Benefits of Blackout Curtains
Blackout curtains are typically used to block out sunlight. They can be essential for light sleepers who find themselves awake as soon as the first rays of sunlight enter through their bedrooms in the morning. These curtains are capable of blocking out as much as 99 percent of outside light sources. They are a godsend for people whose bedrooms may be situated right next to a street lamp that may be preventing them from falling asleep at night. These are good reasons to use blackout curtains, but do they also serve other purposes in addition to blocking out natural or artificial light sources? For example, do blackout curtains help reduce outside noise and keep heat from escaping through the windows? The answers are yes and yes.
Block Out Noise and Light
By blocking outside sunlight from entering the building in the hot summer months, blackout curtains can help keep inside temperatures low. Additionally, these curtains can also keep heat from escaping during the cold winter months. Heat can escape through windows at a high rate. Closing storm windows and installing plastic coverings will help the building retain much of that heat, but the addition of blackout curtains will provide an extra layer of protection and save you money. This will keep your bedroom warmer and your heating costs lower. Some manufacturers claim their curtains can reduce the loss of thermal heat by as much as 25 percent. Over the course of a long and cold winter, this can add up to very real savings on heating costs.
Outside noises may be another contributing factor to many people not getting a good night’s rest. For people who live near busy roads, traffic may be keeping them awake at night. For people in more rural areas, the birds may start singing just a little too early in the morning. Blackout curtains can be used to reduce these outside noises. They can deaden, or in many instances prevent, these noises from entering through the window completely.
Keep in Heat, Keep Costs Down
Blackout curtains are a triple threat. These curtains are made with durable materials and generally last a long time. They block out light and noise and prevent heat from escaping. Few things add as much value for your money by offering so many year round benefits.
To ensure that you are getting the full value of your blackout curtains, you need to make sure you are installing them to their best benefit. Make sure you purchase curtains that will cover the full area of your windows. You will want to eliminate the amount of light that can get in over the top of the curtains as well as on the sides and underneath. This will maximize their effectiveness. Also, you will want to make sure they are thick enough so that light cannot filter through them thereby reducing their overall effectiveness.
Silk Sheets Advantages
Silk sheets can add a touch of class and elegance to any bedroom. They not only look luxurious, but they feel smooth to the touch. Silk is an excellent choice of fabric for the warmer summer months too. This fabric does not retain moisture like cotton, so it won’t stick to the skin. This can be a big factor on a hot night. Of course, silk sheets will be more expensive than synthetic blends, but they are also higher quality. Silk is a strong and durable material that will last a long time if cared for properly.
One reason why many people are reluctant to buy silk sheets for their bed linen is that they think silk is too difficult to care for. While silk sheets certainly do require a higher level of care than regular cotton, polyester or nylon sheets, ‘difficult’ may not be the right word to describe the care instructions required. In fact, it is perfectly fine to machine wash silk sheets. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before doing so.
Washing Silk Sheets
For the first several washings of your silk sheets, it is recommended that you wash them by hand using a mild detergent. Anything too harsh and you do run the risk of damaging the fibers. Washing your silk sheets by hand initially will help the sheets maintain their sheen, which is a major selling point. It will also help keep the fibers soft and feeling silky. For optimal care, silk sheets should be washed by hand, but after the first few washings, it is fine to then wash them in a washing machine.
When washing silk sheets in a washing machine they should always be cleaned on the delicate cycle. Hot water should never be used. Lukewarm water is the best but cold is far better than hot. Avoid using the spin cycle. This cycle is hard on the silk fibers as it wrings the sheets out to get of the rinse water they’ve retained. As well, silk sheets should be washed individually. Never put any other article of clothing or bedding in the same washing machine as your sheets. Fabric softeners are fine to use when washing silk sheets in a machine. Bleach is never acceptable, even on stains.
How to Dry Silk Sheets
Your silk sheets will last much longer if you hang your sheets and air dry them. This may not be an option for many people, but if you are able to do it, this is highly recommended. Take care to keep colored sheets out of the direct sunlight to prevent them from fading due to overexposure. If you must use a dryer, use the lowest setting possible. Some dryers may even have an air dry setting which would be ideal for silk sheets that can not truly be air dried.
Take good care of your silk sheets and they will last a long time, even if you clean them in a washing machine.
Not everyone will agree with the notion that hotel beds are more comfortable than your own bed at home. There’s something about sleeping in your own bed that is hard to pinpoint. That is, until you’ve spent some time couch surfing or staying in the guest bedrooms of hospitable friends and relatives. However, there is certainly something to be said for sleeping in a bed that has been made with freshly washed, perhaps even starched, linens and which was made by a professional. Is that the only reason these beds seems to be so comfy? Not necessarily. The quality of the sheets are certainly a determining factor. Is it possible to incorporate hotel techniques when making your own bedroom at home? Yes, there are several things hotels do to help you rest easy when you are their guest, and you certainly can try them in your home.
It all starts with the sheets. Hotel beds are made with fresh sheets every day there is a new guest booked into the room. This is certainly a contributing factor to their appeal. If you had the time and inclination to wash your own sheets everyday, you might consider it as nothing quiet beats the feel of fresh sheets. Also, hotels, especially the higher end ones, use sheets with a higher thread count than we typically buy for ourselves. In many instance, but not all, a higher thread count makes for a better quality sheet. A thread count is determined by the number of threads that are intertwined, both horizontally and vertically, in a single square inch of fabric. Sometimes a high thread count does not mean better quality, just more threads of a lower quality. The better hotels use sheets made with higher quality, high thread counts. This is an important distinction if you are looking to duplicate the feel of hotel sheets in your own bedroom.
In addition to the thread count there are other factors that make for a more comfortable sheet. The weave of the thread also makes a difference. Some common types of weaves found in bed sheets, similar to ones you may find in hotels, include flannel, jersey, sateen, and percale.
The linens that hotels use on their beds are not the only thing that may make them feel more comfortable. The mattresses in hotels are changed every few years which means you’re likely to experience a mattress that is more firm than your bed at home. As well, hotel mattresses in many cases are not used every night. Many rooms remain empty for most of the week and the mattresses go unused. Also, hotel beds are flipped on a regular basis which also ensures that the wear on the mattress is distributed evenly, much like rotating the tires on a car.
On average we spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping so having a quality pillow is important for spending that time in comfort. Choosing the right pillow depends on your preferences but with so many choices, you may feel overwhelmed. Let’s take a look at the differences between feather and cotton pillows and try to make the process of choosing a new pillow simpler!
Feather pillows are generally considered the more luxurious option between the two choices. The pillows are often made with goose feathers that are flat and have quills running through their centers. Feathers are soft but not as fluffy as pure down, however they do provide firmer support than down pillows.
Some benefits of feather pillows are that they are soft, warm, and can easily be shaped for better comfort and support. These types of pillows are very durable if well cared for and can last for years. Another great feature is that most feather pillows are washable.
Some cons to consider would be that pillows of this type can feel sweaty and hot to some who sleep hot. Feathers flatten easily and need to be coaxed and pulled into the shape you want every time to change positions. Another consideration is allergies. How sensitive are you? Many have found themselves to be allergic to feather or down pillows so do not commit to buying one unless you’re sure that it won’t be a problem for you.
Cotton pillows provide wonderfully soft, gentle yet firm lift for all the natural support you need as you sleep. This type of pillow is natural, and rarely contains allergens that would affect the sensitive sleeper.
Some benefits of cotton pillows are that since the fiber is naturally absorbent, you will not have to deal with a sweaty, hot pillow on an average night. Cotton pillows are much firmer than feather ones. The surface is smooth, plus there’s no chance of being startled awake by a rogue feather!
Some cons with cotton filled pillows are that as time passes the cotton can compress and begin to feel very hard and may even be described as lumpy by some. This pillow type does not contour easily to body curvature. If the pillow is not cleaned regularly it can create an attractive environment for dust mites and molds, as cotton can retain water.
Sleeping Style vs. Pillow Type
The way you sleep will determine the firmness of your pillow. Those of us who sleep on our back or side often prefer a medium support pillow that cradles the natural curvature of the spine. Stomach sleepers enjoy a soft, plump pillow that cushions the head and neck at a comfortable angle.
Everyone has a different image of their perfect pillow. For me being a side sleeper and having many allergies, a cotton pillow is the perfect match, but it may not be for everyone. Make sure to find your perfect fit for all your bedding because remember, we spend 8 hours of our day sleeping – if we’re lucky!
Many people have an extra bed skirt or two in the home. The skirts are sometimes included with larger bedding sets, and come free with things like air mattresses. Throwing the skirt away would be a waste – especially when you can re-purpose those unwanted bed skirts into something fashionable and fabulous!
Here are just a few things you can do with an unwanted bedskirt:
Make a Valance
An old bed skirt can be turned into a valance for your windows without much work. The skirt is already the right size and shape. Some even have a fold in the top that can hold a curtain rod once the elastic is removed. The only thing you really need to do is trim the skirt to the right length. You might have to sew a pocket along the top to fit the curtain rod through. Also, you might be able to get multiple valances from a single large skirt.
Create an Apron
You can turn old bed skirts into aprons for cooking, crafts or other hobbies. The patterns on some skirts are attractive and look good as an apron. You can do this by turning one part of the skirt into the lower portion of the apron. The apron will be especially attractive if the skirt has a lacy edge along the bottom. You can then cut the material to create the upper portion and straps. Then you sew the two parts together to get a finished apron. If you have extra material from the bed skirt left over, then you can make pockets for the apron.
Cover Outlet and Light Switch Panels
Bed skirts can be used to cover outlet and light switch panels. You start by unscrewing the panels and cutting the skirt material into the right size and shape. Make sure the material covers the edges of the panel. You can attach the skirt fabric with spray adhesive, fabric glue or even double-sided tape so that it is flat against the panel. You can rotate the pattern randomly to get some variety throughout the home.
Sew Clothes for Dolls
You can make fun and attractive clothes for dolls from an old ruffled bed skirt. The ruffles can be used to create dresses for dolls of any size. If you have multiple bed skirts available, then you can mix and match fabric patterns. You will generally be making simple clothes for dolls that do not have sleeves or other complex parts. Kids can even help to design or make the doll clothing.
You can do quilting with nearly any type of fabric. Bed skirts are excellent when used as part of a quilt. The skirt can be cut down into squares of any size. The material is usually durable and attractive. You could turn a single bed skirt into an entire quilt or you could use the fabric across multiple projects. Also, you can use every part of an old skirt for quilting.
Decorate Picture Frames
Something unique is to decorate picture frames with an old bed skirt. You can attach the fabric to an old frame to hide damage and wear. You can use some of the skirt as batting underneath so that the frame has a three-dimensional look. You can make worn picture frames interesting and distinctive by wrapping them in bed skirt fabric.