Undress the bed before turning in for the night

Elise T. Chisolm

October 05, 1993|By Elise T. Chisolm

Have you dressed your bed today? Seriously, I know that sounds weird, but there is a whole new world of "bed dressing" emerging. Have you had to make your bed up with all those newfangled accessories?

Whatever happened to the old chenille bedspread that grandmothers had on their beds? Remember them? You saw them for sale hanging on fences and clothes lines along highways. Sometimes there were pottery deers and pink flamingos standing beside them, too. They were all "high tack" items but people bought -- and loved -- them.

It took just one spread to make up one bed.

So who's responsible for the new look in bedding accessories -- swags, shams, dust ruffles, comforters and duvets with covers? Is it the baby boomers who didn't like their mothers' bedspreads, or the designers who make you feel that everything has to match in your bedroom or you won't sleep well?

Try to buy a plain bedspread if you can -- not easy. Oh, you can get one with Mickey Mouse on it. But if you are an adult and are refurbishing your bedroom, you're likely to be talked into buying matching things, expensive accoutrements -- that's French for extras -- for a showcase bedroom.

A friend called early yesterday morning, and I had to ask her, "Can I call you back? I'm making the guest room bed."

It takes me about a half hour to make the bed, because when you tuck in the sheets the dust ruffle gets sucked in with them and the dust ruffle is meant to show. And then there are the extras to put in place.

I got talked into "re-imaging" a bedroom because those grown children of mine told us our guest room looked like a rented room. Oh, sure it has a computer, a printer along one wall plus a typewriter, my sewing machine, his art supplies, a drafting board, a lamp from the '40s and a thin cotton olive green bedspread.

First I perused the catalogs and realized I needed what they call "an ensemble." No, not a string ensemble, although that would have been fun at the time. Maybe the bed-in-a-bag with matching shams, or a comforter, or dust ruffle with matching sheets. Or maybe sheets and pillow cases with matching swags and lamps. Oh, there are endless possibilities to make this look like a room right out of House Beautiful magazine.

I did it. I ordered a pretty floral design that now seems to be growing in the bedroom. The whole ensemble, including curtains, costs as much as a flight to Paris or 20 trips to Cleveland. So now when I sleep in the guest room, and I do when either of us sleeps fitfully -- a symptom of aging, they say -- it takes me forever to "undress" the bed.

First of all it's a small room. But I won't belittle it. It has held important guests: doctors, actors, hippies, a hopeful biospherian, a visiting child I'd never seen before who was passing through, and a homeless dog for one night. But there is not a space to place the folded comforter, shams and extra pillows, except on top of the computer.

Of course you can't put your feet, your seat or your shoes on my new stuff. I will no longer lie down on the guest room bed to talk on the phone, giggle or roughhouse with the grandchildren. My investment is too great.

By the way, what exactly is a sham? I looked it up and it is just as I thought -- the last definition is: "not genuine or real; false." Yeah, false! And guess what, duvet is not even in my dictionary.

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