Trends are an interesting thing. Consider tastemaker Pottery Barn, the mainstream manifestation of what's au courant in mass-market decor. One day it's stocked with dark, brooding, substantial furniture with industrial overtones. The next, its showrooms are full of whitewashed country pieces with feathered friends emblazoned on everything from pillows to serving bowls designed to look like birdbaths. The bird thing (a natural extension of the urge to nest?) has been taking wing for years, but seems to be heading for some kind of retail critical mass this spring.

But the trend intrigues me is the amount of texture and stitch detail to be found in current bedding selections in all price points: Pick stitching, geometric tucks, even gathers that seem more suitable to a Victorian bodice than to a bedspread. A few examples:







Trend Curve founder Michelle Lamb, whose knowledge of what's hot and what will be has earned the Minneapolis-based businesswoman an international following, says the trend reflects a growing interest in texture. Manufacturers are using new yarns and complex fabrics and combining them in new ways to sate the desire for an experience that is tactile as well as visual. That makes sense. I love a beautiful, snuggly quilt as much as the next person. I fear for how they would fare, though, in a pet-friendly household. The royal kit-kits at my house would welcome these spreads as Feline Activity Centers ("Hook claw around thread. Pull. Repeat for hours of unparalleled entertainment").

Are these lovely spreads an example of form over function? Or are they holding up beautifully to the rigors of daily use? What's your experience? And are there some areas in your decor where you're willing to sacrifice a bit of utility for beauty?

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