Categories for Design

Design Trends 2017

It’s finally 2017 and so many we are glad to say good-bye to a year that in numerous ways has been uneasy and stressful, to say the least.

The New Year always gives us a craving to reinvent ourselves, a growing desire to improve, refresh and renew.  Out with the old, and in with the new. With that in mind, as we do every year, we scoured our reliable sources for new home design ideas.  We’ve consolidated and compiled predictions from “the experts” that heavily research and assess the mood and state of the world, such as Pantone, Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, our successful domestic and North American and European suppliers, reliable shelter magazines, top news reporting agencies and more.   And so, in the words of Heidi Klum, “One day you’re in and the next you’re out.”  Auf wiedersehen 2016!


Brass Overkill – Old Fashioned Edison Bulbs – All White Rooms – Indigo Everything – Sharp Edges – DIY Everything – Brushed Metal – Smooth Sleek Rooms – Over-sized Furniture – Chevrons – Strictly Antique – Cool Grey Tones – Copper Overload – Reclaimed Wood – Geometric Tiles – Moroccan Poufs – Artwork with Quotes – Open Floor Plans


Mixed Metals – Wallpaper – Moody Blues & Greens – Navy is the New Black – Rounded Edges & Circular Furniture – Artisanal – Art Deco – Butterflies – Modern Minimalism – Dark Green Paint & Bright Greens – Pottery – Raw Chalky White – Nailhead Trim – “Kit-Kat” Tiles – High Lacquered Wood – Defined Living Spaces – Decorate with Worldliness


Jewel Tones – Hand Dyed Fabrics – Matte Appliances – Seamless (flat) Cabinets – Smart Home Features (the Internet of Things) – Furniture as Art – Upholstered Headboards

Overall, the biggest “thumbs-up” in design is to do what you love.  If you love your home as it is, even if it goes against the trends, embrace it.  There’s no need to chuck something simply because it’s on the “out” list.  However, if something about your space is bugging you, and you’re ready to make some changes, be aware of the trends.  Look over the “ins and outs,” see what appeals to you and your lifestyle, then move forward with confidence!


Let’s break down the “trend” color stories that transcend not only on your walls, but on fabrics and home goods in general.

2017 Color Trends

Pantone is usually the first one out with their Color of the Year, which is Greenery for 2017.  This is not just any old green.  It’s a bright yellow-green, the color of the first new shoots of spring emerging from the earth.  Although their choice is somewhat arbitrary, they didn’t simply pluck it out of thin air.  They explore industries collecting “proof points” from places like car shows, runways, decorator showcases, celebrity sightings, and at some point, one shade achieves critical mass.  And then they ask themselves what message that color brings, and how it shapes our experience.

In the case of 2017’s Greenery, they started noticing it on the runway beginning in 2014, and saw it building through the spring 2017 shows.  They noticed tech companies using the leafy green in their offices, the new Mercedes-AMG Roadster comes in leaf green, green walls are becoming architectural staples in the form of vertical gardens, and Dior has a new lip shade called “Clover”, the list goes on.  If the fashion theory that three is a trend is true, this is a tidal wave.

Pre-election 2016, it was thought that Greenery reflected the possibility of a new beginning with the first female president.  In the wake of Mr. Trump’s victory the meaning may be even more significant.  This green is an unusual combination of yellow and blue, warm and cool, a complex marriage, which is probably putting what is going to have to happen in the current political climate mildly.  It is also the color of hope, nature and renewal, and gives us something to look forward to.

Don’t despair if Greenery simply isn’t your color.  The major paint companies also come out with their 2017 pallets, and there are plenty of choices that are fresh and new, and will lift your mood out of the 2016 doldrums.

Benjamin Moore chose Shadow (2117-30) as their 2017 color of the year.  It is a dramatic, deep, greyed purple.   “It ebbs and flows with its surroundings, and light brings it to life.  Rich, royal amethyst can fade into the soft lilac-grey of distant mountains or morph into a lustrous coal.  Indulge your mysterious side.  Let Shadow set the mood,” says Ellen O’Neill, Benjamin Moore Creative Director.

A diverse group of designers explored art fairs, exhibits and studied cultural influences, both national and global to develop Benjamin Moore’s 2017 color pallet.  Significantly influenced by the arts, they titled their selections The Theater of Light, and grouped hues based on light during specific times of day:  Morning Light, Afternoon Light, Sunset, and Evening Light.

The colors range from very pale shades like Chalk White, Iceberg, Pink Bliss and Cloud Cover, mid-tones like Amulet, Etruscan and Sea Star to deep shades like Shadow, Night Shade and Ebony King.  Notably absent is the leafy green of Pantone, but green is represented by Guacamole, Knoxville Gray and Salamander.


Sherwin Williams says, “The state of color has never been more restless. New spirituality, cultural flux, feisty self-expression and soulful nostalgia are combining to paint an emerging portrait of our shared future.”  They divided their 2017 colors into four pallets, Noir, Holistic, Intrepid and Unbound, based on what influences all of us, even without our knowledge… the world around us, culture, spirituality, nature, diversity and even nostalgia.

Poised Taupe is the Sherwin Williams Color of the Year, and it is a part of the Noir pallet.  Poised Taupe is an earthy brown combined with conservative grey that results in a weathered, woodsy and complex neutral that is cozy, easy to live with and will certainly have mass appeal.  The rest of the Noir pallet is a mix of Nordic blues, moody neutrals, vine-ripe grape and golden yellow, perfect for creating a dramatic, romantic, dark and sensuous refuge from streetlights and glowing screens.

Sherwin Williams Holistic pallet is experiential, influenced by travel, social consciousness, nature, sustainability and adversity to obvious consumerism.  Acquiring experiences is becoming preferable to buying more things, and “doing good” is the new looking good. These colors are more pastel and range from arctic neutrals to blush rose and wild browns.

The third group from Sherwin Williams is Intrepid, based on our fluid identity, from feminism and diversity to 70’s and 90’s nostalgia.  “You do you” is the mantra of a generation primed for self-expression, cheered on by their own #squad and tossing aside old categories. There’s a feisty energy to this collection, arriving in fiery tones and vibrant, kimono colors.

Sherwin Williams final pallet is Unbound, influenced by global immigration, blending cultures and diverse design.  Overconsumption is, well, over. We’re more likely to invest in the best we can afford — crafted and customized — and then keep it forever. This collection is earthy and more saturated hues of mustards, ocean blues, corals and mud.

Which brings us to the longtime mission and philosophy of our store:

Over the years, we have pioneered and still embrace the current trend of buying quality products that are meant to last and not to be discarded. After all, it’s been practiced by Europeans for centuries and that’s why they still have beautiful country landscapes, clean water and cities that keep on renewing themselves.  Quality never goes out of style, whether in the home or personal accents.  It is good not only for your budget, but it’s the best thing we can do for the environment, and can be enjoyed year after year by just adding a few new accessories.


2015 Symphony Designers’ Show House

The 2015 Symphony Designers’ Show House has recently come to a successful conclusion.  This was the 46th show house presented by the Kansas City Symphony Alliance.  For many years Terrasi Living has participated the show houses, either by partnering with a designer, or by taking on rooms as our own projects.  This year we supplied bedding, towels and accessories for five of the six bedrooms, two bathrooms, the staircase landing as well as dishes for the carriage house.

Here is how it works:  The design teams awarded a room in the show house may come to the store where we help them select the items they need to complement their design plan.  While the designers get busy on all of the other details in their room, we get all of their bedding and accessories gathered together.  We press and prepare everything and on the appointed day we help the designers install the bedding they chose on the beds.

This year we worked with:

The Kansas City symphony Alliance – Master Bedroom

Prairiebrooke Arts – Grand Staircase/Landing

Madi Mali Homes – Second Floor S. E. Bedroom & Jack & Jill Bath

K is for Kitty – Little Girls’ Room

Johnson County Junior College – N. E. Bedroom Suite

Décor by Design – Carriage House

Here are some photos of the finished rooms:


Johnson County Community College


K is for Kitty


KC Symphony Alliance


Madi Mali Homes


Prairiebrooke Arts

Color Stories: Volume 1

Color Stories


Volume One


Once upon a February morning a woman sat in her beige living room watching an old black & white movie on TCM and sipping dark brown coffee out of a white mug.  She looked out the window at the landscape of her back yard.  Dirty white remnants of the last snow storm collected in small piles on the dormant grass, the trees were bare and the sky was grey.  Her whole world seemed colorless.  She sighed deeply. 


“I’ve had enough of this,” she thought, turning off the television and picking up the color issue of her favorite design magazine.  She leafed through the pages.


“No,” she muttered to the opulent red and gold French salon, “Too much”.


“No,” she mumbled to the grey and lime green minimalist living room, “not enough”.


“Ooooh!” she cried taking in the two page spread of spacious bedroom decorated in vibrant blue and white.  “I could live in this.  I mean really live!” she said. 


She ripped out the pages, grabbed her purse and headed out into the ‘greige’ world in pursuit of the perfect shade of blue.


And this is where the story begins…


Ah, the complexities of color.  It’s positively lyrical.  In fact, if Billie Holiday asked the musical question “Am I Blue?” today in the design world, there would be no simple answer. 


Colors need descriptive qualifiers.  When someone says Baby Blue, you know what they mean.  That’s why there are so many lipstick and paint colors… one just hopes that the names are meaningful.  (What does Pinky Dink Pink look like anyway?)


Benjamin Moore says they have 510 shades of blue, from palest First Snowfall to the very deep Old Navy.  Blue can lean toward greenish hues, like peacock, or those containing more red, like violet. Then there are the ‘true’ blues that are right down the middle but vary in saturation from sky blue to cobalt. There are also greyed blues like Crayola’s Cadet Blue, which is the color of a stormy grey sky.




All of the color these color choices can put you in a blue funk!  So how do you go about finding colors you can live with? 


First, find your inspiration:  The lady in our story had the right idea.  She found her inspiration in a magazine, and kept the pages as a starting point. You may find yours in art or something else that speaks to your aesthetic sensibility.  


Keep in mind the design principle of 60-30-10.  I don’t know who came up with it, but when it comes to selecting colors for your home, it’s the golden rule (no pun intended).  Here’s how it works: The dominant color in your room should be 60%, secondary color 30% and accent color 10%. 


Room using  the 60 – 30 – 10 principle


Don’t overdo your pallet.  The mix of too many colors can be an awful mess.  Stick with a color scheme like monochromatic (using tones of a single color) or complementary (using colors opposite each other on the color wheel).


A monochromatic grey room
Bedding using a complementary color scheme
Choose opposites on the color wheel for a dramatic complementary color scheme


After determining your pallet, move on to textiles, fabrics for bedding, upholstery or curtains. Be sure to check out swatches of the fabrics you are drawn to, take them home and see them in the lighting of your home. 




After making your final fabric selections move on to paint colors.  Try them on your walls in patches and view them as the light changes at different times of day next to your fabric choices to be confident that the final outcome is what you intend. 





And you’ll live happily ever after 

in your beautifully decorated new room!




The Gracious Guestroom

As the holiday approaches, so do the guests.  Holidays are about friends, family, food and experiences.  If you are expecting a huge influx of guests from out of town you’ll want to keep the experiences as free from stress as possible.  After stocking up on the very best food and wine, it’s time to prepare the guest bedroom.  As the least used room in your home becomes very busy, we have developed a checklist that will leave you fully prepared and confident that your guest bedroom deserves a Five Star rating.

anali tailor made

The Bed – The most important element in the room should have:

  1. Soft, smooth, freshly laundered sheets
  2. Fabulous goose down pillows (medium firmness is best for most guests), and firmer feather euro pillows to provide support for those who read in bed
  3. Warmth – a down comforter or snuggly blanket
  4. Lovely top-of-bed ensemble that is neither too feminine nor to masculine
  5. A throw for mid-afternoon naps.

A Place to Sit – If you have the room, a comfy chair in the corner with a small side table that will hold a lamp, book and cup of tea is an inviting place for guests to rest.  If you don’t have the room for chair, a bench at the foot of the bed is great for sitting down to put on shoes or stacking unused pillows and bedding.


A Place for Luggage – a small luggage rack or even a low table of appropriate size is a fabulous addition.  It will be convenient for your guests and save your bedding and other furniture from luggage that has been tossed, handled and may have seen more than a few hotel rooms.

luggage rack

Adequate Lighting – a bedside lamp with a 3-way switch is a must, even if you have overhead lighting.  Small night lights that illuminate s the floor for sleepy shuffles to the bathroom in the middle of the night are inexpensive ways to show your guests that you care about their safety and well-being.

bedside lamp

Reading Material – A little light reading; the latest magazines that are appropriate to your guest’s interest or other books can create a personal retreat for your guests.

stak of books

Scent – Softly scented candles or a scent diffuser (keep it light… nothing too heavy) will keep the room smelling fresh and welcoming.

bitter orange dif

Robes – A pair of one-size-fits-most robes kept freshly laundered and hanging in the guest bath or closet invite your guests to get comfortable.

fairfield robe

Stock the Guest Bath – In addition to a stack of fluffy towels, on your next trip to the drug store stock up on the necessities that your guests may have forgotten to pack:  small guest soaps, a bundle of new tooth-brushes, small travel sized tooth pastes, cotton balls, a hair dryer, assorted bandages, aspirin or other headache remedies, facial tissue, plenty of bathroom tissue, disposable razors and body lotion.

bathroom necessities

Bedside Carafe – A lovely carafe of fresh water with its own drinking glass will make it apparent that you have thought of everything.

bedside carafe

Guest Book – A small guest book is fun.  Guests can jot down the date of their stay along with some notes that make each stay memorable.

guest book

Treats – There’s nothing like a few chocolate chip cookies wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow to make your guests feel at home.

stack of cookies

Visits always give pleasure — if not the arrival, the departure.

~Portuguese Proverb

Dressing Your Bed

A.  Duvet Cover

B.  Coverlet

C.  Flat (Top) Sheet

D.  Fitted (Bottom) Sheet

E.  Pillow Cases

F.  European Shams

G.  Std. or King Shams

H.  Decorative Pillows

I.    Bed Skirt


Dressing Your Bed


If it’s true that you spend a third of your life in bed, your bed is probably the most important piece of furniture in your home.  Your bedroom should be your personal sanctuary, a retreat from a busy and stressful world. Your bed should feel so wonderful and look so beautiful that it beckons you home at night.   Dressing a bed with fabrics and accessories to complement your personal style may require some help. Our linen experts are here to help you create your dream bed and assist with any questions you might have about quality, colors, fabrics or accessories.


The most important decision is selecting a mattress that is firm enough to give you the support you need yet soft enough to provide comfort.  Everyone has their own preferences, and research has shown that you should be prepared to test any mattress you are considering for at least 20 minutes.  The mattress is not a place to skimp on price.  Spending a little extra money to get the right mattress will make you sleep and feel much better in the future.  Existing mattresses can be made plusher and more luxurious feeling with wool or down mattress pads or featherbeds for a truly voluptuous bed. 


The second most important element on your bed is your personal sleeping pillow.  Most of us don’t sleep in the same position all night, however the rule of thumb for choosing sleeping pillows is:  Soft for stomach sleepers, Medium for back sleepers and Firm for side sleepers.  Start with the position in which you fall asleep.  It is quite normal for one person to have two or more pillows for a comfortable night’s sleep.  Whatever it takes to make you comfortable, it is well worth it. 



Sheets and pillow cases are the basics of any bed. These are available in either percale (crisp, matte finish) or sateen (silky, lustrous finish) and come in solids jacquards, prints and embroideries. Don’t get caught up in tread count.  Thread count is only one piece of the equation.  Equally, if not more important is the fiber and the finishing.  Long staple Egyptian cotton is the best quality cotton, but linen sheets are quite wonderful as are Lyocell sheets.  If at all possible, touch before you buy. Quality linens should feel the same after years of washing, perhaps even better.

 Top of Bed

Duvet covers and coverlets are the most common way to dress the top the bed and are often shown with matching or coordinated shams. Since the top of the bed is what is usually seen, choose styles that please your eye and make you happy. Strive for beauty and functionality.  When it comes to duvet covers, look for very light weight breathable fabrics.  This will insure that your comforter does what it is supposed to do… keep you comfortable.  Bed skirts or box spring covers finish the bed by covering the box spring.

 *Blankets and bedspreads are still used but not as much as comforters and duvet covers. Choose a blanket that does not pill or shrink. Bedspreads are almost always custom made to fit your bed, so having accurate measurements helps guarantee a good fit.

 Finishing Touches

It’s the details that make the difference between furnished and finished.  Adding decorative pillows like euros, bolsters or boudoir sized pillows along with a coordinating throw for the foot of the bed can add a needed splash of color or texture that will give your bed its personality or provide a seasonal change that can take your room from light and airy to warm and cozy.  Have fun and add a little whimsy, glitz or drama. This is your personal space, make it your own. 







Bedding Sizes


Mattress Sizes (American)

Crib – 28” x 52”

Twin – 39” x 75”

Twin XL – 39” x 80” (2 XL Twin Mattresses = 1 king mattress)

Full – 54” x 75”

Full XL – 54” x 80”

Queen – 60” x 80”

King – 76” x 80”

California (Cal) King – 72” x 84”


Pillow Sizes (smallest to largest)

Boudoir – 12” x 16”

Standard – 20” x 26”

Queen – 20” x 30” (Two fit perfectly across a queen bed)

King – 20” x 36” (Two fit perfectly across a king bed)

Euro/European Square/Continental – 26” x 26”





Bedding Lingo

Applique – A cut out decoration fastened to a larger piece of fabric. Often used when making large scale monograms.

Baffle Box Construction – The most common, and in our opinion, the best method of construction for a comforter or duvet.  It means that within each stitched square on your comforter there are vertical interior walls which keep the fill from shifting, allow for air flow, eliminate cold spots, promote loft and add strength to the comforter by allowing it to give and reduce stress on the stitching while you move in your sleep.

Bed skirt (Dust Ruffle) – A decorative fabric piece that covers the area between the top of the box spring and the floor.  Bed skirts are used along with coverlets, duvets and comforters that do not extend to the floor.


Below are some styles of bed skirts:


  • Tailored Style – A simpler design characterized by straight lines and a neat appearance
  • Pleated Style – Regularly spaced folds, pressed and stitched in place.  Both knife pleats and box pleats are used to create a simple, somewhat tailored look.
  • Gathered  Style – Fabric is loosely drawn together to create a feminine ruffled appearance.
  • Ruffled Style – This bed skirt design is very similar to gathered, but may be gathered more tightly for a more voluminous ruffle.
  • Panel Style Construction – A bed skirt that is generally sewn as three separate panels, one for each side and the foot of the bed.  Panels are attached to the top of the box spring or mattress foundation with tacks or Velcro which allows for greater flexibility in determining the length, or drop of the bed skirt.  The bed skirt panels may also be attached without the removal of heavy mattresses. (Compare to a bed skirt with decking fabric).
  • Bed Skirt Decking Fabric – The decorative panels of skirt fabric are sewn to a simple rectangular fabric that is the size of the top of the mattress foundation.  This “decking” is sandwiched between the mattress and foundation, and the decorative panels drop down from the decking providing a lovely cover for the foundation and any unappealing mechanical parts of the bed.
  • Bed Skirt Drop – The length of a bed skirt; how far the bed skirt falls from the top of the box spring to the floor.  Bed skirts traditionally had a 14” drop, but are now available in a variety of drops (or lengths), to accommodate taller and shorter beds.  Depending on personal preference, the drop of a bed skirt may allow the fabric to fall slightly above the floor, even with the floor, or puddle on the floor.
  • Bed Skirt With Split Corners – Virtually all bed skirts are split at the corners, no matter what the design. The split allows the bed skirt to fall evenly allowing for any mechanical parts of the bed, like where a foot board attaches to the bed frame.
Pleated Bed Skirt

Ruffled/Gathered Bed Skirt 
Tailored Bed Skirt








Bedspread – A thin decorative bed cover that gives a bed a polished, smooth look.  Unlike a coverlet, a bedspread extends to the floor and typically covers the pillows.


Blanket – A large rectangular piece of soft fabric, often with bound edges, primarily used for warmth as a bed covering.


Blocking – The term Blocking, or to block, when used in conjunction with bedding refers to the process of shaping and item.  Matelassé coverlets, for example, should be blocked when they are laundered to retain their size and shape.  The item is formed to its desired or original shape while damp and allowed to air dry.




Bolster – A tubular pillow that can range in size from a small neck roll to one that spans the width of the bed. Bolsters are typically used to look beautiful on the bed, but can be used to lounge on.


Box spring cover – A fitted decorative fabric cover used to disguise and beautify the exposed box spring or mattress foundation.  Box spring covers are generally used instead of a bed skirt for a more tailored look, or when a bed has a decorative rail and no bed skirt is needed but the top of the foundation may be exposed above the rail.


Bunkie (Bunky) Board – a thin piece of plywood covered by fabric and used to give stability to a bunk bed mattress.  It may also be used for platform beds.



Comforter – A thick, warm bed cover filled with natural or synthetic material.  Comforters are generally large enough to hang over the sides of the bed. Comforters are sometimes called duvets.  (Also see down, feather, and poly-fill).


Comforter Cover – A decorative, usually washable, cover for a comforter, and is sometimes called a duvet cover.


Coverlet – A thin decorative bed cover that does not hang to the floor and typically doesn’t cover the pillows.  Coverlets are used to give the bed a smooth and polished look.



Duvet – A French word meaning comforter, a duvet is a warm soft bed covering that is filled with down or feathers.


Duvet Cover – A decorative covering for a duvet or comforter. The term is used interchangeably with Comforter Cover.


Decorative/dec pillow – Normally small in size, dec pillows come in a variety of shapes and are used to add color and interest to a bed.  Dec pillows may also be called throw pillows.


Down Cluster

Down –The soft under plumage that waterfowl have to keep them warm and dry.  Unlike feathers, down has no hard quills, but forms in clusters that are soft and fluffy with many filaments growing in all directions.


Eiderdown – Comes from the Eider Duck, a large migratory sea duck. Eiderdown is exceptionally soft and has insulating properties superior to any other down. Eiderdown is used in luxury duvets and pillows and comes from Iceland.  The female eider duck plucks the down from her breast to line her nest and cover the eggs.  Once the nest is abandoned the eiderdown is gathered.  The birds are not disturbed.


Feather – The principal covering of birds, consisting typically of a hard, tubular quill that attaches to the body and tapers to a slender portion that has barbs that interlock to form a flat covering.


Nest Lined In Eiderdown

Foundation/Box Spring – A base that supports a mattress and absorbs the weight and pressure applied to the bed.


Featherbed – A pillow for your entire body, a featherbed is a soft, thick mattress topper filled with feathers or down that provides contouring support and soft warmth.


Featherbed protector – Typically a washable cotton cover that zips closed and is used to provide a layer of protection between you and the featherbed



Fill power – An industry term meaning a measure of the ability of down to regain its shape when pressure is released, or its loft.   Technically it is the number of cubic inches down will fill under specific laboratory testing conditions.  The higher the fill power number, the more resilient the down


Flange – A decorative strip of fabric that runs around all four sides of a pillow sham or duvet cover.  It can provide a more formal or finished look.


Harvard Bed Frame – See Hollywood bed frame.


Hollywood Bed Frame – “Hollywood” is a brand name for a metal frame system with legs into which a mattress and foundation may be placed and to which a headboard may be attached.  The Hollywood Bed Frame Company began producing angle iron framing systems for beds in 1925.  Much like the brand name Kleenex is synonymous with facial tissue, many people associated these bed frames with the Hollywood based company calling them simply “Hollywood” frames. You may also hear this bed support system referred to as a 

Pillow With Flange

“Harvard” frame.  Again this is a case of the name of the manufacturer becoming a household name for the product. Harvard Manufacturing built these bed frames in the 1950’s but is no longer in business however the name is still used.  A variety of frames are available today from several different manufacturers.  These frames are easy to assemble and transport, are versatile, inexpensive and are offer superior support for today’s heavy, plush mattresses.


Hypoallergenic – Designed to reduce or minimize the possibility of any allergic response by containing relatively few or not potentially irritating substances.  Scandia Home’s down products are considered to be hypoallergenic because they are cleaned in a twelve step process that far exceeds government standards for cleanliness.


Innerspring – having or characterized by a large number of enclosed coil within an overall padding.


Matelassé – A double cloth of cotton or other fibers woven on a jacquard loom and characterized by raised floral or geometric designs with a puckered appearance.  Matelassé is often used in bedding for coverlets and shams.


Mattress Sizes (American):


  • Crib – 28” x 52” 
  • Twin – 39” x 75” 
  • Twin XL – 39” x 80” (2 XL Twin Mattresses = 1 king mattress) 
  • Full – 54” x 75” 
  • Full XL – 54” x 80” 
  • Queen – 60” x 80” 
  • King – 76” x 80” 
  • California (Cal) King – 72” x 84”


Mattress pad – A thin pad, most often made of cotton or polyester that fits over the top of your mattress.  It aids in protecting your mattress, keeping the sheets in place and providing additional softness, comfort and support.

Mattress topper – A pad constructed from foam, fiber or feathers that is placed on top of your mattress and adjusts to the contours of your body for optimum support. Mattress toppers help to protect the mattress from dirt and damage.  King sized toppers are also used to seamlessly connect two XL twin mattresses.

Pillow case – A fitted removable cover for pillows that generally coordinates with the bed sheets.  Traditionally a pillow case has one open end that extends beyond the length of the pillow insert but pillowcases may also be constructed with a zipper, button or envelope closure.  (Compare to pillow sham).


Pillow protector – Typically a simple cotton pillow encasement that fits over a sleeping pillow with a zip closure.  The pillowcase goes over the pillow protector.  Protectors are used to protect sleeping pillows from soiling.


Pillow sham – Much like a pillowcase, a pillow sham is a covering for a pillow, but differs in that it has a flange or other embellishment around the four sides of the covering.  Many people think that a pillow sham is purely for decoration, whereas a pillowcase is for sleeping pillows, but this is only true when the pillow sham is constructed out of a fabric that is too stiff or thick to make a comfortable sleeping pillow.  Pull your sleeping pillows out of the closet and put shams on them!

Pillow sizes (smallest to largest):


  • Boudoir – 12” x 16”
  • Standard – 20” x 26”
  • Queen – 20” x 30” (Two fit perfectly across a queen bed)
  • King – 20” x 36” (Two fit perfectly across a king bed) 
  • Euro/European Square/Continental – 26” x 26”


Platform Bed

Platform bed – A bed consisting of a simple shallow box for holding a mattress on a slightly recessed pedestal.  Usually a more contemporary design, platform beds usually eliminate the need for a box spring but may require a Bunkie board foundation.


Poly-fill – Polyester Fiberfill is a manufactured fiber garneted into a batting or stuffing for pillows, sleeping bags, quilts etc.

Quilt –A bed cover made up of a top, batting and backing held together with stitching through all three layers. 

Sheet – A large rectangular piece of cotton, linen or other fabric used as an article of bedding.  Usually used in pairs so that one is immediately above and one immediately below the sleeper.


A throw draped on a chair

Flat/top Sheet – Lies on top of the bottom sheet, usually with a finished edge that aligns with the top of the mattress.

Fitted/bottom Sheet – Fits on top and around the edges of your mattress forming the bottom layer of bedding.


Throw – A throw is a medium sized blanket usually decorative and finished with fringed edges.  A throw can be woven of cashmere, wool, cotton or other fibers, and can be used on a bed, chair or sofa. 

Fabric Lingo


Acrylic – The general name of man-made fibers (polyester) derived from polyacrylonitrile.


Cashmere Goat

Bamboo – Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world.  Because of its availability and sustainability bamboo has become a highly sought after commodity for products used in the home, including bedding.  The bamboo cellulose fibers are extruded and woven into fabrics used for sheets, blankets and towels.  The bamboo fabric is naturally absorbent, antimicrobial, soft to the touch and serves as a thermal regulator being cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.  On the down side, bamboo sheets are less durable than Egyptian cotton sheets, so would need to be replaced more often. 


Batiste – Named for Jean Batiste, a French weaver, batiste fabric is lightly woven in flat weave with a high thread count.  It feels light, smooth and luxurious yet is extremely durable.  Batiste may be woven in a number of natural or synthetic fibers.  



Cashmere – A fine soft downy wool from the undercoat of the Cashmere goat.  The finest Kashmir shawls are made from the hair of the Kashmir goat.  Hair is silky, soft, strong and cylindrical.


Cotton – The soft vegetable fiber obtained from the seed pod of the cotton plant.  Egyptian cotton is a fine, luxurious long staple cotton which can be spun into finer yarns resulting in softer more lustrous fabrics.  Egyptian cotton is ideal for bed linens because it is absorbent, cool, crisp, smooth and strong.


Damask – Named for the city of Damascus, once the center of fabric trade between the east and the west, Damask is woven on a jacquard loom, and alternates between satin and matte textures to create a glossy pattern.  The design is visible on both sides of the fabric. 

Damask Fabric


Dupioni – An irregular silk thread reeled from two or more cocoons producing a coarse yarn generally used in fabrics such as shantung or pongee

Egyptian Cotton – A general classification of the strong, lustrous, long staple cotton produced in the Nile River Valley.  The United States has crossed Egyptian cotton with American cotton since 1903.


Embroidery – Ornamental needlework consisting of designs worked on fabric with silk, cotton or metalized threads either by hand or machine.


Finishing – A general term which covers treatment of a fabric to produce a desired effect.  It may be said that cloth is made in the finishing.  It is the application of pleasing or appealing effect, such as luster, crease resistance or crease retention or something that contributes to the feel, or hand of the fabric.

Embroidered Bedding


Flannel – Usually a cotton or rayon fabric slightly napped on both sides to resemble a woolen fabric.


Flax – The plant from which linen is derived.


Green – Aside from being a color in the spectrum, green has come to mean environmentally friendly among other things.  The use of sustainable products that are organically grown and finished are referred to as “green”.


Hand – The reaction of the sense of touch when fabrics are held in the hand.  There are many factors which give “character or individuality” to a fabric observed through handling.  Judgments may be made concerning its drapability, feel, elasticity, fineness, softness, launderability, etc.

Hemstitched Towels


Hemp – Derived from the cannabis plant, hemp is the source of a valuable fiber (as well as drugs like hashish and marijuana).  Hemp as a fabric and clothing product is superior for its durability and comfort. With each washing it softens without degrading the fabric. Currently hemp fabrics are blended with many other natural fabrics, such as silk, cotton, and bamboo.


Hemstitch – A small decorative stitch traditionally used along a border or hem.  Hemming is done along a line from which threads have been drawn out, stitching the cross threads gathering them into a series of little groups.


Jacquard Lo

Jacquard – An intricate method of weaving invented by Joseph Jacquard in the early 1800’s.  Jacquard fabrics, simple or elegant in design, include brocade, damask, tapestries, etc.


Latex (see also Natural Latex) – The milky liquid found in certain plants, such as the rubber tree, that coagulates on exposure to air.  Synthetic latex is derived from the emulsion of water and finely divided particles of synthetic rubber or plastic.  In the bedding world, latex is used for mattresses, mattress toppers and pillows.


Legna® -Legna is the registered name of a fabric woven from the finest of Europe’s new generation of cellulose yarns, obtained from the wood pulp of managed forests grown for harvest in accordance with Europe’s strict environmental guidelines.  Legna fabrics are woven in Italy to exact specifications, in SDH (the manufacturer’s) exclusive designs and colors. They are meticulously finished and sewn to stringent standards for quality. These luxury collections have true and lasting beauty.


Linen – Flax is the plant, linen is the product from flax.  The term linen cannot be used except for natural fiber flax.  Among the properties of linen are rapid moisture absorption, fiber length of a few inches to one yard, no fuzziness, soil resistance, natural luster and stiffness.  Linen is used in bedding, tablecloths, toweling, dress linens and summer dress goods, among other things.

Linen Fabric


Lyocell – Lyocell is a manufactured fiber, but it is not synthetic.  It is made from wood pulp harvested from tree farms for this purpose.  Because it is made from plant material, it is cellulosic and possesses many properties of other cellulose fibers, such as cotton or linen.  Lyocell is breathable, absorbent and comfortable.  It wrinkles less than cotton and is not resilient, which means wrinkles ‘will fall out if hung in a warm moist area.  Lyocell has strength and durability, and a natural luster and drape.  Because of its strength, Lyocell can be hand or machine washed and dried.  Wrinkles can easily be ironed away, but in many instances will hang out overnight.


Matelassé – A double cloth of cotton or other fibers woven on a jacquard loom and characterized by raised floral or geometric designs with a puckered appearance. Matelassé is often used in bedding for coverlets and shams.



Microcotton® – A trademarked brand of unique cotton yarn.  The yarn is made from a very high grade of cotton.  This type of cotton is usually naturally silky and very absorbent


Modal – a cellulose fiber made by spinning reconstituted cellulose, often from beech trees. It is about 50% more absorbent than cotton.. It takes dye like cotton and is color-fast when washed in warm water. Textiles made from modal are resistant to shrinkage and fading but prone to stretching and pilling. They are smooth and softer than mercerized cotton.  Modal fabrics should be washed at lower temperatures and like cotton, are often ironed after washing.  Modal is used alone or with other fibers (often cotton) in household items such as towels and bed sheets.


Nap – Raised fibers on the face of fabrics created by use of a roller with steel wires.  This causes the finished fabric to provide greater warmth and have a softer hand and be smoother in feel.  It increases durability and covers the minute areas between the interlacing of the warp and weft.  Napped fabrics include flannel and blanket fabrics.

Closeup of Pilling


Natural Latex – The purest latex in the world is harvested from the common rubber tree in Sri Lanka.  The sap can be harvested 180 days of the year by tapping the tree, much like the harvest of maple syrup.  The tree heals within an hour of tapping.  The sap is whipped into foam, (much like whipping egg whites for meringue), which is used in mattresses.  The foam is graded by density to ensure consistency and long lasting comfort.  The closed cell structure of the latex repels dust, dead skin, pollen and dust mites.


Organic – Products that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers,  do not contain genetically modified organisms and are not processed using irradiaton  industrial solvents, or chemical additives.

Percale – This is a closely woven fabric in a plain weave, and is the simplest, strongest choice for sheeting.  Percale has a cool, crisp hand and never pills. Percale is the go-to fabric for hotel linens, usually in about a 200 thread count, but is available in higher thread counts for a softer more luxurious hand.



Piece-dyed – The dying of a fabric in the cut, bolt or piece form.  Piece dying allows for a single color fabric or finished piece.


Pilling – The formation of little balls of fibers called “pills” on the surface of a fabric caused by abrasion or wear.


Pique – A durable fabric usually made of cotton, rayon or silk and usually woven with narrow stripes or a small geometric pattern.


Plain weave – The most common of the fundamental weaves, a one over warp, one under weft, alternating each row.  It is typically used in muslin, print cloth, sheeting etc.





Plisse – A cotton fabric treated with caustic soda solution which shrinks part of the cloth to produce a puckered or crinkled stripe effect.  Also called seersucker.



Polyester – A manufactured or man-made fiber usually used for easy care and wash-and-wear fabrics.


Printed pattern vs. woven pattern – A printed fabric is produced by one of a number of methods which apply a design or motif to the surface of a fabric.  Woven patterns are achieved through the use of weaving techniques and looms.


Quilted – A layer of batting is sandwiched between two fabrics and secured by stitches.  Quilts may be stitched in patterns by hand or machine or may be tufted.


Rayon – A manufactured fiber made of regenerated cellulose or wood pulp.  It is neither truly synthetic nor truly natural.  Rayon is a versatile fiber and has the same comfort properties as natural fibers. It can imitate the feel and texture of silk, wool, cotton and linen. The fibers are easily dyed in a wide range of colors. Rayon fabrics are soft, smooth, cool, comfortable, and highly absorbent, and do not insulate body heat, making them ideal for use in hot and humid climates.


Sateen – A luxury fabric woven very tightly using the satin weave technique, which gives it a subtle sheen and a soft, silky hand.



Satin – Satin has a very smooth lustrous face effect while the back of the material is dull. Satin fabrics may be light or heavy in weight, soft, crepe like or semi-stiff in finish or hand.  Satin cloths were originally of silk and simulations are now made of acetate, rayon and other man-made fibers.

Seersucker – A cotton fabric with permanently woven crinkle stripes in the direction of the warp, produced by weaving the ground ends under ordinary tension while the crinkle ends are woven slack.  Does not need ironing.



Silk Fibers




Silk – The only natural fiber that come in filament form; from 300 to 1600 yards in length as reeled from the cocoon, whether cultivated or wild.  When the silkworm begins spinning, two filaments are emitted from the silk ducts which are covered by silk gum from the sacs before they come from the mouth.

As the liquid is emitted by the silkworm it solidifies as it comes in contact with the air.  This filament forms the cocoon which is harvested and will eventually become silk fabric. The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fiber, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles,  thus producing different colors.


Slub – A slight irregularity in yarn produced by accidentally or intentionally knotting or twisting or including different yarn lengths in spinning.  The resulting fabric has a somewhat knotty, irregular surface.


Terry Cloth

Spinning – The process of making yarn or thread by any of several methods from fiber.  The fiber is drawn out and twisted into yarn or fiber.


Terry Cloth – A cotton fabric with loop pile on one or both sides, covering the entire surface.  Single or double ply yarns are used.


Ticking – The shell of a comforter, pillow, featherbed or mattress.


Thread count – Thread count refers to the number of threads, both vertical and horizontal, in a one-inch square of fabric. Thread count is affected by a number of factors, including ply and thickness of the threads used. The ply of the fabric refers to how many threads are wrapped together into a single thread. Single-ply fabrics use threads on their own, while two-ply fabrics twist two

pieces together into a stronger thread, as well as doubling the thread count of the fabric.  While it has become common to shop for such things as bed linens based exclusively on thread count, it is important to take other considerations into account. How the cotton is treated can be a much more decisive factor in comfort and overall feel than the thread count of a fabric, as can the final finishing of the fabric.


Twill Weave – One of the three basic weaves characterized by a diagonal rib or twill line, generally running left to right.  The filling threads pass over one and under two or more warp threads to give an appearance of a diagonal line.  Twill weaves are used to produce strong, durable firm fabric.





Warp & Weft

Warp – The set of yarn found in every fabric woven on the loom and running lengthwise, parallel to the selvage and interwoven with the weft, the two forming the various weaves according to the methods of intersection.


Weft – In woven fabrics, yarn which runs from selvage to selvage at right angles to the warp.  Remember, “weft to right”, or horizontal, also called woof.


Voile – A lightweight semi-sheer fabric, gossamer in appearance, made of wool, silk, rayon or cotton and constructed in a plain weave.


Wool – The fine soft curly hair that forms in the fleece of sheep and certain other animals such as the Angora or Cashmere goat, camel, alpaca llama and vicuna. Woolen fabrics are woven from wool sometimes in combination with other fibers.   The average woolen fabric has a rather fuzzy surface, does not shine with wear, has nap and is usually dyed.  Many blankets and throws are made of woolen fabrics, and wool is also used in organic mattresses as a thermal regulator and is natural flame retardant.



Yarn – A continuous strand of textile fibers.  Yarn is the basic material which is made into fabric, thread, twine or cable.  There are two basic classes; spun yarn and continuous filament yarn.

Yarn-dyed – Yarn which has been dyed prior to weaving of the goods just after the wool has been spun.  Yarn may be dyed in total immersion or partial immersion for variegated colors.


Where To Start When You’re Starting Over : 10 Tips to Designing Your New Home

With comments from Clients Renee Grissom of Renee Grissom Design and Jan Kyle of Jan Kyle Design

1. Determine which pieces that you already own that you want to keep. You may have favorite pieces of furniture, art or accessories that you want to include in your new home.

2. The style of your new home vs. your style: Do you want to stay true to the style of your home, be it Cape Cod or Mediterranean, or do you like to mix it up? Either can be done with success, but both will take some discipline and planning.

10 Tips 1.1

3. Determine what you want the overall feel of your house to be. Do you want it to be formal or relaxed, light & airy or warm and cozy? Figuring this out will help when it comes to choosing textiles and colors.

4. Choose a color palette before painting anything. It is far easier to take a painting or textile to the paint store for a match than it is to coordinate everything around a wall color. Find a fabric you love for the focal point of the room, be it bedding or a sofa, or focus on the colors in a favorite painting, and choose your palette accordingly.

Renee Grissom of Renee Grissom Design suggests that, “Another option for a color palette could be to stay with basic neutrals such as whites and ivories, beiges, charcoals, etc., and make the art and rugs the focus of the color. Any kind of two or three color story will get tiresome after some time has passed, and could tend to look dated.”

However, even neutrals can run warm or cool, and shades can lean more to green, pink, or yellow in tint, and should be chosen with care in the light of your home.

5. When remixing favorite pieces don’t be afraid to use pieces for a new purpose. For instance, a favorite chest can become the base for a vessel sink, or a low bookcase can be used behind a sofa instead of a console table to provide extra storage or display space.

6. Think in terms of investment when buying new pieces. The easiest way to be eco-friendly is to buy things that you will have for years, possibly generations to come. Quality upholstery can be recovered rather than disposed of, and well-constructed wood pieces can be refinished or painted to give them new life.

10 Tips 2.2

7. Don’t be afraid to get rid of furniture, rugs and accessories that won’t work in your new space. If you don’t have anyone to give them to, and don’t want to go through the hassle of selling them, there are wonderful places where they can be donated, and you can get a nice tax deduction. Many of them will come to your house and take them away, such as Sleepy Head Beds for mattresses. You can do an online search for organizations in your area that take furniture donations and support a cause that you believe in.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Few people can take on the daunting task of merging an existing home into a new one on their own. The best designers and retail sources will be happy to work together to help you through the process. However, make sure your voice is heard, and that your likes, dislikes, needs and lifestyle are the basis for the design scheme in your new home.

Jan Kyle of Kyle–Wells Design adds, “Contrary to the conception that professional design services are expensive, a good designer will actually save you money by keeping you from making expensive mistakes, and can make your vision a reality. So often, before we can really start, we need to spend time correcting design mistakes that never would have happened if we had been on board in the first place. Remember that with a designer you can set a reasonable budget and will give permission before any purchases are made on your behalf.

It’s all about planning and working together as a team. Choose a designer whose work you admire, (designers who are published in magazines are most likely to have the talent and professionalism you need), and call them for a consultation.”

9. Sometimes it is necessary to work with existing material choices, such as tiles, millwork finishes, floors etc. There are times when those materials are neutral enough to become part of the backdrop. Other times the color choices may be more pronounced and run contrary to what you have in mind. When that happens it can be possible to incorporate those colors in small ways that bridge the gap and pull the room together. A decorative pillow, throw or accessory that mixes an unfortunate green with the pale blue that you love can be the answer.

10. Details; the difference between furnished and finished. The walls are painted, the rug is on the floor and the furniture is arranged according to traffic flow and feng shui tradition. Why doesn’t it feel right? It’s the details; accessories, artwork, lighting and personal artifacts that make a house your home.


Renee Grissom of Renee Grissom design says, “I like to tell clients that the accessories and artwork are like the make-up and jewelry that a woman would put together with a beautiful evening gown! I encourage the accessories to be thoughtful, such as books, photos in beautiful frames, family heirlooms – pieces that actually mean something. It will look less authentic if one just goes out and buys “stuff” to put everywhere. Also, every table and corner should not have something in it or on it. Negative space helps create the focus on the important pieces.”