Bedding is an unavoidable necessity in virtually all homes, but it is arguably one of the most complicated and difficult to master when it comes to interior design. And it is of particular importance in the Hamptons, which is famous for its residents hosting overnight guests.
While one can acquire a beautiful bed frame, mattress, and other elements for the bedroom, the bedding itself is perhaps the most critical finishing touch in ensuring that the entire look comes together. To the surprise of no one, even slightly unkempt bedding can spell disaster and send your guests running for the hills — or the bay.
To ease the selection process, I can break down the elements into three key layers: inner, middle and outer.
The inner layer consists of such items as mattress toppers, pads, duvet inserts, pillow inserts, and the like. These are the pieces that you can’t necessarily see directly, but that you can definitely feel, and will also impact the overall shape and size of the bedding as a whole. For example, I always start the bedroom phase of our projects by ensuring that we have not only an ample featherbed or mattress topper, but also sumptuous inserts for both the duvet cover and pillow covers. To miss this step is to ensure that your project will literally fall flat. These elements aid in sleeping comfort, as well as fullness and roundness to the middle and outer layers on top. As a rule, there is generally nothing sadder than deflated and thin bedding —it typically just feels off, and doesn’t invite the kind of experience most people prefer when it comes to their slumber.
The middle layer consists largely of sheeting: fitted sheets, flat sheets, duvet covers, pillow covers and shams. These are changed regularly, unlike the inner layer, and to ensure consistency, should be thought of as a cohesive whole rather than discrete elements to be purchased separately. It’s important to find fabric that suits the user, and remember that quality is key. While the digital age may make it easier to order discount sheeting at the click of a button and receive it the next day, one would be wise to remember that, although largely asleep, one will likely spend more time in a single set of bedding than any individual article of clothing they own, and should invest in its comfort wisely.
The outer layer consists of all other elements that are generally decorative: throw pillows, throw blankets and the like. They can be a little superfluous and controversial, as they’re often simply tossed onto a bench — or worse, the floor — before hopping into bed. (And they will always add time to the morning bed-making process as well.) But, with the right set of limited elements, one can easily elevate the entire experience to a more personal and interesting one, and have something to change seasonally as one wishes. For the budget-conscious, investing in the outer layer over the middle is often an attractive solution, as these are the components that usually catch the eye first, and thereby set the tone.
For overall looks, I will explore three different approaches perfect for the East End home that cover a broad range of styles, as well as levels of insulation.
To start, there’s the most pure and minimalist approach, which I generally refer to as the “shroud.” While the word may have some morbid connotations, it’s timeless, easy, and currently on trend. Essentially, this look consists of your typical inner and middle layers, without the pressure of selecting color-coordinated sheeting, and is dominated by a simple fabric coverlet that wraps the entire mattress and is tucked slightly into the pillows. It’s perfect for summer, and for people who run at warmer temperatures at night year-round. (Bed making is also a breeze and takes all of 10 seconds.) I typically opt for a solid linen coverlet in an unsaturated, complementary color for the room. For the Hamptons look, stick to white or your favorite shade of off-white.
Next, we have a familiar and everyday arrangement that I usually refer to as our “laid back” look. This is great for primary or full-time residents and is particularly appropriate for younger demographics. It consists of sheeting in a personal color, unfolded to a degree, and is topped by decorative throw pillows and a statement duvet cover. With a quick toss of the throw pillows, it’s ready for jumping right in after a long day at the beach.
Finally, I present a look that ultimately always evokes sophistication and comfort, which we consider to be the current standard for “luxury,” as it is also known. It’s a modern take on more formal, traditional bedding arrangements, and consists of a dual stack of either standard or king pillows on either side of the bed, matching upright decorative pillows, a tightly placed flat sheet tucked over a sumptuous and bed-sized blanket, and finally topped with a tri-folded duvet at the foot.
There are certainly countless ways beyond these three to pursue one’s own personal bedding preference, and iterations on these themes are also always welcome. Above all, be sure to keep an eye on the big picture and not focus too much on one or two elements, but rather, make selections in the context of all of the items that a single space’s bedding comprises. In the end, simplicity, especially in today’s world, is usually the safest — and most appealing — bet.
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