The Secret to a Well-Made Bed

And it won't break the bank.

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There's nothing more satisfying than crawling into a well-made bed at the end of a long day: You peel back the layers of blankets, burrow down into your linen-covered cloud, and stay there until your alarm goes off the next morning. Ah, serenity.

For a long time, I wasn't satisfied with the way my bed looked. The biggest thing in my bedroom, the focal point of my little retreat, just felt blah. I couldn't quite put my finger on what was missing. My pink linen channel headboard had plenty of personality, as did my monogrammed shams. But it still didn't have the same textured look of the bedrooms we feature in the pages of the magazine.

Turnball Park House Plan Master Bedroom

Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Matthew Gleason

Luckily for me, my then-roommate was an interior designer and stylist, so I studied her perfectly layered, decorator-approved bed and took notes. What I learned?

There's a formula for a well-made bed: Start with the basics, like sheets, standard shams, and a duvet; then layer in those non-essential (but oh so fabulous!) elements that bring personality, like Euro shams, a complementary bolster or lumbar pillow, and a throw at the foot of the bed. A tailored headboard and dust ruffle add a polished finishing layer—bonus points if they match. Together, all of these elements create a textured, layered bed that's photo shoot ready.

Of course, Rome wasn't built in a day—and your dream bed probably won't take shape in a day either. It takes time to find the linens you want to live with day in, day out, and choosing fabrics for Euro pillows and dust ruffles can be an exercise in patience, and also expensive.

But while you're on the hunt for that dreamy bolster pillow, there's one easy, relatively inexpensive way to give your bed an instant facelift: Adding a coverlet.

The coverlet is quite possibly the most overlooked, underrated element of well-made beds everywhere. Floating a coverlet above your top sheet allows you to fold the duvet down at the foot of the bed, which gives your bed volume and dimension. It's also an easy way to add subtle texture without introducing another color to your bedroom's palette, and in hot summer months, a coverlet is a nice, lightweight alternative to heavier duvets.

I scored my white matelassé coverlet from Ballard Designs when it went on sale—I'm obsessed with how cozy and soft it is—but you can also scoop up a quality coverlet (at a slightly lower price!) at Target.

And while you're buying yours, go ahead and buy a coverlet for the guest room, too: Even if she doesn't admit it, your mother-in-law will be so impressed by your well-dressed bed.

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