Thursday, July 29, 2010

Let's Get Practical I

How do they get those beds to look so beautiful in the magazines??!

Well, for starters, they iron the bed linens. Think spray bottle with water, can of starch, a very hot iron and a significant outpouring of energy, especially where your hand/arm is concerned ... oh, and at least 3 episodes of Grey’s stacked back-to-back as you camp out in front of the TV getting your workout in for the day.

Even all that effort above can be thwarted if you’re ultra-picky (ie. unrealistic).

Note that before the photographer arrives for magazine shoots, they are tucking/pinning where needed to create the sharpest of a crisp-linens look.

So, what are us ‘normal’ people to do? The above, combined with the often desired look of having many decorative pillows on the perfectly made bed to help pull the room together, is the perfectionist’s partner’s nightmare.

Some people (gasp) don’t even make their bed after crawling out of it in the morning. (You’re going to be out all day and not looking at it until you crawl back into it that night anyway, right?)

These practical tips are not only for people that do make their bed every day, but for those who only make it when they’re having company (and in that case they too want their room to look well-designed):

• Launder your bedding regularly. Once/week+ if you’re a sweat-er or the oily type; once/10 days-2 weeks if you’re the type that holds all your toxins inside. Nothing makes a home or the items in it look older and worn faster than letting dirt (and in the case of bedding, smell) build up.

I dry my bed linens on a low temp for just 15-20 min. to take some of the wrinkles out, and then hang to dry the remaining time if it’s nice out.

If that’s not an option for you, dry on a low temp until dry – this will help to prevent shrinkage. And use all-natural detergents; the chemicals in other detergents wear the fabric and fade the colours [even the ones that say they are designed to do the opposite]. {Use a small amount of bleach only if you have to, and only with white linens.}

• Iron just the top 12-14” of the top sheet only; the rest of the bed can easily be covered with your duvet / blankets and pillows, so why exert more energy than you have to?

• Iron just the ‘showing’ side of your pillow cases. And after you’ve laundered your duvet, iron just the showing side while it’s on the bed. Use an extension cord so you can move around the whole bed easily.

I can do our king size duvet in 10 min., so this is not an onerous task unless you are a perfectionist (think 70/30, not 100%).

In that case, remember that you are the only one who sees the granular stuff: look at your bed from a 5 ft. distance, and if the overall look feels polished and pulled together, your guests will never notice the “30%”.

• Now for those decorative pillows: what to do with them when they’re not sitting pretty on the bed?

If you’re lucky enough to have the room for attractive storage that can accommodate them nearby (eg. a storage bench at the end of a bed or nearby cupboard or built-in where you can spare the space) – you’re golden.

If space is at a premium for you though, and you don’t like the “just throw them on the floor” option [I am kidding], get an oversized clear* plastic bag (the kind used for yard trimmings work well), place the pillows inside and then place the bag** under your bed or essentially whereever you can fit the bag nearby.

The plastic will help to keep the dust off no matter where you decide to store it (even if just overnight you are simply putting them in a corner of the room). And, hey, if you don’t have time to make your bed the next morning, at least your floor won’t look cluttered with your pillows all over it! ; )

* -- A clear plastic is suggested as it’s at least more attractive to have a bag in your room with pretty pillows shining through than, say, a dark green garbage bag.

** -- If you have more than one large plastic bag of decorative pillows, you may want to check out my “less is more” blog post ... Seriously – more isn’t always better; you can still create layers by using pillows with varying shapes, or add a throw. Remember that “function” is the most important element of the best design.



  1. love those great organizational tips
    Rowena List
    Professional Organizer and Speaker
    Getting It Together

  2. Okay, okay, I'll make my bed today! ;-)