First of all, invest in the most comfortable bed you can afford. You will thank yourself for it. The mattress is the most important item, so test some out before you buy. Sales assistants in specialist bed shops should be able to advise you on what kind of mattress will best suit your needs, and will let you try out beds in the shops until you identify the one that you find most comfortable.
The best matresses (and therefore most expensive) are pocket sprung, in which each spring sits in its own air pocket so that they move individually. Basically this means if your partner moves in the night, you don’t.
Once you have your mattress, the next consideration is your duvet and pillows. Like mattresses, there are numerous options, from allergy-free synthetics to luxurious goose down. Piles of fluffy feather pillows and a warm, heavy duvet are very welcoming on cold winter nights.
There is a wealth of bed linen out there, and again, the old adage applies - you get what you pay for. At the top end of the scale, fine Egyptian cotton is extremely comfortable and will last for many years if it’s looked after.
If you look hard enough, you can often pick up beautiful bed linen in department store sales and discount shops. The classic choice is white, but you can vary the texture with embroidered, printed and appliquéd details.
Bedrooms are sensuous places so the texture as well as look of fabrics is important. The ultimate indulgence is a cashmere rug at the end of the bed, like the tartan one featured above. Not only does it look good, it’s also perfect for afternoon naps or snuggling into on cold winter mornings. A cheaper alternative is a lambswool blanket, and you could also consider a patchwork quilt or old-fashioned satin eiderdown.
For some, the height of luxury and romance is a fully-draped four-poster bed, like the one Nina designed for Drynachan Lodge. According to Nina, achieving this look successfully requires metres of fabric and planning, but the results can be stunning.
The first rule of using drapes is to do it properly or not at all. Don’t try and cut corners by scrimping on material. Kitting out a four-poster bed requires a lot of fabric: you need a backdrop, outer curtains, linings, trimmings, tie-backs and possibly a bed valance and headboard cover. Whatever material you choose, it will be an expensive project so if your budget is small you may need to rethink.
An alternative to the four-poster is the half-tester, where the ‘roof’ covers only around a third to a half of the bed. Done well, this can still look very luxurious.
Another alternative is to hang a circular curtain rail above the bed over which you can drape your chosen material, or an elegant four-poster frame with no drapes at all is a more minimalist, modern option.
The material you choose will depend on the style of your bed and room. For example, an already cluttered or heavily decorated room may not be able to take dramatic bold prints or dark, heavy fabric. In this case, consider simple muslin or linens, which can still look fabulous.
A key point to remember is to ensure the inner material is a colour that will flatter your face in the morning light. Pale pinks and off-whites are good. On the other hand yellow can be unforgiving.
Your bedroom is your personal space so treat it as such. Have special mementoes and personal treasures on display purely for your own pleasure, such as photographs, pictures and items of sentimental value.
Indulge your senses in the bedroom with scented candles, flowers and beautiful fabrics.
If the bedroom is where you do your hair and make-up, have a well-positioned dressing table and stool or chair in the room. In front of a window is ideal during the day. Put a lamp on the table for evening use.
Nina’s tips for a dream bedroom
- If your room has high ceilings, have long curtains that tumble to the floor. Not only will they look luxurious, they will add warmth to the room.
- If you have the space, a sitting area in your bedroom can offer a peaceful place to read, make telephone calls or just relax. All you need is a comfortable armchair and a small surface for a cup and book. And if your room has a fireplace, that’s a bonus.
- As well as an overhead light, bedside lighting is a must for reading and general ambience.
- Think carefully about what goes underfoot. Carpet is the preferred choice for bedrooms because it is warm and comfortable for tired bare feet. If your bedroom has hard flooring, such as wood, put a rug next to the bed to cushion your feet first thing in the morning and last thing at night.