YOU SPEND NEARLY A THIRD OF your day in bed -- too much time for scratchy sheets and lumpy pillows.
But a trip to the linen aisles or a search on the Internet can leave you scratching your head. You'll find thread counts that keep going up, polyester blends and Egyptian cotton, duvet covers and baffled down comforters.
Decisions about bedding choices are just like all decorating -- a matter of personal
taste. But as stores advertise white sales, and you consider giving your bedroom a fresh look for the new year, we offer a shopping guide.
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Down is not feathers. It is the undercoat of the bird that traps warm air next to the bird's skin.
A good quality down comforter will provide lightweight warmth and be a natural insulator keeping in your body heat.
You can protect your down comforter with a duvet cover. An added plus? You can change the color and look of your bedding without replacing the comforter.
Duvets can be used to cover any blanket or comforter.
Designer Laurin Johnson, of Laurin Johnson Interiors in Columbia, said she doesn't like too many decorative pillows on a bed. "It's too hard to take them all off every night," she said.
On a queen bed, she suggests two large pillows used for sleeping, covered with two large shams detailed with trims or fringe. She usually adds one small decorative pillow to complete the look.
FIT FOR A KING
Interior designer Bonnie Younginer of Cobb/Younginer Interiors in Columbia offers these guidelines for pillows on a kingsize bed: Three Euro shams (26- to 30- inch square pillows made specifically for Euro shams) and two king pillow with shams. She then adds a couple other decorative pillows to give it a "nice finished look."
For a more contemporary look, lay the king shams flat and stack the Euro shams on top.
CUSTOM VS. READY-MADE
Custom-made bedding is beautiful, but the silk fabrics, beading and craftsmanship can cost big bucks -- thousands of dollars for some bed ensembles.
Ready-made comforters and bedin- a-bag sets are a less expensive option, but often aren't exactly what you're looking for.
"I like to combine custom with ready made," said designer Laurin Johnson of Laurin Johnson Interiors. "If you find a ready-made bedspread, you can do custom shams with trim and a custom bedskirt."
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Younginer said her firm offers bedding ensembles that allow people to customize the bed-in-a-bag.
The ensembles come with all the pillows, bedding and trims, offering clients a chance to make adjustments. For example,
many of today's beds have too high a drop to use a standard bedskirt. The ensembles let customers order bedskirts longer than the 16-inch standard. A typical order takes two weeks to arrive.
"It comes with everything. You can even order custom ottomans that match. And it's much more cost effective than doing each piece custom," Younginer said.
A bedding ensemble runs $600 to $1,200.
"If you had it done custom, you're talking thousands of dollars," Younginer said.
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Puckering or quilting silk for bedspreads makes the fabric stronger or longer lasting.