Butler County Times Gazette
  • Through the Front Door: Instructions for creating the perfect bed

  • The shining star of the bedroom, the bed offers the pure joy of a comfy, cozy, world of sleep
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  • Good morning all you lovely people! What a lovely small-town life we lead.
    Winter has made quite the entrance into our lives, so I thought we might talk a bit about the joy of a beautifully dressed bed—and the wonderful rich sleep it breeds! The shining star of the bedroom, the bed offers the pure joy of a comfy, cozy, world of sleep. At the end of a day when life has handed you some tough moments, you must admit that there is nothing on the planet like hopping into a delicious, warm, divinely appointed bed. Recently, medical evidence not only touts the virtues of a good night’s sleep, but shows that lack of sleep can contribute to health issues such as heart disease and weight gain…oh, ick! So the power of sleep is worth thinking about and I think doing it graciously is even better! Let’s look at how to make a bed from the ground up.
    Step 1: Mattress
    You will most likely know when it’s time to purchase a new mattress because you wake in the morning stiff, achy and not rested. Plus, the poor thing is looking rather sad when you undress it, showing lumps, bump and sagging. Depending on the mattress, you can expect your mattress to support you properly for about seven years. I think the best place to learn about the importance of sleep and mattress selection is www.bettersleep.org. You’ll find answers to all your questions and arm yourself with information so you can head out the door, ready to purchase that perfect night’s sleep. A few words of caution:
    Don’t be schmoosed by a salesperson’s sweet talk. All the fancy words they use to describe mattresses are just that—a whole lot of fancy chatter.
    Have a budget and never pay full price for a mattress. For one thing, mattresses are on sale frequently. For another, asking for a discount in today’s world is nothing to be ashamed of, so feel free to bargain. The markup on a mattress is steep, so the merchant does have room to negotiate.
    Shop at stores with a good reputation, and always read and understand the warranty.
    Step 2: Mattress Pad
    After the mattress, you need to complete the foundation of your luscious bed with a good mattress pad. The pad’s practical purpose is to help keep body oils off the mattress. Aside from that, what you want out of the mattress pad is a personal preference: additional softness, body temperature control, or a waterproof layer. Many options are available for you to consider: fleece wool pads, down/feather, synthetic fill, memory foam. This one item alone can really elevate your comfort, so take it seriously, gorgeous!
    Page 2 of 4 - Step 3: Sheets
    While we are accustomed to studying the thread count when purchasing sheets, what really counts for comfort is—surprise, surprise!—what that thread is made of. If you do want to consider the thread count, somewhere between 300 and 400 is a good rule of thumb. You can actually find divine sheets with a lower thread count, but the thread will be extraordinary as will be the comfort and life of the sheets. Your fiber choices are plentiful, and knowing a bit about them is useful when it comes to selecting luxury sheets that feel heavenly and last—always a win-win!
    Cotton jersey: These sheets have become quite desirable in the last few years because they breathe and are warm and soft—like sleeping in an old, well-loved T-shirt.
    Cotton-polyester blend: If you love a pristine bed, without the slightest of wrinkle, look to cotton-polyester blend. These sheets are available at friendly prices, boasting a substantial savings over 100 percent cotton.
    Cotton: Cotton sheets are softer, they release soil better and they keep you cooler by literally wicking the moisture from your skin. These factors make them more expensive than cotton-polyester blends.
    Egyptian cotton: A staple in fine sheets, Egyptian cotton employs longer fibers, which makes them much softer.
    Pima cotton: Very long thread fibers grown in many countries, including the United States.
    Supima cotton: Long thread fibers grown 100 percent in the United States!
    Specific weave types also offer benefits.
    Basic: Sheets with the same number of horizontal threads as vertical threads are basic and less expensive.
    Percale: Percale is a basic weave as well, but these sheets must have at least a 180-thread count. These sheets provide that crisp, luscious feel and wear very well.
    Sateen: These sheets have more vertical threads than horizontal, which makes them softer—but they might not wear as well! You will find sateen sheets in specialty pattern weaves, such as damask and jacquard, or a weave on a weave. This is done on a fancy machine, which accounts for the increase in price.
    To guard against shrinkage, wrinkling and loss of shape, a finish is applied to most sheets. For the purest, sheets without finish are available, but to be honest they are a winkled mess. It looks like you’re wearing an un-ironed 100 percent cotton shirt with a tie under a suit—oh, sweetie, you need to go home and start over with that sort of a look! Clearly I am not a fan of the ooh-la-la purest sheets. Give me a bed that has that well-pressed, clean, crisp look.
    Step 4: Pillows
    Page 3 of 4 - The most common pillows are filled with down feathers, synthetic/polyester fibers or foam. Natural goose-down feather pillows are long lasting and exceptionally comfortable, but they can be a bit pricey. A less-expensive alternative is a synthetic/polyester fiber pillow, which is generally hypoallergenic. For firmer support, you can try Tempur Pedic’s mushy memory foam pillows. (The downfall of memory foam is that it has a reputation for retaining heat. So ladies, if you are a hot flasher, maybe not your best bet!)
    Step 5: The Dressing
    The days of cramming a closetful of decorative pillows onto the bed are, quite frankly, over. Nobody wants to take up closet space that way, much less add an extra piece of furniture or large baskets for handling this pillow excess. You want to be mindful of the overindulged bed, and yet a layering process is what creates a fresher, more refined and prettier bed. You just need to make five careful decisions.
    Skirt: Start at the base of bed and decide: bed skirt or no bed skirt. If you have a divine bed with wonderful bed rails (the boards that run from the headboard to the footboard) that lend the clean modern look you love, skip the bed skirt. On the other hand, if you have the bed’s metal legs or under-bed storage to hide, you need to choose a skirt: tailored, slight fullness, or fussy full.
    Sheets: Today, sheets make a bigger statement than in the past. (When I was growing up, they were completely covered up, so their appearance was really not that important.) Now, we expose the sheets and even make them a part of the beauty of the well-dressed bed. Make sure the sheets blend with the rest of the bed ensemble. I prefer four standard pillows to complete my queen bed, and I dress them in two different sheet sets. Mixing the sheets is very much in vogue and makes for an attractive completed bed.
    Cover: Next, move on to the actual garment of the bed: the spread, coverlet, duvet, or comforter. All the pretty rises from here! I happen to be a coverlet person as all the additional “puff” of a comforter is not my cup of tea. For those of you who love puff, though, I say “puff away,” darlings!
    Decorative pillows: Now for the decorative pillows. If you are a puffy bed person, you will most likely love the addition of the Euro pillows (square 26" x 26" pillows) dressed in shams. For a queen bed, here is a simple pillow formula: two Euro pillows, two standard or queen pillows, and two or three decorative pillows. Of course, this is merely a starting place. As I am sure you have seen in the past several years, we have all started to emulate the hotel bed—meaning the cleaner look of stacking pillows on top of each other flat on the mattress and not resting against the headboard. On a queen bed, you would stack two standard or queen pillows on each side and then step forward with a couple of well-chosen decorative pillows, maybe something as modest as one bolster. Search online for some creative ideas.
    Page 4 of 4 - Finally, an amazing throw at the end of the bed is a must. Who doesn’t love that snowy afternoon with a book and a blanket? Loved it in kindergarten and love it now!
    And there you have it! A bed made for a queen and king. Sweet dreams to all of you, and to all a good night!
    Now stop yawning and I will see you bright and early next Saturday morning!

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