Monday, October 21, 2013

College Dorm Advice Part 3: How to Make and Maintain Your Bed

You have your closet set up and you have all your furniture.

If you checked out part one, you have your supplies for your bed. If not, run out and get them. Here's your list; I'll be waiting. Chat with your roommate to pick out some colors, then find a nice Target and have fun shopping. Make sure to get a design that you like!

The Basic List

  • Foam Mattress Pad
  • Pillows
  • Pillow Covers
  • Fitted Twin Extra Long Sheets
  • Bed Risers
  • Bed Comforter

Read more for more details and extra advice on what to buy from this list along with how to maintain your bed.

Bed Comforter

Here are a few different bed comforters that I like, with good reviews. Remember that there is no difference between twin and twin extra long in comforters. Just comforters though. So get whatever style you like! Bright colors will liven up your room. Light colors like white will make your bed and room look bigger; dark colors will make the bed seem neater and smaller.

  • Do be careful that the comforter can be cleaned with a washer
  • Make sure that the comforter will match what your roommate has
  • Be careful that the pattern will be good to sleep on

Twin Extra Long Sheets

Size matters here! Twin sheets will not fit on your dorm bed if it is extra long! 
Check your dorm's webpage to see what size the bed is; most likely it is twin extra long but you should make 100% sure before purchasing.

  • Get soft and comfortable ones
  • Plain white sheets will be easy to bleach and wash clean
  • Be careful of any skin allergies
  • Cotton sheets will be easy to wash and dry
  • Satin will gain you mockery but also soft skin

If you are getting a mattress pad, I would suggest getting two fitted sheets. I find that the two fitted sheets will keep the mattress pad from falling off.

Pillow Cases

Silk pillow cases are not just for the James Bond wanna-be. Silk pillow cases are really good for your hair and can even help will allergies.

Of course all other pillow cases are great.

  • Wash pillow cases every week!
  • Have an extra set for busy weeks
  • Be careful of fabric softener for cases; they can give you acne
  • Fragrance free detergent and air drying will best serve your pillowcases


Now what to put in that lovely pillow case? This is something you might want to talk to your parents about: ask them what type of pillows you've been sleeping on your whole life. Likely, you don't know right now but would notice and dislike any major change. Try the pillows out in store to see what feels right to you. 

Read more about choosing the right pillow for you. Sleep for all is a really great site with some great advice.

If you want to try a little adventure, check out this buckwheat pillow. I'm thinking of getting one next semester. What do you guys think?

Organic Buckwheat Pillow ($35 via Amazon)

Foam Mattress Pad

This is where it gets serious. This could possibly be the most expensive part of your bed furnishings.

Mattress pads come in different qualities and different price ranges.

Consider what you need for your back:

  • Do you prefer a hard or soft bed?
  • What level of support do you need?
  • Do you have any back injuries?

Soft Mattress Pad ($45 via Amazon)

This is a low cost soft mattress pad. If you want to sleep in a soft pillow, then this would be a good match for you. The price is low which mean you may have to replace after a year or two.

Sleep Innovations 2-Inch Memory Foam ($66 via Amazon)

As you can see, we are starting to go up in the price range. This mattress pad is 2" of memory foam; this isn't enough for full firm support but will not be super soft. The reviews are very good.

3.0" Sleep Studio Visco2 Ventilated Mattress Enhancer ($88 via Amazon)

Getting a bit pricier, this mattress topper provides more support. As a memory foam it will have a bit of initial give, but will support you very well. Already you can see the difference from the cheaper foam: it is thicker and has ventilation for better support and circulation. Reviews for this were very good, lots of "I can't get out of bed!" comments.

This mattress topper does not come with a fabric cover and some have noticed a persistence of the "mattress foam smell."

3 Inch Thick, 4 Pound Density Visco Elastic Memory Foam ($120 via Amazon)

This one right here is my dream mattress pad. I'm seriously considering getting this for next semester and will review if I do.

On the high end of college mattress pads, this mattress is just shy of the sort of mattress pad recommended for people with back pain. The memory foam is just perfect; reviews refer to it as a cloud with support and best purchase. Amazingly positive reviews, especially considering the low cost and free shipping.

Spring and Winter Bedding

If you can, invest in blankets for the winter and spring, especially if you are in a place like Boston. Our winters fall to the teens, with tons of snow and ice, while the sweltering summers get up to the 90s. Most of MIT's dorms don't have air conditioning. We do have central heating, but different rooms end up with different temperatures based on windows and their location on the building. So my bedding can keep me from being frozen or from sweating, year round.

Having bedding appropriate to the season is really important. 110% worth the investment.

Pinzon Signature Zero-Twist Egyptian Cotton Blanket ($70 via Amazon)

A good spring blanket or for watching movies in common couches. Egyptian cotton has good breathability, which is a must for spring dorm rooms that don't have air conditioning.

Faux Fur Burgundy Microfiber Reversible Winter Blankets ($40 via Amazon)

One of my floor mates has this winter blanket and I envy her for it. It's so warm and comfy for the winter; it feel like a big hug from a teddy bear.

Northpoint Sapphire Sherpa Blanket ($45 via Amazon)

This is a good approximate for what I have; I adore this style of blanket for the winter in Boston. If it works up here in the north, you know it's good!

Because this blanket doesn't have as much fluffy fur to it, this blanket is a little thinner than the one above, but offers the same degree of warmth. So if storage is an issue, this will keep you warm while saving space.