September 24, 2010

A Lesson in: Sheets

To follow up the recent post about choosing the right duvet, today’s post in on sheets. In the following article, I will go over the different categories of sheets, hopefully making sense of all the ‘terms’ that you see when looking to purchase. The most important things to consider when purchasing sheets is what they are made of, and the thread count.

Polyester vs Cotton
The only 100% polyester sheets you will find out there are satin, and this type of sheet is not as romantic as you might think. Because polyester is a synthetic material, it does not breath at all. So if you have sheets on your bed that don’t breathe at all (picture sleeping on a pretty, red piece of SeranWrap), then you will sweat. I promise. This will cause your evening to not be nearly as sexy as you were planning.

Most sheets with polyester in them will be 50% polyester 50% cotton. Any mix like this will not wrinkle as bad as cotton, as the polyester will make it behave, but it will not breath as well as a 100% cotton sheet. I personally, will never again sleep on a sheet that isn’t 100% cotton (other than Mexico vacations!)

But a poly/cotton mix is perfect for a child’s bed. Sheets for children, I highly recommend a 50% polyester 50% cotton sheet with 200 thread count. Super durable – you can wash it a million times without it tearing.

Thread Count
You probably hear about thread count a lot when looking for new sheets. This is very important (it is what will make your sheets feel nice. Or not.) To explain what thread count is: it is the number of threads counted per square inch. A 300 thread count set of sheets will have 300 threads per square inch. The more threads per square inch, the smaller they are – giving you a softer finish.

‘Percale’ is a word that you will probably hear a lot (especially with the older generation), but beware! The term ‘Percale’ mean that the thread count is 'at least' 180. This is a VERY low thread count (I wouldn’t let my dogs sleep on it), although it is commonly advertised as luxurious. The minimum thread count I would ever say someone should purchase is 200.

Working in a bedding store for years allowed me to purchase a lot of different thread counts. But higher is not always better. I own a set of sheets that is 1000 thread count ($350.00 set. Expensive, yes, but I’m so worth it.) When you get to a 800, 900 or 1000 thread count set of sheets – there are so many threads per square inch that it makes the sheets very thick. With the sheets being so thick, they are actually substantially warmer.

If you want a straight answer of what thread count is the perfect thread count: 300-400 thread count. Anything over 400 thread count is unnecessary (trust me). I have at least 5 million sets of sheets, and the ones that end up on my bed most often are: 400 thread counts, 600 thread count, 900 thread count, and my way-too-expensive 1000.

TIPS for Sheet Care
- Don’t want you sheets to pill? Wash your sheets before you use them for the first time. This will get rid of all the excess fibers from the manufacture (which, if left on, will roll into the little balls we call ‘pilling’)
- Have sheets that are bright or dark colours? Or have sheets that have a different colour accent on them? Before washing them for the first time, soak them in vinegar (1 cup of WHITE vinegar to a full washing machine or bathtub). Then ring out, and wash as normal.

September 16, 2010

Orange Crush

Loving the bright, chic, freshness of citrus orange right now! People that have known me for a long time know I used to hate orange - but now I can't seem to get enough of it!

September 1, 2010

A Lesson in: Duvets

Yes, today’s post in on duvets. Quality bedding is one thing that is usually overlooked in interior design, but it is something I greatly take to heart.

I worked in the bedding industry for 2 years, working for one of Victoria’s most prestigious bedding experts. As a company, they are very keen to educate their staff, so I was given the opportunity to become an expert on the subject. In the following article, I will go over the different categories of bedding, hopefully making sense of all the ‘terms’ that you see when looking to purchase.

Duvets vs Comforters
To define the terms, a duvet is a ‘poofy’ blanket for your bed, that you put into a duvet cover (often decorative). A comforter is a duvet that already has a decorative cover sown directly on to it. And a quilt or coverlet or bedspread are those thin blankets that you lay on top of your bedding. I personally will never own a comforter, for the following reasons: more expensive to clean than a duvet cover, cannot find them filled with high quality materials, more expensive to change than a duvet cover.

There are many different types of duvet fills: polyester, feather, down, and wool are the most common.

Polyester Duvets – because polyester is a synthetic material, it does not breath and can cause that ‘hot-sticky’ feeling during the night. But two huge pluses are: they don’t contain the allergens that feather, down and wool do, and you can wash it TONS with little repercussion. Polyester duvets are perfect for people with very bad allergies, people that have their dogs and cats sleep on the bed, and children (especially toilet training age!) Cost: $

Feather Duvets – have down in them (the part that keeps you warm), but is mostly just fill (ie the feathers). They weigh much more than down, and give the bed a nice ‘poofy’ feel. I personally sleep with a feather duvet in the winter because I LIKE the weight and the snuggly feeling. Cost: $

Down Duvets – made solely from the nice, fluffy parts of the feather (the part that keeps you warm). For this reason, they can be very warm to sleep under. They weight virtually nothing, and give the bed a nice ‘poofy’ feel (like sleeping with a cloud!). Often, the down is cleaned so well that people with allergies to birds can still sleep with them. Cost: $$-$$$

Please note: ‘Eiderdown’ is a name often confused for ‘down’ (it is a term that the older generation will often mistake for a normal down duvet). Eiderdown comes from the Eider duck – and makes for a VERY expensive duvet. Because the Eider duck is a protected species, the only way for manufactures to collect down from the eider duck is for them to wait until the eider duck builds a nest, lay eggs, eggs hatch, and the baby birds leave the nest. Only then can the manufactures hand-pick the down from the nest. With all that labor, no wonder they cost so much! A true Eiderdown duvet can cost anywhere from $5000-$10 000, making the cost of this item: $$$$$$$!!!

Wool Duvets – made of actual wool, this product is as natural as you can get! It breaths, unlike all other types of duvets. It also wicks away moister, letting you never feel that ‘hot-sticky’ feeling during the night. Wool duvets are perfect for people who can only afford one duvet for all the seasons, men who ‘run hot’, women going through menopause, couples that like different temperatures when sleeping, camping in moist weather, people who are sick and have a fever, people who hate all the chemicals used in other duvet types, etc etc etc! (can you tell I like wool duvets?) My husband and I have a wool duvet that we use for 9 months out of the year, and we LOVE it! Please not that wool duvets MUST be dry cleaned, but only needs cleaning every 5 years – in between that, just hang it out in the yard on a nice day once in a while. Cost: $$

I hope that this has cleared up the great mystery of duvets, and helped you be a more educated consumer.