Making The Bed: Jessica Shaw Breaks Down Bedding Selection

“How we choose to dress a bed has a lot to do with the narrative story of the design,” says Jessica Shaw, Director of Interior Design at The Turett Collaborative. Anyone who has ever been to a homewares store knows that bedding options are extensive, to say the least. For a designer, the options are even more endless; often, Jessica creates custom orders for sheets, pillows, and linens from colors down to type of stitching. “The bedding should be a further reflection of the interiors,” Jessica says, and for this reason “bedding selection comes last, not first.” Although it can be hard not to see a comforter you think will work and buy it on the spot, it’s best to wait until the rest of the room has come together before making a decision. 

Often, a client already has an idea of the bedding style they gravitate toward. Sharing this with Jessica helps to narrow down the very wide selection of items. “Bedding is guided by client preferences,” explains Jessica, “Some clients go for minimal, or want something fairly plain with an extra touch.” This is where a shop like Stella, a local favorite of The Turett Collaborative in Tribeca, comes in handy. The luxury textiles and decor shop has become a go-to for Jessica, who has known the shop’s owner, Michelle, for over two decades. “She offers a great experience, access to some of her own custom linens, and more,” according to Jessica, “I can really trust her lead.” Some client-favorite brands, also carried by Stella, are Italian brand Sferra, color-rich Frette, and Mattouk, who specializes in customization. 

A quick look through The Turett Collabrative’s projects showcase rich purple comforters, textured neutrals, and crisp white duvets. With almost every color imaginable on the market, how does a designer choose? “We tend to aim for a contrast, rather than go monochromatic,” Jessica answers. This does not necessarily mean a wild pattern or design, but rather a careful selection of which shade best compliments the palate of the room. 

In a neutral room of rich browns and silvers, Jessica added an accent with a purple bed covering and textured pillows. (interior by The Turett Collaborative)

Of course, a comforter or duvet is not the only decision that must be made; sheets, pillows, and throws are additional variables that make the bed a focal point. “It is not often that we go overly decorative with pillows,” Jessica says, before smiling and adding, “but it does happen.” With so many fabric options and custom possibilities, it can sometimes be difficult to limit. “For myself, I prefer four standard pillows,” she says, “If you’re going to go for a lot of pillows, never more than two standard with regular, two standards with a flange, two euro squares, and a lumbar.” 

When it comes to linen selection, it is purely up to client comfortability. Silk, satin, linen, and cotton are all popular options. “There are organic options for linen, there are luxurious options like Frette cotton,” Jessica notes, “Sleeping on each is a different experience, and it really comes down to the client’s preference.” For those looking to buy sheets on their own, it is advised to go and physically feel the material at a showroom or store before making a choice. After all, when it comes to bedding, comfort is key.

Overall, Jessica’s main point is that curation is key. While there can be a temptation to pile on the pillows and blankets, what makes a bed look the best is a mix of textures and colors that fit well in the space. It may seem like a lot of work to smooth your covers or fluff your pillow every morning, but for a designer, ‘making’ a bed is a much more extensive, yet rewarding process. At the tail end of almost every residential project comes a bedding challenge, and as Jessica emphasizes, “A lot of effort goes into making it very special.”

A coordinating plum-colored chair in the corner compliments the bedding and ties the room together. (interior by The Turett Collaborative)