Capsule Bedding: How to Mix & Match and Get the Most Mileage (and Different Looks) Out of the Same Basics

Capsule bedding? What does that mean? I’m asked about my bedding frequently and the truth is- most of it isn’t cheap. But, I’m also not switching it out every couple of months. Actually, for the most part, I’m not even switching it out every couple of years. There are a lot of places I’ll skimp but after years of trial and error, bedding isn’t one of them. I’ve invested and upgraded over time and have had some of our favorites for the past half-decade. I would rather save for quality, versatile pieces that I can mix and match than crowd my already-filled closets with season-specific bedding. (For extra bedding you do store, check out my linen closet post HERE and see how I maximize space and store my bulky quilts and comforters). I’ve talked about my approach a lot – and even shared my most used bedding in the “Power Couple” post HERE. And then recently, it hit me. Have you heard of “capsule wardrobes”? They’ve been around for decades but made a resurgence in popularity over the past couple of years. The idea is that you only need a limited amount of separates to be able to keep your look fresh throughout the seasons. You minimize your closet by investing in a few quality, timeless staples that can be mixed, matched, and layered for totally different looks. That’s my exact approach to bedding! Today, I’m sharing key pieces to create your own arsenal of capsule bedding and how to make your bed with ideas on mixing, matching, and layering for ongoing fresh looks.

*This post is published in partnership with Pottery Barn, one of my favorite home retailers. As always, all opinions, concept, and creation are my own. Posts on KelleyNan.com may contain affiliate links. Click HERE for full disclosure*

guest bedroom inspiration with white and neutral

Capsule Bedding: The Bed Linen Staples

First, let’s take a look at the bedding basics. Numbers 1-4 are the primary pieces that will serve you and your bed year-round, while 5 and 6 will be the “extras” that you can layer in seasonally for different looks. How to layer bedding, plus, the best bed investments for a beautiful year-round bed

1. // 2. // 3. // 4. // 5. // 6. // 7. // 8. // 9. // 10. // 11. // 12. // 13. // 14. // 15. // 16. // 17. // 18. // 19. // 20.

With a capsule bedding ensemble, layering is the name of the game but keep your expectations in check. Adding a throw at the foot of your bed isn’t going to immediately make it look like a catalog double. Most retailers use multiple inserts inside duvet covers to make them extra plump, and even pile on several quilts and comforters; they’re gorgeous in the mailer pages, but more often than not, would be totally silly in real life. Basically, the equivalent of Joey wearing all Chandler’s clothes 😉 But, there is a purpose to real-life layering. Typically, I have my quilt pulled over the entire bed but keep my duvet folded at the foot for extra cool nights. If you are cold natured, you may prefer the opposite. Here’s a breakdown and look at what all the pieces look like together.

How to make a bed like a magazine

1. 400 TC Organic Sheets // 2. Down Duvet Insert // 3. Grand Organic Duvet Cover // 4. Hanna Quilt // 5. Fringe Velvet Throw Pillows | Mohair Lumbar Pillow // 6. Mohair Throw Blanket // 7. Hanna Shams 

I prefer to keep my basics (duvet cover and quilt) in the neutral family (white, cream, gray…). Even navy can count as a neutral. Because we’re talking “capsule bedding”, it should be versatile. If you want to add in some red during Christmas, you don’t want the snowball effect of having to bring in more pieces as a result of it clashing with a pink, floral comforter. The neutral backdrop will lend itself well to any seasonal color or pattern 😉

For the guest bedroom, I recently switched my blue and white striped duvet cover to this white duvet cover, reminiscent of luxe hotel bedding. I wanted a totally clean backdrop for the upcoming Christmas season, after a few seasons of feeling “stuck” and backed into one color palette. See what I mean? 😉 The 400 TC organic sheets and duvet cover are “Fair Trade Certified”, a program benefitting the communities of those in which the factories reside. You’ve probably noticed the little emblems on the tags of items in-store or when you’ve surfed around the Pottery Barn website, but may not have known what they meant (you’ll see it on a lot of their organic bedding, metal furniture, and even my olive wood bowls – as pictured on the tray and nightstand in this bedroom). You can see a post that more thoroughly explains the standards to which they’re held, the constituents to whom they serve, and how Fair Trade Certified items provide opportunity and support workers, farmers, and communities worldwide HERE and see PB’s product collection HERE.

Favorite hotel style bedding

How to Make Your Bed and Change Up Your Look

When you’re using the same core pieces, it can be hard to envision how much you can really alter your look, but it can be done – not just through accent colors and patterns, but by the order you layer your bed and how you layer your bed.

Cozy winter throw pillows mixed and matched

My easy, fail-proof pillow configuration go-to is euros in the back (two for a queen-sized bed, three for a king), a pair of throw pillows (20″-22″), a second set of throw pillows (20″-22″) met slightly more toward the middle, with a short lumbar pillow in the center.

Queen bed pillow configurations and setup

With the quilt pulled all the way up, I’ll usually keep the duvet folded at the foot and topped with a throw. I have THIS throw (pictured) in multiple colors; I love it because 1. tassle-y fringe! and 2. unlike many, this is long and will drape all the way across the bed. It’s also on sale right now.

What is capsule bedding and how to get the best look for your bed

But, there are tons of ways to mix it up. Switch between the quilt and duvet with which spans the bed and which is folded. You can tri-fold, bi-fold, or just barely fold the top down. You can place the upper layer close to the pillows or at the foot; you can ruche your layers instead of folding, or, fold them all down together. Here are a few ideas; the layers are switched up but the staple pieces are the same, with a couple new accents introduced.

Bed pillows for queen sized bed with stacked throw pillows

How to layer a neutral bed with the best bedding pieces

neutral bedding with pop of plaid

Scroll & Tap to Shop the Bedding

layered guest bedroom bedding

And even though the guest bedroom is currently in a neutral state, you can get as bold as you want in your accents, like coupling THESE plaid pillows with THIS red pom pom throw. You can see more on my neutral bedding basics and how I bring in an occasional “punch” throughout the year to mix things up in my post HERE.

White bedding with blue and white pillows for master bedroom ideas with a tufted headboard

Scroll & Tap to Shop the Bedding

And if you’re in the market- good news 😉 Most throw pillows and throw blankets are on sale today and the Buy More, Save More event was extended through tonight (up to 30% off, plus free shipping with code SAVEMORE). Have bedding separates you swear by? Incorporating some color pops for Christmas? Tell us about it in the comment section and stay tuned for holiday content launching later this week!

Guest Bedroom Bedding Sources & Details

Velvet Fringe Pillows (in Sand and Mocha) // 400 TC Organic Sheets // Down Duvet Insert // Grand Organic Duvet Cover // Hanna Quilt // Mohair Lumbar Pillow // Mohair Throw Blanket // Hanna Shams  // Olive Wood Bowl // Plaid Lumbar Throw Pillow

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45 Comments

  1. 11.13.18
    Cathy said:

    This post is so well written and holds so much useful information. Thank you for writing it.

  2. 11.13.18
    Debbie said:

    Hi Kelley! I was wondering you mind if I ask where you purchased those beautiful mirrors above your nightstands?
    Thank you!
    Debbie

  3. 11.17.18
    Leigh said:

    Hi Kelly. I love the fringed velvet pillow from Potter Barn. Would you mind telling me where you got the inserts, and what size you used. I love your inspirational blog!

    • 11.17.18

      Hi, Leigh! Thank you so much- I actually used inserts I already had so I’m not sure where they were from originally. I usually try to size up 1-2″ on the insert 😉

  4. 11.25.18
    Ali said:

    Thanks for the inspiration!! What color are your fringed velvet throw pillows? My sheets and bedding are ivory and not sure if I should do the mocha or cream ones. Thanks!

    • 11.26.18

      Ali, I have both of them shown! The darker are the mocha and the lighter photos are the cream 😉

      • 12.1.18
        Ali said:

        Thanks! Got them ordered from your link! ??

  5. 11.27.18
    Victoria said:

    Kelley – I just discovered your blog and love it! Thanks for sharing. The Hannah quilt and shams, are they white or ivory? Thanks!

  6. 11.29.18
    Erin Prioux said:

    Hello. Can you tell me where you got your beautiful bed???

  7. 1.21.19
    Mary said:

    Hi! I love your bed?? Can you tell me the name and brand? Even if they don’t make it anymore, maybe I can find a used one or a similar in the same brand!!

  8. 2.24.19
    Christa McLane said:

    Hello! I love this article but I was hoping that you can tell me the difference between the Duvet Insert and the Duvet Cover? Is one lighter weight than the other. I love the layered look!

    • 2.26.19

      Hi, Christa! The insert is the actual filled comforter-like inside. The cover is what covers it. You can’t have a cover without filling it with the insert.

  9. 3.18.19
    Daniela Ritchie. said:

    Hello. Thank you for the tips. I’m about to remodel our master suite and want to change up our bedding. I love the way your bed looks, but where are the pillows you sleep on? I assume you don’t sleep in the shams or throws 🙂 I currently keep our king size pillows stacked (we have 2 each) behind the Euro shams. What did you do? I don’t see any. Thanks!

    • 4.4.19

      Yep, they’re back there! In the master, I do have a big, double handled basket next to our dresser that I use from time to time but they ARE in the bedding setup here 😉

  10. 5.14.19
    Dina said:

    Thank you for the easy to follow tips. Where did you get the rug?

  11. 8.24.19
    Tiffany said:

    I love the curtains. Can you tell me where they are from? I just purchased most of the bedding from your post! Very excited and thank you for posting!!

    • 3.11.20

      Tiffany, I am so sorry I am just seeing this! I know it’s probably too late but they are from Select Blinds 😉

  12. 3.29.20
    Jj said:

    Hi, the bed looks lovely.
    Just a question though, where would your actual pillows go?
    And where do you place the throw pillows when you go to sleep?

    • 4.6.20

      Thank you! We use a basket to store the bed pillows, which then stores the throw pillows at night. I don’t know what I’d do without my baskets! xoxo

  13. 5.24.20
    Andrea Lauterjung said:

    I just ordered most of this bedding from pottery barn. I’m super excited! I will need a bedskirt and I was wondering if you could give a suggestion on what type you would pair with this entire look. Pleated skirt or flat panel? And what color? I did get everything in white…the quilt, euro shams and duvet cover. I would love your opinion. Thank you!

    • 5.24.20

      Hi Andrea and yay for you! As you may know this bedding is my favorite. I know you’re going to absolutely love it! My personal bed skirt preference is the flat panel style. As for color, I would suggest white. You can then add color as you like with seasonal throws and pillows. They will be easy to change with the season and/or occasion.

  14. 9.23.20
    London said:

    Great post! I know this is probably a long shot, but I LOVE your wickeder bed frame!!! Any chance you know where you go it or who it is made by!

    • 10.4.20

      Hi London, Thank you so much for stopping by! I am sorry, but the bed is no longer available. The manufacturer is Stanley Furniture. It was called the Archipelago bed, if you need that information. xoxo

  15. 10.4.20
    Alisha Collins said:

    Just making sure I got the colors right. Quilt, sheets, and Duvet are white? Throw blanket and throw pillows are ivory?

    • 10.10.20

      Hi Alisha, Thank you so much for stopping by. You are correct that the quilt, sheets and duvet are white. The throw is ivory and the pillows are a mixture of ivory and taupe. xoxo

  16. 10.10.20
    Terri said:

    I love this look! If my walls are a lightened Agreeable Beige (SW color) and I’m going for a Coastal style, what colors should I use for duvet and quilt? I have dogs that sleep on the bed! I love that this bedding is machine washable! Thank you!

    • 10.10.20

      Hi Terri, Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by! I understand your concern with your dogs, but I would recommend the white. We have dogs too and the bedding washes up beautifully. The white is so versatile and is easy to accent with pillows and throws for the color of your choice. Oxy Clean is a very good friend in our house!

  17. 11.5.20
    Christine said:

    I am wondering if you use queen size quilt, duvet and comforter insert for a queen size bed or do you size up for any of these pieces? Thank you!

    • 11.6.20

      Hi Christine, Thank you so much for stopping by! I typically do not size up on any of these pieces. However, you could size up for the duvet insert to add some additional fullness.

  18. 2.8.21
    Karen said:

    What a well written informative post! Just stumbled across it while searching for bedding and inspo.

    I have struggled with the material, I wonder what you think of Linen in terms of maintenance? I love the look the feel the lightweight feature as I am a very hot sleeper. My biggest fear is the wrinkles. What are your thoughts on that? Do you just steam after washing or would you need to steam it every time you want the bed to look “made”? Thanks!!

    • 2.8.21

      Hi Karen, Thank you and welcome! I absolutely love this bedding. I have found that if it’s removed from the dryer immediately and shaken out, there are no harsh creases. However, if you are looking for a pressed and totally pristine look, additional steps may be in order. By nature, this bedding provides more of a “lived in” texture, like other linen items.

  19. 2.16.21
    Susan said:

    Would love to know what you think about which neutral to go with white (either cream or gray-or both) when paired with cherry furniture and similar wood floors? I’m in a rut trying to finish our bedroom because all the inspo pictures online I see of layered light bedding are more modern bedrooms.

    • 2.17.21

      Hi Susan, Thank you for visiting. I am very flattered that you are asking my opinion! Gray will cool things down, Cream may come across as “peachy.” An alternative would be natural, such as the flax. Hope this helps!

  20. 5.10.21
    Light said:

    I love your page and I have nice news would like to tell you about it, I invented bedsheets theory makes you don’t need to make your bedsheet every morning.
    – tidy, no wrinkles, easy and fast to change.

    • 5.10.21

      Thank you for taking the time to visit. I appreciate your kind note!

  21. 8.10.21
    Stacey Mills said:

    I love all these post on beddings. I have been going back to them to help make a decision. Bedding can definitely be a long term investment. You’ve done an awesome job! I’m sure your guests feel so pampered.

    • 8.10.21

      Stacey, Thank you so much for your kind note. I agree that bedding can be a long term investment. Think about all the time we spend there! 😉

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