One of my favorite rites of fall is to watch the leaves on the trees around my home turn amber, persimmon and ruby. Another is to see the bedding ensembles at Nell Hill’s Briarcliff transform from summer into wintery works of art. Our textile design team fearlessly mixes patterns, colors and textures to create collections that are so arresting you’ll never want to get out of bed. If your bedding is getting a bit frayed, or if you’re ready for a new look, why not remake your bed this winter? Here are a few of my favorite looks for the season.

You don’t have to be Scottish to feel a kinship with this drop-dead-gorgeous bed, complete with a tartan plaid duvet and pillows. While it is timeless and traditional, highlighting one of my favorite toile patterns and two different plaids, the bedding is anything but stuck in the past. Our designers kept it fresh by tucking in contemporary geometric Euro shams.

One of our go-to designs when dressing a bed is to include four rows of pillows, starting with a pair of matching Euro pillows in the back then descending in size until we finish off with a smaller rectangle accent pillow. Each set of pillows adds a distinctive element to the group, yet complements the overall design.

There is a lot going on in this grouping, but thanks to a repeated color scheme of blue, white and tobacco, the diverse patterns in the fabrics are lively, not overwhelming.

When we build our bedding ensembles at Nell Hill’s, we don’t just decorate the head of the bed – we make the foot sensational as well. Here, we added a royal blue quilt at the bottom of the bed to pull out the blue from the pillows and break up the plane of plaid in the duvet. We finished with a cable knit throw on top, just waiting for a Sunday afternoon nap.


This richly dressed bed is exploding with wonderful patterns. I think this diverse mix of tartan plaid, paisley, toile and floral fabric looks divine together. Even though each fabric has a lot of personality, they work well together because they toggle around the same color palette of brown, cream, cranberry and sage. Another trick to pairing bold patterns is to repeat the patterns throughout, like we did with the plaid and floral.

When dressing your bed, get the most luxurious sheets your budget will allow. My favorites are white cotton sheets with an impossibly high tread count, trimmed in lace. Look how delicate these beautiful sheets look against our winter bedding ensemble. Irresistible!


Orange is still hot, hot, hot in the decorating world. On this bed, we combined pops of bright pumpkin with fabrics that feature deeper, richer tones of brown, tan, rust and red to create a bedding ensemble that’s a bit more sophisticated. One of our favorite approaches when we design custom bedding at Nell Hill’s is to wed contemporary fabrics with time-tested traditional fabrics. We achieved a great balance on this bed by blending an animal print, flame stitch, plaid and bold floral. The more modern tan quilt balances the high octane pillow grouping on top of the bed. When you have custom bedding made, you can also feature unique finishes, like the matching covered buttons on our reversible duvet. It’s really a treat to have bedding made just for you, to celebrate your style and create a singular look in your bedroom.

We further enhanced the look of our warm-as-toast bed by sliding a gorgeous ottoman at the foot. These one-of-a-kind ottomans are upholstered in rugs and are a showpiece in and of themselves. They are the perfect place to sit while you dress or to place bed linens, like this soft cable knit throw and spare pillows.


I just had to show you an ensemble created to accent one of our fabulous upholstered bed frame. This beautiful bed is covered in a muted zebra pattern in faun and cream. In typical Nell Hill’s fashion, we did a study in contrasts by accessorizing the contemporary bed with traditional fabrics. We went for a quiet palette here since the bed is so bold, zeroing in on soft and subtle shades of brown, taupe and cream.

I’m a huge fan of using menswear fabrics in bedding because it looks so classic and sophisticated. We tossed an intriguing toile pattern in with our glen plaid duvet and tattersall pillow.

In this close-up shot, you can see our four-layer approach to bedded bliss: Brown velvet Euro squares in back, a pair of paisley Euro squares next, crazy cute toil Euros to finish, and a tattersall rectangle pillow to accent.

Next Week … It’s almost time again to decorate your home for the holidays! Next week, I’ll share my secret for staging knock-out displays.

P.S. Are you coming to my Holiday Open House this weekend? I hope so! I’ll be greeting guests for free tours of my historic home in Atchison on Friday, 10-4, and Saturday, 10-1. Nell Hill’s Atchison and Garrity’s will be open both days 9-5, and both stores will be packed with all the decorating goodies you’ll need to replicate the designs you’ll see showcased in my house.

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18 Responses to “Snuggle Up in Sensational Winter Bedding”

  1. Lisa Fernandez Says:

    Yes, God willing if I survive Hurricane Sandy, I will be there Friday. I can’t wait!
    These lovely ideas for bedding are absolutely a dream. I love the combinations, the tartans with the flours, the plaids with the lace. Endless possibilities. So beautiful! I can’t wait to see them in person. Perhaps I might bring some back home with me.
    Hee Hee.
    Newtown, PA

  2. Laura Gabriel Says:

    Mary Carol,

    The Denver girls are headed your way, but not the weekend of the Open House this year! We are coming the next weekend! Are any of the bedding/fabrics available in Atchison this year or just in Kansas City?

    Can’t wait to see this year’s decorations!

    Laura Gabriel

  3. LMRAOR Says:

    question: I enjoy the four rows of pillows, but I am not sure that just two Euros will be the correct scale for a king-sized bed, how would you accessorize a king?

  4. Karen Thompson Says:

    i love sheets that have a lot of body even if they wrinkle. How high is an “impossibly” high thread count? And would they be what I might be looking for? Sure hate to miss the open house, love the holidays at Nell Hills in.

  5. Lisa Says:

    I absolutely love the brown, cream, cranberry, and sage floral duvet. Would like to order it. Didn’t see it in the online store. Do you ship? What is the price for a king and queen?

  6. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Laura—-Fantastic!!! It looks like you will have to come to both locations. The fabric and bedding are located at the Briarcliff/Kansas City store. Can’t wait to see you!

  7. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Lmraor—Please call 877-746-4320 and we will refer you to our bedding specialists for all your questions.

  8. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Lisa—Some bedding items are not on our online shop but customized and available for shipping through our Briarcliff store. Just call 877-746-4320 for all your bedding needs.

  9. Teddee Grace Says:

    The floral duvet is divine! I’m saving this post for all the great fabric mixes.

  10. Mons heath Says:

    I love all of the layered bedding!!!! The colors are sooo warm and inviting!!! I am hosting Thanksgiving this year for my extended family and my 80 year old mom will be sleeping over as well as my sister and nephews and other family members!!! I started on one guest room and began layering the bed with dark reds, dark greens, tartan patterns and brown checks!!!! It is beautiful!!!!! I know my mom will love it!!!! She is a master at decorating and she has had no formal training…. Just what she loves!!!! She lives in a beautiful old 2 story house built in the early 1900′s! It has 5 bedrooms and they are all “to die for”!!! Thanks for your beautiful decorating!!! I am giving her one of your books for Christmas….. May give her several because it’s too hard to choose just one!!!!

  11. Lynne Says:

    My sister and I are coming to your open house! I’ve always wanted to see your lovely home in person, but I hear the crowd is huge! That’s the only reason I’ve shied away from coming but this year I’m just going to muscle through and come! I can’t wait to see your magic!

  12. Robin Frank -- Vision Interiors Says:

    Just a note to Lynne … Who s heard the of huge crowd at Mary Carols open house ……. Don’t hesitate one bit !!! Even standing in line to get in is so fun …. A great time to catch your breath and take in the decorated pots and garden urns and outside decorations etc . Such a fun CHICK DAY . ( But honestly the few men who brave the tour really enjoy it ) You will love the whole thing . Don’t rush through either …. We ll all be there too !!!!!

  13. Suzy Milburn Says:

    Mary Carol, I love, love, love your beautiful bedding! I appreciate your layering tricks. I love changing things around for fresh new looks in my own home, and I really enjoy a look that is classic, but still playful, and doesn’t take itself too seriously……I get that same sense whenever I visit one of your beautiful shops. Also, thank you so much for allowing all of us to tour your historic home in Atchison this weekend. You were so gracious to stand outside and greet each of us as we entered. Thank you too for allowing us to take pictures…. My friends and I are already planning our next trip to Atchison!

    Suzy Milburn, Springfield, MO

  14. Robin Frank -- Vision Interiors Says:

    Such a lovely tour Mary Carol … So soft and gracious … Just beautiful. All the gals enjoyed tons !!! Brought 2 newbies and 13 altogether . Had a great time shopping too ! Looking for the white plates with the black pattern of a full “stag” on them ( also some had ” hares ” and would love to find some more …. Please tell me you will still carry them … Robin F.

  15. Nancy sumner Says:

    I love the bedding in the first picture for the snuggle up in sensational winter bedding. Do you sell any of this in a king size or do u know where I can find these items. Thank you
    Nancy sumner

  16. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Nancy,

    I will have one of our Nell Hill’s bedding specialist give you a call.
    Thank you for your inquiry!

  17. Alyson Rehwinkel Says:

    Can you tell me if the name and manufacturer of the brown floral used? Do you still carry it?

  18. Mary Carol Says:

    I’m sorry Alyson that particular fabric has been discontinued from our fabric mill.

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