The average person will spend more than 30 years in bed – so it follows that the bedroom ought to be a place we enjoy spending time. Textile expert and owner of Maisonette Virginia Dunn offers the following advice on making your bedroom a haven. 

Dunn suggests coordinating your bed with the overall design scheme of the bedroom and likes a layered look. While sheets don’t have to match as they won’t show when the bed is made, coverlets, bed skirts, shams and the like look best when they relate to the décor. If you’ve got a good mattress, she advises starting with a well-fitting mattress cover that will hold the sheets in place. Sheets should also be chosen for fit. Those made with long staple fibers and the correct cut (there are standard sizes as well as deeper cuts for thick mattresses) will hold their shape best. Texture and touch are important considerations for creating good sleep conditions – depending on preference. Percale sheets have a crisp hand, sateen a silky feel, linen a cool breathability and flannel a warm cocoon quality. Well-made synthetics offer a silky feel and easy care.

Layers are aesthetically pleasing and easy to change with the season. Dunn makes her bed with a cotton blanket that can be removed in warm weather and a coverlet that can be used as a layer of warmth and a finishing bed cover. Whether the bed is the focal point of the room or simply designed to blend in, decorative pillows and throws help tie the bed into the rest of the room. 

“It’s all about dressing the bed,” she said. 

When choosing furniture, measurements are key. A bedside table should be the right height for the bed. But it’s also important to consider how you use the room. A bedside table should provide space for things you keep on or in it. And if you read in bed, Dunn advises a lamp has appropriate height and a bulb with several levels of brightness.

In general, a place to sit is an essential ingredient. But those who consider their bedroom a sanctuary rather than just a place to sleep may want to include a comfortable sofa or chaise. 

Finally, when deciding on a palette for your bedroom, Dunn believes in selecting a color that makes you feel good – even if it’s not one traditionally considered quiet or soothing. “Your décor should reflect what pleases you,” she said. “I can’t think of anything less restful than sleeping in a room where you don’t love the surroundings.”

  1. A rug under or next to the bed adds an extra leg of tactile comfort.
  2. Lamps (in addition to overhead lighting) provide task and ambient light in a bedroom.
  3. Choose a down or down alternative pillow that fits your sleep style (stomach, side or back) for the right support. 

about the designer

Like her mother and grandmother before her, New Orleans native Virginia Dunn has a love affair with textiles. As a merchant, she’s designed and handknitted her own line of sweaters, and sold both hand-knotted rugs and high-end European linens. Five years ago, she opened Maisonette, which sells in-stock and custom bedding, nightwear, bath linens, rugs and more. “If it’s made of string,” Dunn said. “I like it.”