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Coverlets and Bedskirts

Martha Stewart Living, February 2000

Once you have equipped a bed with the necessary linens and made it up for optimal comfort, you'll probably start thinking about all the decorative extras that make the bedroom attractive and cozy. Bedcovers, pillows, and bed skirts complete the look, provide additional warmth and head support, and even hide hardware and bed frames.

Because they are lightweight, coverlets are ideal for use during the warmer months. Or they can simply decorate a bed in any season. You can make a coverlet from a favorite fabric or even a vintage tablecloth (just stitch a backing to the tablecloth, and insert cotton batting between the layers of fabric). Matelasse coverlets are made from cotton woven on a Jacquard loom, resulting in a raised pattern, similar to that of quilts.

Warm wool blankets are a necessity in cold weather, and with a basic sewing machine and a dexterous pair of hands, you can make extras for all the bedrooms in your home. Start with a length of soft flannel or any weave that feels good next to the skin, then trim, fringe, stitch, or monogram it as you wish. Although blanket sizes aren't standardized, dimensions are roughly 60 inches in width by 90 inches in length for a twin; 80 by 90 inches for a double; 90 by 90 inches for a queen; and 105 by 90 inches for a king.

Bed skirts provide the chance to make an exuberant point in your bedroom. Highlight a favorite fabric, play up the color scheme, or simply give your bed a well-tailored foundation. Bed skirts also obscure the bed's legs and hide its underbelly (along with whatever might be hiding there). But bed skirts don't need to take a frilly form; consider the simple lines of a flat sheet, free of ruffles and pleats.

When choosing these decorative extras, seek out textures you want to touch, colors that you find pleasing, and patterns and trimmings that charm you. Above all, choose items that express your style -- whether traditional or contemporary, spare or whimsical -- with confidence.

Comments (3)

  • nanikona 2 Sep, 2011

    Where do I find a simple duvet or bedspread that is long enough to cover the mattress. I just bought a Cal King that is 84" long and 12" deep. So it would have to be over 96" long, more like 100" since I want it to clear the mattress by a couple inches. I can't find anything except 50's style bedspreads or pieced quilts. Why don't the designers make them big enough. I have heard this same complaint for a lot of people. Help!

  • sandra210sc 13 Sep, 2010

    Using a bedskirt for a canopy is a great idea! I read a lot of decorating magazines and online articles but have never heard of anyone doing that. I may just try it myself.

  • yankeecook 4 Feb, 2008

    I wanted to have a warm feeling when entering my bedroom and also try to keep dust down that seems to accumulate so easily. With so many beautiful Bed skirts on the market I came up with the idea of using my Bed Skirt as a Canopy over my bed. It not only dressed up the looks of the bed area, but kept the dust down that so easily falls from the plastered ceilings and ceiling fans. I used thumbtacks to attach canopy to ceiling making it very easy to take down wash, and/or change each season.