Your Guide to a Perfect Bed and Bath


When all the parties are done, it’s nice to just sit back and relax. Sometimes, that means not even venturing into the living areas of the house, except for some brief browsing in the kitchen. I love some serious time in what some people call “the master suite,” but I just call “my room.”

I’ve posted on creating the perfect bed before, and those nuts-and-bolts rules still apply. But to really make a bedroom a livable space — and not just a place you sleep — you’ve got to make the décor as interesting as it is in the rest of the house.


A photo from Lily Adridge's Nashville home for Architectural Digest. Photo by Leslee Mitchell.


A striped bath in Jamie Creel's elegant Paris Apartment by Richard Shapiro Studiolo.

Own it.I love monograms on my linen napkins, and the look translates perfectly into the boudoir. A monogrammed pillow is an obvious way to start personalizing your space, and your initials on a new headboard is a great way to start making a room of your own.

Add texture.A quick and easy fix to bedroom doldrums (of the design kind, at least) is the addition of pillow shams in interesting textures. I’ve seen some lovely ones at Peacock Alley, where they also have beautiful embroidered sheets. If you love a little frill, nothing makes a pillow pop like a nice ruffle.


I spotted this beautiful bed in Peacock Alley. The monogrammed headboard is customizable from Bella Linea.


A beautiful master bedroom makeover by Kelly Mindell of Studio DIY.


A romantic, soft-colored master bedroom designed by Bria Hammel Interiors.

Mix it up.To create visual interest, mix up your materials. You may enjoy the sleek monotone of a spa bath when you’re on vacation, but it starts to become clinical after a week or so in the home (and you’ll never find a good place to put down a hairbrush). I love cozying up a bedroom — and even a bath — with rich wallpaper and elegant rugs. If you’ve got the money to spend and the patience to have it done, swap out that porcelain tub for something in copper; that will guarantee a bright start to your morning.

Add color.As a rule, you can add a splash of color anywhere — in a pillow, a lampshade, a bathmat, or a throw at the bottom of the bed. It doesn’t have to be bright, but pick a color scheme that will work throughout bed and bath. And don’t add color EVERYWHERE; you’re going to need to do a lot of relaxing.


Loving these beautiful monogrammed towels from Peacock Alley.

Light it up.We all love a softly lit bedroom suite, but remember that this is also a place for reading, getting dressed, accessorizing, and doing makeup. If you’re straining your eyes to do any of this, you won’t find the room very relaxing.

Throw it out.If the towels are dingy or don’t seem to be absorbent anymore, demote them to dog park duty. Buy some new bath towels (maybe with a nice monogram on a few of the hand towels) and a new bathmat. While you’re at it, you probably deserve a new, plush terrycloth bathrobe. I just did all of that, and my bath feels brand-new.


A stunning mirror is the centerpiece of this formal bathroom decor.


A beautiful bathroom design by Tori Alexander of Alexander Interiors Nashville.

Reflect on it.I love a mirror, and there’s no better place to put them than in the bed and bath. They’re useful, they make the spaces seem bigger, and you don’t have to shuffle to the back of the closet door to see if you’ve got your seams straight.

Do it now.You don’t need to call your plumber or have a carpenter build a custom four-poster for you. Even a little change can make a big difference. Really, all you need to make a bedroom and bathroom feel alive again is a small vase of beautiful flowers and a nice smelling candle to light while you get ready in the morning. And a copper tub. Monogrammed, maybe.

How do you make the most of your personal space? Let us know your tips in the comments.


Mary Spalding is a Nashville based interior designer with over 30 years of experience. She has overseen countless home revitalizations, renovations, and restorations. She can be reached with your projects and ideas at

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  • By way of full disclosure, Lilly Aldridge’s tub, surround and platform was designed by moi! Even a blind pig can find a truffle now and then.

  • I agree with everything you mentioned. I would add that after I make up my bed in the morning, I like to spray my pillows with a fresh linen scent like Jo Malone’s Linen Spray. It freshens the room and is especially dreamy when I get in bed at the end of my day. Also, I keep a small vase of fresh white roses on my nightstand to remind myself that I can spoil myself with flowers every day!