Remember when sheets and bedspread prints were limited to spring flowers, boring solids and basic stripes? Well, bed linens are ho-hum no longer.
Catalogs, linen shops and department stores are stocked to the brim with luxurious designer linens that make going to bed an extra pleasure.In response to the current trend of "dressing up" the bed, linen manufacturers are turning out more bed accessories than ever. Today's home decorators have a wealth of stylish spreads and comforters from which to select. And from there the coordination possibilities are endless.
The better ready-made bed ensembles feature coordinated sheets, pillow cases, shams, bedskirts, breakfast pillows, neckroll pillows, draperies and valances.
"There is definitely more sophistication in the way of styling," says Stuart Goldblatt, owner of Linen's Etc. "Manufacturers are offering more of a designer look by packaging ensembles that have coordinating items. It's a custom look, but at an off-the-rack price."
Goldblatt said consumers want linens that feature intricate design details and a luxurious feel.
"Even more important than luxury is the feel and cotton content," he said. "That's where we are noticing the big differences. We sell more and more of the 200-thread count sheets instead of percale, which is 180 threads per square inch. Customers are demanding higher quality."
Signatures like Collier Campbell, Laura Ashley, Marimekko, Perry Ellis and Ralph Lauren abound in linen departments throughout the country.
"Bill Blass is the biggest and most successful," Goldblatt said. "But every designer has a collection of sheets and towels. There have been unbelievably successful patterns that have enjoyed a good long run."
Although Linen's Etc. is a discount shop, Goldblatt said his two-store chain is also capable of responding to home decorators thirst for custom merchandise.
The custom bedspreads and drapery treatments splashed on the pages of magazines have generated lots of excitement in the marketplace, agreed Frederic Wild, owner of Interiors by Cable House in Cincinnati.
"Colors and patterns are better in the ready-made market. But what people are gushing over in the magazines is custom work."
One of the latest trends is the reverse spread, he said. The extra-long spread is designed to go under and back over pillows, cutting the time to make a bed in half.
Wild attributes the new interest in linens to the new master-bedroom suites in houses and the public's desire to be pampered.
People are adding impact to the suite with bed accessories that offer wonderful colors, fine fabrics, intricate detailing and lots and lots of throw pillows.
"It's an idea of retreating to a private space," he said. "The trend in building for the two-income market is having the master suite on the first and the children's bedrooms on the second floor. It's become a sanctuary for husband and wife."
Bedrooms use to be the last room that was decorated, agrees Goldblatt. "The trend started with the way houses are being built and the emphasis placed on bedroom and living areas. Now people are admitting that the bedroom is a room they live in and are handling it accordingly."