To duvet or not to duvet, that is the question. We tend to be very opinionated over the “correct” way to make a bed, and old habits tend to stick. House & Garden Features Assistant Elizabeth Metcalfe shares how interiors experts make up the most dreamy beds – from pillow configuration to thread count – it’s time to go to the mattresses!
HOUSE & GARDEN COLUMNIST AND INTERIOR DESIGNER
I love silk duvets; they are lovely to sleep in once you get used to how light they are. They make up like blankets so you can achieve that lovely old-fashioned bed look without the bother of three blankets. Gingerlily make beautiful ones. I have a feather topper on the bed, which is from Soak & Sleep. Soak & Sleep also do great duvets.
I always like to have at least two pillows. It’s nice to have a square one because it’s nice to sit up in bed with a big pillow behind you. The square pillow can be slightly firmer than others, but the standard pillow that you sleep on should be the best you can afford. I think that Siberian goose down is the best.
The square pillows are in ‘Violettes Pink’ pillowcases from Porthault, which I absolutely love. They have an incredible sale twice a year at the Porthault in New York and I always try and stock up. The pillows at the back with the pretty pink undulating edge are also from Porthault, but the Monogrammed Linen Shop on Walton Street, London also does similar ones. The other sheets on the bed are an amazingly soft percale with very fine embroidery.
I like to sleep on a relatively hard mattress, with a silk filled mattress topper from Gingerlily on top. It feels like you’re sleeping on a cloud, and you sink into it but are still held. I know you don’t see it, but it is the comfort that counts.
I used to really dislike duvets and was the eiderdown and blankets sort. But they are now light as a feather. So many people don’t know about hospital corners, and fitted sheets are a good, safe option. They keep everything in place. There is nothing nicer than pure high thread count cotton. I like white linen, but it can be nice to have a little coloured embroidery, which ties in with the palette of the room. I love the ‘Spring’ range from the Monogrammed Linen Shop.
I like to put a lavender bag on top of the pillows when guests stay. It encourages sleep and is soothing.
INTERIOR DESIGNER AT SIBYL COLEFAX & JOHN FOWLER
When it comes to mattresses, buy the best you can possibly afford. A firm mattress, with a feather bed topper works well.
I’m a sheets and blankets person. I really hate duvets and think you should only use them on bunkbeds when you cannot possibly make the bed up with sheets and blankets. A nice cashmere blanket is lovely; Simon Playle sells blankets by French manufacturer Brun de Vian-Tiran, which are super luxurious.
For sheets, I like white linen, but occasionally coloured can work well. For crisp organic cotton percale sheets, I like Gayle Warwick. I also love Volga Linen. Merci in Paris do some beautiful soft rose linen sheets, which are ravishing.
In terms of pillows, people tend to all have very different views. Personally, I like to use a soft, full down top pillow from Duxiana and a firm latex under pillow from John Lewis.
SARAH STEWART-SMITH, INTERIOR DESIGNER
I like to use good quality, pure cotton sheets with a high thread count. The White Company and The Linen Press do perfectly good ones. The Ghost range at The Linen Press is wonderful.
It may seem obvious, but when you wash your sheets, don’t ever mix colours. Always wash white with white. Otherwise, sheets can become a tired grey colour.
Antique linen is absolutely wonderful – try and find some. France is full of it. I always buy a piece of linen whenever I can and make it into the top of a bedspread.
I like to put slightly quilted bedspread on my bed. It should be big enough to fall down over the edge. I love the combination of natural linen sheets with a silk or velvet bedspread.
The idea of my bed not having a good airflow horrifies me; I always fold the bedspread and duvet back in half so that the mattress has air at all times.