March is National Bed Month so celebrate by turning your bedroom into a super sanctuary. Gabrielle Fagan finds beds, bedding and decor tips for the boudoir, so you can swoon and snooze in style.
If there’s one place in the home that should be a peaceful retreat, where it’s almost impossible not to instantly rest and relax, it’s the bedroom.
To mark the fact that March is the Sleep Council’s National Bed Month, we’ve asked the famous and celebrated to reveal their secrets for a beautiful bedroom.
Be inspired by the founder of The White Company, Chrissie Rucker; designers Zandra Rhodes and Rachel Ashwell; the presenter of TV’s Location, Location, Location, Kirstie Allsopp, and pop superstar Kylie Minogue.
She’s the designer whose name is synonymous with the trend for ‘shabby chic’, an unpretentious laid-back living style she helped bring into vogue 20 years ago.
Ashwell favours a country look for a bedroom based around easy-on-the-eye soft, primitive colours.
“I love faded florals, with vintage scatter cushions on the bed for summer days, and like to conjure an eclectic, romantic, inviting and soft atmosphere,” she says.
“Traditional furniture, either in light or bleached wood or in distressed finishes in whites or greys, won’t dominate and will impart a tranquil feel.”
In her own bedroom she has plush silk curtains, a sparkling chandelier and a collection of photographs to inspire happy memories on a white painted bedside table.
Her tip: Accommodate an easy chair where you can sit and relax, and keep the bed as a separate zone for sleeping. Colours such as soft smoky greys, pinks, blues, teals, taupes, ivory and whites are good choices for a peaceful setting.
:: Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic bed linen collection starts from £60 for a duvet cover from House of Fraser.
The founder of the hugely successful The White Company believes the bedroom should be a sensual sanctuary where comfort reigns.
“The starting point for great quality bed linen is that it must be made from the best quality yarn. Once you’ve slept in fabulously smooth and luxurious, pure cotton - whatever the thread count - you’ll never look back,” she says.
“It’s worth investing in high quality bed linen because it really does affect the way we sleep. Pure cotton or linen are preferable because both fabrics are breathable, cool and comfortable.”
Choose, she says, between the crisp smoothness of percale or the silky softness and sheen of sateen. Or for something that needs little ironing, go for a cotton-rich, easy care cotton/poly percale blend.
“Don’t be deceived into thinking that the higher the thread count the better the sheet, as different types of bed linen require different thread counts to produce the desired finished product,” she points out.
Her tip: In spring and summer a bedroom should be a cool, airy sanctuary with soothing scents.
“A softly scented bedroom is bliss. Lavender-based scents or light, floral-based scents such as rose or peony always work well,” she suggests.
“Flowers such as simple, white potted orchids also work well in bedrooms. Use pillow mist or linen spray to scent linen and a scented candle to help you unwind after a long day.”
:: Santorini Bed Linen Collection starts from £75 for a double duvet cover and features in the ranges at The White Company.
“I love beautiful bed linen - there’s nothing like climbing into crisp, clean sheets at the end of a long, tiring day,” enthuses Allsopp, mother of two sons and stepmother to her partner Ben Andersen’s two boys.
“My bedroom isn’t exactly an exclusive sanctuary as there are always small people crawling into bed for a cuddle! When decorating a bedroom I like a theme based around one thing that I can’t live without, which might be favourite bed linen, or curtain fabric, or an accessory, and I build the scheme from there.”
Allsopp and her family divide their time between their homes in London and Devon and she says: “Currently, I’m embracing colour for my bedding with lots of florals, stripes and ginghams which have a vintage look with a contemporary twist, and can be matched with co-ordinating cushions, throws and feminine lampshades. Bedtime bliss!”
Her tip: Instead of redecorating, rearrange furniture and buy bedroom treats such as towels, sheets, cushions or lamp shades to transform a room for little cost.
:: Kirsty Allsopp’s Home Living Collection starts from £50 for a single duvet cover. Stockists include House of Fraser, Debenhams and selected Fenwicks. Visit www.ashleywildegroup.com
The British fashion designer is known for her flamboyant, joie de vivre designs and renowned for her use of colour and pattern.
“I think when your bedroom looks fabulous it makes your home very special,” she says. “Just as you change your look with what you wear, you can scrutinise your bedroom and think, ‘You know, maybe I’ll be black this week’ or you might just want to be pink and stunning, my favourite! By changing the bedding and bedspreads, a new look can be achieved in an instant.”
One of her favourite themes for a bedroom is her trademark vivid pink, and she’s used cerise cabbage roses for the walls, with a focal point of a queen-sized heart-shaped bed.
Her tip: Re-dressing the bed completely revamps a scheme, so take your lead from that and accessorise around it.
:: The Summer Collection of bed linen from Zandra Rhodes starts from £60 for a double duvet cover. For stockists visit www.ashleywildegroup.com
The singing star has her own collection of bed linen and says: “Bed should be a place for just two things - love and sleep.”
She explains: “I’ve actually become a better sleeper than I used to be by doing the things you should do in bed rather than the things you shouldn’t, such as being on my laptop or watching TV.
“I love making beds with fresh linen - either from my At Home range or vintage - but I hate hospital corners. I like to be able to pull things around me.”
Minogue, who splits her time between London and Spain, where her partner Andres Velencoso is based, adds: “Travel and vintage finds are my main inspiration for my bed linen designs.
“I have a gorgeous eiderdown from the 1930s that I found a couple of years ago on eBay, beautiful vintage fabrics I have owned for close to 20 years, a hand-painted book of Japanese kimono designs bought 10 years ago in Melbourne, and my focal point is the silk and crystal-studded panelled wall of my bedroom.”
Her tip: Make a bedroom a place of refuge with lovely linen, throws and cushions. Banish TVs, computers, iPads and mobile phones, and run a hot bath with oil and scented candles to relax you before you turn in.
:: The Kylie Minogue ‘At Home’ collection starts from £55 for a single quilt cover and is available in stores throughout the UK, including Debenhams, House of Fraser, selected Fenwicks and Next online. For full stockist details visit www.ashleywildegroup.com
:: Ashley Wilde Group: www.ashleywildegroup.com
:: Debenhams: 08445 616 161/www.debenhams.com
:: Fenwicks: www.fenwicks.co.uk
:: House of Fraser: 0870 160 7270/www.houseoffraser.co.uk
:: Next: 0844 844 8000/www.next.co.uk
:: The White Company: 0844 736 4222/www.thewhitecompany.com