Aelfie Oudghiri has never played by the rules of design. Since launching her eponymous firm AELFIE in 2012, she’s brought a new perspective to home decor that’s nothing short of charming—with a touch of irreverence—from flat-weave rugs that marry bold geometrics with traditional techniques to cheeky pillows and accents with major whimsy.
But that was clearly just the beginning for Oudghiri. Her latest venture? A new line of sheets and coverlets that’s punchy, cheery, and defiantly fun—the exact opposite of everyday neutral bedding. “Most sheets tend to be such a bore,” she says. “We have internalized this arbitrary belief that white linens represent cleanliness and calm. For that reason, introducing a line of bold bedding is a more challenging project than designing colorful rugs. It’s hard to compete with such a strong cultural norm as the ‘crisp white sheet.’”
She adds, “of all the home textiles, sheets are most akin to fashion since you’re enveloped in the fabric and spend so much time in it. I’m hoping we resonate with people who don’t treat the the bed as a retreat from the world, but a place of fun and delight.”
Here, we chat with Oudghiri about the inspirations behind her new bedding designs, what she learned throughout the process, and what’s next.
We know that designing bedding was a childhood dream of yours, how does it feel to finally do it?
It is always thrilling to see a design come to life and mature from a little spark of inspiration into a textile in someone’s home. I love being a part of people’s nesting process—and now part of their bedtime routine!
What was your design philosophy for your bedding?
Go weird or go home.
Tell us about the inspirations behind your designs.
As per usual, I pulled a lot of inspiration from traditional textiles. Our “In Your Dreams” pattern is a play on toile, but instead of depicting exterior vignettes, they are common dream motifs. I flipped the concept of toile from the exterior to the interior, from landscapes to scenes of the mind. Researching dreams for that pattern was absolutely fascinating. How strange and amazing is it that there are common dreams that we all share?
With the Doodle sheets, we were hoping to create an AELFIE basic. Something that could be layered with bigger patterns or multiple colors. The motif is very Keith Haring, very graphic and tribal.
What inspired the colors for your bedding?
The colors are inspired by the buildings and fauna of Miami. It’s a place I really love and visit often for the Art Deco architecture, fake butts, tropical vibes, Cuban food—what’s not to love?
Do you have a favorite design?
My favorite is probably Holy Mountain, an embroidered bedspread in the style of Mexican Otomi textiles.
How did bedding make you think about materials differently?
Before I could think about the materials, I had to learn about them. In the process of introducing bedding, I learned a lot about cotton, textile manufacturing, printing, and so on. I also discovered the existence of the book Beds by Diane Von Furstenberg, which was a pleasant surprise.
How about the patterns? How was your approach different from rugs?
I am the only designer who works on the carpets at Aelfie, whereas multiple people worked on the bedding collection, including our operation manager Jenny Herbert, my previous design assistant Madeline Babuka-Black, graphic designer Ali Mac and the British illustrator Rhianna Ellington. It was a team effort!
You point out that your bedding can double as wall hangings. How else do you see it used beyond the bed?
A client of ours used the Boca duvet to upholster some outdoor furniture, and it looked fantastic. That’s the cool thing about textiles, if you’re a little creative, you can do anything you want with them.
So, what’s next?
Holy Mountain embroidered bedding by AELFIE in her Brooklyn home.
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