The primary bedroom at Patrick Sutton's Baltimore townhouse faces east, with views of the city's harbor. At dawn, sunlight begins to fill the room. That suited the interior designer and his wife in the time before the 2020 coronavirus pandemic when they were up early and commuting to an office during the week.
However, in 2020, what had been advantageous about their bedroom became irritating. Even with drapes, the daylight was inescapable. In order to sleep in later, they needed to start sleeping in the guest bedroom on the other side of the house.
That shift led to a revelation.
"It's been a really interesting experiment to experience the different ways those beds are made," says Sutton. "What we've found is that even the dog likes the guest bed better.”
Why is the guest bed more comfortable, and what can we learn from Sutton’s experiment?
Sutton has designed sumptuous, relaxing interiors for luxury hotels and his clients' high-end homes, and he shares what he learned from this experience.
Sutton’s Top Tips on Improving Your Bed’s Comfort
1. Simpler is often better. In the primary bedroom, Sutton has a series of thin layers on top of the sheets: a very lightweight wool and cashmere blanket followed by another lightweight coverlet, topped with a quilted silk and velvet bed cover.
"That's a very tailored aesthetic," Sutton says. "It's comfortable, because you have so many different layers you could peel down if you don't need them."
The guest room bed, however, simply has a big, fluffy, white duvet and a bunch of soft pillows. You can either roll the duvet to the bottom of the bed or have it pulled up to the top, but either way, it's classic, squishy, and hotel-like. "It's clean, simple, white, and comfortable. “You want to just jump into it," Sutton says. He does advocate for a pillowtop mattress topper, though, for extra support.
2. Pay attention to your sheets. Sutton uses two kinds of sheeting at home: The guest bed is outfitted with regular, flat-finished cotton sheets, while the main bed is covered in sateen.
Sateen sheets offer a more upscale, silk-like feel. "If you like that silky satiny feel on your skin, which can feel cool in the summer, then I would go with a sateen," Sutton says. "If you like that classic fluffy white bed, then a really nice high thread-count regular cotton is great."
The high-end brands Sutton recommends—such as Sferra and Matouk — emphasize not just thread count but finishes and weight.
3. Don't cling to an idea (or fabric) that isn't working. Sutton really wanted to like linen sheets, which some find to be more breathable.
"My wife made me take them off the bed," he laughs. "Linen may make more sense as a shirt or pair of pants in the tropics than it does on your bed."
They found the material pilled after several washes and that cotton suited them better.
No matter what your choices, Sutton is a believer in splurging on bedding if you can.
"Treat yourself," Sutton says. "Buy the best quality sheeting you can afford, the best pillows and pillow tops. It will change your life."
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