Bedding got you covered?

Suffering from tired bedding? The “top of the bed” category is on many minds, and for good reason. This week’s trend report is an “alert trend” as many feel that beds have been in major nap-mode long enough.

As the industry searches for the next generation of what many will top their beds with, it’s helpful to be crystal clear about what is actually working today — both operationally and for guests. The following feedback was taken from an informal poll I conducted with my bedding informers who are involved in this industry-wide search of creating a reincarnation of the bed.

What’s working

  • The all-white, tone-on-tone sheet ensembles, traditional 60/40 cotton-poly blends (due to less housekeeping maintenance) and the average thread count of 200-250 is deemed acceptable by most.
  • Density, created by the weave, is a new assessment factor because many believe the stronger the sheet, the longer the lifespan — music to the ears of those in charge of the budget. Take note: a few polled did make reference to the one-way directional patterns not holding up as long as their intersecting counterparts. 
  • Duvets vs. comforters are universally popular as the rule of thumb is it’s always better to provide more when it comes to the top of the bed. The total amount of weight covering your guests is also factored into reviews because if you aren’t providing a happy medium, be prepared to pay more in energy costs due to guests fluctuating the in-room temperature dials.
  • Bolster pillows are going away, and if you are incorporating a decorative pillow, options in faux leather and/or fur instead of fabric are being discussed as possibilities. (If not for the general rooms, then for suites.)
  • Narrow runners (22 in/56 cm)  vs. wider scarves placed at the foot of the bed are preferred as a design element along with their ability to protect the foot of the bed for wear and tear. Adding runners or throws creates a perception of depth as well as a finishing touch for all-white beds. Even if your beds incorporate a quality topper or multiple rows of sleeping pillows, a stark bed can short-change a perfectly well-appointed guestroom.
  • If you’re buying off-the-shelf skirting, confirm that a non-slip guard was sewn into the corners and that the fabric that has a crisp-hand for better appeal. Also reconfirm your drop length as not all beds were created equal, and the skirt should fall 1 in (2.5 cm) from the top of your carpeting or flooring.

Project tips

  • Enlist your most creative, forward-thinking, trend-aware staff members to participate in the review of options.
  • Bedding ages quickly so make your selections fall somewhere between what’s trending today at retail and something forever-classic.


  • With modern and contemporary interiors still in a mainstream uptick mode (regardless of how formal or traditional a property design may be), neutral-toned geometrics, masculine patterns such as houndstooth and black-and-white patterns are all considered “new.”
  • Charge your suppliers with room auditions or, at the bare minimum, full-sized samples vs. a swatch.

Specific ideas for the next generation

Let’s take a look at a few specific ideas along with some visuals borrowed from live projects, as they contain a single element that caught my eye as pure design magic. Interesting enough, I was informed that any fears relating to hospitality practicality, operational feasibility or cost factors can always be improved if not completely resolved during the development phase.

  • Dual-purpose knitted runners project “coziness,” are inviting and add instant warmth. When sourcing, look for products that are a throwback to a classic Ralph Lauren home or a vacation spot in the Hamptons.
  • Contrasting patterns on the flip side of runners add interest, dimension and versatility. Beware of using too many related fabrics in the confines of a guestroom, though. Your finished project will come off dull and unmemorable.
  • Monograms or logos on the bed may be returning. A standard several years ago at several chains (Remember the piping and chain-link embroidered patterns?), corporate logos, initials or iconic property symbols are resurfacing. (Think a guitar at a Hard Rock Hotel or the duck from the Peabody property.) 
  • Factor in housekeeping to dress beds with samples. There tends to always be a bed-making star in housekeeping who, with a single fold, can turn a basic runner into something with new life! Another option is to hire a bed stylist, and yes, they do exist outside of Hollywood and can change the entire dynamic of a bed and room.

The idea during any period of uncertainty, as is the case with this current bed-transformation trend, is to treat your project as an “opportunity” instead of a task. Boosting a tired bed may only require a single SKU, and entering the project with personalization vs. commercialization or a touch of vibrancy as your goal (developed for hospitality needs, of course), will produce incredible results.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this trend alert, today, guests expect a crisp, all-white sheeting story. But I believe it’s key to accept that it doesn’t stop there. If it did, it would be like offering shampoo without conditioner or the TV without the remote! 

In closing, I share my personal pick for best top-of-the-bed design as I feel it incorporates much of the above, as well as my own personal DNA. 

Now it’s your turn! I am anxious to hear which look was your personal favorite as well as your ideas to transform your current bedding into the “next generation.”