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How to Make a Luxurious Bed

Gail Davis Designs showhouse bedroom

It is my passion to turn homes into personal retreats, and there is no space where that is more important the primary bedroom. I've found that many clients are reluctant to spend too much time, effort, and money on their bedroom spaces, preferring to focus on the areas where guests will spend time. But, I strongly believe that the bedroom should be a well-thought-out retreat from the stresses of the world. I want my clients to feel like they are staying at the Four Seasons each night and have a beautiful space to withdraw from the world, unwind, and connect with their partners.

We'll start with the bed -- the anchor of the room. I have a strong preference for upholstered beds and headboards. They bring so much softness to the room and are an opportunity to break up all of the hard surfaces of the case goods. There is just not a substitute for their coziness. I also prefer not to use too many pillows, so the headboard is a chance to bring a strong decorative element with fabric, an interesting shape, or a detail like tufting or an unusual welt.

bedroom with upholstered headboard and antique mirror

Design by Drew McGukin

Since the bed is the anchor of the room, the bedding has a big impact on the overall look and feel of the room. The sheets are the most important thing to consider when it comes to a luxurious bed, and I always go with either 100 percent combed Egyptian cotton or 100 percent linen. Personally, I like a percale year-round and sateen only in the coldest months for the best texture and breathability. There is a misconception that higher thread count equals a higher-quality sheet, but in truth, anything higher than 400 thread count belongs on your table, and not on your bed. If the count is too high, the bedding will not breathe, and well, you can see where that is going.

When I'm installing a home, I always dress the bed personally, and make sure the sheets are freshly washed and lightly ironed for that luxury-hotel feeling. There is just nothing better than climbing into clean sheets at the end of a long day and my clients always ask for my method after sleeping in their new beds for the first time.

bedroom with grasscloth

Design by Brian Paquette | Photo by Haris Kenjar

On top of the sheets, I like a light-to-medium blanket and then the coverlet or bedspread. If one partner is colder, I'll include a throw for an extra layer. A mountain of decorative throw pillows feels a little fussy to me (not to mention, where do they go at night?) so I typically specify sleeping pillows, a pair of loungers that fit the size of the bed, and a long pillow with a monogram or pretty embroidery for the front.

My favorite sources are Casa Del Bianco and Deborah Sharpe for bedding, towels, and really any type of linens. Working with small, bespoke businesses means that all the products are custom-made and I can choose everything down to the thread on the loom, making each bed a one-of-a-kind experience. I am always looking for products of the highest quality and longevity, and linens of this quality -- when laundered properly -- will last much longer than what you can buy off the shelf.

Gail Davis Designs showhouse bedroom

Next to the bed, I like to use a pair of matching table lamps -- the bigger, the better -- or, wall-mounted sconces with articulating arms, which are especially nice for those who like to read in bed. Some rooms call for a special light fixture centered over the bed, and of course, all of the switches should be accessible from the bed. I typically keep headboards no higher than 48 inches from the floor, which leaves room for a pretty mirror or piece of artwork above.

If you would like me to create a one-of-a-kind retreat for your bedroom, please fill out our design inquiry form.


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