“You made your own bed, and now you can lie in it.” Yes, the British said that first, but this writer cot on pretty quickly, when she discovered, that more often than not, it’s true. Which is why, you’d best spare no expense when it comes to making yours well, and while you’re at it, make it king-size too.
Given that understanding the wafer-thin differences between products and deconstructing design speak in an actual home interiors store can be pretty intimidating, we thought a go-to list was in order, even if only to ensure there are no nervous breakdowns while attempting some real life retail therapy!
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Mind Over Mattress
BEDS: Standard bed sizes are based on standard mattress sizes, which vary from country to country. In India, your bed – with or without concealed storage – comes in three standard sizes: King Size, Queen Size or Twin Beds.
Two singles make up a twin bed set (at 3 feet x 6 feet) – the most common choice for children's rooms or guestrooms, since they sit easily in the smallest of spaces. You can also have a "trundle" that rolls out from underneath the single.
A double is a larger single (at 4 feet x 6 feet) making it the more comfortable choice for a single adult, yet remaining compact enough to fit small bedrooms. Couples generally opt for either queen size (5 feet x 6 feet) or king size (6 feet x 6 feet) beds, giving them ample room to snooze, on nights when they’re not looking to spoon.
Today you can also opt for a box spring instead of a standard wooden bed or cot. Box springs are a type of bed base made up of a sturdy wooden frame covered in cloth and containing springs to hold your mattress of the same size.
BEDSKIRTS: Tie together your bedroom décor with an elegant bed skirt while simultaneously keeping dust bunnies at bay – which is why they were invented in the first place. Pragmatic pieces, originally dubbed dust ruffles, these are composed of a skirt (either gathered or tailored) and a deck (the flat piece of fabric or platform, that lies between the mattress and your bed). The bed skirt also plays a clever role in camouflage – hiding everything unsightly that lies underneath it.
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Next comes the matter of doing up your mattress and bed with – bedspreads, coverlets, quilts, duvets, comforters and blankets.
BEDSPREADS: A bedspread or bedcover is a pre-filled decorative coverlet, that goes on top of your mattress and sheets i.e. the topmost layer of your bed, so buy them top shelf! These are also often available in the quilted variety, can work as bed warmers, and can be as thick or lightweight as you’d like. Available in a variety of fabrics, you can also layer them – although they are most commonly used as a standalone piece to protect your blankets and sheets, while adding instant pizazz.
QUILTS: Traditionally quilts are composed of three layers of fiber: a woven cloth top, a layer of batting and a woven back, all stitched together in decorative patterns – most commonly, using simple, unfussy harlequin diamonds. Quilts are also different from other forms of bed covers because unlike always using a single piece of fabric on top (a whole cloth quilt) they also come together when multiple sections of cloth (in various colours, patterns, textures) or segments of fabric memorabilia are sewn together.
"Once upon a time, when you were off vacationing in the Seychelles, your bed wished it could have it all too. It dreamt of a fairytale makeover in soft watercolour hues – an ocean breeze here, golden sands there and swaying palm fronds that promised blissful zzz’s."
COMFORTERS: Thicker than a blanket and sometimes also quilted, a comforter differs from a quilt in that the colors are generally dyed and patterns are not embroidered. Choose a filling that’s best suited to your needs (how warm you like your bed, where you live, ease of maintenance and hygiene are all excellent criteria) – stuffings range from polyester batting, other synthetic fibers, down feathers, wool, silk and cotton.
BLANKETS: These go under your bedspread. So buy them nerdy if that’s what you really want (Star Wars fans, we’re looking at you), but TWC recommends soft flannels in muted feminine colours and sophisticated patterns that mix and match best with your sheets.
These are different from throw blankets, which add color, texture or both in addition to casual coziness when tossed carelessly, but always, always, beautifully, onto the bed. A throw at the foot of your bed is just the thing you need to add interest to the composition of your bed, and have it say ‘come hither’, in a sultry purr.
DUVETS: Your quintessential winter quilt has another name. Essentially a soft flat bag filled with down, feathers or a synthetic alternative, duvets, are best procured with their own separate washable covers (zip these up or button them down) so they can take the place of your bedspread or top sheet, sometimes making over entire bedrooms.
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Duvets can be a godsend for late risers because they reduce the complexity of making your bed in the morning. Remember that time you hit the snooze button nine times instead of twice?
SHEETS: When it comes to getting a good night’s rest, your sheets are as important as a quality mattress and cozy blanket, because these are what come directly in contact with your skin. And in this matter, cotton is still the most popular sheeting fabric, due to its durability, comfort and breathability.
Which brings us, rather neatly, to the business of thread count, or the number of threads in one square inch of fabric. It's easy to assume that higher means softer, but that's not always the case – sometimes, the highest sheet counts can lead to stiffness because of the volume of tightly packed fibers jammed together in such a tight space. A lower-thread-count sheet made from fibers that are softer by nature, such as Egyptian cotton, will feel silkier than a high-thread-count sheet made from a lower-quality cotton blend.
Here’s a low down on pillows and cushions that make up the headrest of your bed.
SHAMS: Shams are the pillows that usually go right in front of the headboard, so when you pick these out, you’d do best to match them to your bedspread, duvet-covers or your quilt. Like cushions, these aren’t meant for sleeping on either, but serve a larger decorative purpose. Shams are different from regular pillowcases in that they often come with flanges around the edges, and are meant to add color and texture, while firmly also anchoring the rest of your pillow collection on the bed.
Standard shams are around 20 inches by 26 inches, and European shams – which are square - usually come at around 26 inches by 26 inches if not larger.
PILLOWS: You’ll find that pillows (just like their cushion cousins) are almost always sold separately from their covers because these are what need regular maintenance since you use them the most. While choosing your pillows go for maximum comfort – especially since these are for sleeping, as for the casing however, take your time – too often you’ll find you’re spoilt for choice – so whichever ones you choose, make sure they either compliment or contrast with the rest of your bedding, so that either way, you amp up your style quotient.
BOUDOIR PILLOWS: Also called breakfast pillows, these come in smaller sizes. Like cushions, these throw pillows are purely decorative, and generally rectangular, adding visual interest to your arrangement. Today you can buy the stuffing and covers separately making them easy to launder and maintain.
BOLSTERS: These are the long, narrow, commonly cylindrical pillows we see so often arranged on divans or in Indian period films. Filled with down, feathers, cotton, foam, or even a mix of any of these materials depending on how hard or soft you like your bolsters, these are used, both for decoration as well as lumbar support when lying against the headboard.
CUSHIONS: Almost all home stores sell cushions and their covers separately – unless they’re ready-made decorative pieces, like a big throw cushion. When it comes to decorative cushions – there are two primary variants: shams and throw pillows. Typically these go either right at the back where your headboard is, or right up front respectively, depending also on their size.With the exception of throw pillows, throw cushions are almost always perfectly square. No pun intended.
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There’s your new, magical bedscape, all done and dusted. Sweet dreams everyone.