how to build a better bed tip

Of all the areas in the home where one could splurge, the sleep environment is perhaps the most deserving—between the importance of rest to the fact that the bedroom is where we clock the most hours, it just makes sense to curate the best possible space in which to slumber. For advice on how to build an exceptional bed from top to bottom, we turned to Jane Scott Hodges, founder of New Orleans-based custom linens company Leontine Linens, which has been providing customers with exquisite personalized linens for decades. “We spend more time in our bed than anywhere else (if we are lucky), so be sure to invest in the very best-for-you in everything, from the mattress and box spring to the pillows and duvets, to the sheets and blankets,” she says. Here, Hodges shares everything from the basic elements to the embellishments that will turn your bed a luxe haven.

Start with the sheets. Your sheets and pillowcases are the elements of your bed that you have the most contact with, so the touch and feel of the fabrics are of the utmost importance. According to Hodges, although thread count has long been the standard for designating quality, it is no longer a reliable indicator. Instead, focus on the type of fabric and weave. Cotton percale is cool and crisp, while cotton sateen is soft and smooth. Pure linen is starchy but will soften with age and use, while silk has a luxurious look and feel.

Carefully consider your coverlet. Because it’s the largest expanse of fabric that shows, the coverlet warrants careful attention (and yes, we said “coverlet,” versus “comforter”—Hodges favors coverlets for their neat, clean look). Hodges notes that if you opt for a crisp white, the customization options are truly endless, such as by introducing a pop of color, either in a border or monogram.

Place a folded duvet at the foot. If you’re attempting to spread a duvet out on your bed, getting the right fluff and coverage on both sides can be an exercise in futility. Instead, Hodges prefers to place a folded duvet at the bottom of the bed which, if you’re working with a coverlet and pillows, results in a neater look.

Add in layers. Pillows are essential in creating a layered look and making your bed appear polished. Look for pillows in different shapes and sizes to keep things interesting. For a queen/full, Hodges recommends two euros with either two standards stacked in front, or a single king, centered. For a king, three euro shams are a must, plus a body pillow centered in front of the euro shams to unify the look.

Make it personal. While quality in your bedding is key, style is also a factor. “It’s important that you find something that fits your style and reflects the look and feel of your bedroom and home,” Hodges says. “I encourage people to consider custom bedding, for that reason.” Seek out a source that allows you to combine fabrics, colors, and designs that speak to you. “After all, the bed is the biggest thing in your room; you should not be limited to the 3-4 basic colors offered in your typical catalog,” she says.

Add a monogram. Monograms can be rendered in as many styles as there are personalities, which makes them a perfect choice for those looking to add interest and beauty to their bedding. For a more traditional look, opt for ornate calligraphic designs; if you have a more modern style, go with simple letterforms. Hodges notes that at Leontine Linens, they love the challenge of coming up with something completely new, so don’t hesitate to get creative with customization. In addition to the design, “There are also dozens of different thread-work techniques that can be employed to bring a monogram to life, whether it’s a single letter, a cipher of two initials, or the traditional grouping of three letters,” Hodges says. “As for where you put it, again, there are no limits.”

Know what you like. Hodges points out that there are thousands of ways to make the bed, and it’s important to curate yours to suit your sleeping preferences. “Some people love climbing into a bed dressed with crisp cotton sheets, tightly tucked with hospital corners,” she says. “Others love a light and airy duvet that simply drapes the bed, loose and tousled.” Instead of following trends, think about what elements make you content, and purchase an ensemble that meets your needs.

 TSG Tip 309 from Jane Scott Hodges of Leontine Linens in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photography by Paul Costello. Leontine Linens is featured in The Scout Guide New Orleans.