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How to Choose ColourPrimary Bedroom

5 Ways to Transform your Bedroom Right Now!

By 01/26/2014February 23rd, 201741 Comments

For years and years, every time I have tried to source off-the-shelf bedding for a client, I walk away from the stores, pretty much uninspired. So I end up getting custom bedding made or I’ll suggest a white or cream duvet cover with custom shams.

All of that has changed with this really fun bedding I found recently. Since the master bedroom is the most neglected room in the house, maybe now is the time to DO SOMETHING about it!

So here are my best tips to help you have a beautiful bedroom:

1. If you’re not a pattern person, the following examples might be too much for your master bedroom, but certainly perfect for a guest room.

2. Or you could just buy shams and then a solid, coordinating duvet or just the duvet cover with solid shams for some colour inspiration. After all, it’s pretty hard to get excited about a paint colour when it relates to nothing in the room.

Once you have the bedding, take it to your nearest paint store and get a paint colour to go with it.

Santorini Bedding

JC Penny

Taupe & Turquoise Bedding

JC Penny

3.  If you choose bedding with a neutral in it like the comforter above, makes sure you can find that same colour in your carpet, otherwise it won’t look custom.

This bedding would be perfect in a room with taupe wall-to-wall carpeting. You can see in this image that the flooring coordinates with the carpet and the walls are slightly greener but pretty darn close. Get the list of all the neutrals in my ebook here.

turquoise, coral and yellow bedding


Here, they’ve shown it with green carpet but a green grey carpet would work too.

Let’s face it, most people have carpet in their bedroom over hardwood, which is why I’m talking about broadloom and not area rugs.

yellow, green and coral bedding


4. If you have a small bedroom, don’t worry about the broadloom. Visually, all anyone will really notice, is the bedding. It’s a larger bedroom, like the master, with lots of room for furniture and seating, where the colour of your wall-to-wall carpeting becomes really important and should be found in a duvet if there’s pattern in it.

Neutral + White Bedding

JC Penny

This duvet cover should coordinate with the neutral carpeting in the room, just like it does here. It looks like a green or yellow beige would both work. You can see that the headboard is a green beige.

Blue + White Bedding

JC Penny

5.  White plus a colour can be incorporated into a room with almost any beige or grey carpeting, then it won’t look like you’re ignoring it.

West Elm Pintuck Bedding

If you can’t get into all this pattern and colour, I have one of these duvet covers (above) from West Elm. What’s fun about it this one is that it’s impossible to iron, so the wrinkled look that you see above, is what you pull out of the dryer and it still looks great. I’m not a fan of the matching shams but the duvet has lots of texture and is a great way to upgrade the look of your bedroom right now!

Which one is your favourite?

Related posts:

Do’s & Don’ts for Decorating an Empty Room

4 Ways to Work with Colour Over Neutrals

How to Find the Right Colour for your Bedroom in Minutes!

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk up to the front door, become a client. On-line or In-person.

Download my eBookHow to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want and to make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert. 

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  • Angela Taylor says:

    The last one:)

  • Gina Stalder says:

    Perfect timing! Just starting to update my bedroom. Love the last one! Any suggestions on shams and pillows? I too am not a fan of matching shams.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Yea! I need a new bedspread and finding one has been a thing. I am to the point of just white, which I might do.
    Question: My master bedroom opens up to a master bath (big door), which you can see from the bed. It has colored tile (countertop). So, gray carpet, colored tile. Am I basically limited to that tile as my color in the master bedroom?

  • Laurel H says:

    Love the 2nd one, the gray and teal!

  • StagerLinda says:

    Great post Maria. Please remind folks to buy the comforter one size up. Skimpy bedding looks cheap. A king comforter on a queen bed look opulent!

    • Steph says:

      So true. I’ve been doing this for years, in hopes of buying a larger bed & suggest you try it. If you don’t love the aesthetic or added comfort, just exchange the bedding for your regular size. I really hope you give it a try.

  • BillP says:

    Great advice! Pottery Barn also has some nice duvet covers. A change of bedding and a few new pillows is a great refresh for any bedroom.

  • Other great bedding resources are John Robshaw Bedding (available at retail or online) and Serena & Lily (catalog or website). Great ideas Maria!

  • Kathi says:

    Fun post,Maria they are all cool looking,except after owning gazillions of comforters,I finally get it, for myself at least, that the only one that would work for me is the last one, as I seem to have this weird after 6 months span of getting tired of patterns in the bedroom,plus the comfort factor is out of this world with the last one!

  • tara dillard says:

    Which personality type does the master bedroom FIRST?

    Did it first moving into the house and 30 years later with a brand new divorce, the master bedroom came first for total renovation.

    Initially did the patterned spread ‘thang’ but after seeing so many client bedrooms with the matelasse spread and pops of color elsewhere have copied that. Easy to change the pops of color.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  • Bhavana says:

    For me, its the classic blue and white.

    I however would want to know what’ll happen when you change the duvet? Do you have to co-ordinate the next duvet also to the wall color?

    For people like me who like to change things up seasonally (what with kids and the associated stains & all) the assumption that the fabrics of the Sofa, the bedding, the curtains, the area rug will remain the same is difficult to comply with. And what about renters who cant change the wall colors?

    Any suggestions?

  • Linda Leyble says:

    Beautiful post Maria. Love all of your choices. I purchased a gorgeous white, amethyst and taupe/silver patterned coverlet for a guest room from Bed Bath and Beyond last year that I love. I still have to recover the antique French bed that it will go on. The walls are done in a Champagne-like taupe soft metallic plaster with a pale raised trellis pattern with raised cherry blossom stencils here and there (would love to show it to you). I had thought about doing a tufted chocolate upholstery – but now I am thinking that an amethyst might be an even better choice.

    Thanks for all you do!


  • Tess says:

    Great, and helpful, ideas! But what do you do with ALL THOSE pillows when you actually want to use your bed?

    • Maria Killam says:

      Pile them on the floor and the nearby loveseat, haha, that’s what I do! But you have to do what works for you. Maria

  • Beth says:

    Cat and dog fur on comforters was a problem for us and for many clients. Most of us can’t fit a comforter in our washing machine, and it cost a lot at the cleaners.

    So I put a plain white comforter on the bed with a pretty sheet one size smaller on top of it. The comforter hangs down the sides, with the sheet only covering the top of the bed plus a couple of inches on the sides. We tuck everything in at the foot. The sheet can be easily washed/swapped out for a different pattern or color.

  • franki says:

    I’m “still playing house” after all these years…I LOVE changing out linens, etc. At “the moment” I’m wild about paisley and plaid. franki

  • sherry says:

    Any of these would work in my bedroom. I particularly like the one from Penneys.

    That being said, I’m at place in my life where have to use a coverlet that can go into the wash easily. Stupid cats.

  • Mary says:

    I quit using a duvet/comforter inside a duvet cover years ago. It was such a headache getting the comforter back into the duvet cover after laundrying it.
    Now I like using a white matelesse coverlet. The texture hides wrinkles & white allows me to use any color as accents. It’s easy to wash & throw it back on the bed.

  • Joanne says:

    I love the last duvet cover. Is it heavy? I bought a King duvet cover from Restoration Hardware which I love the look of but it makes the duvet too heavy.

  • sandyc says:

    I love paisley but the Macy’s pinky red/seafoamy green wasn’t at all my colors. The paisley quilt & shams I finally found has a French country look in orangey reds, golds and several greens – quite traditional but and too seafoamy green for me. The one I eventually found is a sort of French country quilt with an orangey red background with various golds and greens. Makes me very happy during the day and at night, when it’s draped over a quirky metal valet stand, the soft green sheets underneath take me to la la land with ease.

  • Mariko says:

    Nice post Maria. I like to change my duvet AND duvet cover in Summer and Winter which is why I like neutral wall colors even in the bedrooms. I love that pintucked one, that style always has a luxurious look. My favorite duvet covers are from Crane and Canopy. Their Minna pattern is my new favorite. They have pintucked style in several nice colors. Their fabrics are fabulous quality but definitely not too expensive.

  • I have been a big fan of JC Penney’s bedding for the past 2 or 3 seasons. The quality is good and the prices are reasonable. They have a wide variety of styles and if they ship it to you and if you don’t like it, returns at the store are easy. I also like some of the curtain panels. They offer some of them in 108″ long which is usually hard to find.

  • Victoria says:

    Love this post and love bedding! We purchased a Croscill comforter and coordinating shams a few years back when we painted our bedroom a soft turquoise/aqua. The bedding coordinates wonderfully with it in the same soft turquoise and champagne color. But in the summer, I use a white matelasse coverlet on the bed for a light, fresher look and fold the comforter at the end of the bed. For the guest room I have a white duvet and use colorful shams to coordinate with all the artwork and yellow surfboard on the wall. Love using Pine Cone Hill’s colorful bedding.
    Very similar to the first one in your photos. Love the yellow — so fresh, bright and sunny.

  • karen says:

    Great post Maria and perfect timing as I just had my new bed and mattress arrive a couple of days ago. Lots of suggestions on places to look for a new duvet as well.
    Your timing is always perfect.

  • I love to have pattern and color in my bedroom! I read for hours every night before going to bed, so I like to splurge since that’s where I hang out. I go wilder in my bedroom since it’s for me to enjoy, not for other people.

  • Lynn says:

    Living in New England, I like to switch out the bedding in Summer and Winter. The walls are BM Super White so in Winter I dress the bed in the colorful Echo Jaipur duvet and shams (purchased on Amazon) and in Summer, white matelassé coverlet and shams from Homegoods.

  • megeranski says:

    Love the post, love the differing opinions, and love the sources mentioned.

    My preference is to not have pattern, but to treat a bed as you would a sofa — solids with texture.

    I prefer white or ivory, with texture. I am lucky that I can shop for yummy fabric and make my own. A contrasting, dark bedskirt grounds the bed and gives a great foundation. Medium and Dark pillows add interest.

    I am drawn to a bedroom that is an oasis of calm, a retreat, conducive to shutting down and cocooning. 🙂

    i like soft solids in rich textures.

    Also used to have the Multi-Pillow look, now think it just looks silly, and OY!! all that time taking off and putting pillows back on — i was exhausted! Thank goodness I am no longer so young that I would be a slave to ‘fashion’ and do THAT nonsense again. LOL

    Thanks for allowing me to throw my hat in the ring. My opinion on bedding is akin to Maria’s opinion on white in kitchens — classic, tasteful and unfailingly attractive.

    Love Maria’s post and all the comments!

  • Judy says:

    Really love this post but l have brick walls and beige colour carpet? I’m not sure what colour I should go for a duvet ? The bricks are called Hoffman Blend they are a brown, pinky colour.

  • Steph says:

    Love this post! Just the motivation I need to stop neglecting my bedroom…I too bought the last duvet from West Elm & love it. I put it over my winter goose down comforter. So when I want a different look, I just take it off.
    But the shams bother me. They make it feel too matchy, matchy. I can’t wait to see your solution. Thanks for mentioning your favorite, happy coincidence it’s mine too

  • Connie says:

    I love a soothing, not high contrast bedroom. So I have light maple furniture, taupe paint and taupe yellow, gold paisley bedspread.(lush) and several pillows. Favorite art painting, nice lamps, Now my problem is that it all seems a bit boring……everything seems very matchy-matchy. What do you do when nothing NEEDS replacing, but pizazz is needed? So hard to justify spending on unnecessary things, when there are many necessary things. Maybe I should to do a swap???Any ideas?

  • coconut says:

    My challenge is that my boyfriend and I each have our own twin size duvet on a queen bed, and most good-looking non-kid duvet covers only come in full/queen/king-size sets. My current covers are from IKEA. Anyone know of sophisticated-looking twin size duvet covers?? I have been looking at H&M, Garnet Hill and PB Teen lately.

  • Jane C says:

    A great online resource is You can DIY.

  • Donna Cole says:

    THANK YOU for showing bedding that normal people can afford! I’d rather spend the big bucks on a great mattress and higher thread count sheets. I actually like the 5th one (all neutrals) but it’s completely different than the current JCPenney comforter I have, which is deep red and a kind of Moroccan paisley look.

  • Sharen says:

    Great post Maria! I tend to stick with neutrals and the traditional toile. Love #4. I also prefer the “Open Bed” look. Pottery Barn is my favorite place for bedding. I have a great Aisan Toile quilt from them that I love. I recently painted my Master Bedroom the background color (sea glass blue/green) of that quilt. And also found a beautiful oversized Down Blanket on QVC that works as a layering piece.

  • Karen Aamodt says:

    Bedding and bedrooms. Not too long ago I purchased 3 pairs of awesome draperies and 2 throw pillows from a very nice consignment shop here in Cincinnati. The drapes were too good to pass up; warm (read dirty for Maria) buttery fabric with my favorite rose and sage green floral motifs; camellias, those stick lilies that look naked without leaves, primroses, etc. Disappointing that no bed cover was available but the drapes are lined and interlined and weighted! I need only 2 pairs of the drapes for my windows so thinking about cutting up the extra pair for pillow shams. Still deciding about cannibalizing those drapes or having shams made from a sage (bluish sage green and not the yucky burned sage color) buffalo check with a giant bright rose monogram across the middle. Because of not having any matching bed cover I opted for a matching (YES! it matches) pretty quilt in the warm creamy French Vanilla color. I bought 3 of these and they are working out well because of our Siamese cats. Wall paint was a victory because we did find a lovely champagne/French Vanilla color. To pull the sage buffalo check in, if we go that route for the shams, I would love to use the same fabric for shades under the drapes. If I don’t use the drapes for the shams I will use one o them to cover the pad I have on my cedar chest. Yes, Old Hopeless is still in the bedroom. The only problem with doing it this way is that it takes too long! I am seeing my house through new eyes now after reading Maria’s blog and I am so happy to learn that not all of what I’ve done was awful, lol!!!! THANK YOU!

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