In Search of the Perfect Quilt

By Kate Riley February 6, 2014

When it comes to bedding (especially in the master where you sleep each night) you have to love your bedding, really love it, the look and the feel. It’s like picking an outfit you will wear over and over, it has to look good and feel great day after day, night after night.

We’ve enjoyed the same set of bedding for almost three years, neutral and lovely, but we’re ready for a change. We used to sleep with the flat sheet + quilt + duvet on top for extra warmth setup but I found switching them works better. Now I prefer the feeling of a flat sheet + duvet with down comforter next to skin and a quilt layer on top for pattern and warmth.

So, I’m on the hunt for a new patterned quilt to layer on top of a plain white duvet, stylish, elegant, and somewhat similar to these looks below. 

duvet and quilt


blue and green bedding bhg


I’m crushing on this Varkala quilt by Pine Cone Hill with a geometric pattern on top and a different motif on the reverse, a splurge for sure but I can’t get it out of my mind, it’s definitely a top contender.

Varkala quilt


The Ava block print quilts at Ballard Designs are fresh – they caught my eye in the recent catalogue and I have a code for 20% off, tempting!

block print ballard designs

If you spy anything similar in a block print or geometric motif, send me the link! I’m sticking with pale blue or green or gray colorway.

And if any of you are on the hunt for a cozy bedroom blanket, this Berkshire blanket is my favorite. I bought it last fall and now I carry it around the house with me like Linus. I must have it near me at all times in winter, it’s lightweight but so so soft and I can’t live without it, especially on a rainy day like today. Yay, it’s raining in California!   berkshire blanket


bedroom images via better homes & gardens 1 / 2


Stay warm everyone!

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  1. Kate – I’ve also been in the market for new bedding for a while now and once I saw your topic for today I thought, “Great! Maybe she’ll have some links to bedding companies I haven’t considered yet.” (you’ve led me to some amazing sites that I never would have found otherwise) And then the very next photo is my own current crush, the Varkala sky quilt that I’ve been contemplating. It’s so lovely! I want you to buy it for your own room and then post pictures so I can see how it looks in real life, okay? :)

  2. I’ve recently noticed the Home Goods near us has had some beautiful quilts…and inexpensive! I’m not sure if you have one near you – I’m in FRIGID Minneapolis – just a thought!

  3. So funny! We do the opposite, mostly because our quilt was heavier than our duvet, so it kept dragging the duvet and itself down to the foot of the bed (and to the floor!). Maybe it’s a combo of a heavy quilt and slipper duvet. ^_^

  4. I have had my eye on two from Pottery Barn. One is not available until March and I don’t think I can take that much delayed gratification. I have also seen some nice quilts at Homegoods, I think they were Ralph Lauren.||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_–_-

  5. I have loved a silk quilt from Garnet Hill for years and years and watched it increase in price from ridiculous to more ridiculous. It’s also a ridiculous choice for us, since our dogs sleep on our bed, so we’d have to remove it at night or cover it. However, in an attempt to find a compromise, I’ve spent at least the amount the quilt cost, and probably more, on quilts and duvet covers that I like but don’t love. Lesson learned: if something you crave is pricey, budget for it and buy it instead of trying to satisfy yourselve with substitutes.

  6. I’m also in LOVE with the Varkala quilt pattern from Pine Cone Hill. Hopefully, you’re aware that Pine Cone Hill has an outlet? You can definitely shop the outlet online, but the store in-person is typically MUCH better. I have quite a bit of PCH fabric in our home thanks to the outlet store at the factory in Massachusetts. You just never know what you’ll find there. We’re struggling to stay warm here in snowy New England, so I might head out to PCH and tease myself with visions of warm quilts and rugs.

  7. The first picture has a quilt from Target! We have this in one of the bedrooms at our cottage and get so many compliments on it.

  8. I am a plain white gal, I have had matlasse and Hotel bedding for years. I never tire of it. I know most people change out their bedding every few years, but I keep mine for ever or until it gets a hole in it. I love the pine cone hill image the best. Have your looked at Serena and Lily, I love the way they combine classic patterns and colors. Good luck, Kate! YES we have rain and I am loving it too!!

  9. I’m a weirdo and can’t stand sleeping with a top sheet so we just skip that and use the duvet and a quilt. My quilts are all hand made by my great-grandma and although they’re a bit more country in style than I would normally pick, they make me so happy every time I see them and always make me think of her :)

  10. As a quilter of over 30 years, what you are picturing are not really “quilts”…they are quilted fabric. Technically they fit the definition, (a sandwich of top fabric,batting, and bottom fabric)but quilts, whether traditional or contemporary, pieced or appliqued are SO much more than this. Having said that, I have a store bought pice of quilted fabric on my own bed! (I make Art Quilts to hang on a wall)

  11. I can only sleep with sheet and down comforter, especially in the summer in South Louisiana. However, when my bed is made, I make it with quilt first then fold comforter at the bottom of the bed. It just doesn’t look right the other way. Next time, I’ll put more thought into the bedding! Good luck! My bedding is from Pottery Barn and so far, I love it! I’m a bit of a neutral nut though.

    • I agree with you Celina, sometimes even just a sheet in the hottest summer months, right? All that bedding makes me too hot in summer but in winter, oh so cozy!

  12. We have the comforter under the quilt and love it that way. The ballards is my fave but my hubby would feel like it is too feminine (he is funny that way). I saw that in the new magazine also. Gorgeous! We have a soft turquoise quilt (solid) with quilted straight lines and I have lots of fun with pillows.

  13. Bedding is also a great chance to put out own personal design touch on a room if you have the DIY bug. I keep a Pinboard of inspirational quilts and quilt blocks and make my own quilts to go on our beds, so I can make just what I want: There are all sorts of free tutorials on the internet on how to make your own. I particularly love this one:

    One has to be warned though its just as expensive as buying a industrially manufactured quilt – it’s more for the creative expression and getting just what you envision. :)

    • So much inspiration Kelsey, thank you for sharing! I wish for/want to have the patience and skill to create that kind of beauty someday!

  14. Kate, you sew well enough, why don’t you make the perfect quilt?? You could design your own fabric too. and if you aren’t up for the actual quilting part, it’s not that expensive to have it professionally quilted. Just a thought! :)

    • I’ve been thinking about that too Qui! Yep, it would take a lot of yardage so that runs up the expense but yes I’ve definitely considered it, still am :)

  15. Kate, Do you have a Homegooods??? I found one for my master bedroom there that I love for only $40. Check it out on my home tour My daughter’s quilt in the home tour is from Homegoods too, also $40. Here’s a kind of similar one at target that paired with white bedding has potential I has a cheerful presence. If I see anything else ill let you know!:-)

    • Your home is so pretty Tamara, I do love the delicate pattern on that quilt, thank you so much for the suggestion!

  16. has many choices in quilts. I prefer brighter colours in my room and purchased the blue version of the ZigZag quilt from Overstock (no longer available).
    The quality is fantastic – I’ve had it for two years.

    You might like this coverlet set
    Or this one:

  17. First-time commenter here. I just had to say that I loooove your current bedding! I pinned your bedroom some time back and I still drool (I know, yuck) over the RH coverlet and the Poetical duvet. Your entire bedroom is perfection!

  18. Yep, it’s a tough call between mates Nathan, I know my mister would never go for anything floral or too girly but he does indulge me in the paler palette :)

  19. The Varkala quilt is beautiful and peaceful and looks very you Kate. I’m also drawn to the quilt in the first image. It has a sunny and happy feel to it. So many lovely choices. Thanks for sharing the tip on the Berkshire blanket. We are in the market for a new blanket. Being so so soft and lightweight is a winner for me. Yay on the rain!! It is wonderful!

  20. Kate, why not use one of your lovely fabrics you designed and make your own quilt. It’s a very satisfying feeling.

  21. Hi Kate,
    A friend just left Timberland as a kids shoe designer to start her own business so she can stay home with her kids. She has had great response. I think you will like her look of blankets.
    Her designs are taken from her uncle who a designer in the 50’s and 60’s for wall paper.

    • Thanks for the introduction Debbie, I adore retro geometric prints, thinking those blankets would dress up any sofa perfectly!

  22. You may not want to take on a project like making a quilt. But, why not have one custom made? It looks like you want a whole cloth quilt with coordinating fabrics on either side. It would be easy enough to find fabric you LOVE and then take it to someone with a longarm who can turn those two pieces of fabric into a quilt. I’m sure there are a number of quilt shops in your area who either have a longarm in the store, or will know of someone with a longarm. You can give them the freedom to create their own quilting design or choose a design you like. You can also probably choose what kind of batting you want them to use (and there are many to choose from now).

    • I agree with you Kim (and others) I have thought about sewing one or having one custom made for months with a print I design (I’ve got dozens of them in my head) but I’m concerned all the yardage might make it cost prohibitive, for a King size I imagine I’d need 8 or 9 yards of cotton of one print just for the top and I thought about using a flat sheet for the bottom. The cottons on Spoonflower are more expensive at $17 a yard so that makes it pricey and there is the time factor – I’m an amateur at quilting – still considering it though!

  23. I looked forever for a paisley quilt in the right colors to replace one I’d had for years and finally found it at It’s worth a check. Just went to their site and there are some soft blues one right there. P.S. If you find something you like, my experience was that there was a delay getting my shams, not the stores fault, but they were very responsive and helpful in seeing that I got everything and I would shop with them again. Happy searching and finding.

  24. I have a bedding addiction and end up purchasing new duvets constantly! I really like the Varkala quilt – it’s very pretty and since you stick with them longer then me, it may be worth the splurge!

  25. It has to be a homemade one ….not one from Etsy has some of the most beautiful and of course unique ones.

  26. Kate, if you’ve ever thought of making a trip East, it might be worth it to check out the quilts made in Ohio and PA’s Amish country. There are also websites that include custom designs such as They are expensive, but they are beautifully made and will last a lifetime. Just wanted to throw out a different idea.


    • I’ve always wanted to have one handmade by the Amish quilters Michelle, definitely on my decorating bucket list!

  27. You can’t go wrong with a 20% off coupon! I think the Ava block print one is the way to go. You have a coupon, and yet it is the one I like the best:)

    Best of luck!

  28. After reading this post and comments, I am having bedding vernacular confusion! What ever happened to the term ‘bedspread’? Isn’t what everyone who is talking about coverlets and quilts (not really quilts, but quilted fabric) really talking about a bedspread, which typically goes on top? At heart, I’m a comforter girl, but because my dog like to camp with me I’ve opted for the coverlet because that’s what my washing machine can handle. I’m not a fan of the laundromat. I found the coverlet a bit on the light side, so I bought some minky and stitched it to the bottom side. It really adds to the warmth.

  29. If you have a home goods near you…check it out. I have always had the best luck there and they are good quality and inexpensive!

  30. The first pic you posted, the yellow and Grey one was at Target a few years back. I don’t think they carry it anymore. I love it too!

  31. You’re right that you have to really love the bedding you pick. I’m in a sinch at the mo where I need to buy a new bed but don’t want to buy bedding until I’ve done it so I’m making do with bedding I don’t like at all. The yellow and grey combination you’ve chosen there is frikking amazing… *DAYDREAMS*

  32. I love the light fixture in in the second photo! Any idea where that photo is from?

    As for bedding, I love West Elm quilts & coverlets!

  33. What about John Robshaw? I own two of his and the quality and softness is exceptional. I think a bunch of people are knocking him off now, including PB, but I prefer to go with the original. :)

  34. We also have a plain white duvet. My fiance and I can’t decide on other bedding, so I’ve been alternating a couple different patterned flannel sheets over the duvet. We did put a grey cotton blanket on our wedding registry though, and I’m crocheting an afghan for our bed as well.

    An afghan is another option. You could check out etsy for handmade options, or online for “commercial” options.

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