Few things are better than crisp autumn nights in the Northwoods. You open the windows and smell the faint smokiness of a campfire in the distance. You hear the lapping of lake water along the rocky shoreline. You see millions of stars shining brilliantly in the clear, dark sky. And you climb into your cozy, warm bed… ahhh!
You’re instantly enveloped in soft, silky sheets… covered in the subtle weight of that beautiful quilted blanket and goose-down duvet. The contrast of the cool, fresh air on your face with the warmth of your bed is what sweet dreams are made of… and you drift off into a deep peaceful sleep.
Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?! As the temperature drops and the days shorten here in Wisconsin, what better time than to give your bedroom some much-needed attention, right?!
From the basics of bedding to the formula for making a perfectly luxurious bed, we’re covering everything you need to know to make the above daydream a reality this fall. Let’s dive in…
1. Begin with the Bed Skirt
Whether it’s tailored with a box pleat at the corners and lays flush with the mattress, or it ruffles around the entirety of the bed for a more decorative effect, the purpose of the bed skirt is to hide your bed frame. Why, you ask?! Well, because bed frames aren’t always pretty. Depending on the style of bed you have, the bed skirt isn’t always necessary, however.
For example, if you have a platform bed with drawers for storage underneath, you obviously don’t want a bedskirt getting in your way. Or if your bed is built in such a way that the frame isn’t visible, you have nothing to cover up and therefore don’t need this handy bed accessory. This one is your call.
2. Protect with a Mattress Pad
Your mattress is a sizable investment, and that is worth protecting. Which is exactly the purpose of the mattress pad. It creates a barrier between you and your mattress, saving it from oils, perspiration, dander, and dust mites… you know, all the yucky stuff we don’t like thinking about when it comes to our beds.
For this reason, mattress pads must be washable (and we recommend laundering them every 2-3 months).
3. Select Soft and Beautiful Bed Sheets
Believe it or not, sheets actually exist for more than warmth. They provide comfort and breathability as well. And depending on your preferences, they come in a vast array of fabrics. (Although we prefer the long, strong, natural fibers of Egyptian or American Pima cotton.)
If you’ve ever been sheet shopping, you know the options are many in the bedding department. From the weave of the fibers to the thread count, the designs, decorative accents and more, there is much to consider. Here are a few tidbits that might come in handy next time you are considering a new bed sheet purchase:
Percale vs. Sateen
- This refers to the weave of the fibers. A percale weave is one yarn over, one yarn under – forming a grid. A sateen weave is several yarns over, one yarn under.
- What this means for you, however, is that percale sheets are typically described as crisp, cool, and soft. Sateen sheets are usually described as silky in nature. The choice is yours.
- This refers to the number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch.
- The higher the thread count, the more luxurious the feel of the sheets. For this reason, we suggest choosing sheets with a thread count somewhere between 200-400, depending on your preferred feel.
- If you like sheets to feel crisp, opt for the lower thread count… and if you prefer silkier textures, 400 is the way to go. (Although sheets come in significantly higher thread counts, we generally feel that the price tag for those is not worth the very minimal increase in softness.)
4. Layer with a Blanket or Quilt
Sometimes this essential layer of bedding goes unnoticed, especially on those cold winter nights when you want all the warmth you can get, snuggling deep down into the covers. But it is another must-have for all fully-furnished beds.
Providing a lighter covering for the nights when a duvet is too warm, and another layer of warmth for the nights when a duvet just isn’t enough, this dual-purpose blanket sits between the bed sheets and duvet. Plus, it is decorative on the bed, adding texture (and sometimes color) to the overall aesthetic.
5. Don a Duvet (and Decorative Cover)
The duvet serves one purpose – warmth! Because of that, we always recommend duvets with goose-down fill to our clients. It insulates, but still breathes well, making it light and luxurious.
The duvet cover is what you actually see on beds, however. This is the decorative casing that protects the duvet from oils, perspiration, and dander.
Because the duvet itself is bulky and requires special care when washing, the duvet cover is not only beautiful and decorative, but also functional, since it is easy to wash. (We recommend laundering this portion of your bedding once a month.)
6. Polish Off with Plenty of Pillows
At the most basic level, beds should have two types of pillows: sleeping pillows for, well, sleeping and decorative pillows for visual appeal. But there are so many nuances within those categories that it is worth a quick overview:
These come in two common sizes, standard and king. Generally one standard pillow fits on a twin bed, two standard pillows fit nicely on a full-size or queen bed. And two king pillows fit perfectly on a king bed.
Within the sizes, there is a variety of firmness options as well. Whether you prefer soft, medium, firm, or even memory foam is a completely personal choice.
Because these are the pillows you put your head on night after night, we can’t stress enough the importance of quality pillow cases that match the sheet set and protect the pillows.
- These come in a wide variety of sizes, and are often layered together to create a cozy and luxurious look for a bed. Here are the most 4 most common decorative pillows:
- The Dutch Euro pillow measures 36”w x 30”h and two fit nicely on a king bed as a backdrop for the rest of the throw pillows.
- The Standard Euro pillow measures 26” square. The typical rule of thumb is three per king bed, two per queen or full, and one per twin.
- Lumbar pillows vary in size, but are long and rectangular in shape, providing back support when needed as well as varying aesthetic appeal for the bed.
- Square pillows also come in a variety of sizes and are usually the finishing touches on a complete bedding set.
- No matter the size, decorative pillows should always be covered in pillow shams for beauty as well as washability, since these decorative pillows do get used on occasion.
Sequence for Making the Perfect Bed
Putting together everything we just discussed, the formula for making a lovely, luxurious bed is simple:
- Place the bed skirt over the box spring and under the mattress.
- Put the mattress pad on the mattress.
- Add the bed sheets. Fitted first, over the mattress pad, and then the flat sheet on top of that.
- Tuck the blanket or quilt around the sheets.
- Lay the duvet on top (or fold this at the end of the bed so the texture of the blanket or decorative quilt can be seen).
- Add the pillows.
- Sleeping pillows should lay flat on the bed with the case opening facing the outside of the bed.
- Dutch Euro pillows should be placed upright on top of the sleeping pillows.
- Standard Euro pillows are to be set upright in front of the Dutch Euros.
- Decorative pillows (in lumbar and square sizes) should be placed artistically in front of the Euro pillows for a beautiful finished look.
- Voila! A bed that looks as warm and welcoming as it feels for you and your guests.
If you’re ready to take your bedding to the next level, give us a call to make a private appointment to visit our showroom. We’d be thrilled to meet you and help you select all of the bedding basics that will transform your bedroom into the epitome of luxury and relaxation.
Until next month,
The Lakeside Living Team