Time To Ditch The Duvet?
It has been my experience that clients often leave their bedrooms as the last room to tackle and as a result are missing the benefits of better sleep and self care. While I understand the need to use resources on spaces that are “seen” , we spend more than half of our lives sleeping — So getting the bedding right is important! Since so many people seem to be in the dark about how to streamline bedding I am sharing some of my favorite life hacks to help being in the dark more comfortable.
Eye roller(s) disclaimer: These are some simple suggestions to help making the bed assemblage streamlined and easy to maintain. This is not the holy grail but simply the basics for those who are getting started on a path of better self care.
A great mattress pad is key in protecting your mattress, camoulflaging the quilting of the mattress and ensuring the fitted sheet is smooth. I suggest a thick mattress pad that is quilted versus channeled (making it difficult to manage) to keep an even distribution and better regulate body temperature. If you have managed to master the down channeled pad with a weekly shake, then bravo!
Over the holidays my family and I traveled to Scandinavia where the beds were made with just a fitted sheet and loose comforter. I personally found this to be uncomfortable, as I like the feeling of being tucked in with a top sheet. So, I’m advocating for both a top sheet and a fitted sheet that get changed once a week.
There are amazing products on the market now that yield lower thread counts, but are still as soft as higher counts that we typically think of as being the most luxurious. I personally prefer a combed cotton or Egyptian cotton, as they are soft and easy to maintain. Cotton percale is tightly woven, and seems to easily release wrinkles in higher thread counts, while sateen sheets are typically a little bit tighter, and thicker with a bit of sheen. Since my lifestyle is somewhat casual, I tend to gravitate toward the percale, but have to admit sateen does feel a little bit like silk.
In our showroom we carry a variety of both options, most with top sheet embellishments. Some of my favorites include the following:
One of the most important steps in making a bed is the turn down. The turn down allows your pillows space to breathe and highlights your top sheet detail. Be sure to make your bed with the top sheet upside down so that when folded back the detail can be seen.
I also recommend folding the top sheet and coverlet down enough to clear the stack of pillows. If you have to move your pillows at night in order to get into your bed, you are not folding the sheets back far enough.
There are two kinds of pillows, those for sleeping and those for lounging. While I am personally advocating for fewer pillows, here are my top two options for sleeping pillows inserts.
The pillow protector is a lightweight cotton zippered cover that keeps a pillow feeling fresh, laying smoothly inside a sham, AND will add years to the life of your pillows.
There are a myriad of covers available, but it is important to wash and press them before placing on your new pillows and to purchase the same style/fabric for all of your protectors. DO NOT BYPASS THIS STEP- you can thank me later.
Size of Sleeping Pillows
The topic of size and number of pillows is always under debate, but I’m shooting for a less is more approach! We will cover the count below but if a pillow lives on the floor it’s of little use.
I like to use king-size pillows for king-size beds as well as twin-sized beds. The king-size which measures 36” x 20,” is the perfect length for the top of a twin bed and feels generous and luxurious.
For queens and full-size beds I like to use a standard insert, which measures 26” x 20”.
Blankets, Coverlets and Duvets
Here in lies the real reason for this life hack post— I am done with the duvet! Just typing those words makes me shudder since I’m not fully committed to this yet, however, I am moving away from duvets on beds for the sole reason of maintenance (which I will address below).
Duvets are the wrinkled mess meant to be folded at the end of your bed, and pulled up when in need of an extra layer of warmth. Time and time again, I hear complaints about the time it takes to launder and press and get it back into the cover, not to mention the amount of men who feel like the duvet serves as dead body weight and an ploy to make them lose half their water weight over night. So, I’m offering tips on streamlining bedding for those who want something easier.
IF you have to have the super heavyweight duvet at the end of your bed, and I completely understand (as I love that mountain-weight cloud), keep it folded in thirds at the foot of your bed when not being used.
This means you will need a nice blanket, quilt, or coverlet on the top of your top sheet. READ THIS HERE- a duvet is NOT a bedspread so do not pull it up to the pillows and consider your bed made. You cannot smooth this lumpy wrinkled mess so save your marriage and move on.
So, a new and fresh alternative to the heavyweight, wrinkled duvet at the foot of your bed, is to SIMPLIFY by using a down blanket sandwiched between a quilted coverlet. This is my new happy place!!!
That’s right. Between the coverlet and your top sheet now lives a down blanket and could possibly be the best bed sandwich you have ever tested! And even better, you can swap it for a lighter weight blanket in the summer or as needed.
Coverlets, quilts, and blankets are my new best friends, and there are so many out there that it’s hard to narrow down just a few, but here are some of my favorites:
THE EXTRAS - DECORATIVE PILLOWS
There are 4 types of pillows that I use, as well as their functions:
1. The King & Standard Pillow
The king pillow measures 36” x 20,” and the standard measures 26” x 20”. These are your basic sleeping pillows. In most situations people request two pillows for sleeping, so I like to include 4 kings inserts on a king bed, 2 king inserts on a twin bed, and 4 standard inserts on a queen or full-size.
2. The Euro Pillow - 26” x 26”
The euro pillow is my second favorite in the decorative pillow category.
This size is great for adding height and function (use to prop up in the bed if you decide to have a movie marathon).
When I dress a bed, the european always sits in the very back. I like to use 3 for a king bed, 1 for a twin bed, and 2 for queens and fulls.
3. The Bolster Pillow - Varies in Size
This is my decorative catch-all. I adore bolster pillows. I use them in tons of sizes but my favorite are the really big ones.
The small option is called a neck roll and, while we use them, they are not my go to, as I find the larger decorative options to be of more use, and pack a larger punch in the final dressing.
4. The Boudoir Pillow - 16” x 12”
I use these very sparingly and mostly in young girls bedrooms because I think they are sweet.
I typically use boudoir size pillows on a full or a queen size bed because they can be awkward to place, due to their diminutive size.
Iron Your Sheets
Almost Everyone I know has a strong reaction when I recommend ironing sheets so that they last and look their best. Okay, this does not mean ironing the fitted sheet but the top third of your top sheet and your cases or shams are a must! I can personally attest that if you dry your top sheets and do not remove those wrinkles on the top fold, over time small holes will develop. Furthermore, the more time that passes without ironing, the wrinkles become impossible to remove, this just made me think of my face LOL.
The good news is that if you opt not to iron, you can smooth and hang them to dry, and you can even put a hot iron on them when wet to help maintain their integrity.
Because good bedding is an investment like a great piece of clothing, you should treat them with the best possible cleansing agents that will not leave soapy residue.
My favorite laundry soap is LeLabo or Rose scent from The Laundress. While I know this is an extravagance, you only need the size of a quarter in your machine and the smell is heavenly —You will not regret making this investment! One bottle lasts me at least a year.
Since I am a scent-aholic I also use other items to improve the quality and scent of my sheets.
My favorite for ironing is Elizabeth W Vetiver Linen Water. I much prefer this over starch, which can leave sheets feeling a little too stiff for my taste.
Another life hack I love is the Lady Primrose Dusting Silk which can be used on your linens and your body. The silver topped shaker makes it a perfect bedside accessory to gently sprinkle on your pillow before laying down to sleep.
I have tried and tested a mountain of products through the years and would love to hear about some of your favorite sleeping hacks. My sleep rituals are probably the only self care that I observe with consistency. If you make small adjustments over the new year I hope you will find your bedroom space to be as fulfilling as any room in your home. Sweet dreams.