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.

There’s so many great places to buy interesting linen now, and for me, what I am always looking for are 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.


I have written before on this post all the places that I buy my linen from but for me the main suspects that I go to are: Bed, Bath & Table (as there is one in Bowral), Oh Mabel, Fictional Objects, Anthropologie, Sheridan, I love Linen, Peacocks & Paisleys and Adairs. Target & Kmart always have good sheets too so don’t forget to look there. I am always drawn to the patterns and thankfully now there are plenty more options in the sheets to choose from.

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”.

This Bed, Bath & Table doona cover has ALL the colours in it so I have just gone to town. Those primary colours always look good together so regardless of the patterns (spots, chevron and pin wheels) they all work. Well I think so anyway!


Or in this case…Indigo which I am crushing on at the moment. It creates a “palette” to work with.


You can never have too much yellow!


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.

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Sometimes I just buy pillow cases (rather than a whole set of sheets) for a bit of interest. Those ones above (pixel type coloured ones from Bed, Bath & Table) were fun because of all the colours and I knew that they would work with all the colours that I have. I did the same with the red polka dot ones that were from Sheridan Pop shop online a few years ago.

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.

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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.

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So remember…

Choose a colour palette

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

Choose one colour to tie it all 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)

Always buy linen at sale time

I hunt down the US 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).

Have fun and don’t be scared

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

And the rewards?

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


Do you have a love of patterns in bed linen?
Or are you more like a neutral/plain person?
What’s on your linen wish list?
For me…it’s linen sheets. Maybe this summer!


  1. I love bed linen but was never brave enough to pattern clash…until I started following your blog. Now I’m addicted to bed, bath and table and am changing the bedrooms in the house one sheet set at a time! I love your style…gorgeous.

  2. I have long admired your bedding combinations and have felt inspired to mix and match. Thanks for the tips!

  3. I love your beds! They look so loved and inviting. Mine are always a bit mix and match because I will only ever buy stuff on sale which means it never perfectly works. I think it also helps that nearly all my quilts are hand-made by my Mum so they have really interesting colours and patterns. I definitely want to get more interesting sheets, I think my plain colours are what’s letting it all down.

  4. I first started with colour mixing sheet sets after seeing Megan Morton do it once in a magazine interview- I still feel slightly naughty like “is that really ok?” But I love it.

    Since seeing your sheets I’m in love & as budget allows I’ll be getting some pattern in my life:)

  5. Woo hoo! Love it! Great advice xo

  6. Linen addict here too. I also love shopping online from the U.S. during their sale times. What’s the best time of year to get linen on sale?

    • Usually I get an email from somewhere like Anthro when they have sales on and homewares usually are at the same time. Things like Black Friday in the US (near Thanksgiving I think?) have great ones too. Good luck!

  7. Lisa Mckenzie says

    Great advise Beth I love how you pattern clash your linen,you have a lovely collection xx

  8. I don’t have a lot of linen, but this post makes me want to go and get more! I’ve got my eye on the coverlet from Kmart, it will be great to add warmth to the bed in this weather and great to replace the doona in Summer, which I usually leave in the bed. Crazy I know! The only problem is finding spots to store Linen in an Inner West Sydney house! No storage.

  9. So fab. I love your style Beth!

  10. indigo girl here beth! … I love bed linen!
    I love cotton or linen and no polyester! charcoal, or blue and white anything and spots and stripes are my favourite patterns and a pop of red or chartreuse! … I have lots of plain coloured sheets which I mix and match!
    crushing on 1,000 count!
    you are a bit of a home maker I think! … lovely!
    love m:)X

  11. Amanda G. says

    I love how your beds look, I’ve always admired them! You do make a mean bed, lucky guests! Question- Do you use euro pillows? I’m a bit undecided about them.

  12. Good Topic.

    Yes. I like Patterns.

    No. I don’t do plain.

    I want Frette but is it is so crazy expenny. I’d like some Fortuny too but that’s obscenely expenny.

    If you get linen sheets will you break your non ironing sheets rule?

    Might go and iron something now x

  13. I have always been a white on white on white kind of person but I just adore what you do with your bed linen Beth. The time has come I feel to branch out into colour and pattern.

  14. kirsty pfeifer says

    I also love what you do with your linen, I live in Germany now and we have HUGE bed that I have trouble finding fitted sheets for. Even the XL in most brands are too small 🙁 Germans also don’t use top sheets and generally each person has their own single doona so it is just a pain to get everything to look nice on the bed!! Most of the gorgeous linen from Aus doesn’t ship internationally. Oh woe is me……..

    • That’s SO annoying! Can you try US to ship to you?

      • kirsty pfeifer says

        I have tried a couple of different US websites but the duties and taxes + shipping can add up to €150 extra. I am still searching UK sites which are better price wise but I find it hard to find patterned sheets. I did put in a big order for stuff from Bed and Bath though (single doona covers and cute stuff for my little man Otto) and will pick it up from family on the next trip home to Aus 🙂

        I am sure you really wanted to know all this…..

  15. I love your bed linen photos. And to be honest I’ve always been a plain white sheet kinda girl but I love your use of patterns and it makes sense to make your bed inviting because you’re in it for most of your life. Love all your tips.

  16. yep, feeling inspired now. Might change the bed’s tomorrow!

  17. I have always loved your bed linen photos. Inspiring!

  18. I’m so glad you posted this today. I just got a gorgeous new duvet from the Pottery Barn outlet. It has tons of color in it…inspired by you…lol. I was wondering how I could get some other color/patterns to go with it. I was in a store the other day with great patterns, but was overwhelmed with where to start…now I “get” it! Yay!! Thanks.

  19. Carolyn Heywood says

    Love this idea but often there are limited options with sheets deep enough for our pillow top mattress 🙁 will keep looking and check out your suggestions

  20. Yes still practicing on this. I think I need to buy more linen. My kantha throw and sheets just look strange together.


  21. Does this still work if you have a plain doona cover? I’m currently lusting after the West Elm Pin Tuck Doona Cover in Feather Grey but still want to do pattern clash. Does that still work if I have a plain cover though???

  22. Hi! Loving this idea!! Layby-ed the bed bath and table quilt that you featured here today. Can you please tell me where the lovely spotted sheets are from? And the herringbone pillow case please. You do this so well


  1. […] She’s also the one who opened my eyes to pattern clashing bed linen – and how this simple (and relatively inexpensive) idea is a way to mix up your bed linen look. There’s an arty-science to how to do it. I’m but an apprentice so check out Beth’s post on how to do it. […]

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