House Beautiful has a column every month called “I Love My Bed.” It’s a hoot to peek under other people’s covers, isn’t it? Maybe you shouldn’t answer that. Anyway I wrote the one in November about designer Bunny Williams, which you can read here. I did not actually get in bed with her, but we did speak on the phone.
I thought you might like to hear a few more thoughts on how to love your bed, which you absolutely should do. Especially now that it is snuggle season and lots of bedding is on sale now.
Sometimes bedrooms are given short shrift in the house because they aren’t “on display.” Chances are you spend more time there than anywhere else in your house, and about one-third of your life sleeping. Hello? Your bed and bedroom are important.
Bunny’s bedroom is all shimmery and soft. Basic arithmetic will tell you that Shimmery + Soft = Sexy + Beautiful, and a bedroom should be that.
The Serge Roche mirrored bed is glamorous and jewel-like. The polished cotton comforter is satin-y, and the faux-fur throw is soft and yummy, as are the 872 pillows. The wallpaper is soft metallic gray, like a wintry New York sky. She told me her new favorite thing is a down blanket–lightweight, just warm and cool enough. She gets ’em at Bed, Bath & Beyond. (hmm, a good gift idea.)
The applique headboard is about the prettiest thing I have ever seen, but I am a fool for applique. This was done in fashion designer Naeem Khan’s atelier in Paris (where I met him years ago at a fun dinner with Susan Gutfreund, Cathy Whitworth and friends at Le Boeuf sur le Toile. He was, and is, lovely and so talented. Treat yourself to a look at his clothes, here).
Bunny hangs out in her bed. It’s her command-central. She makes a breakfast tray for herself every morning, toodles back to bed with it, and starts her day–reading the papers, making calls, etc. before going to the office. That won’t work for everybody, but it’s a nice ritual.
Personally, though I love my bed, too, I do not hang out in it. I think bed is for sleeping and sex, but that’s me. I cringed at Sue Shellenbarger’s article “Taking the Office to Bed” in the Wall Street Journal a while ago. Seems to work for many, though, and her piece includes products that are office-bed-friendly.
Bunny is also a huge animal lover, and she lets her dogs in the bed. She said her dogs go to the beauty parlor frequently. Which kinda went without saying.
I do not let my dogs in the bed, except for my late, treasured Portuguese Water Dog Albert who was scared of thunder. So on a stormy night, I’d relent. Our current canine, Stella, has recently acquired a very chic cheetah-print Wally-Bed, which I bought at Bunny’s shop, Treillage, in New York. Stella loves her bed, too.
Bunny also has personal and sentimental things in her room and by her bed, a loving touch to herself and to the loved ones and memories they represent.
The point: Having a bed and bedroom you love is an attainable element of beauty and luxury. A room you love to wake up to each morning is a great way to start the day. And you’ll sleep better knowing that. I guarantee it. Here are some ideas:
1. Start with the practical. You want a good reading light, by lamp or sconce; and a big enough bedside table to hold what you want – books, phone, pad and pen, clock, lamp, water.
2. Good sheets. Now available at Target, so no excuses.
3. Good pillows, at least 2 on each side, also available nowadays at discount stores.
4. A lightweight blanket or comforter (like Bunny’s down blanket) and something furry or fluffy folded at the foot of the bed.
5. Good mattress. Obvious, but if you are putting it off, you are compromising your sleep and therefore your health. What’s more important? Put it on layaway if you have to.
6. Clear the clutter. Make a mess somewhere else if you must (though I’m not advocating it), but clean up your damn bedroom. What’s good about waking up in a mess? Your day gets off to a messy start. Order brings calm; calm brings clarity; clarity brings what you need to think, say, and do to be the best you.
7. Eliminate electronics. It is said they interfere with sleep patterns. If it blinks, buzzes, or broadcasts, get it outta there. If you can’t remove it – the TV for instance – cover it with a pretty scarf or a towel at bedtime.
8. Set the temperature at 68 to 70 degrees for optimal sleep. Everything you read says this.
9. Put pets in their own beds. I know, I know… but pets in the room, and most certainly in the bed, do almost always interfere with sleep. (Our compromise is a really comfy bed (Wally-Bed) the dog loves … in our bedroom… I also feel protected by her, fierce beast that she is.)
10. Wind down before you lie down. Watching TV with people getting beat up, tortured, murdered, etc. is not my idea of winding down. Just saying. If you do watch that stuff or engage in some other less than relaxing activity, try to make a space between it and sleep. When you do get in bed to sleep, feel the indulgence of it – the sheets, the pillows, the snuggliness. And think how good it feels and how thankful you are for it.
If you want to read more about Bunny Williams or see more of her work, see of course her website, and also this post by Patricia Gaye Tapp on her Little Augury blog. It’s a few years old but very informative.