How to get the ‘hotel bed’ experience at home

How to get the ‘hotel bed’ experience at home

By Michael Smith on Mar 15 2017

In winter, bedrooms matter most. Colder weather and longer nights cry out for the perfect inner sanctum, boasting the kind of bed you find in luxury hotels - a sumptuous, soothing cocoon.

"What hotels do so well is to make a design feature out of the bed," says Georgie Leckey, founder of Heatherly Design. "They extend the look with an upholstered bedhead, footstools and blanket boxes. It's often the focal point of the room."

Once you elevate your bed from a functional furniture piece to a hero design statement, you've taken the first step to bedroom bliss.

Feels like home

Right now, the prevailing aesthetic in top hotels is "boutique", with even the larger luxury properties striving for the intimate feel of a beautiful home. Great news, if you're trying to make your home look like a beautiful hotel.

Says Georgie Leckey: "Many of our customers have been inspired by gorgeous boutique hotels, such as the Firmdale properties in London and New York. The look they're seeking is layered comfort, rather then the more clinical, neutral look that used to dominate five-star hotels."

Leckey views the bed as a sum of beautiful parts. "There's the footstool, the base, the bed skirt and the bedhead, all working together even before you get to the linen, the pillows and the throws and cushions," she says.

Mixing it up

Once you've established your base, it's time to really play. Channel Ten The Living Room's expert interior designer James Treble suggests mingling textures, tones and materials to stunning effect.

"The trick to warming up the bedroom is adding layers. They make the room feel rich and inviting and you can add or remove them depending upon the chill factor," he says.

"I love adding colour, texture and pattern through feature cushions, but also try mixing up standard rectangular pillows, with larger square, European pillows. This creates a comfy inviting look, like that exotic hotel or resort."

He recommends completing the look with a throw. "It's a great way to add a punch of colour, as well as being easy to reach if the night turns cool. Right now texture is key, and I love cable knit throws as a way to add colour and balance to the bedhead or feature pillows."

Pick your palette

This winter's key palette is rich and luxurious, says Treble. "Our love affair with indigo is as strong as ever. Mix it with neutrals or timbers to make it warmer and inviting for the winter months."

Grey is an emerging favourite, too, he says. "Grey always works and don't be afraid to have a mid to dark grey wall with maybe crisp white woodwork and trim. You can always go darker with colours in the bedroom, and it allows other colours to pop in a sophisticated way. The greys go really well with indigo, so mix them together."

Adds Leckey: "There are some lovely warmer shades of grey around. They work especially well in fabrics that have a warmer texture and tone."

Talking textiles

For winter, cover your bed in feel-good textures, say our experts. It's the time of year for soft, lush and tactile fabrics - and the one that ticks all those boxes is the season's hottest. Step into the bedroom, velvet.

"A big trend coming through more and more is velvet," says Treble. "A great way to add this element is through your feature cushions or an amazing bedroom armchair."

Australian bed linen designer Kip & Co puts velvet firmly centre stage this winter in a velvet doonah cover in the season's rich shades including teal, cherry and dark grey, with co-ordinating pillow cases and cushion covers. "Velvet is the ultimate winter bedding," says Kip & Co co-founder Alex van der Sluys. "It's so comforting to wrap yourself in a textural fabric on a chilly night and we love the way it catches the light". 

At Heatherly, Leckey recommends some of her deep-buttoned bedhead designs in velvet, particularly "Kathleen", which has wider spaced-buttons to "really let the fabric sing".

She also loves linen for sheets. "I'd always thought of linen as a cool-weather fabric," she says. "But pure linen feels warm and soft, like flannelette. It complements velvet beautifully."

Felt is another hug-able fabric that works wonderfully in bedheads and cushions.

Make your own

Nothing shouts "on trend right now", louder than a handmade or vintage piece. While hotels mainly opt for the illusion of a one-off, at home you have the advantage: you can go with the real deal.

"Natural fibres and handmade items are back in vogue," says James Treble, "so go visit grandma and grab that old patchwork quilt or crochet blanket."

Says Leckey: "I have an old velvet overlay that has a deep blue in it and I love to pull it out for winter. It's my cosy time, like bringing out my comfy winter boots. "It's not just the look of these treasured pieces; it's what they represent to you personally."