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COVID-19 Keeping You Home? Turn Your Bed Into a Comfy Oasis

Budget-friendly ideas for textiles, pillows and color.

spinner image Coffee cup and book on fur on bed
JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

We're all spending more time at home during the coronavirus pandemic, but Tenny Garner has found herself increasingly lingering in bed. She drinks her morning coffee in bed and takes a daily nap there.

"If I'm anxious in this COVID time, I make the bed, lean back and read a book,” says the 72-year-old resident of Troutdale, Oregon. Since she's spending so much time there, this spring she made some changes to her bed to make it “like a cocoon,” she says.

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She's not the only one. The average American spends 36 years in bed over their lifetime, according to a survey by bed company Slumber Cloud.

Since the bed is the focal point of any bedroom, it should be an inviting, peaceful oasis from the stress of everyday life. And with cooler autumn months just around the corner, you may want to make your bed warmer and cozier.

It's not just cosmetic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults sleep at least seven hours daily (even more for people over age 60), and a relaxing bed may improve your sleep and health. “The bed is the new nest,” says Kathleen Hallin, an interior designer in the San Francisco Bay Area. “If you're home and you have kids or grandkids and you're trying to work, the most private place often is the bedroom."

Here are some simple ideas to refresh your bed.

1. Start with the base layer

Improve your sleep quality with a new mattress, especially if yours is lumpy, squeaks or you wake up sore. Today, there are many options — from a traditional mattress to memory foam. New charcoal-infused foam or a charcoal-infused mattress topper help regulate heat. Use a mattress cover for protection. For added luxury in autumn and winter, consider a feather-and-down topper or a wool mattress cover.

Garner calls the Tempur-Pedic mattress with adjustable feet and back for reading she bought this spring “amazing.” She says: “I don't wake up with a headache or joints hurting."

2. Invest in bedding

Natural materials, such as 100 percent cotton or bamboo, typically are smoother and more comfortable. Higher-thread-count sheets make a difference, experts say, but their tight weave makes them better for cooler temperatures. Flannel sheets can add warmth for fall and winter.

Amping up the coziness of your bed is all about layering, which adds plushness and warmth. Add a cotton coverlet over sheets in warmer months and wool blanket or a down comforter in cooler months.

In June, after months in COVID-19 lockdown, Patti Cohn of Ross, California, refreshed her king-size bed with fancier sheets and more pillows. She also replaced her cotton comforter with down and a wooden headboard with tufted fabric.

Cohn, 64, estimates she spent a few hundred dollars to remake her bed, keeping costs down by buying several items through e-tailers like Overstock and Wayfair. “It was inexpensive to redo the look,” she says, and “it makes a huge impact."

3. A headboard sets the tone

spinner image Patti Cohn of Ross, Calif., relaxes in her refreshed bed, where she has been spending more time during the pandemic
Patti Cohn of Ross, Calif., relaxes in her refreshed bed, where she has been spending more time during the pandemic.
Courtesy of Patti Cohn

A headboard keeps your head off the wall and adds depth to a room. Upholstered headboards are popular because they add texture and absorb sound. Skip the footboard because it's restrictive, especially for tall people.

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4. Pick the right pillow

Pillows are an inexpensive way to add loft and color to a bed. Finding the right pillow – hard or soft, flat or puffy – can help you sleep better. Experts recommend hypoallergenic pillows or down pillows with allergy covers. Consider the shape of your pillow, too. Some are specifically designed to address neck or back issues, or to ease sleep apnea or acid reflux.

5. Find harmony with bed placement

From a feng shui (pronounced “shway") perspective, your bed should be in a safe position in the room to improve sleep, says Miyoko Fuse, a certified feng shui consultant and owner of Home Esteem in Portland, Oregon, who is also trained in techniques to allow aging in place. Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice that helps find harmony by using design elements to balance yin (relaxing energy) with yang (active energy).

The best location for your bed, Fuse explains, enables you to see the bedroom door while you're lying down.

6. Use color for inspiration

Color can set mood. Lighter colors provide a sense of space. Darker colors are warmer. Cool colors like blue and green are relaxing. Winter white, another cool color, is popular this year, Hallin says.

If your walls and floors are a neutral tone, use accent colors in pillows and blankets, suggests Fuse. Change colors with the seasons. For autumn and winter, she recommends swapping out the pillow cases, which aren't as expensive as other bedding, to warm colors like burnt orange or mustard.

7. Textures create that cozy feel

Bringing texture to a bed, such as a faux sheepskin throw, adds coziness. Smooth fabrics, like velvet and satin, are soothing. “Our beds should say ‘I sleep well,’ “ Fuse says. “Make it peaceful.

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