowns by Counting Lambs).
5. Top notch bedlinen
Buy the best 100% cotton or linen you can (with the highest cotton thread count) – to make it feel like a luxury hotel, finding bedlinen with a simple trim such as these sets from Zara Home and The White Company won’t break the bank and will make your bed feel all the more luxurious (#pleasezarahomeopenastoreinReading).
The White Company:
6. Iron your sheets with lavender water.
7. Pillow power
Opt for the best duck/down pillows you can (or if you have allergies, try non-allergic versions). Style with either four oblong pillows or two large square pillows and two oblong pillows. Finish off your luxury bed with two or more boutique (decorative) cushions or one long oblong one. For all of these, try your luck at Homesense who sell designer makes for a lot less.
8. Mattress topper
9. Symmetrical wall lights or table lamps
Create exactly the right ambient light for winding down at night. This is my round-up of the most stylish classic wall lights from £20 by John Lewis and table lamps from £28 by B&Q. The styling is as smart as you could possibly expect from more expensive brands.
A posy of fresh roses, lilac and lavender stems by the bed is incredibly glamorous but should also help to enhance your sleep.
(left: styled by Charis White, Photography, David Brittain for Laura Ashley; right: styled by Charis White, Photography: Sandra Lane for BBC Homes & Antiques magazine)
I wish you a good night and hope this helps you to become a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ – just remember to set the alarm and try and wake up before Spring… zzzzZZZZ
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