I am so excited to host Christmas this year for my family. We live fairly far from my parents, and my husband's family is in Ireland, so our holidays often involve a lot of travel. But this year, family is coming to us! This has provided just the excuse I was looking for to finish (ok, start) our guest room/office downstairs. I want to make the room an oasis and a place that family and friends love to come visit, so I'm making it extra luxurious. And while I'm here, I thought I'd share some tricks with you!
How to Make a Luxurious Bed: Sheets
Sheets are a funny thing with me. Some people love and collect shoes. For others it's bags. For me, it's pretty much sheets. I love them! And I'm always eager to add a new set. There are lots of options out there, and some conflicting information (high thread count or no??) so here's some background:
- Cotton sheets--the standard for cozy beds. Different finishes include percale and sateen. Percale is a matte sheet and is better for sleepers who get warm at night, as it has a breathe-ability. Sateen is softer, has a slight sheen , and holds in heat for cooler sleepers. Egyptian cotton is the way to go for sure, the ultimate in luxury. Debate has arisen over thread counts, which can be artificially inflated; a general rule is that a thread count over 200 is essential, and quality before quantity. Basically, you'll get what you paid for. An 800 thread count set of sheets for $20? You make the call.
- Flannel and jersey sheets--great snugglers. If I could stand it, I would have flannel sheets all year 'round. I take a certain joy when the air gets that bite in the air and it's time to break out the flannel. Upside for flannel: the feel and warmth it provides. Downside: it can pill or even get threadbare with too much use. Jersey is another great option. It's like sleeping on top of your favorite perfectly worn in t-shirt. Super soft, but it stretches with use and can lose shape over time. A fun tradition my family started when I was little was to purchase novelty Christmas flannel pillow cases each year. A more affordable option than buying an entire set (not to mention the storage saved), it's fun to have a special pillow to celebrate the season.
How to Make a Luxurious Bed: Pillows
My husband would probably argue that I collect pillows as well, as I'm super fussy about them being just the right firmness, height, etc. So I've tried pretty much one of each of them out there. Here's a breakdown:
- Fill: can be either natural or synthetic. Natural fills can be feather, down, cotton or wool. Natural tend to be softer than synthetic, but won't hold shape. Synthetic are usually foam, memory foam, polyester, and maintain a more firm shape. Hypoallergenic options are wool, cotton or synthetic.
- Firmness/Softness: Different pillows are recommended for different types of sleepers. Side and back sleepers usually require a firmer pillow to prop their head through the night, while softer pillows are ideal for stomach sleepers. Unless you are sure of your guests' preferences, two pillows per person (one firm, one softer) is a great option..
How to Make a Luxurious Bed: Covers
Comforters are similar to pillows in that there are different fill types and thicknesses. Natural (down) and synthetic options are available as are hypoallergenic. Fill weight will tell you how heavy the comforter will be while fill power will tell you how densely it is packed. I love to buy a comforter in a neutral colored solid and then choose duvet covers to change the look as needed. Another touch to add for guests (or yourself) is a throw or coverlet at the end of the bed. It's a nice way to bring out a pop of color or add some texture to the bedding. Plus, it is easy to pull up if it gets chilly at night.
How to Make a Luxurious Bed: the Arrangement
Great! Now that you've got all the components of a super luxurious bed, how do you pull it all together? Some of it will depend on the size of your bed. Obviously, a twin bed will not hold the amount of pillows a king size will and vice versa. I'll give examples for a full/queen sized bed and then let you know differences for king and twin.
- Let's start with the bed sheet set. You can choose a classic neutral or go a little daring (it won't show most of the time). So get the bed made with the fitted sheet, flat sheet (or skip it for a European feel) and pillowcases.
- Next comes the comforter (with or without a duvet cover) and two shams. For a king size, get larger, king sized shams, for twin use only one sham.
- The next step in luxury is the addition of euro shams. Euro shams are square and generally shorter than the length of a sham but taller. If your comforter/duvet is solid, choose a pattern that incorporates the color and compliments the overall look. If you've got a patterned duvet and shams, a safe bet is a solid color. But do you dare to mix patterns? It can be fun! Two euro shams are usually sufficient. For a king, you can use three, for a twin, one.
- The cherry on the top of your bedding bonanza is a bolster or accent pillow. Bolsters are tube shaped where an accent pillow can be any shape, but is generally smaller. There are some really fun shaped accent pillows available now...hearts, animals, you name it! Last, but not least, throw that throw/coverlet at the foot of the bed. This is where I love to incorporate a really great texture. In winter, the chunkier the cable knit, the better! Here's a graphic I found at trulia that illustrates the completed bed.
You now have all you need to make a truly luxurious bed for your guests, but why stop with them? Make your bedroom a cozy oasis with luxurious bedding as well! 'Tis the season to snuggle in!