As promised, this column is going to address some of the many options and issues we face in choosing our bedding—here’s where I lose 80% of the male readers on which I had a tenuous hold at best. Guys generally don’t care what is on the bed, until it’s—in their opinion—the wrong thing.
I may as well address this issue at the onset. One of the most common refrains I hear as ladies stare with longing at the romantic bed vignettes we present at Hodgepodge is: My husband would never go for that. While I agree that home decorating is best done with some cooperative effort between the spouses, I generally say “break the rules” in the bedroom. Try to stay with me here guys, most of the time spent in the bedroom is with eyes closed. As long as the mattress is comfy, does it really matter if you’re lying under a quilt with a floral design? I think not. Go ahead and stand firm for the recliner in the den (not that it would work in our house), but let her have the bedroom.
Alrighty then, next issue: bed-in-a-bag. (Here’s where I may lose the rest of you, but I’m not trying to be insulting, really.) While I do agree they serve a purpose—they’re easy to grab and an ideal option for many bachelors—I’d much rather see you choose a pieces that reflect your taste and needs. The “package deal” offered with one bag full of comforter, shams, dust ruffle and throw pillows has improved and there are a few tasteful options available. Yet, thought of your bedroom looking the same as your neighbors and someone across the state is off putting.
So here are some tools for you when choosing a look unique to you. We’ll start at the bottom with the dust ruffle. Some folks prefer not to have a dust ruffle—I prefer to have two! The ruffle generally is placed directly on the top of your box spring. Depending on your mattress set and bed you’ll need to measure for the drop you desire—measure form the top of the box spring to the floor. Most dust ruffles have a drop between 14 – 16 inches. If you like the layered look you’ll want to find two dust ruffles with different lengths. I achieved our look with a king size ruffle on the bottom and a queen size on top of it. I cinched the king sized ruffle in the center, but allowed it to puddle on the floor.
The next layer will be your sheets. This is really the most important aspect of the bedding, because it’s where most of the contact happens. We’ve recently discovered the pleasure of high thread count, Egyptian cotton. (Really ladies—put these on the bed and your husband won’t care if you use cabbage roses and lace for the rest!) I have a couple pointers about putting sheets on the bed. First, if you use a quilt or comforter which you fold back, make sure your fitted sheet matches the rest of the bedding—it’ll show. Second, the top sheet goes on the mattress with the pretty side facing down. You do this so that when you fold the edge back, the pretty side is showing. Even if you don’t fold back the edge, place the finished side down so the stitched selvedge is facing up (away from your face). Finally, if you don’t know how, learn how to make hospital corners! It keeps the top sheet in place and you’ll have less work making the bed in the morning.
The next layer is generally the one we give the most attention. This is the top layer—the part we see immediately upon entering the room. I prefer lightweight quilts which I can layer in the winter and shed in the summer. I also love duvets with cotton or linen covers folded at the foot of the bed. At the moment, you’ll find a cotton quilt with a velvet quilt folded at the foot of the bed and topped with a crocheted lace tablecloth (yes—tablecloth). I’ve had the tablecloth spread out across the blue velvet when it serves as our primary quilt in the winter—it looks lovely—and no, my husband doesn’t see the point, but I do (refer back to paragraph 2). I recommend using something machine washable, which is why I like lightweight quilts and duvet covers—they fit in our home washing machine.
Pillows are definitely a personal preference thing. Some like them flat, some like them fluffy. If you and your partner use different styles, I recommend two of each. When making the bed, put the two flats on the mattress and the two fluffies on top or vice versa. You can use pillowcases or shams (yes, you can sleep on the shams—they’re washable!). I try to keep the throw pillows to a minimum—one or two—but they do help pull the look together.