Chaz Stevens' Ten Things to Know Before Designing Your Bed

One of my favorite rooms to design is the bedroom.  It should be a sanctuary and a lot of thought should be placed into the design as you will likely spend a lot of time there.

A component of bedroom design that is often overlooked is bedding.  People tend to focus on the fixed finishes, like flooring, paint color or wall paper as well as furnishings, but if you are going to go all-out on your bedroom design, why would you leave bedding decisions to the end?  Well-designed bedding can really pull a bedrooms design together and should be an integral part of the design process.

Photo: Elle Decor Photo: Elle Decor

{Note in the above photo how the box spring cover, bolster pillow and window treatments are made out of the same fabric, which visually pulls the room together, as does the consistent use of blue on the coverlet, bedside table lamp and Chinese Chippendale chair.}

Chaz Stevens started Chaz Stevens Design in Los Angeles when he realized that there was a real need for custom bedding in Los Angeles.  Bedding was either generic and available in a handful of colors, or overly expensive and fancy.  Chaz Stevens Design is To-The-Trade-Only, but Western Interiors magazine featured Stevens and his “Ten Things to Know Before Designing Your Bed” which I’ve included for you below:

Chaz Stevens’ Ten Things to Know Before Designing Your Bed

1.  Start Early.

Don’t wait!! Every bedroom has a bed, so when you’re planning the space. do the linens as well.  At the end of a two-year design process, people are tired of writing checks.  The bedding then becomes an afterthought.  It doesn’t get done properly, and correcting it can end up costing even more.  {DB Note: Remember anything custom has a lead-time and depending on how busy the workroom is, your bedding could take weeks if not months so plan accordingly!}

2.  Thread Count is a myth.

This is a huge, confusing mystery to people.  Americans have come to equate thread count with quality, but the reality is that it’s not that important.  The finish and the yarn are what matter.  A thousand-thread-count sheet can feel like sandpaper because of the way it was woven and finished.  So don’t choose by thread-count.  Choose by what you like.

3.  Understand the language of bedding.

It's important to make sure everyone is on the same page so that you don't think you are ordering one thing but in actuality getting another.  How big is a California King versus an Eastern King?  One person's coverlet is another person's duvet, so be sure to do your research.

4.  Know how things fit.

Take into account the drops and the relationship of the headboard to the pillows as well as the scale of the bed frame and the linens.  A pillow-top mattress can gobble up the headboard if it isn’t measured properly. {DB Note: accurately measuring the drop is key -- I once made the mistake of letting a client measure the drop for me and the drop of the custom coverlet was too short to cover the mattress’ profile and I had to have it  remade.  Insert grimace here.}

5.  Down isn’t pretty.

With down, it’s important to know what you’re getting, because it’s a horrible, smelly product.  If the down shows up to the store even a little dirty or if it hasn’t been washed properly before going into that pillow, then the dust mites have already been breeding in it for some time {ick} .  Our down is thoroughly cleaned.  Ask questions about the down so that you know what you are putting your head onto eight hours a night.

6.  Don’t shop by price.

When it comes to bedding and even the mattress, higher prices don’t make things nicer.  But you also shouldn’t skimp.  Your bed should be the one place in the house where you always buy what you like and what feels good to you, no matter the price.

7.  Do your research.

The information and the technology are all there.  You can’t always count on people in stores to give you the information you need.

8.  Know how to care for your bedding.

Don’t use traditional soaps and detergents on your bedding, or it won’t last.  Detergent is a heavy cleaning agent.  I always suggest spending a little more on non-commercial detergents, which are available at places like Williams-Sonoma or at linen shops.

9.  Be aware that retailers often discontinue products.

Upscale linen shops sometimes operate as design houses, so they tend to stop producing their collections.  If you decide in another six months that you need an extra set of sheets, love the duvet and want more towels, chances are they’ll be gone.  Find out if the linens will be available later on.

10.  Thicker doesn’t always mean better.

Again, go by the feel and what you like.  For example, the best cashmere is very thin.  A thick cashmere blanket shouldn’t cost you more.

Photo: Elle Decor Photo: Elle Decor