ditching my down comforter

Caroline Z. Hurley "Jules" linen throw

Ever had night sweats? Try waking up drenched and chilled at the same time, having to change shirts and lay out a dry towel to sleep on. I had been plagued with them recently, probably because the doctors had started messing around with my hormones. My nurse practitioner suggested (among other things) that I try switching to lighter-weight bedding. So I did. And no more night sweats. What a difference one little change can make.

My mom had gifted me the white down quilt my second year of college and first year in a real apartment with roommates. The poor comforter got a corner scorched in a too-small dryer several years ago, though it didn't affect function. The thing kept me (overly) warm for 20-plus years, for which I feel grateful to—and rather guilty over—all those dead geese. But now it's time to pass it along to someone who doesn't create her own furnace while sleeping.

Blankets are more flexible. Compared to down duvets, blankets can better modulate seasonal room temperatures, with only light blankets or even a single sheet needed in hot weather versus piles of wool or other layers in cold weather. Blankets also tend to take up less space than giant down comforters, a definite benefit in smaller spaces with minimal storage.

geometric rug detail

thrifted rug

secondhand thrifted geometric rug

While I wouldn't turn down a new woven blanket, something maybe from Pendleton like this geometric cotton one or this classic wool striped camp blanket, I can't spare the funds right now. But thrifting good condition, attractive blankets in the right size without holes or stains is a challenge that can take months if not years.

So I pulled out my big basket of sheets, drapes, and blankets. I had a thin, gray, machine-washable quilted silk bedspread I'd been saving for house guests. I put that on the bed over the top sheet. But alone, it wouldn't be warm enough. At the bottom of the basket I found a blanket I'd almost forgotten about, a dark gray machine-washable tweedy wool. That went right on the bed. What I had left were two now-defunct comforter covers, both thrifted from Goodwill within the last few years. Those I layered with the white one on top, tucking everything in under my simple pine platform bed frame, and draping it all with my favorite Caroline Z. Hurley "Jules" linen throw.

secondhand geometric wool rug

I even pulled out a new-to-me soft, small geometric wool rug from William Temple House Thrift that I had machine-washed (with shampoo, only on the gentle wool setting and never in the dryer!) and which I've been debating about selling. Right now it's laid out all cozy over the foot of the bed. Buying quality bedding in complementary colors and patterns in natural fabrics that will wear well and last turns "making do" into homemaking—creating the kind of room you can't wait to come home to.

The funny thing is, I like the look of my bed better now than before. Instead of a fluffy, messy cloud, I have a tidier, slightly rumpled, blanketed expanse. And if in the dark depths of winter I'm still too cold, there are yet two striped cotton picnic blankets lying snug in the basket, waiting for summer.

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