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The Unmade Beds of America

January 10, 2011

Carrie Bradshaw's bedroom.

In college I was friends with a gal who brought more linens to campus than clothes. We became friends because oddly enough I’d brought more clothing than linens and we wore nearly the same size. Before I met her I can’t say I was ever especially interested in bedding beyond ensuring that the set currently on the bed was clean and that I had another set waiting in the wings. Nevertheless, I felt decidedly self conscious about my bedding while watching her sort and organize her extensive collection. And, boy, could she talk bedding. Thread counts – I thought it was like weight and cholesterol: lower was perceived to be superior – texture and the best time of the year to score quality sheets were some of the valuable lessons imparted to me. Like a lot of things, my new found bedding knowledge was quickly shelved in the back of my brain in hopes of one day being invited to a fancy cocktail party where I might have occasion to dazzle strangers with said knowledge.

I’m sure thanks to that college friend, I do tend to do google image searches for “well made beds” and proceed to scroll and drool over the images until the pr0nny images finally overtake the images of beautifully made beds. While I have no expertise in what constitutes a “well made bed” I do have some opinions. The thing that instantly attracts me to an image is the degree to which I believe the bed would look good whether it was neatly made or artfully rumbled. The beds in Ikea catalog photos often embody this aesthetic. Not that I’ve ever been able to replicate the look of an artfully rumpled bed, which is why I always make mine.

My favorite sheets tend to be Jersey sheets, which are like sleeping on a nicely aged t-shirt and cost a fraction of those fancy sheets. Fancy sheets of late seem to be in some kind of arms race and I really question whether some of that as is actually hype rather than an accurate description of thread count. And maybe my tastes aren’t refined enough, but I can’t tell the difference between 300ct and 500ct. They both feel the same, though 300ct probably feel nicer since they’re not spending up all my cashmoney.

And pillows! If I have nothing better to do, which is rarely the case, I could spend way too much time arranging and rearranging pillows on the bed, before eventually just staggering them according to size and pattern. Pillow arranging is another art that eludes me, though I’m pretty sure the ability is not high on the list of desirable qualities of any job I’ll ever have. But damn it if those design shows don’t make it seem to be the be all and end all!

One of the best bed related pieces of advice received from my friend was to always make the bed so nobody would feel inclined to sit on it. I never realized this to be true until I tried it out. Whenever the bed was unmade, folks would plop themselves upon it as though it were a bus bench or a barstool. However, if the bed was crisply made, nobody dare park themselves on it, instead favoring to find some other inappropriate place to sit – like say the shakeytown desk or bureau.

Yes, I did just write a post about linens. What can I say? I lost a bet and this was cheaper than handing over the cash owed!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2011 1:02 pm

    I love this post! I’ve spent way too much time lusting over discounted high-quality sheets at Marshall’s and BJ’s and anywhere else decent to good quality linens can be had at bargain prices. I’m partial to 300 count 100% cotton; any amount of polyester in the sheets make them feel scratchy to me.

    One thing I’ve read is that anything over a 300 thread count is essentially meaningless, because to get higher counts, manufacturers have to play games with the weaving process that do nothing to make the sheets feel more comfortable.

  2. January 10, 2011 5:10 pm

    One thing I’ve read is that anything over a 300 thread count is essentially meaningless, because to get higher counts, manufacturers have to play games with the weaving process that do nothing to make the sheets feel more comfortable.

    The bastards! So those 1000ct sheets at Bed, Bath & Broke are just playing with my emotions! I agree with your polyester assessment. That is one of the few sheet related epiphanies I’ve had. Polyester also has a weird way of wearing. My cotton jersey sheets can stand up to endless bleaching, but the polyester blend sheets give up and die after the ten bleaching.

  3. Q.V. permalink
    January 10, 2011 10:29 pm

    I took along my cousin to talk me through the most expensive bedding purchase in my life: a synthetic queen-size duvet and a mattress cover. The duvet is stitched straight through (not baffle box), 300ct, with satin-type stripes, and it was on sale for 55 percent off. The mattress cover was pretty high-quality too, and it was 75 percent off. I needed them both to go with my first new bed, which I got this year.

    The reason I brought my cousin is that for about an hour, I pushed cart around with a duck-down duvet and a scared look on my face, but we decided I should give it up because it was twice the price of the synthetic, was only 150ct, and even at more than half-off it was more expensive than my boxspring. I also needed someone to hold my hand while I entered an adult relationship with my bedcovers. It helped that we had the same grandmother, because until yesterday I was sleeping under a log-cabin quilt that grandmother made out of polyester slacks, and though I love my grandmother, the quilt had to go.

    But, sheets! Teach on!

  4. Amy permalink
    January 11, 2011 10:37 pm

    I love jersey sheets. My boyfriend thinks they’re cheesy, but can’t argue with theircomfort.

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