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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.

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