How to Make the Perfect Bed: My Favorite Bedding Formula

Do you struggle to make the perfect bed? Or wonder how many pillows you really need? In this post I’m sharing my favorite bedding formula along with my 7 best tips for creating an inviting bed!

Did you know you spend a third of your life in bed??! It’s actually pretty hard to believe! But it makes you realize how important that space truly is.

Getting quality sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies. Which means having a perfect bed is not just about making it beautiful (though that’s great too!) but even more about making it cozy and comfortable so we get the best sleep we can. 

So today I’m sharing my favorite bedding formula and what I think are the seven most important tips for creating the perfect bed!


Pick a Quality Mattress

Your mattress is probably the most important component to a good night’s sleep.

I know it’s an investment, but again, a third of your life! You spend so much time there that it’s important to buy the highest quality you can afford and replace it about every 10 years or sooner if it’s wearing, sinking or you’re waking up uncomfortable.

Confession: our last mattress was over 20 years old when we replaced it, and believe me, it was a dramatic difference when we finally did!

gorgeous French farmhouse room favorite bedding formula



Add a Headboard

Oh yes, the headboard debacle! If any of you were reading last year when I redid our bedroom you know how my custom headboard was completely ruined and I ended up doing my “reveal” with no headboard at all!

It then took another 4 months before I finally had one made and I am over the moon! Believe it or not, we never had one before. We’ve been married over 20 years and we literally never had one. I either couldn’t find one I loved, or it was too expensive, or it didn’t come in our size (California Kings are extremely hard to find). 

But now that we finally have one, I can wholeheartedly say it is worth every penny!! What a luxury it is to lean comfortably while reading or relaxing in bed. And it sure makes watching TV much more comfortable, too!

The best part is you can find headboards so affordably these days (that is, unless you have a California King mattress, haha!)

French chandelier neutral linens and blue pillows create a serene master bedroom



Use a Mattress Cover

I know many people skip this part thinking it’s not important, but I really think it is. Buying a quality mattress cover helps to make your mattress last longer and protects against dust mites and other things getting trapped in there and causing allergies. Did you know your mattress can double in weight by collecting dust mites?! Eek! Reason enough for me to buy a quality mattress cover!

If you want to splurge, you can also add a feather topper for extra comfort and luxury.

white duvet with neutral and blue pillows in a French country farmhouse bedroom


Buy Quality Sheets

There are about a million types of sheets on the market these days, and lots of people have different opinions about what is the best.

But for me, I have found that natural fabrics are absolutely the way to go. We prefer 100% cotton. I’m sure you’ve heard about thread count so I won’t go into that here, but suffice it to say that I think you should just buy the highest quality cotton you can afford. Some of the highest thread count sheets feel stiff and not at all splurge worthy so make sure that if you are going to spend money either feel your sheets or read a good number of reviews.

I own several sets of these Pottery Barn sheets and we’ve always loved them. But my new favorite sheets are from Brooklinen! They make an amazing product at a great price and they have thousands of rave reviews! 

One caveat; we recently bought our first set of bamboo sheets and they are amazing, especially for summer!! My husband is super picky about sheets and he is frequently hot – but not with these! Bamboo sheets tend to be a little high in general, but I’ve also heard the Target ones are pretty good, and you can’t beat the price!

And I got a few questions about my favorite sleeping pillows! We’ve struggled for years to find something we like and recently bought these and love them! We got down-filled but they also have poly-fill, and they come in different fullnesses depending on your sleeping position. They are not cheap, but they do feel like luxury hotel pillows!


favorite bedding formula blue and neutral linen pillows in pretty French farmhouse bedroom


Add Blankets

Here you can pretty much go as heavy or as light as you wish. We have a lightweight knit cotton blanket that we use in spring and summer. It’s perfect for when you want something more than a sheet but a heavy blanket would be too much.

And if you live in a colder climate, you can always layer another lightweight blanket for added warmth or simply switch out the lightweight one for a heavy duty one. But again, I recommend buying only natural fabrics here as well for breathability and comfort.


Add a Linen Duvet

I am a huge fan of linen bedding! Our duvet as well as our decorative pillows are linen and I couldn’t love them more. There are lots of linens out there at all kinds of price points, but all of ours are from Pottery Barn. I find them to be very high quality for the price, and they come in a pretty wide range of colors.  You can use a down or down-alternative inside.

I know some people dislike the wrinkling but to me, it’s actually a plus. It feels more relaxed and makes our room feel less “fancy” while also creating more of that European look that I love.

I love to use a white linen duvet as a “base.” That way, you can change pillows and/or whatever throw you have at the bottom of the bed when you want to change the look of the room. Even if you don’t go with white, it’s not a bad idea to buy a linen duvet in a neutral, solid color. It is probably the most expensive item on your bed (aside from the bed itself) and by buying something versatile it will last much longer.

blue French nightstand in French country bedroom


And the Fun Stuff: the Pillows!

Now onto the fun stuff right?! This is the part most people are focused on! I’m actually a lover of simplicity and I don’t usually go too crazy with throw pillows on the bed.

My favorite bedding formula consists of Euro pillows at the back against the headboard, with two decorative shams in front, followed by a smaller decorative pillow. Or you can also skip the decorative shams and do two 20″ pillows in front of the Euros and then the decorative pillow. 

Either way, three layers is the most I ever do – the simpler the better for me.

My Euros and decorative shams are both linen from Pottery Barn. I absolutely love the quilting and the texture it adds, and the pretty French blue really set the whole tone for the room.

favorite bedding formula Euro pillows shams and decorative pillows French farmhouse bedroom


Wishing you all a good night’s sleep tonight! šŸ˜‰



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  1. Your bed is beautiful!
    Iā€™m embarrassed to ask this, but where are your pillows that you sleep on? Do you sleep on euros or do you place your regular pillows in the shams each morning?

    1. Haha don’t be embarassed Betsy – it’s a legit question! The pillows we sleep on live BEHIND the euros, standing up against the headboard. That way they are hidden but also easily accessible for sleeping.

      Hope that helps!


  2. Sheila, This is a beautifully made bed. I love everything about it. The simplicity is very appealing to me. I need to simplify everything in my life and I want my bedroom to be a sanctuary at the end of the day. I may have missed it but what kind of pillows do you like best? We are going through them and money to buy them like crazy and don’t like any that we have tried so far. I love your style in every post you make.

    1. Hi Julie and thank you so much for your kind words! I apologize for not linking some of our favorite pillows, I did add them into the post now. Like you I’ve tried many and lived with ones that we’ve hated for years. I LOVE the pillows we have now, but they are pricey. They are Wamsutta and down filled (though they come in poly-fill too). I’ve linked them for you to check out.

      Hope that helps!

  3. Donna M Colotti says:

    As with everything else you do….I love love the bedroom set-up! I also use linen sheets and a white linen duvet cover. My question is… do you arrange pillows with an iron headboard? They do not stack as well as a traditional headboard and the style of the headboard is the “showpiece”

    Thanks for any info….I always have a difficult time with this one!

    1. Thanks so much Donna! Yes, an iron headboard is a different story, I agree. With my daughter’s I do cover most of it with the Euro pillows, sadly. But I’ve also seen people skip the Euros and just use shorter pillows, or simply kind of “cheat” them down a bit. You’ll block some of it but not as much this way so it might be a better compromise!


  4. Hi, this room is beautiful! Would you be so kind as to list the fabric for the lumbar pillows? They just make this beautiful space.

    1. Thanks so much Laura! I would absolutely share the fabric info with you if I knew it! Those were custom made and unfortunately, I don’t remember the name or the brand of the fabric. I’m so sorry I couldn’t be more help!


  5. Rebecca Noot says:

    Also, THANKS for the 50% off code for the bamboo bedding. I would never have been able to try them without it and now I’m so excited, I’ve sent the code and info to a friend who is very ecologically minded.

    1. I’m so glad!! And thanks for passing it on!


  6. Cecilia from Georgia says:

    I am so glad you wrote this post! I have been trying to choose a set of new sheets and just can’t decide! I am going with your recommendation and get 50% discount! WIN-WIN. I do wonder though, where do you put the pillows you sleep on? I don’t have room in my closet to store them and I really don’t want to take the shams off every night. Thanks!

    1. Yay!! I’m so glad to hear that Cecilia – those sheets are amazing!!

      The pillows we sleep on are behind the Euro pillows. Easy and oh-so-hidden! šŸ˜‰


    2. Rebecca Noot says:

      I have a recommendation on where to put the pillows at night: Be sure you have a trunk or a bench at the foot of your bed and then at night, simply ROLL the top whatever with the pillows rolled in it as you start the path down to the foot of the bed. Just roll the whole thing onto the bench or trunk. Next morning, simply unroll everything back up to the top and it’s a quick straighten to make the bed perfectly and QUICKLY.

      1. Yes!! Such a great tip Rebecca and I do pretty much the same thing!

        Thanks so much for sharing! šŸ™‚

  7. Sheila I love your list of bedding must-haves! I especially like you mentioned the mattress-cover and I 100% agree– it’s disgusting what fills a mattress over time, and a cover really prolongs the life. Also, I’m going to chime in on the question above– do research before getting a mattress professionally cleaned and don’t use a steam-cleaner. The reason why is because of the amount of water that is used– mattresses have a very hard time drying when they soaked to clean them with a steam cleaning method. Unlike furniture where you can stand up the cushions to let them dry easier, its very hard and awkward to find a place to stand a mattress up to dry. Our family owned a professional carpet cleaning company and we used to clean mattresses sometimes– but our method used carbonation in the cleaning products, so very little water was used– mattresses would only take a few hours to dry. Steam cleaning methods can take DAYS for furniture and I wouldn’t want to think about how long it would take for a mattress (especially those thick foam topper ones).

    1. Oh yes that makes sense! Probably why I haven’t heard of anyone doing it, lol! As I mentioned I have vacuumed the entire thing like once a year which is at least something, but I don’t know that I’d deal with cleaning it! But hopefully the protector helps with that!

      Thanks for your input Rachel – so appreciate it!


  8. The perfect combination of pillows, Sheila! Love all these tips. So beautiful.
    Hugs, Jamie

    1. Aww thanks so much Jamie! YOUR bedroom is soo gorgeous!!

      Happy Summer my friend! šŸ™‚


  9. Rosalind Murray says:

    Great tips, Sheila! I have been thinking of re-doing my bedding and had not thought about keeping the duvet in a neutral color. I like the options it opens up!

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful Rosalind! And I definitely think solid neutrals are the way to go for the base – and then you can always have fun with lots of color or pattern (if you want) in pillows or a throw!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking time to comment – so appreciate it!


  10. This may sound like a silly question, but should one have their mattress professionally cleaned, like they would for their upholstered furniture? That seems like the sensible thing to do as long as the cleaners only use pure products and not chemicals. Thanks Sheila.

    1. That’s a great question Lisa and I don’t see why you couldn’t! I’m sure a good carpet cleaner could do it. I have taken everything off of ours and vacuumed every inch of both the mattress and boxspring, but it’s not something I’ve done regularly. It’s a big job!!

  11. Just beautiful Sheila! Your bed looks cozy and lux! The perfect combo of pillows and blankets. I also love all your tips!

    1. Thanks so much Deb! I can’t do too many pillows as my husband rebels a little, haha!