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  Friday, August 1, 2014  
   
 

 
A New Fall Wardrobe
For Your Bed  

One of the best things about September’s waning warmth is the arrival of cool October evenings and the return of good sleeping weather. Each year I look forward to throwing open my bedroom windows and closing my eyes to the thrum of crickets and the refreshing chill of fall night air. It’s the perfect time to dress my bed to reflect fall’s colorful landscape, but how can I do that without spending a fortune on new linens and accessories every time the leaves change?

Pam Deihl and Wendy Deihl of The Pedestal, a custom decorating, accessories and gift shop in Kilmarnock, suggest keeping a neutral matelasse spread on the bed year round and switching out accent pillows each season to refresh your décor. Pillows with more saturated color such as those made of velvet or tapestry are just the thing for fall and winter say the Deihls while light colored linen pillows work well during the warmer months. Wendy Deihl also suggests placing a rich folded throw, quilt or blanket at the foot of the bed as the weather gets cooler for added color and warmth. Keeping your foundation linens neutral will create a calm, serene feeling in your bedroom and provide a backdrop for seasonal splashes of color. But keeping it neutral doesn’t have to mean using only white sheets and blankets according to Pam Deihl who says beige, taupe or even nature’s blues and greens work well with a wide spectrum of colors.

When it comes to accessories Pam Deihl says adding elaborate trims, fringes, and tassels to things like drapery panels and throw pillows will give your room a rich feel. Try tying a large tassel around a chunky lamp base or even the back of a chair. Use your collections of special things like pinecones and birds’ nests as a display on your dressing table this fall and winter but replace them with seashells and driftwood next summer to help make your bedroom reflect the seasons. When not in use keep your collections stored in airtight boxes in an accessible closet and rotate them through the year.

The “it” colors this season are in eggplant and gray tones say the Deihls— a reflection of the move in recent years away from the use of brass hardware and light fixtures to those made of silver and brushed nickel. Any items that are organic or natural are also leading design trends—it’s all about going green. Use woven shades alone on your windows for light control and privacy in the summer months then layer them with drapery panels on decorative rods for added texture and richness in fall and winter. The Deihls also suggest switching out your crème-colored linen lampshades for brown or black leather to give your bedroom a cozier fall-to-winter feel.

When it comes to making your bedroom fall-ready don’t forget the rest of the room. The Deihls advise finding a comfy chair in a wonderful print for fall and winter and having a casual linen slipcover made for summer months. If you keep a textured sisal or seagrass rug on the floor from May to August, swap it out for richly colored Orientals or patterned rugs in the winter.

In essence, what you’re doing is creating multiple wardrobes for your bedroom which will keep it feeling fresh and new
each season.

How to Buy Bed Linens

When it comes to purchasing bed linens you know you want high-quality products that will stand up to the test of time and soften with each wash, but the options are dizzying. Egyptian cotton verses Supima cotton, 400 thread-count verses 180 thread count. What does it all mean?

According to the folks at Supima, the promotional organization of the American Pima cotton growers—a non-profit organization comprised of Pima growers from the states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas—the name Supima is an abbreviation for “Superior Pima,” an extra-long staple (ELS) cotton grown in the U.S., Australia, and Peru that is extremely durable and long-lasting. Before 1910, it was called American-Egyptian cotton but was renamed to honor the Pima Indians who were growing the cotton for the USDA in Arizona.

Egyptian cotton on the other hand, usually refers to an extra-long staple cotton produced in Egypt. It is cultivated mainly in the Nile River Valley and claims to have the longest and strongest fibers of any cotton. It actually emanates from a native American species introduced to Egypt in the 19th century. Both Supima and Egyptian cotton can cost more than the average cotton bedding found readily at most bed and bath stores but will be more durable and feel softer against your skin. The thread count dictates the price.

So, what is threat count and does it matter? Thread count refers to the number of threads woven into each square inch of fabric. The higher the number the smoother the surface of the fabric. Look for thread counts between 200 and 400 for a soft feel and long-lasting performance. Thread counts above 400 only slightly impact softness but bump up price quite a bit.

Percale, a common term for bedding, refers to the weave of the fabric, not the content. Percale weaves are usually a minimum of 180 thread-count and can be a 50/50 blend of cotton and polyseter, 100% cotton, or any other combination of fabrics. Though poly blend percales are more economical than pure cotton and do not require ironing they tend to pill more readily and may trap body oils and odors more so than cotton. Simply put, 100% cotton is king in the bedding business.

A Few Tips

  • Be sure to measure your mattress before buying your linens. Don’t rely on standard sizes as manufacturers make adjustments to their products.
  • Also measure the thickness of your mattress. If your mattress is 18” thick opt for a 20” sheet to prevent corners from slipping off and to give you some leeway for shrinkage.
  • Try to buy fitted sheets that have elastic all the way around for the most secure fit and to prevent sheets popping off in the middle of the night.
  • Beware of extraordinarily high thread-counts; they don’t necessarily mean a higher quality product but they most likely mean a heftier price tag. Compare products by feeling them and trusting your instinct.
  • Now that you’ve made the investment in fine linen, how should you care for your bed’s new wardrobe?
  • Always wash high quality linen in the gentle cycle.
  • Don’t over-dry—you may end up baking your sheets which not only shrinks them but also breaks down the fibers more quickly.
  • Remove sheets from the dryer when they’re still a little damp and allow them to air dry on the bed. The air-drying process will give them a smooth appearance without ironing.
  • Buy three sets. Yes, it sounds like a lot, especially when we’re talking about sheets that are more expensive than the average. Having three sets however will keep one on your bed, one in the laundry, and one ready-in-waiting. They will all last longer and save you money in the long run.