Privilege Blog

All The Beds Of My Life, And Now For A Good One

Have we agreed yet that decorating a house is harder than decorating one’s corpus? “Corpus,” used in the sense of the original Latin here to mean physical body, the word more often refers to one’s literary body of work. But I digress. Nothing like word geekery to reestablish one’s sense of competence.

So I ordered a sample of this blue green rug, discussed more fully here, only to find that what appeared to be subtle striations were actual stripes. Too much noise underfoot for me. So back goes the sample, and we’re trying another. This one, from Garnet Hill.

Moroccan Rug Garnet Hill

Which also implies a return to my vision of rumpled blue linen sheets. With stripes,

Libeco Home Catalina Sheets

or without.


Maybe some vintage toile on a bench at the foot of the bed? I like the idea of old fabrics and textiles,but will need to start small to see how to use them.


But I digress again.

Which also brings us to the question of a bed to house said rumpled sheets. I had been thinking wood, because I have no imagination, but you all have sent me down the path of an upholstered piece and I don’t think I’m coming back. I’ve done the hard headboard thing to death. I bought my first bed to live alone in Manhattan, it was new brass, and always wiggled. When I was first married, we slept on a futon on the floor. Remember futons? Then we bought a melamine platform bed with a bookcase as headboard. How misguided is that? Trying to sit up and read with books behind your head?

When we remodeled, in 1992, I ordered a forged-iron canopy bed with blond wood headboard. It was beautiful. In place of a canopy I wrapped a maroon and fuchsia silk sari around the top bar at the foot of the bed, the ends hanging down part way on either side.

When we divorced, in 2006, I was doing a lot of business travel. I moved to an apartment so my ex-husband, who worked from home, could be there for our still-in-high-school son. I bought the Valencia Sleigh bed from Pottery Barn. Why, I cannot say. Perhaps for the same reason I got two moving violation tickets, painted one wall in the apartment red, and bought a sequined Brazilian bikini.

I also watched all 7 seasons of The Sopranos that summer. But never mind.

Now we need a new bed. A king-size bed. A comfortable one. And I want it upholstered. A reader suggested Restoration Hardware. who do show beautiful designs.

But ever since my experience with the memory foam topper, I’ve been suspicious of polyurethane foams. Not that I wouldn’t have been suspicious before, but I didn’t know they existed. And it turns out that Restoration Hardware uses these foams in their beds, so, out as a source.

Enter Room and Board.

Manufactured in the USA, which, while I do not have a nationalistic approach to manufacturing, does often imply higher quality control. And for their headboard stuffing? You have to ask a sales rep on a case by case basis, but for the most part they seem to use polyester batting. I’m torn between the Hoffman,

Hoffman Bed In Dwell Flax Linen

and this one. The Wyatt. Do they give beds boy names so that men won’t mind women making the choices?

Room and Board Wyatt Bed Desmond White

It’s a tradeoff. I prefer the legs on the Hoffman, but could do without those buttony tufty things. The Wyatt’s covered platform feels a tad corporate, although it’d be fun to put paid to dust bunnies under the bed, once and for all. I’d match the upholstery to either white walls or the grayish-brown rug, if everything goes according to plan.

Right about now, somebody’s thinking, “Well THAT looks boring!” And it doesn’t pop, anywhere. But remember I’ve got lots of gold-tone hardwood flooring, and floor to ceiling windows that look into a very green back yard. I will try, as always, to layer subtle, low-contrast patterns. And let us not forget my well-nigh gaudy pink and gold-flecked Murano glass turtledoves on the dresser. For a High WASP, that’s a vivid interior world indeed.

47 Responses

  1. I have a lot to say on this, as I find home decor easier than body decor. I’ll write to you when I get home from the studio today. Not crazy about the Room and Board beds – at all. Like the rug, a lot.

  2. The white simple Wyatt bed sounds like if would work in your airy room but my thoughts are why not go with a wood bed in an arts and crafts style as your anchor piece with that rich carpet and then choose some Linen bedding, perhaps from Tricia’s collection at Rough Linen…
    Could you post a picture of your actual room so we can see what the space looks like? It is difficult to imagine how big the space us where the walls, windows and closets are located and if there is room for mirrors and paintings.
    Kathy has a keen eye and she has experience in decorating….I hope she comments so we can all read her ideas.

    1. There’s just So. Much. Wood. in that room. And I do not feel comfortable posting photos of my full bedroom, for whatever reasons, so I know I am asking a lot of your imaginations. There’s not a lot of wall space that’s not occupied by windows, except over and opposite the bed.

  3. The home base of Room and Board is here in Minneapolis so I am pretty familiar with their products, if you haven’t actually walked into a store. Overall, I’ve felt that their wooden products have maintained a good quality standard, but when last I looked (last fall), the fabrics had gone down somewhat in quality…which I found at every furniture store I visited, including Restoration Hardware (At RH it was the quality of the wood that alarmed me, more than the fabric). They have an enormous selection of upgrade fabrics at the store, but I don’t know if these are easily available as samples if you can’t walk in.
    Anyway, if this is your route, be sure to look at the fabric samples before you buy. And I’ll add that white upholstery would never work for me, just because of the grime factor (husband who reads in bed, still at age 70 has an oily scalp…enough of that picture), unless I could add a washable slipcover…but thats just me.

    1. We’ve got a Room and Board here in SF. The fabrics I like are the ones with a high percentage of natural fiber. I understand the white concern:), was hoping to mitigate with big ol’ pillows.

  4. This year we bought a bed too. I really wanted the jalis from interlübke (cannot do that link thing) It looks incredibly cozy – but we ended buying a similiar but more rectangular style at half the cost.
    Need lamps and rug now. I am looking forward to your following posts!

  5. Check out Lee Industries. We just bought an upholstered bed from them, to be delivered next week!, because they are completely foam free and you can customize a lot of the fabrics for prices comparable to high street furniture stores. I highly recommend! I went through the same struggle of looking for a foam-free upholstered bed last month!

  6. I enjoy home décor and find myself changing a few things every five to ten years or so in the interest of keeping my home somewhat updated. Of course I most of my things are traditional and family pieces, which I will never part with. It’s the accent pieces that will keep things fresh and the paint. When I purchase something, I admit that I often have to make more than one attempt, which means returning an item, because I am a bit particular in my old age. Nevertheless, body décor is a bit more difficult for me, but not as much as in the past because I have had a weight loss and purchasing items that fit and look nice is easier.

    1. @E. Jane, So when you hear of someone who has owned a house for ages, and hasn’t done anything to it in 20 years, does that seem impossible to you?

  7. I find it FAR easier to decorate a room than my person, but I’ve never been fond of my particular proportions. And I kind of like the buttony, tufty things, but that’s me.

  8. Cushioned headboard once obtained? You’ll never go back to anything hard. I built ours out of simple plywood, upholstered in batting, topped with flokati. It’s dreamy ;)

  9. Oh, I do like a bit of word geekery, and corpus fits the bill nicely here.

    Home decorating is certainly taxing, in that it takes up so much of the gray matter in order to get things “right”. However, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing your vision come together cohesively. I have no doubt you will arrive there shortly and in the best possible way. Best of luck to you.

  10. I absolutely love decorating, and have since I was dragged around to furniture shops and antique shops as a child, so I have fun imagining various choices. It is easier to furnish one’s corpus, of course, because the investment isn’t quite so great, and the guilt for getting rid of something that doesn’t work is less. I would say go look at Lee Industries, since they are a terrific company, and your price point isn’t as constricted as some, not as expansive as others. The R&B selections are okay, but not fabulous. They read more as guest room than master cocoon. However, the Garnet Hill rug and the blue sheeting are both hits. Garnet Hill also does beds – might be worth a look. If you’re interested in canopies, still, they have a really pretty one…with an upholstered headboard.

    1. @Gretchen, Oh thanks! I don’t think we’re going for canopies this time around, given the history, but I will certainly take a look at the Garnet Hill beds.

  11. Love your choices. The Hoffman looks better to my eye, more elegant, less clunky than the Wyatt. Hmmmm. Maybe I need this bed!

    1. @Allison, I am going to go look at it again in person, once the rug arrives. I am hoping for a modern but plays well with frayed style. We shall see!

  12. I agre with others that it’s easier to decorate my house than myself. As for beds, I kept my old wooden headboard and draped it with a blanket topped by a smaller japanese quilt. It looks relaxed and lovely – the quilt is beautiful – and feels cozy in the winter (I’m in Toronto). Good luck with your search.

    1. @LauraH, I’m fascinating. I find houses harder because they are bigger, and it’s harder to gather the stuff in one place. Why is clothing harder? I should put up a poll!

  13. I vote for the Hoffman, the Wyatt looks hotel-ish to me. Yes on the blue sheets with or without stripes. Personally, I would go without stripes if you choose the vintage toile, which is lovely. My visualization of your room is very peaceful and comfortable with the fabrics, strong wood floors and large garden view windows.

    1. @Candace, That’s my visualization too! I would like to mix toile and stripes, or do some kind of low contrast pattern mixing, because I love the layers of visual texture. We. Shall. See:)

  14. We don’t have Room & Board in Houston, so when I fell in love with one of their beds, I had to convince my husband to visit the store for an in-person inspection while he was in Chicago for a wedding (he was with the wedding band – I think he made the rest of the band wait in the parking lot). We ordered online, once I got the report back, and the whole experience was very easy & impressive. We have loved the bed. A totally different look than your picks (all metal, high so the dogs & brooms can get underneath), but wanted to share how easy the experience of purchase and delivery was.

  15. Prefer the Hoffman bed. Love toile and have paired a very unfussy toile (yours is pretty unfussy) with a simple striped fabric on a very long banquette cushion in my kitchen. Mixing toile and striped pillows on the bed might be a great look! I even liked the first rug you considered!

  16. Fun! You’re so lucky to have the space and the disposable income to decorate (and I mean that in a totally loving way – we can participate vicariously).

    I too prefer the Hoffman. Do you need storage space? I’ve got drawers under our bed at the moment and our old bed just had our big suitcases and several big storage containers. Still, underbed storage does tend to accumulate stuff that you really don’t need or want as well as useful stuff like winter clothes in summer etc.

    Also, with upholstered headboards, wouldn’t they get grubby? Could they be cleaned somehow?

  17. The legs of the Hoffman are elegant and make the bed seem lighter.
    Perhaps if you had a slipcover made for the headboard, that would hide the tufting and allow you to it, too.

    I’d be very interested in your mattress selection, as we need to buy a new one.
    Are you thinking about a natural/organic – or traditional – mattress?

    1. @Anna, I think I can live with the tufting as is, if the overall look is good. As for mattresses, what I’m looking for is a memory foam mattress that does not emit VOCs. Very, very tough to sort through, and I’m still researching. What have you found? I’ll post on it all very soon.

  18. One Kings Lane has several upholstered beds available right now. If you’re familiar with how the web site works, you know each “sale” only goes for a few days and this one has been going a couple of days already.

    Anyway, one of the upholstered beds has a faux marble or stone print on it. I was blown away by that one.

    It’s in the “Hollywood Style” sale I think.

  19. “Hollywood style” was very misleading. I almost didn’t click on the sale.

    Go look. Some incredible upholstered beds.

  20. I love the idea of rumpled blue linen, particularly the stripes and can imagine stripes and toile… Otherwise don’t have much to say. I really like the legs on the Hoffman, and the sense of space under the bed (??) if it is not filled up with stuff. My bed is kind of like the last one however, but lower and more modern than average and in natural linen. It was a choice made for the requirements at the time, while my husband was still alive, and not necessarily the choice I might make today. I do like the upholstered headboard though and have pillows to pile up behind heads.

  21. I bought a high tufted headboard from Pottery Barn in green velvet. Then I upholstered it in a slipcover that I can change to utterly change the room. I have summer slipcovers for much of my upholstered furniture too. Consider the possibilities

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