Bedspreads for your mid-century bedroom

bates-marthas-choice-bedspreadIn my view, the most difficult part of “doing” a mid-century bedroom “right” is the bedspread. This week we will talk about the other stuff — the furniture, the windows, the rug, the paint and wallpaper, the lamps, the accessories and good feng shui. But, the bedspread is the hardest, because I don’t think the choices are very abundant. #1 on my list: Buy vintage, if you can find the style/quality/size/cootie-free design you want. Above: Bates’ Martha’s Choice bedspread from the Bates Mill Store.


#1: Vermont Country Store — which has the greatest variety of choices, although they tend to the “colonial” or “kitsch” although you know I have no problem with kitsch. Their plisse, seersucker, gingham and rib cord (made by Bates, it appears) – perfect for the postwar era.

bates-heritage-bedspread#2: Bates — The online Bates Mill Store sells traditional Bates bedspreads direct. We all had these, they’ve been ubiquitous since the 50s. A number of Vermont Country Stores’ bedspreads seem to come from Bates. And, I *think* I’m seeing that prices are significantly better straight from Bates: Take time to compare.


JCPenney’s gets on the list. The have some designs that *come close* and are worth checking out if you are in the market.


I really like this Forget Me Not bedspread from Country Curtains. It has the upholstered look that is quintessentially mid-century: Notice the seams along the edge running from the headboard to the baseboard — that’s EXACTLY what we want. This design is getting much closer to what I am watching for someone to manufacture new: a quilted, “tailored / upholstered” satin bedspread with seams headboard-to-base — like the one I luckily snatched up at a Country Curtains roller skating rink in 2002. Country Curtains is based here in the Berkshires. (I’ll show some of the decor from my bedrooms later this week.)

Finally, I need to say that: This is huge territory, bedspreads. I’d love to hear if others have found satisfying alternatives.

Vermont Country Store bedspreads here.
Bates Mill Store here.
JCPenney bedspreads here.
Country Curtains bedspreads here.


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  1. Ann says

    Believe it or not, my husband and I are in the process of a bedroom re-do! This is perfect! Can’t wait to get some more great ideas this week. We seem to be having a hard time finding bedroom furniture we love that isn’t an arm and a leg… my love for heywood-wakefield isn’t helping things:) wish us luck!

  2. gavin hastings says

    There is a fast-shrinking supply of original Bates Bedspreads (still in the blue box) available on Ebay. The top of the line was “George Washington”. I have purchased a lifetime supply
    “Queen Elizabeth” is also. an winner.

    Bates went out of business in the early ’90’s. This current incarnation, I believe, was re-opened by ex-workes. While very nice, they in no way compare in weight and content as the earlier product.

    The ealier ones are dated (worked right into the design) in 2 cartouches at the top hem…my best ones are from 1970.

    P.S. Cats and Bates Bedspreads don’t mix. They will pull the loops until you are left with a large dust-mop on your bed.

    Pam…I really think all home lovers should at least TRY their hand at sewing for the home. If a 12 year old in the 3rd World can made a soccer ball or sneaker: a bedspread should be no problem for anyone with some dedication. I could not have created my home without a sewing machine…(I have about 15 machines from the apex of home sewing 1930-1960…..all readily available at estate sales for pennies. But maybe that can be a later topic…the Top 10 Vintage Sewing Machines?)

  3. Mick says

    Im soooooooo glad your doing a post on bedrooms! At my lake home, I want the bedroom to look like an “I love Lucy” set haha! We have 2 twin beds with a dresser between them that the phone sits on, and my girlfriend and I have been looking at Chenille Bed Spreads but havent made any choices yet, We like the Vermont Country Store varitey but not so crazy about the price.

    Pam, do you think you can show us a 1950’s bedroom in Pale pink?


  4. SarabTinkelman says

    Pam, thanks for taking us back to my parent’s bedroom! The picture of the first of the Bates bedspreads you have up today must have been a wedding present for my mom & dad, because I cannot remember when they *didn’t* have it. And Gavin is on the money re: cats vs. Bates. There’s no question my parents would still have their gift on their retirement home bed had it not been for the innumerable felines that we grew up with. Something to keep in mind as you begin your search.

  5. Annie B. says

    One of my favorite bedspread styles is popcorn chenille in pink; also love Bates’ beautiful Queen Elizabeth matelasse in white or antique.
    The cotton rib cord is nice, too; sort of a Beaver Cleaver bedroom look.

    My current bedspread is a vintage black, white, and avocado (probably) motel model with a black trompe l’oeil pattern of circles and diamonds much like the mid century concrete block screens.

    I seem to remember lots of plaid cotton spreads from childhood, too.

  6. says

    that first one is a beauty.

    and how about quilts? we go back and forth a bit about whether to use our quilts as art or furnishing, given that they are *not* the sort of think you can simply replace (especially the great-grandmother-made ones, though i would love to learn to quilt), but they are darn warm, and so lovely!

  7. Elaine says

    I have a beautiful KING SIZE patchwork quilt done by my grandmother’s sewing circle in the early 70s.. They sold quilts made to order. I was the first one to order a king size one and they said it would be their last, as it took way too long. It’s a simple tied patch in shades of blue, green and black with no particular pattern, and toasty warm. I put it away for the cats, but now they’re gone and I have a dog, I might just bring it out again. It has survived one dog already. Animals are hard on vintage bed covers.

  8. MrsErinD says

    I love all those bedspreads you featured!!

    That junk catalog Carol Wright I think it is, has some cute bedspread, some chenille ones too, in cheaper prices, I think that was the one I saw with a cute floral chenille one, I was surprised, some old style ones too, and I saw some simple pinch pleats too for cheap. Good for anyone on a budget!
    I think the site is

  9. Retrocat says

    My parents had the exact same white fringed Bates bedspread on their bed for many years. Whenever you would lie on it, it would make impressions on your skin. We used to call it ‘bedspread disease’. Thanks for the memories!

  10. Maggie says

    The LinenSource catalog has some very nice, simple chenille bedspreads at reasonable prices. I bought one a few years ago for around $50 and was very happy with the quality of it.

    A selection of their chenilles:

    For a nice clean midcentury look, I really like the rib cords. There’s a seller on eBay who has a good selection of them (new old stock) they bought when the original Fieldcrest mills closed in North Carolina. I’ll look them up and post their eBay store URL here.

  11. nina462 says

    As I mentioned on another blog…my blue quilted bed set was from Steinmart. Luxurious & oh so retro.
    I also have picked up the colonial style & a chenille at garage sales. You might also check Salvation army stores as I’ve seen them there.
    The only thing with that colonial bedspread is it’s very, very heavy (especially if you’ve just washed it & it’s wet).
    Oh…and the marks it makes on your face if you take a nap!

  12. says

    We were actually looking at matelasse, since it’s what I recall my grandparents and great-grandparents having…But how does it do with pet hair? Not only do we have 2 cats, we have a very furry collie…

    I will second Penney’s, usually their stuff is of good quality.

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