Ahh ... you made it -- nearly all the way through Holidays 2013. Sure, there was some last-minute panic and a few moments of doubt, and there may still be New Year's Eve entertaining to tackle before we officially usher in 2014, but you're almost there.
Take a few minutes to unwind and recharge mentally, in one of these calming retreats we rounded up from the design site Houzz. Or, you can create your own dream-worthy digs. The secret behind these rooms' serenity? No matter what the decor, view, or location, it's all about the bedding. Here's a refresher on picking the right ones.
Decide on the material. The fabric you choose for bed linens is ultimately a personal preference. Cotton, which is soft and breathable, keeps warm during cold seasons and stay cools in the summer.
Thread counts can be misleading. One of the biggest misconceptions about bedding is that higher thread count means softer, better quality sheets. This is not always the case. Look for sheets that are at least 200 thread counts or more, but once you get over a 800 thread count, it really doesn’t matter anymore.
Take your time when selecting a mattress. You'll spend a third of your life on it over the next 8 to 10 years. There are three main types to choose from: Innerspring, air-filled and foam. Check out these tips from Real Simple on deciding between the three.
Consider a silk pillowcase. Yes, it's a big investment, but silk is known to be extremely breathable, making it a good material for transitioning climates since it stays naturally warmer during the winter and cooler in summer. You will have to always dry clean it, however, since laundering silk in the washing machine will damage the fibers and ruin its softness.
Pick the right pillow for your sleep style. If you’re a back or side sleeper, pick a dense foam pillow, which is more stable; if you tend to sleep on your stomach, opt for a down pillow. But if you’re an allergy sufferer, note that dust mites like to burrow into down. Keep them away with a miteproof cover.
Know when to buy new bedding. For mattresses, you'll know it's time when you’re not sleeping as well as you have in the past, you’re waking up with aches and pains (especially in your lower back and spine) or the mattress looks saggy or lumpy. Woman's Day has some advice on how to know when your pillow is kaput.
Get the look for less. If you want to give your mattress a pillow-top look and feel, buy either a featherbed or a polyester fiber bed. They're soft and luxurious and give your bed that "lofty" look. They're also less expensive than a new mattress.
Test them out in person first. You want to touch sheets and see how they feel. Once you know what brands you like, then you can buy online. And remember: If you have three sets of matching sheets in rotation, they'll last longer.
Proper care is crucial. No matter the bed sheet, you have to treat them well in order for them to last long. Steer clear of fabric softeners, which eat away at fabrics. Also, washing sheets in hot water and over drying them in high heat will cause the threads in the material to expand and shrink, loosening the weave and causing it to break down faster. To extend the life of your sheets, always use lukewarm water and avoid drying on high heat.
Keep them fresh. Wash duvet covers weekly, once a month if you use a top sheet. Launder down comforters twice a year, or every three to five years if covered.
More bedroom inspiration...
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