There’s no doubt the bed is the focal point of any bedroom. In addition to being a decorating highlight, however, the bed MUST be comfortable. This is one piece of furniture where function should definitely outweigh form. If you don’t sleep well, it won’t matter what your bed looks like – you just won’t be happy with it.
Elements of a Good Night’s Sleep
For those who’ve always thought a bed was just a bed, today I’m offering a primer to help you understand the functional elements for building a bed that will provide a good nights sleep. Make the right choices and you can love the feel as well as the looks of your bed:
Mattress: Only you can judge what is comfortable for you – so it is absolutely necessary for you to lie on a bed before you buy it. Don’t just sit on the edge of the bed and bounce a little. Actually lie down in your usual sleep position and stay put for 15 minutes. Too embarrassed? Get over it! A new mattress is a significant investment and it can be a dream or a nightmare, so try before you buy. If you sleep with someone else, both of you should try the mattress out at the same time so you can feel how the mattress responds when two people are on it.
A queen size mattress is usually big enough for two but a king might be better if you like to spread out or perhaps a California king (4” longer) if you or your partner are taller than average. Make sure the mattress fits in your bedroom and that you have at least two feet around the sides and foot of the bed in order to move around it easily.
Mattress Pad: Dust mites, mildew, mold, sweat and food or drinks (that rare breakfast in bed?) can damage your mattress. Protect your big investment with a mattress pad. Choose a waterproof pad for small children. Consider an extra-padded top if you’d like a bit more softness. Look for one that’s allergen-free if you struggle with allergies.
Box Spring: Mattresses and box springs are often sold as a set. A box spring forms the foundation for the mattress, distributing weight evenly and supporting the mattress so it wears well. Most mattresses are built to work in conjunction with a box spring. If, however, you have a platform bed then you won’t need a box spring – but be sure to ask a knowledgeable sales person about a suitable mattress for a platform bed (not all mattresses are created equal!).
To hide your box springs you can dress it with a bed skirt or simply cover the box spring in a fitted sheet that matches or coordinates with your other linens.
Linens: Pima and Egyptian cotton bed linens are often priced according to thread count (the number of fibers contained in one square inch of fabric). The premise is the higher the thread count, the softer the linens. In my opinion, once you get beyond 200 to 300-thread count, the only place you’ll feel the difference is your wallet.
Standard Pillows: The purpose of a pillow is to keep your spine aligned in bed. Select a firm pillow if you sleep on your side. A medium pillow is best for back sleepers. A softer pillow works for stomach sleepers. Pillows are susceptible to dust mites, mildew, mold, sweat, makeup and saliva so keep then clean and help them last by covering them with a washable zip-on pillow cover and then a decorative pillow case.
European Square Pillow: European-size pillows are 26 inches square and, in addition to adding a decorative element, they offer great back support when you’re sitting in bed. When you make the bed, prop them up behind the standard pillows for a pleasing arrangement.
Covers: Blankets, duvets, quilts, coverlet, spreads – no matter which of these you select, this layer helps keep linens clean, provide warmth, and decorates the bed.
Headboard: The marketplace offers a wide variety of headboard styles or you can get creative and design a one-of-a-kind headboard (or no headboard decor). Terrie previously presented a great assortment of ideas in this article.
Examine how your bed looks and how your bed feels when you stretch out in it. If you don’t love both – it’s time for a change. Create the bed of your dreams and enjoy a great night’s sleep.