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Q & A: Essential Components of your Dream Bed

Au Lit Q&A

Today we continue our Back to Basics series with a refresher course on the essentials of a great bed.

Q: What do I need to create my dream bed?

A: Check out the diagram below for an overview of what we call the Essential Components:

Bedskirt: Wraps around the frame of the bed to hide the boxspring. If your mattress sits on a metal frame, a bedskirt is essential. Bedskirts can be tailored with or without pleats, or gathered for a more feminine look. Always get an exact measurement for the height of your skirt so it’s not too short or dragging on the floor. Use a boxspring cover - similar to a fitted sheet - for a cleaner look.

Coverlet: Also known as a blanket cover, blanket, or matelasse, it typically comes in cotton and is as versatile as a duvet. It can be folded at the foot of the bed to add texture to the decor, or pulled up over the bed and used as a lightweight blanket in the summer. The more layers of texture on the bed, the more finished and inviting it will look.

Decorative Sham: A fancy word for a fancy pillow cover. We typically add two standard or queen decorative pillows in front of the “Euro” pillows to fill out the bed. They can be stacked for a more contemporary look, or propped upright in a more traditional style. They are not usually used for sleeping. 

Duvet Cover: A zippered or buttoned decorative envelope for the duvet. The duvet cover can easily be removed and tossed into the wash without having to worry about laundering your duvet. You can pull the duvet up for a more traditional look, or roll it at the bottom. The duvet has a cozy, luxurious look and feel, in contrast to a stiff bedspread.

European pillow: A 25”x25” square pillow that is both decorative and versatile. Esthetically, “Euro” pillows give the bed height and grounding, but are also wonderful for reading in bed, hiding rumpled pillow cases and even “posing” as a headboard if you don’t have one. Use two on a queen bed and three on a king. They are not typically used for sleeping.

Featherbed: A feather filled mattress topper. This European luxury item is optional, but is truly like sleeping on a cloud. It will enhance the sleeping experience on any mattress, including a pillow top or on an inferior quality mattress, such as a Hide-a-bed. It sits on the mattress and beneath the mattress pad. It not only gives ultimate comfort, but also a more romantic, sumptuous look.

Mattress Pad: A protective pad that wraps around the mattress. A mattress pad is non-negotiable for keeping the mattress clean. The same is true of pillow protectors, an absolute necessity for keeping your pillows clean and protecting against dust-mites.

Sheets: A complete sheet set includes pillow cases, flat and fitted sheet (with elastic). Make sure you know your mattress depth when purchasing your fitted sheet, as there are no longer any standardized measurements. The flat sheet is optional, but it’s nice to fold over if there is an embroidered header.

Throw cushion: A small decorative cushion available in a variety of shapes and sizes. These are the best way to add bold colours and trendy patterns to your bed, or to match the walls and headboard while still keeping the foundation of the bed timeless. Add as many as you like!

Duvet: Unlike a quilt or comforter, the duvet is usually filled with goose down (or clusters of synthetic filler that feel like down) and is covered by a duvet cover with a zipper or button enclosure. A good duvet will adapt to your body temperature and feel light in weight but perfectly warm while you sleep.

Pillow: The pillow you sleep on should be of a superior quality to your decorative pillow and often requires trial and error to get it right. A good pillow that suits your needs - soft, firm or somewhere in between - is the key to an extraordinary sleep.