Want the best bedding for a gorgeous, dreamy bed that isn't a nightmare to make? Use this neat cheat sheet.

David Meredith
David Meredith

Layer Shades of One Color

Pairing solid pillows and sheets in a single color scheme is about as goofproof as a bedding set, but it looks a lot more interesting. You can build on what you already have: It's fine to mix textures and weights if all the fabrics are in the same spectrum.

More tips:

  • Scooch sleep pillows together instead of centering them in front of Euros—less structure, more style.
  • Swap out your stiff lumbar for a standard pillow in a sham with a soft detail, like a fringed edge or a satin border.

To buy: Essential Euro sham in graphite, $80, parachutehome.com. Linen pillowcases in fog, $60 for two, parachutehome.com. Blair midnight sham, $110, pompomathome.com. Percale duvet cover in slate, $169, parachutehome.com. Oversize washed linen bed scarf in frost gray, $99, westelm.com.

David Meredith

Treat Your Bed Like a Cushy Couch

Pile on the pillows, but instead of using traditional decorative shams and embellished accent pillows, layer standard ones (meant for sleeping) in one color combo, with various prints (stripes, dots, florals).

More tips:

  • This striped, 35-by-76-inch thing is a down "throwbed," and it will change your life, because it can go from bedroom (headboard) to living room (lounger).
  • Toss pillows casually. However they land will look nice and inviting. And don't skimp: You need five to seven to fill out the space on a full- or queen-size bed.

To buy: Diamond Ticking quilt, $154, schoolhouseelectric.com. Pillows, clockwise from top right: Cortina Blue throwbed, $375, hedgehouseusa.com. Hunir Indigo pillowcase, $95 for two, johnrobshaw.com. Organic Mini Bud pillowcase, $29 for two, westelm.com. Organic Mod standard pillowcase, $29 for two, westelm.com. Choti standard pillowcase, johnrobshaw.com for similar. Ink Dots pillowcase, $46 for two, pineconehill.com. Navy Imperfect Plus pillowcase, $38 for two, schoolhouseelectric.com.

David Meredith

Keep It Clean and Graphic

For the serene, streamlined look of a hotel-style bed, pair solid pieces in contrasting neutrals. Choose a bedspread and shams with intricate stitching for just a touch of texture.

More tips:

  • Try a hotel trick: Instead of propping up pillows, lay them flat. In front of each stack, lean an overstuffed cushion that can move to the back when you get in bed to soften a solid headboard.
  • Let an artful color-block quilt be the star of the bed, surrounded by understated accents.

To buy: Classic pillowcases, $35 for two, brooklinen.com; classic core sheet set, $109: brooklinen.com. Quilt cushion rectangle (shams) in dark gray, $149 each, cleverspaces.com. Quilt No. 5, $410, louisegray.com.