Last Thursday, while waiting for my (very delayed) flight home from Miami, the only thing I could think about was getting back to my own bed. And actually, “I just want to sleep in my own bed,” is a refrain I hear a lot: on flights home from particularly rowdy “destination” weddings, in conversations with friends who travel for business, and in meetings with clients who want their renovations finished (now!). There is something so comforting about “your own bed.” No wonder House Beautiful has a monthly column, “I Love My Bed“!
A bed, to me, is the most private and peaceful place in a house. It’s where I have my first and last thoughts of the day, finish some of my favorite books, and, I’ll admit, binge-watch t.v. shows ’til the wee hours.
My bed when I first moved into my apartment. I’m nostalgic for this neatness. Now, the bedside table is stacked with books and photographs; the bed is piled with decorative pillows!
But just because a bed is personal, it doesn’t mean that designing one should be a total free-for-all. As with everything in design, there are certain rules that should be considered (even if you end up breaking them!).
Keep It In Context
McMillen Plus did the below bed for a single guy’s rental in New York City. In keeping with the masculine, streamlined look of the rest of the apartment, we bought a simple bed from Crate & Barrel. The ebony bed frame and dark brown ultra suede headboard guarantee that this bed won’t need much upkeep. (And the proportion of the mattress to the bed frame is perfect!)
The straight lines of this bed allows for no-frills bedding. (Over the years I’ve noticed that guys aren’t too keen on tucking in sheets or plumping pillows…unless, of course, they have someone to do it for them!)
On the opposite spectrum, my colleague, Mary Beth Donohue, used this bed from Oly Studio for the stately master bedroom of a 19th century house in Old Westbury, New York. Notice how the silvery hammered metal bed frame echoes the curtain rods; how the tassel fringe on the leading edge of the bed panels matches that on the curtains; and how the Marc Bankowsky bench from Maison Gerard is upholstered in the same shade of blue as the headboard. (Even though I am, in general, opposed to sleeping late, I think I could spend many a happy morning in this bed!)
This finely wrought bed demands beautiful bedding, and Mary Beth went to
E. Braun & Co. for these linens. This bed is perfect for a sophisticated couple.
Make it Cozy
My mom, Ann Pyne, designed this bed for a little girl’s room. I love how the canopy envelops the head and footboards, like a mother hen putting her wings around her chicks! I’ve always liked small, cozy spaces, and I would have loved this bed as a little girl.
1. Proportion is important! The standard height of a bed (combination of mattress, box spring, bed frame) is 21″-26″. The classic proportion of mattress to support (box spring + frame) is 1:2. Using this proportion, a bed skirt, which covers the support, looks graceful. But now, mattresses are often (unnecessarily!) thick, sometimes 14″-20″, making the bed frame look diminutive. So, if you’re going to buy a huge mattress, and want to have a bed skirt, make certain to increase the height of your bed frame too. Otherwise, you risk having your bed look like a sumo wrestler wearing a tutu!
2. It’s a myth that fatter mattresses are more comfortable! I think the best mattresses are the custom-made mattresses by Charles H. Beckley, and they average 7 1/2″ thick. Sleepy’s also makes a mattress that’s 8″ thick. I’ve done a price comparison, and actually, Beckley mattresses are quite reasonable. (And they last forever!)
3. Look at the other furniture in the room! A lot of bedroom furniture is made for beds that are 21″-26″ high. So if you’re going to have a thick mattress and corresponding bed frame, make certain the furniture can stand up to it. It would be a real shame to have an expensive antique outdone by a Sleepy’s mattress!
I hope these simple tips will guide your next bed-buying adventure! Next up: highlights from my trip to Art Basel Miami.