Boudoir ooh la la: Part 1

If you’re going to spend about a third of your life in bed then it should be as pleasurable as possible. Putting a luxurious, relaxing boudoir together on a budget isn’t too difficult if you’re creative.

The most important thing costs nothing: avoid using your bedroom as a dumping ground, or for general household storage. Don’t leave the ironing board permanently standing at the end of the bed, and if you have to use your bedroom as an office, try to find a way to put distracting work away completely once you’re finished for the day. The first thing you see when you wake up shouldn’t be mess, work or domestic drudgery. Try to keep the space for rest, relaxation and romance if you can.

Pick a theme
If you want to let your imagination run riot then this is the perfect place. Pick a theme that suits your personality, get creative and have a bit of fun. If you do want to go for a boudoir look then you can choose anything from ‘English country cottage’ to full on ‘Moulin Rouge’. If that’s too frilly you might prefer more masculine styling, with modern design and colour schemes.

Take your time when thinking about the theme, and trawl through interior design magazines and websites, museums, and books about architecture/ history/ design. One of my favourite sites at the moment is – it allows you to create mood boards and 3D room plans of your own, and lets you look at other people’s for inspiration. archive has some design ideas too, plus a lot of practical advice if you’re biting the bullet and doing a full-on decorating job.

Get the bed right
If your budget is limited but you really want a touch of luxury in your bedroom, focus mainly on the bedlinen and pillows. For the sheets and pillowcases, I go for a pure cotton such as Egyptian or Pima cotton with a high thread count when I can afford it – 400 is very soft, 500 is even better. Another bonus of buying higher quality cotton is that it seems to last longer: it’s much less likely to go bobbly after a few washes.

While they’re expensive, I never buy them at full price since they regularly turn up with reductions in the summer and New Year sales, and I’ve found John Lewis and Debenhams to be the most reliable retailers on the high street. These items also appear from time to time in the homewares departments of discounters such as TKMaxx. I haven’t had much luck buying from little-known sellers over the internet, and much prefer to purchase bedlinen that I can see and touch first.

If you’re buying quality here and there when it’s in the sales, it may be difficult to get matching sets. When you’re buying patterned or coloured linen then at least try to get the main pillowcases to match the duvet cover as it looks better, and you’ll be able to mix them more easily with plain and toning base sheets and any secondary pillowcases. Another classic option is to buy the plainest styles possible in white so that everything matches anyway. While white’s easy to match and looks crisp, I prefer ivory or cream as it’s more flattering against the skin.

If you do go for plain white or cream then you can still brighten the bed up with an attractive top sheet or bedspread if you like. I got a brand new purple satin bedspread from eBay that was probably an unwanted wedding gift – it didn’t sit well with the seller’s decor or personal taste, and so their mother-in-law issues were my gain…less than £25 including postage. Bedspreads often appear in summer sales as they’re out-of-season in warmer weather so now’s a good time to look for one, and if you’re feeling crafty you can also sew your own so it looks exactly how you want, whether it’s fancy brocade or cosy patchwork.

To be continued…

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  1. great article! never knew that ivory and cream bed linen woz complimentary to the skin!

  2. Great tips Ms Golightly! I can wholeheartedly recommend John Lewis’s Pima cotton range – I have it on my bed right now… gorgeous and soft.
    That 3D room planner application on the mydeco site is really cool, I must have a play with it.

  3. Hi BH – most people have warm skin tones whether they’re pale or dark skinned, and pure white sheets can be cooler toned. Cream and ivory sheets have a touch of yellow in them that’s slightly softer. The morning after the night before I need all the flattering I can get…

  4. Welcome back discofizz! I saw your post in the forum about the John Lewis bedding sale, many thanks for letting everyone know about it.

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