Optimize the place we spend 1/3 of our lives
June 16, 2015 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Ready to spend some money to optimize the habitat where we spend 1/3 of our lives - our bed. I know there have been lots of questions about bedding lately... snowflakes below.

I asked this question recently, and a heated mattress pad (in winter only, of course) and going Euro-style with only a duvet, no top sheet, has helped tons. I still feel like we could do better in terms of optimal sleep comfort.

The details:

- Queen sized pillow top mattress. Not willing/able to change mattress or bed frame right now. Everything else is fair game.

- When not using heated mattress pad, just have a standard quilted mattress pad/protector.

- Currently, standard cheap-ish cotton fitted sheet and Ikea duvet cover with thin summer weight polyester duvet (light weight down duvet in winter).

- Bonus snowflake: compact washer/dryer, so something small enough to wash at home is a must - no giant comforter that needs to be washed every week.

Budget: $300-400 dollars

Things I've seen mentioned on the green, want to know more about: wool mattress pad, linen sheets, wool blankets.

Ultimate goal: comfort, luxury, temperature control, durability.

Links to specific products much appreciated!
posted by raspberrE to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Per the past advice of AskMes and The SweetHome, we just bought the LL Bean 280-thread count percale sheets and LOVE them. They've taken our summer sheet game to the next level and will only get more comfortable. Instead of buying as a set, you buy fitted/top/pillowcases separately, which fits your bed paradigm.

For winter, we went with the 190-gram Pinzon flannel sheets and they're similarly amazing winter sheets, especially paired with the heated mattress pad.

Both my recommendations have great temperature control, are very durable, and feel like total luxury.
posted by bookdragoness at 9:19 AM on June 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

Another note re: bedding game that I'm starting to get into is to get a boatload of pillow cases and change them every 1-2 days. The advice is to flip the pillow over the first day, then change the pillowcase on the second. Keeps from messing up hair and reduces acne by not smearing old face oils and sweat over your sleeping face.
posted by bookdragoness at 9:22 AM on June 16, 2015 [5 favorites]

wool mattress pad, linen sheets, wool blankets

These are all very delightful and you should get them.

I have this six hundred and twenty-nine dollar wool comforter which I got at a thrift store for $20. If I had not had that happy thrift store run-in I would have gone forward with my previous plan, which was to collect several thrift store wool blankets, stitch them together, and throw them in a duvet cover, and live under that all winter. You need to like feeling fairly weighted down, but a thick wad of wool is amazing. You don't swelter; it breathes. It just cocoons you.

Lots of mattress pads are washable and people inexplicably get rid of them. I have a used wool one and would totally buy used again. The difference between new and new-to-you is only one laundering away but the price difference is huge.

(I did not even realise used bedding was a thing until relatively late on in life, but now I stalk the linens sections of thrifts scraping my hand along looking for the wool and the linen. I was amazed to stop on a really nice, thick sheet yesterday and discover that the tag, still crisp, said "KMart Percale." 1970s or 80s tag. What would have seemed cheap and beneath me as a kid is now jarringly nicer than the stuff surrounding it, which says a lot about linen manufacturing and quality declines in recent years, and a good hot wash with a blob of OxiClean and a stint in a sunny window will restore pretty much anything. Even if you haven't got the time for thrifting, don't overlook eBay and CL on this stuff.)

I have the Ikea Linblomma linen duvet cover and love it. It gets nicer with use and has held up really well.

The greatest thing for a bed is an antique featherbed that is so heavy you can barely move it, but these are extremely hard to come by. Modern featherbeds are small duvets, not comparable. Antique feather (not down) pillows are also delightful. You can punch them into any shape you like. They are machine-washable, despite rumours to the contrary. (Just make sure the stitching is intact. My machine recovered the one time I did not do this, though.)
posted by kmennie at 10:00 AM on June 16, 2015 [4 favorites]

Since you said, "We" - do you have separate duvets and/or blankets? While you miss out on easy cuddling while sleeping (that might not be possible regardless (I'm a very mobile sleeper)), it's made up for by not having to worry about losing your blankets in the middle of the night to a blanket thief, the ability to burrito yourself up, and I don't have to be accussed of blanket thievery. Now that we're in summer Ms. nobeagle opts for 1 or 2 (!) duvets at night while I'm using a thin velour blanket to stay cool. Sometimes I've just used a duvet cover without the duvet in it for comfortable summer sleeping.

Mattress protector; is it waterproof? Look for an overstock bedding place, we got a king size waterproof mattress protector for $40-60 (no link, we got ours off line).

Lastly, I'm sorry that it's against your original statement, but really strongly consider saving for and upgrading to a King. Sharing a queen size bed with one person and you each have 30 inches of space; that's ~75% of the space of a twin size bed for one! Here in Canada, our foam mattress that we love was ~$550 for an 80"x80"x8" mattress. That's easily one of our 10 best purchases in my estimation.
posted by nobeagle at 10:25 AM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Land's End oxford-cloth sheets are awesome.
posted by neroli at 10:32 AM on June 16, 2015

I did not even realise used bedding was a thing until relatively late on in life, but now I stalk the linens sections of thrifts scraping my hand along looking for the wool and the linen. I was amazed to stop on a really nice, thick sheet yesterday and discover that the tag, still crisp, said "KMart Percale." 1970s or 80s tag.

I agree that old school percale is AMAZING. You can find quite a bit of it on etsy and ebay. However, it's pretty hard to find vintage sheets in queen size.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:01 AM on June 16, 2015

The LL Bean sheets above are amazing and I totally recommend them if you want cool and crisp.
posted by purenitrous at 11:03 AM on June 16, 2015

My suggestions require more crafting, and I understand if that's not an option: it's a lot of work. I just don't have the highest income, and I fidget in front of television, so I have to have projects.

If pricier sheets along with everything else aren't in your budget: depending on the depth of your mattress, sheet straps can sometimes take old school full/double flat sheets and convert them for use on a queen mattress (in place of fitted).

Like nobeagle, I also prefer separate top sheets/duvets if I'm sleeping in the same bed with someone, and that simplifies using vintage materials (you can cut down/hem the fulls, as you won't find twin XL sizes in vintage linens).

Linblomma is very nice as a duvet cover, but IKEA also sells pure linen by the yard for very reasonable prices (at least in my area), and it makes quite satisfactory duvet covers/toweling. (I'm experimenting with using old damask linen napkins/tablecloths as dressed-up summer duvet covers/quilts, as well.)

I find great wool blankets at various thrifts around me, depending on the season. You have to be careful about not felting them when you wash them, unless you want that heavier, stiffer feel (it shrinks them as well). Felting will make them warmer, too.
posted by Naamah at 12:42 PM on June 16, 2015

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