Sweet Dreams

Designing the Bedroom of Your Dreams

The calendar says it is winter in South Mississippi, but that would be hard to prove. Every day the weather plays with our senses. Temperatures bounce around like a child’s rubber ball, teasing us but never staying cold long enough to make us believe we have actually changed seasons. There is no such thing as a long winter nap here, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need a sanctuary for rest and rejuvenation and a place for dreaming of summer fun.

  Designing the master bedroom of your dreams uses the same principles of design you would employ in any other room of the house: make choices for comfort, buy only pieces you love, and let your lifestyle drive decisions. That said, there are considerations unique to the bedroom that are worth talking about – acoustics, lighting, and luxurious bedding.

  Your bedroom really should be a place to find peace and quiet. Noise is something not often considered seriously enough until we find ourselves trying to relax and we are interrupted by a busy household. Acoustics are easier to control if you think about creating a quiet retreat early in a building or remodeling project. Noise absorbing tiles can be added to most ceilings and padded panels can be added to walls. Solid doors will also allow less noise intrusion than the commonly used hollow-core doors. Cover any gaps between the doors and floors. Doors should be trimmed only as much as they need to be to clear your floors and thresholds. If those options aren’t possible, consider moving heavier furniture to shared walls where noise is coming from and hang lined blackout curtains over your windows to absorb some outside noise.

  Blackout shades or drapes will also help control lighting in your bedroom. Lighting is particularly important here. We need darkness for good sleeping, and various levels of light for other activities.

  There are three kinds of lighting. Ambient lighting is the first layer of light in the room providing general illumination and setting a tone for the space. If you don’t like overhead lighting, don’t install an overhead fixture! If you do like an overhead light, take the time to really look at finding the right fixture for your space – it will be the biggest light provider in the room. Task lighting most often takes the form of table lamps or wall lamps by the bed or in a seating area. Stylish lamps that provide a variety of levels of light are a big plus. Accent lighting is lighting you don’t use every time you walk into the room, but to highlight a wall or a particular feature, such as a piece of art. Recessed can lights and candle sconces can do that nicely. Ideally, your lighting should be dimmable and controllable from your bed, so you do not have to get up once you are settled in for the evening. 

  The icing on the cake in any master bedroom are the textiles you select for you bed. Luxurious bedding can make you feel physically and mentally pampered. Not all cotton sheets are the same. There are three factors to consider when you are looking for quality sheets: thread count, fiber length, and weave.

  Most folks are familiar with thread count and believe the higher the thread count the better the sheets. But that is not always true. Fiber length is much more important. The longer the fiber, or “staple,” the finer the yarn and the finer the sheets. Longer fibers are stronger, more durable, and softer. Shorter fibers tend to break causing the fabric to pill and feel scratchy. Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton have extra-long fibers.

  The best pima cotton in the world is grown in California. If you see the term “Supima cotton” on sheet sets, don’t be confused. It is simply a trademarked brand name of some pima cotton. Genuine Egyptian cotton, the kind famous for its quality, is grown in the Nile River Delta. Sheets made with either of these two cottons are not inexpensive, but are worth it!

  Different weaving techniques are used to create different finishes on sheets. Sateen sheets are a denser weave with a silky finish but can feel heavier and hotter while percale sheets are lighter but can wrinkle more easily if not removed from the dryer immediately when laundered. The bottom line is, you have a lot of choices. We like pima cotton sheets with a thread count between 400-600 with a sateen weave when the weather is cooler, and a percale weave when the weather is warmer, but you should always feel the sheets before you buy them. Finish your bed with good pillows and a beautiful comforter or duvet.

  Even if it’s not cold outside, a cozy master bedroom is a wonderful treat any day of the year. If your master bedroom needs some TLC, make some changes, and create a peaceful, relaxing place to be with the one you love. Turn down the noise, turn off the lights, and fluff the pillows. Enjoy sweet dreams.

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