How to pattern clash bed linen

There’s a few things in this world that I can do well. I can soft boil an egg perfectly every time (you can too just follow this post) I can keep a fire burning bright, chopping and stacking wood like the very best pioneer woman and I can cook a dinner for 10 people without too much trouble. I can also make a mean bed. Always have, ever since I was a little girl. Mum would tell me to make my bed and tidy my room and boy did I run with that. Every morning I would make my bed perfectly, tidy my room, fluff my cushions and make things “just so”. Not much has changed…the bedroom has just extended to a whole house. I’m still that little girl, just a little crankier and swearier.

I will often take picture of our beds when they are made – because I love how they look when they are just so – and with all the visitors that we get there are always plenty of photos of beds. I’ve had lots of people comment on my linen…I have lots of it, lots of colours and most of all lots of patterns. To me I would prefer to spend money on bed linen and cushions than shoes or clothes. It’s just the way that I am.

I am always looking for interesting and colourful patterns so I can mix them all up with endless combinations. I’ve had a few people ask me how to do it…because when they try it always looks wrong…so I thought I would attempt to try to show how I do it. Although I’m not actually all that sure myself.

The fun for me is when I am changing my bed linen I open up the cupboard and start look at what’s on offer and have a play around with them. Using the pillow cases (that usually match the sheets) you can stack them together and see what combinations work. If you have a colour that is the same between the patterns they will usually work. Work it back a colour in the quilt cover as well and the whole thing “should work”.

Have fun with it…you’ll know when it works because it will just click. It helps that I have so much to choose from (see linen addiction?). That said, you see the same ones over and over, just in different combinations. 

Sometimes I just buy pillow cases (rather than a whole set of sheets) for a bit of interest. 

I also do the same on the kids beds…quilts and blankets will clash but if there is a colour that runs between them it “should work”. You can also use block colours too to tie them together. I don’t have that many doona covers to choose from, but kantha throws in all their fabulous colours and patterns can be added on top or used by themselves in summer.

So remember…


All the same: say blues and the different patterns will all still work together


Say red, make sure there is a red in the pattern of at least 2 items (say the pillow case & doona, or doona and sheet) and it will tie all 3 items together (doona, sheet & pillow case)


I hunt down the best sales and buy my linen then, always get my flanno sheets at the end of winter when they are discounted to 70% off for the next season. Don’t forget to just buy pillowcases (they won’t cost much and you can easily mix them all up together).


Throw caution to the wind and try things that you wouldn’t normally try. The results will surprise you.


Clean sheet day more often! And there is not much better than that!