Special Touches for Guest Rooms

Make a space more welcoming with these ideas. Hint: Start with plush bedding.
Festive red and gold will never go out of style. Antique botanical prints above the bed play off the color scheme.
John O'Hagan

Alice Welsh Doyle

Confession: My bedroom is in a sorry state. (And me, a homes editor!) I've been spending all my energy and money on the "public" rooms in my house. When I saw the plush bed of Mary Helen and Donald Swinney in Chatsworth, Georgia, I wanted to dive in and know more. Designer Beverly Baribault shares her tips for making a better bed.

The Plump Bed
I've always wondered how some hotel beds are so supremely comfortable. Beverly shares the secret: down, layering, and quality cotton sheets. She starts with a mattress with a feather down top, and then adds a fitted sheet, a cotton top sheet, a down blanket, another cotton top sheet, and a fluffy down duvet and pillows. "People focus on the thread count of bedding, but what's important is the quality of the cotton," Beverly explains. "A 200-thread-count Egyptian or Italian cotton will feel better than a 600-thread-count of something else."

Custom Touches
Pulling colors from an Asian print fabric on a bedroom chair, Beverly decked out the bed in gold and red with crisp white sheets. The custom duvet cover is gold on one side and red on the other. "With a red bed skirt, Mary Helen can change the look and have a totally red bed," says Beverly. "Custom bedding is a big investment, so I like to give clients an option for a different look."

"Special Touches for Guest Rooms" is from the December 2006 issue of Southern Living.