Wake up, sleepyhead, and take a look around. No place is more personal than where you rest your head, but are your sheets and shams (and so on) worthy of your wildest dreams? Prop yourself up on some pillows and read the following, where you'll uncover beds made just for you.
Left, top to bottom: Ratzer checked pillow, $130, ratzer.dk for stores. Looolo "Windows" throw blanket, $495, 2modern.com. Denyse Schmidt "Rugby Stripe" twin-size quilt, $730, 800-621-9017. Swans Island white/teal summer blanket, $525, swansislandblankets.com. Ikea "Olle" chair, $30, ikea.com.
If You Live with a Guy
You know your peach paisley duvet has to go. But so does the Heineken bar mirror he's snoozed beneath since college. To build a unisex bed where nobody feels short-sheeted, start with hues that aren't too masculine (dark, opaque browns and grays) or feminine (light, powdery pinks and blues). We combined yellow sheets, a teal blanket, an ash-gray duvet, and soft-brown shams to create a bright, cheery combo that won't make him feel marooned on planet Venus. And while you'll be avoiding all things frilly, you can still have fun with textures, like quilted canvas, fuzzy wool, and menswear-inspired stripes and checks. Paired with an archetypal bed frame stained in sheer yellow, "the look is both elegant and strong," says home editor Page Marchese Norman.
Ikea "Hemnes" four-poster bed, $300, ikea.com. Dwell "Draper Stripe" duvet cover, $276, dwellshop.com. Swans Island teal summer blanket, $775, swansislandblankets.com. The Company Store 400-thread-count wrinkle-free sateen Wheat flat sheet, $49, fitted sheet, $49, and pillowcases, $29 per pair, all at thecompanystore.com. Area Brick Brown quilted shams, $90 each, areahome.com. Lulan Artisans "Diamond Cut" pillow (nearest to window), $90, 843-722-0118.
If Your Decorating Style Runs Bold
You dream in vivid color, with lots of patterns. A simple strategy for pulling off hues with this kind of impact is to pick one neutral and two foundation colors, and then layer variations of those shades. If we had used just one red and just one pink with the white, the room would actually look boring, says home market editor Meryl Levin. And when it comes to mixing patterns, the rule is to vary the scale. For example, choose a quilt with an overall small pattern, and contrast that with bigger patterns on throw pillows, blankets, or a rug. Just keep adding big or small motifs until the bedding feels balanced, and be sure to incorporate some solids to avoid stimulation overload. If you want to take the whole effect to the next level, consider injecting black in the form of furniture, trim, floors, or accents. Its sophistication keeps most colors from going tacky -- or in this case, from going Barbie, Page says.
Ethan Allen "Quincy" bed, $1,600, ethanallen.com. Kerry Cassill "Red Swiss Circles" quilt, $298, kerrycassill.com. Pillows: "Palermo" standard shams, $135 each, olatz.com. Anthropologie "Haya" shams, $88 each, anthropologie.com. The Sandor Collection "Symmetry" pillow, $84, thesandorcollection.com. Michele Varian "Poppy" pillow, $144, michelevarian.com. Red "Miranda" neckroll sham, $30, wellappointedhouse.com. Transylvanian
embroidered pillow, $98, branchhome.com. Chart House iron "Plume" two-light sconce, $413, lighttrends.com. (Learn to make the shades here.)
More Punchy Color Options
Henry Road crimson/pink "Rio Samba" pillow, $75, and pink "Grid" pillow, $75, both at henryroad.com. The Company Store 200-thread-count solid percale Hibiscus fitted sheet, $24, thecompanystore.com. Designers Guild "Marinsky Scarlet" throw blanket, $340, designersguildusa.com. The Koko Company "Saigon" sham, $44, kokotrends.com. John Robshaw "Poppy" sham, $60, johnrobshaw.com. Anthropologie "Haya" quilt, $198, and "Louis" side table, $595, both at anthropologie.com.
If You Can't Commit
You fall in love with a different look every month. So why not literally change with the seasons? Invest in a solid white duvet and sheets/shams, and treat this as your neutral base. An all-white composition is a timeless classic that suits any space -- we were feeling a little bit country, so we added an oversize ruffled pillow, matelasse coverlet, and elaborate throw pillows. When the itch to move on inevitably strikes, all you need to do is alter a few key elements. "Quilts, throw pillows, and other small items in the room can easily be swapped in and out to make a bed feel completely different," Meryl says. Pretty much any accent pieces will work, if they pick up one or two of the same colors. An armload of bright graphic patterns instantly creates a more modern melange. Should you grow infatuated with an intricate blue-hued quilt, just add some coordinating Euro shams and throw pillows. Heck, trade the lamp and ottoman for pieces that resemble handmade baskets, and suddenly you have a whole Southeast Asian vibe going on. Well, at least until winter, anyway.
Modern scheme: Jonathan Adler "Richard Nixon" graphic throw blanket, $295, jonathanadler.com. Pillows: Dora Drimalas "Radial" pillow, $70, hybrid-home.com. Judy Ross "Trellis" pillow, $190, 2modern.com. Jonathan Adler "Crewel Trellis" pillow, $68, jonathanadler.com. Missoni Home "Moma" pillow, $165, 212-719-2338 for stores. Twinkle Living "Zigzag" pillow, $50, twinkleliving.com.
Southeast Asian scheme: Les Indiennes "Reverse Dot/Belle" quilt, $525; "India, Paris" euro shams, $100 each; and "Genevieve" pillow, $66; all at lesindiennes.com for stores. Pine Cone Hill "Indigo Knockout in White Ground" pillow, $38, and "Indian Knockout in Indigo Ground" pillow $44, both at pineconehill.com for stores. John Robshaw Textiles "Turquoise Medallion" pillow, $45, johnrobshaw.com. Pompom throw blanket, $50, Calypso Home, 212-925-6200.
White scheme: Charles P. Rogers "Cottage" headboard, $499, charlesprogers.com. Due by Matteo "Stitch" duvet cover, $295; standard shams, $95 each; and bed skirt, $195; all at matteohome.com. Martha Stewart "Trousseau" queen-size coverlet, $340, and "Trousseau" sawtooth dec pillow, $85, both at macys.com. Ankasa "New Garden" pillow, $490, 212-861-6800. White ruffled body pillow, $220, shabbychic.com for stores.
If Bed Is Where You Live
Make sure it's built for comfort -- and for breakfast eating, Web surfing, Sudoko-ing, Netflix-watching (is there really anything worth doing that you can't do horizontally?). To create an invitingly rumpled and extra-functional haven, first splurge on fabulous sheets. Despite the hype -- 800-thread count! Pima! Egyptian! -- the true test is which ones make you loathe the phrase "rise and shine" more than you already do. The glossary below will help you sort the options.
Personally, we won't get out of bed for anything but soft, relaxed, and durable washed linen. We layered on more linen with the duvet; its stripes lend the bed just enough nondisruptive color. "I love how wrinkles only make linen feel more welcoming," says Page, who would never, ever be bothered to iron it. A frayed linen bed skirt and jute blanket complete the bed and its focus on natural fibers. Accessorize with a tray and a roomy storage basket to keep must-haves within arm's reach (a month's worth of weekly tabloids), and swivel reading lamps to illuminate whatever task is at hand (getting to know Brangelina's latest adoptee).
Silk Trading Company "Connolly Linen" headboard, $1,440, 212-966-5464. Libeco "Allie Stripe" duvet cover, $391, libecohomestores.com. Area "Simone" linen standard pillowcases, $60 per pair; queen-size fitted or flat sheet, $225; and pleated "Fold" pillow, $85; all at areahome.com for stores. Eileen Fisher by Garnet Hill "Washed Linen" bed skirt, $108, and shams, $65 each, both at garnethill.com. G.T. Design "Jute" throw blanket (between flat sheet and duvet cover), $380, Suite New York, 212-421-3300. Hand-rubbed antique brass "Boston Functional Library" two-arm wall lights, $210 each, circalightin.com. Oak breakfast tray, $85, koodekir.com. Handmade African basket, $75, Ochre, 212-414-4332.
Sleep on It
A higher thread count doesn't guarantee a softer sheet: What matters most is that the fibers are long and smooth. Rely on a simple touch-test, which might reveal that those nice 200-count sheets feel better than the bargain-basement 600-counts. Here's how some of our favorite fibers and textures stack up.
Soft and a bit stretchy, they also keep you warm; we like the beech version, because the trees are grown sustainably. Bed Bath and Beyond "Pure Beech" jersey sheets, $50 for queen set, bedbathandbeyond.com.
2. Bamboo-Cotton Blend
Made from 60 percent renewable bamboo, these feel delightfully silky, thanks to the plant's fine fibers. Karen Neuburger bamboo sheets, $80 for queen set, bonton.com for stores.
3. Organic Cotton
All the ease and breathability of cotton, minus harsh bleaches and dyes. Pottery Barn organic cotton sheets, $189 for queen set, potterybarn.com.
4. Washed Linen
We like this broken-in version of the crisp, cool, flax-fiber classic. Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic "White Whisper" linen sheets, $250 for flat sheet, shabbychic.com for stores.
Finely spun cotton makes these the smoothest sheets around, with a hint of sheen (but not the shine of satin). Wamsutta "600 Elite" sateen sheets, $90 for flat sheet, lnt.com.
Fluffy cotton will keep you toasty during the cold months ahead. Garnet Hill "Frosted Heather" flannel sheets, $112 for queen set, garnethill.com.