The lat­est in lux­u­ri­ous bed­ding, plus wise words about de­sign, to in­spire a bed­room makeover



In­te­rior de­sign­ers Rachel Brown of Harper and Suzanne Allen of Suzanne Allen De­sign help you plan a bet­ter bed­room:

Do mea­sure the space be­fore buy­ing a bed, says Rachel. And, while you’re at it, en­sure there is enough room to ac­com­mo­date at least one side ta­ble, and room for ac­cess for bed-mak­ing.

Don’t buy a bed that’s too big. “It is tempt­ing to get the most gen­er­ous size pos­si­ble, but that could over­crowd the room.”

Do cre­ate a fo­cal point in your bed­room with a head­board. It makes the room feel cosy and com­plete. “Make a state­ment with some­thing plush and up­hol­stered,” says Suzanne.

Don’t se­lect bed­side ta­bles be­fore you buy your bed. “The right height for them is at the same level or slightly higher than the top of your mat­tress,” ex­plains Suzanne. If they’re too high or low, reach­ing for a glass of wa­ter can be a recipe for dis­as­ter.

Do install light switches be­side your bed. No one en­joys get­ting out of a warm bed to turn off the light.

Don’t load the bed with too many cush­ions. “It’s too much work twice a day,” says Suzanne, “and can make the bed look crowded and un­com­fort­able.” Cre­ate bal­ance by us­ing a mix of size, colour and pat­terned or tex­tured cush­ions.


Ali­son Not­ting­ham of soft fur­nish­ing com­pany Bianca Lorenne has some tips on look­ing after your bed­ding and keep­ing fine linen and cot­ton sheets white: Don’t reach for the chlo­rine bleach, as it can re­act with body oils to make whites more yel­low. Do wash linen in cold or luke­warm wa­ter us­ing eco-friendly clean­ers that are safe to use reg­u­larly. Do add half a cup of bak­ing soda with the de­ter­gent at the be­gin­ning of the wash cy­cle. Then, at the start of the rinse cy­cle, pour in half a cup of white vine­gar. The odour will rinse out! Do hang linens to dry in the sun as sun­light has bleach­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and won’t set stains like the drier does. Don’t leave laun­dry out in the sun for too long after it dries, as the sun can dam­age the fi­bres. Don’t use a hot dryer as it weak­ens the fi­bres in fine linen. Do ro­tate your sheet sets as fi­bres need time to rest and breathe – they will last longer if not used con­tin­u­ously. Did you know? Katharine Hep­burn once said: “Use only white sheets; any­thing else changes your personality.” >


Diane De­whurst of The Head­board Com­pany shares some of the tricks of her trade: Don’t leave the de­sign of your head­board till last; it’s an ex­cel­lent start­ing point for a colour pal­ette for your room. Do be bold with scale, colour and tex­ture. A head­board is a state­ment. Aes­thet­i­cally the head­board an­chors the bed if it’s about 5cm wider ei­ther side. Don’t use fab­rics that are too pale in tone as they can eas­ily be marked or stained from the oils in hair. Don’t be afraid to use pat­tern, it adds another layer of in­ter­est. Do spend time de­cid­ing the shape and scale. A clever way to do this is to cut a tem­plate in pa­per and at­tach to the wall us­ing a low-ad­he­sive mask­ing tape. Do mea­sure care­fully. If you plan to sit up in bed read­ing, check the head­board is com­fort­able. Did you know? Head­boards have been around since an­cient Egyp­tian times.


Carl Do­herty of He­fel New Zealand has some good ideas on se­lect­ing the per­fect du­vet:

Do match your du­vet to the time of year: sum­mer, win­ter or year-round ver­sions. Some duvets are made as a two in one op­tion, where a sum­mer du­vet can be added to an al­lyear du­vet for the colder months. Check the fill power, or loft mea­sure­ment, as an in­di­ca­tion of warmth and light­ness. A loft of 750 or above is con­sid­ered ex­cel­lent.

Do con­sider the ma­te­ri­als used for both the outer shell and the fill­ing. A Ten­cel shell and fill­ing is ac­tively breath­able and feels like silk. Silk and bam­boo shells feel cool in the hot­ter months and maize, wool, cash­mere and down fill­ings are great in the colder months. A du­vet com­bi­na­tion that works very well is a mix of down and Ten­cel, as the Ten­cel ab­sorbs any mois­ture cre­ated by the warmth of the down.

Don’t for­get to check the stitch­ing. Look for one that is di­vided into even sec­tions so there’s no clump­ing. He­fel uses a Body­fit stitch­ing pat­tern that’s de­signed to drape over the hu­man form with no gaps for cold air to en­ter.

Do check the wash­ing in­struc­tions. Some duvets can be ma­chine washed and tum­ble dried, oth­ers may need line dry­ing. Most woollen du­vet in­ners can only be aired. >


Bon­nie De­whurst of bed­ding and fur­ni­ture store Whistling Rein­deer in Wanaka loves linen, a tex­tile that, she says, will never be out of style. Her tip when choos­ing linen is not to be de­ceived by thread count, which gives an in­di­ca­tion of how tightly the fab­ric is wo­ven but is not a true sign of qual­ity. Linen yarn is thicker than cot­ton and is usu­ally graded by weight (grams per square me­tre) rather than thread count.

Avis Nel­son, founder of House­Hold Linens, agrees. “Our cus­tomers ap­pre­ci­ate 100 per cent cot­ton and there seems to be less at­ten­tion on thread count thank­fully. We al­ways ex­plain that Egyp­tian cot­ton, when grown in the right con­di­tions, has longer threads so the fab­ric is stronger and harder wear­ing [see above]. If the weave is too tight, that is, the thread count is too high, it just won’t breathe as well.”


Mat­tress de­signer David Hen­der­son of Dream­wool Beds in Christchurch has some ad­vice for bed buy­ers:

Do tell the sales per­son if you are a hot sleeper. Nat­u­ral prod­ucts (rather t han syn­thetic ones) will be worth the in­vest­ment. A wool/la­tex mat­tress ab­sorbs mois­ture and later dis­si­pates it into the at­mos­phere, use­ful for those who feel the heat or are go­ing through menopause. Mem­ory foam and polyester prod­ucts may be soft, but they don’t keep the heat out of the sit­u­a­tion.

Do make sure, when buy­ing a mat­tress that claims to be nat­u­ral, that it con­tains enough wool/la­tex to make a dif­fer­ence. “The min­i­mum we sug­gest is 1350 grams of wool per square me­tre and 25mm la­tex un­derneath the wool,” says David.

Don’t make the bed ev­ery day! In­stead, con­sider fold­ing up your bed­ding at the foot of the bed. This is how they do it in Europe, to keep mat­tresses well aired and in bet­ter con­di­tion. “New Zealan­ders tend to be more con­cerned about the look of the bed­room whereas Euro­peans put more fo­cus on what they’re sleep­ing on and car­ing for the mat­tress it­self,” says David. >


Con­fused by fi­bres? Here’s a run­down of the lat­est and great­est:

Ten­cel: An en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ma­te­rial made from 100 per cent wood cel­lu­lose. It’s a soft, nat­u­ral prod­uct that has breath­able char­ac­ter­is­tics. It ab­sorbs mois­ture (bet­ter than cot­ton) and dis­perses it back into the room so bed­li­nen stays dry.

Maize: A man-made fi­bre ex­tracted from maize or corn. The maize fi­bres bal­ance out tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tions pro­vid­ing a warm sleep­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Maize duvets are easy to care for and hard-wear­ing. The in­geo maize fi­bre is a sus­tain­able, or­ganic raw ma­te­rial that grows back an­nu­ally.

Bam­boo: The tem­per­a­ture-balanc­ing and mois­ture regulating char­ac­ter­is­tics of bam­boo and its an­tibac­te­rial ef­fect pro­vide an ideal sleep­ing en­vi­ron­ment for re­fresh­ing sum­mer nights.

Goose­down: Down is, of course, softer than feath­ers and be­cause geese are big­ger than ducks, they have big­ger down clus­ters that trap more air to keep you more in­su­lated. Hun­gar­ian goose down is the lat­est premium prod­uct be­cause geese tend to grow larger in the coun­try’s cold cli­mate and have ma­ture high­grade down. Store win­ter down duvets in a breath­able bag and don’t store with heavy ob­jects on top of them.


• He­fel’s range of jersey cot­ton fit­ted sheets fea­ture five per cent span­dex and so have the abil­ity to stretch – no more wrestling with the corners. • The leather tan­ning process usu­ally re­quires chem­i­cals that aren’t con­ducive to sweet slum­bers but the soft Kash­mir leather up­hol­stery on Vik­tor beds, de­signed by Draga & Aurel for Bax­ter, Italy is a dif­fer­ent story. The finest whole hides are tanned with­out the use of chromium and other nasty met­als, then the bed and head­board are wrapped in this leather with a sub­tle aged ef­fect. From Cavit & Co. >

• The pas­tel-pink linen du­vet cover in Rosa from Bak­sana (above) is as pretty as a pe­ony and the Laun­dered Linen du­vet in Blush from MM Linen is sim­i­larly beau­ti­ful. To dial back the femininity, a Pow­der Blue linen/cot­ton blend du­vet cover from French Coun­try Col­lec­tions makes for a serene space. • Cel­e­brate a move away from grey to a shade more lus­trous. Golden hues make your bed­room glow with glam­our. The Golden Deco col­lec­tion from Frette fea­tur­ing a delicate leaf on a golden back­ground is just one shiny ex­am­ple. From Cavit & Co. • The lat­est de­vel­op­ment from Dream­wool Beds in Christchurch sees lay­ers of mi­cro-coils fit­ted be­tween the com­fort lay­ers in the mat­tress. This means the oc­cu­pant al­most floats over the top of the mat­tress, al­low­ing more air to cir­cu­late and keep you cool. • Vel­vet looks vi­va­cious whether in neu­tral shades or state­ment colours. You can’t go past the Man­sion vel­vet quilt from Wal­lace Cot­ton in tones of hot Chartreuse (see pre­vi­ous page) or cooler Grey. And the re­versible Ara­bella vel­vet quilt in a deep steel blue from French Coun­try Col­lec­tions has a pretty block print on the re­verse, so you get the best of two worlds. • Chunky knits in cot­ton or wool are an easy way to freshen up the bed­room for spring. Try the Elm throw in pale pink or grey from Wal­lace Cot­ton. If you want to be re­ally on trend, look for a throw with a pom­pom or tas­sel trim, such as the King­dom quilt. • We’re tickled pink with Feath­ers, a de­sign from House­Hold Linens in­spired by the mem­ory of pick­ing up feath­ers on a walk along the beach. The printed Por­tuguese sateen has a nat­u­ral pal­ette with soft shades of pink through rus­set tones, and a play­ful graphic. See page 143. • Here’s a dou­ble deal for bird lovers. The hand-painted Aviary de­sign du­vet cover in soft cot­ton sateen (op­po­site) is cov­ered in mul­ti­coloured birds in an ar­ray of on-trend sum­mer hues, dom­i­nated by shades of green but also fea­tur­ing indigo, ochre and coral. An Aviary ki­mono in the same print is also avail­able from MM Linen. • It pays to air your clothes in the evening be­fore hang­ing them back in the closet, and the Anouk stool from French Coun­try Col­lec­tions is a good size for the end of the bed. It is up­hol­stered in goat skin and has an iron frame and legs. • No­vad­own’s Mar­riage Saver du­vet is de­signed so that bed part­ners can in­di­vid­u­alise the warmth lev­els they re­quire for op­ti­mum com­fort. Each half of the du­vet is filled with ei­ther a warm, medium or cool weight of Hun­gar­ian goose down. But be­ware of the vis­ual im­pact – a warm side of the du­vet will be fluffier and there­fore higher than a cooler side. • Top-of-the-line duvets are such an in­vest­ment that it’s a re­lief to dis­cover a du­vet re­ju­ve­na­tion pro­gramme of­fered by Wanaka’s Whistling Rein­deer. The case is washed and the feather and down fill­ing steam-cleaned at 130°C in a ma­chine that has an­ti­static, sani­tis­ing and loft-restora­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Ex­tra fill can even be added to fluff up your du­vet or pil­low even more.


In coun­tries such as Spain and Italy, young chil­dren are not sent to bed early but rather stay up late so­cial­is­ing and in­ter­act­ing with adults.

If some­one falls asleep on your shoul­der on the bus or train in Japan, don’t nudge them off. It is po­lite prac­tice to just ig­nore it.

In Nor­way, where the tem­per­a­tures drop be­low zero on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, it’s not un­usual to see ba­bies left out­side cafes and shops, sleep­ing well rugged up in prams. It’s con­sid­ered a great way for them to stay healthy.

THIS PAGE Linen du­vet cover in Rosa from Bak­sana, from $425. OP­PO­SITE Aviary du­vet cover from $249.90, com­forter from $319.90, Euro case set $99.90 and cush­ions from $79.90, all from MM Linen.

THIS PAGE Prince­ton Check queen du­vet set with two pil­low­cases $275, Dover hem­stitched fit­ted and flat queen sheets $225 each, pil­low­cases $135 a pair, all from House­Hold Linens. OP­PO­SITE Bianca Lorenne Ver­nice queen du­vet set (with two pil­low­cases)...

THIS PAGE White­washed weav­ing (made from linen, muslin, cot­ton and wool) $795 by Laine Toia at Bespoke Weav­ing, be­spokeweav­ing.com; Bianca Lorenne Euro cush­ion cov­ers $120 each from Har­rowset Hall; Feath­ers queen du­vet set (in­cludes two pil­low­cases)...

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