The Art of Layering Bedroom Textiles

Photo and bedding: Anthropologie.comMixing and matching fabrics takes a good eye for color and scale. Many interior designers start their planning with a selection of inspiration fabrics to see which pop out and which seem to blend well with each other. You might start with a single “signature” fabric that will be the centerpiece of the design palette, which the rest of the fabrics play off. This is particularly true in bedroom decorating, where the bedding plays such a large part.

Tips for Successfully Layering Bedroom Textiles

Let your imagination soar, but just keep these tips in mind:

1. The bedspread should be the primary fabric for the room. For a bed with decorative legs, you won’t need a bed skirt. Otherwise, a bed skirt in a complementary color will work well. This is a good place to mix and match your prints as well. For example, a common approach is to pair a floral bedspread with a striped bed skirt.

2. The pillow shams can be of the same material as the bedspread and you might use the stripe on an oblong decorative pillow placed in front of the shams.

3. The window treatments can be made of either the floral or the stripe, or perhaps another pattern or solid color for contrast.

4. If you love the fullness of all the bedding, but perhaps not a lot of color or pattern variation, stick with colors in the same family with tone-on-tone patterns for a calming yet luxurious feel.

5. Once a main fabric is selected for the bed, complementary fabrics will be needed for the bed skirt, pillows, other furniture and drapery. If you’re going for a very soothing bedroom style and your primary fabric is fairly neutral, bringing in the same background colors in darker or lighter tones will create an overall feeling of cohesion. Avoid blandness by incorporating some tone-on-tone texture such as a herringbone or check pattern.

6. When mixing patterns, it’s best to incorporate different sizes. You don’t want two large-scale designs competing for attention. However, a large floral will look fantastic with a small, very regular, floral motif, or paired with a graphic stripe or check. A good balance of proportion is key. If your primary fabric is a bold print, tone it down by pairing with softer versions of colors in the print, or kick it up a notch by mixing in brighter solids that enhance the overall impact.

7. For drapery, use the same fabric as the bed coverlet, or use one of the complementary fabrics such as the one used for the bed skirt or pillows.

8. If plain and simple is your approach, a beautiful bedspread or coverlet with matching pillow shams and a single small decorative pillow in a contrasting color or pattern will be a stylish choice. Drapery panels on the windows in a coordinating fabric will complete the look. 

No-Fail Fabulous Bedroom Textile Combos

Need concrete ideas for how to combine fabrics in the bedroom? Here are some no-fail, fashion-forward bedroom textile combinations:

  • Solid duvet cover with print sheets in the same color family (for instance, light purple duvet cover with deep purple print sheets), and a mix of pillow shams in both the duvet and the sheet fabric.

  • A bold solid-color duvet cover with matching pillow shams and bright white sheets.

  • A matching print duvet cover, sheets, and pillow shams.

  • A multi-color quilt, sheets in one of the quilt's colors and pillow shams in another of the quilt's colors.

  • Neutral-colored sheets and pillow shams (think cream or ecru), paired with a brightly colored quilt or duvet cover and matching accent pillows. 

  • Bright white sheets and pillow shams, a bright white bedspread, a dark neutral-colored coverlet and a single matching dark neutral-colored accent pillow.

  • A duvet cover with a large print, sheets with a small print in the same colors as the duvet cover, a neutral coverlet folded at the end of the bed, 1 pillow sham in the same fabric as the coverlet, 2 pillow shams in the same print as the duvet cover and 1 pillow sham in the same print as the sheets. 

Linda Merrill writes for

Updated May 13, 2018.

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