We don't buy things like new bed linens in a simple, straightforward manner.
To begin with, we have a tendency to wait until the condition of any item needing to be replaced is so critical as to suggest the only reason we haven't replaced it is because we suffer from a diagnosable attachment disorder. Such was the condition of the bed linens in Our Daughter's room. The bedskirt was irreparably torn in several places and a corner of the fitted sheet had slowly been unravelling for years. It didn't help they were made of the kind of material that clings to your skin like plastic wrap, sticks to your hair with a death grip, and stores enough static electricity to cause a power surge.
If you've purchased bed linens at any point in your life you must be aware it's significantly more complicated than a quick jaunt to the store to buy a spread. A properly dressed mattress involves the layering of patterns and colors to accentuate the decor of the bedroom. You'll need accent pillows, throw pillows, blankets, throw blankets, duvets, quilts and coverlets. And don't forget the sheets (to include the flat sheet, fitted sheet, pillow cases and shams, just in case shams don't come with your comforter set, or if you have an unsatiable desire to load your bed with pillows stuffed in decorative covers intended never to be used for resting your head on, ever).
Step one in buying new bed linens is to photograph the most colorful object in the room with your smartphone. This object -- in our case a painting inherited from my in-laws that hangs above Our Daughter's bed -- gives you the option of moving in a variety of color directions while limiting you to select hues, values and intensities. For the women in our family, the photograph serves as a color guide. For me it is a tool applied only every fifth time I randomly ask the question: "How about this one?"
Once you've scoured the store and located a few decent comforter sets that come complete with bedskirt and shams, and that are on sale for under $100, or were marked clearance (but not if the store doesn't accept returns on clearance items), you can now begin the hunt for twenty more decent comforter sets at all the other stores to expand your options. In our vicinity there are several places to go for reasonably-priced beddings -- Bed Bath & Beyond, Tuesday Morning, Ross's, Kohl's, Steinmart, Walmart, Belk and TJ Maxx, just to name a few. Only when it appears to strangers you might illegally be selling stolen comforter sets from the back of your minivan are you ready to shop for sheets.
Shopping for sheets is a very similar process, except you you might find yourself carrying comforter sets into the store like a directionally challenged shoplifter in order to match colors. Also, I ask "How about this one?" much less frequently because even I know color basics, like how boysenberry purple is NOT a match for Tuscan Sun yellow. Before too long, you're home putting freshly washed new sheets on the bed and arranging shams ever so carefully behind accented throw pillows.
The final step comes the following day when you revisit all the stores to return all the shams, sheets and comforters that didn't pass muster. Of course, I could always just park the minivan in the mall parking lot and hawk my wares:
"Pssst... Hey, buddy! C'mere. You lookin' to score a sham?"
© 2016 Mark Feggeler