THE COST of furnishing bedrooms and bathrooms with the essentials, beds, bed linen and towels, often seems to come as a shock to new property owners, especially for a rental property. As it is prudent to allow three changes of bed linen and towels per bed/per person, that can amount to quite a substantial amount of pillowcases alone –60, for a five bed villa, allowingfourpillows per bed (two per person).
Having made a major investment in the property itself, it is then a good idea to follow through with wise buying of the basic essentials. Beds and all which comes with them should really be top of the priorities list, not the wide-screen TV or state-of-the-art sound system. They are not exactly exciting items,as a beautifully crafted cabinet or a massive sofa upholstered in wonderfully textured fabric, could be perceived to be. But, they are ofultimate importance if the property is going to work for you – be it asa residence, holiday home or run as a business.
Beds – king size, double or singles all need to be well constructed, both bases and mattresses. A wooden or metal frame supporting a piece of chipboard will never allow you the best nights sleep, however sumptuous the mattress is, as there is no flexibility, and no way for air to circulate around the mattress.
A base can be a simple box with any number of systems that offer the possibility of movement. It could be anything from old-fashioned stretched wire mesh to convex wooden slats that offer the necessary flexibility, and, the all-important, air flow. Any mattress does need to be able to breathe. If space is limited box bases can offer storage opportunities too. Either drawers on either side or a base with a padded top that lifts up, revealing a veritable cavern for keeping out of season bed linen. Just remember not to pack in too many items. They too need room to breathe, to avoid the growth of mildew and the nasty musty smell that comes with it.
Mattresses come in a vast range of materials. From foam, to be avoided at all costs as it retains moisture, the latex option and on to springs and ultimately pocket springs. The latter, being considered to be the best, as the construction allows the springs to move individually.
When choosing beds … experiment. Kick off your shoes and lay down on the bed. Lie in different positions, on your back and on your side. Experiment with the pillows too. If your supplier is not keen to let you lay on the beds change supplier. It will not matter how wonderful the view from the terrace is or what colour you have chosen for the walls once you are horizontal and your eyes are closed. Sleep is essential to our general wellbeing, so get it right.
It is then a good idea to consider how to protect mattresses and pillows from the moisture we all lose from our bodies during the night, especially in a hot climate. Mattress and pillow covers offer protection but should be laundered regularly. They come in many varieties, from simple stretchy, terry-towelling to quilted cotton. Many come with a PVC backing, making them an ideal choice for use on beds where young children will sleep.
Mattress toppers are a wonderful idea, but, will never make an uncomfortable bed comfortable, only an already comfortable one more sumptuous. Consider this, if they are not washable they cannot be well maintained easily, and therefore kept fresh and sweet smelling.
Maintenance is something most people tend to ignore, when it comes to beds. Or worse still, know nothing about it. It is still considered that the best way to clean a mattress, and the base also – particularly if it is an upholstered base, is to hoover it each time the bed linen is changed.
Mattresses also really do need to be turned and rotated twice a year. However, new mattresses should be turned and rotated every month for the first six months to help equalise the wear and tear that normally occurs. They should also be aired before being made up, for as long as possible, before use. They do give off toxic fumes when initially removed from their protective plastic wrapping. A few days with windows open wide is ideal, if time allows. This is particularly advisable if the bed in question is to be slept in by a young child. The same applies to cot mattresses.
Wash all sheets and pillowcases before use, as the cotton will have been treated to make it easier to handle during the manufacturing process. Towels too will be more absorbent after a first wash, fluffy, if they have a few minutes in a drier before use.
As usual, the more you can afford to invest in beds, bed linen and towels, the longer they will serve you. We all appreciate quality for much longer than we remember the initial cost.
•Justwhite … bedroom & bathroom essentials
Rua das Forças Armadas 7, Almancil, Portugal
Tel/fax: +351 289 399 523, Mobile: +351 914 853 061