Just when you think Spring is here, it snows. In April. That is Muskoka for you!
By Kathy Lowe, Décor Editor
During this transitional season, you can have some decorating fun with making your friends and family more comfortable by switching up your bed linens.
Yes, it’s all about the beds at this time of year.
Whether you have a year-round cottage (forced air), a three season cottage (electric baseboards), or a summer cottage (fireplace, maybe), this time of year requires some attention to your choice of linens based on how your cottage holds heat.
If your cottage has a furnace, then there isn’t too much discomfort in April to crawl into a cool bed as it warms up quickly once you are tucked in. But if your cottage has baseboard heating or a fireplace only, then not only is your bedding going to be cold, but the mattress will hold the dampness of the winter months. My suggestion is to pull the cold and moisture out of your mattress by using electric blankets. I know it seems to be an old-fashioned way of warming up your bed, but it works! As soon as you arrive at the cottage, turn the electric blankets on and by the time you are ready to bed down for the night, you will have a warm and dry bed waiting for you. Don’t forget to turn the temperature down or off before you fall asleep though!
So on to the fun part…decorating with bed linens.
In the winter months, flannel sheets, fleece blankets, duvets in wintry plaids, accented with complimentary euros and finished off with sweater-coat or velvet down-filled toss cushions is a wonderful way to cozy-up your bedrooms. But by April you may be ready to lighten up your bedding to prepare for the summer months ahead. Sometimes it’s as easy as switching the order in which you make the bed. Rather than using the duvet to cover the entire bed, you can fold it down at the bottom and use either a coverlet or blanket to cover the flat sheet. In addition, you can switch out the flannel sheets for crisp cotton high thread-count sheets.
Or simply change the duvet cover and euros to reflect a lighter and less winter-like fabric. Stripes, solids, or linen textures are great ways to transition Winter to Spring, then Spring to Summer. Use the toss cushions from your winter linens but add another fabric cushion to hint that another season is approaching. Now you are ready for Spring.
Having four ‘sleeping pillows’ on each bed is an easy way to ensure your guests and family are comfortable. Two down-filled (or equivalent) and two foam (or equivalent) pillows should be on each bed. Don’t be offended if someone arrives with their favourite pillow in tow. A pillow preference can make the difference between a good nights sleep and an disruptive one. A good, tight-fitting, quilted or padded mattress cover is always a good way to protect your mattresses and add comfort.
In addition to changing the bedding, you may want to consider adding some other elements to the room so that the decor is complete. An oil painting is switched out for a water colour piece. A magnolia wreath is replaced with twigs or branches. A wool rug changes into a cotton woven scatter rug. Or simply a vase of fresh, seasonal flowers in complimentary colours to the bedding will pull the room together. Considering that guests might like to read when they get into bed at night, make sure that each side of the bed is adorned with a good reading light.
But remember: Whatever colours, weights, and patterns you choose, ensure that your sheets are white, off-white, ivory, or a very light shade of beige or grey. No exceptions to this rule. Having two sets of sheets for each bed will also take the pressure off laundry detail as guest depart and new ones arrive.
Regardless of your budget, all of these suggestions are affordable. Making the bed has never been so much fun!
Kathy Lowe is a Port Carling-based designer whose work is seen in fine homes in Muskoka, Georgian Bay, Toronto and Naples, Florida.