Why a Bed Needs a Nightstand

August 4, 2015

Enough is enough. You’ve had one more restless night, one more bout of insomnia, one more infuriating moment of rolling over to see the alarm clock mocking you with “4:00 am” emblazoned in your direction. Many people will jump to the conclusion that they need a new mattress and/or bed, and for most that will help, but there is more to a good night’s sleep than just your bed and mattress.

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There are countless factors that can affect sleep: from your bed, to your schedule, to your diet, to your mental and emotional state. This article is not intended to give you a two sentence “solution” to each of these intricately connected and complex subjects, but rather to cover one often overlooked topic in-depth with some actually valuable information. That topic is bedroom design. I have read some cockamamie articles about how the feng shui of your bedroom can improve your sleep, with everything from a clean room, to properly aligned furniture, to an ORGANIZED CLOSET being essential to obtaining your best night’s sleep. After a few good scoffs, I decided to take the overall idea and approach it from an angle that might actually help you.

There are a few mainstay pieces of furniture that most bedrooms have: bed, nightstand, and dresser. There are many other pieces of furniture that often find their way into the bedroom, such as an armoire, desk, mirror, or media chest. Each of these items has a purpose, and one in particular can make or break a good night’s sleep.

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I recently had my brother stay over for a night at my apartment. We stayed up late playing video games and catching up, and I had warned him ahead of time that the best I had to offer for sleeping arrangements was the couch (a rather comfy couch to sleep on, though). At some time during the wee hours of the night we decided to turn in, and I grabbed him a pillow, some blankets, and dragged a chair over next to the couch. If you don’t know why I dragged that chair over by the couch, you probably also take your nightstand for granted next to your bed. And if you have a guest bedroom without a nightstand, preferably on either side of the bed, you are potentially committing guests to an awkward and uncomfortable night.

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Especially in this day and age, nightstands or bedside tables are more of a necessity than a luxury. Most people won’t be ready for bed without a glass of water, their cell phone (which is usually also their alarm clock), and a lamp next to them that they can turn on and off from bed. Many people also like a book, their wallet, keys, wedding ring, medication, inhaler, etc., etc., within reach during the night. To not have that luxury means an awkward pile of things on the floor next to the bed, or worse, no access to those things without getting up from bed and essentially ruining your sleepy mindset.

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You need to be sure that before going to sleep each and every night, you have everything you might want or need within arm’s reach of your side of the bed. There are few things worse for your night’s sleep than laying in bed torn between getting up for a drink to wet your dry mouth, or succumbing to your tired body to stay put and deal with it. Standing up and turning on a light is often all it takes to reset your mental state from “sleep mode” to “awake mode,” which means going back through the process of coaxing your mind and body back to sleep.

kari nightstand before

So if you don’t have one already, invest in a nightstand. Or at least pull up a chair next to your bed. You need a surface to set a bottle of water, your cell phone, alarm clock (if you like), even a healthy late night snack (if you ever wake up with a rumbly tummy). The point is, you can have the best mattress/bed combo in the world, your body might never want to leave, but if you have a dry throat or realize you have a time-sensitive email you forgot to read during the day, having a glass of water or your cell phone within arms reach can save you from ruining your sleep state when you’re seconds away from dreamland.

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Bedding Regulations and You

April 30, 2015

International Association of Bedding and Furniture Law Officials

You may already know that bedding and furniture companies have to adhere to certain laws and regulations, but do you know who makes those edicts? There is a large association that is in charge of these international standards, and it’s made up of actual American officials who are in charge of enforcing the bedding and furniture laws in their own states.

The International Association of Bedding and Furniture Law Officials (IABFLO) works to ensure that manufacturers not only meet certain requirements for their products, but also label said products correctly. For example, bedding made with down feathers can be labeled in several different ways according to the quality and quantity of down used. These different tiers for labeling let you know not only if the product contains actual down, but also if it meets high enough standards to be labeled as down, or even goose down or 100% down.

Since any potential furniture or bedding that you could buy has to meet these standards, you can have a certain degree of confidence when you purchase these home products. Plus, the people who make up the IABFLO are dedicated to enforcing the laws that they draw up, which makes it very difficult for any manufacturer to skirt the rules. So rest assured, because the furniture and bedding industry is in good hands.


Entertainment Armoires in the Bedroom

February 17, 2015

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Growing up, my bedroom only ever had one function: sleeping. Living in a two story house with a basement and an addition meant we had plenty of rooms for each specialized need. Aside from our large shared bedroom, my brothers and I had a separate room, the “play room” or “game room” as we called it, for our toys, TVs, computers, video games, etc. We slept in the bedroom, and spent our time playing games and watching TV in the “play room.” But after moving out and transitioning from that large house to much less spacious apartments, the luxury of specialized rooms is compromised.

For my fiancee and I, our kitchen is also our dining room, our living room is also our home office, and our bedroom is also our “game room.” Growing up, each of those locations had their own distinct door and their own four walls in my parents house, so the transition changed my view of the furniture we needed. A small dining room table suitable for two to four, rather than six to eight, saves floor space in our kitchen. Laptops and a small utility desk have replaced files cabinets and large desktop computer setups to keep our living room a comfortable living space. And lastly, an entertainment armoire rather than an entertainment wall saves room and retains a cozy and comfortable atmosphere in our bedroom while providing a more compact solution for our hybrid “game room.” These compromises allow us to get the most out of our living space while sacrificing little or nothing in the way of functionality. We essentially have everything I had growing up, just consolidated into three rooms instead of six.

Modern technology, and modern furniture designs created with modern technology in mind, has made this sort of consolidation much more possible and realistic than it has been in the past. Multi-functional pieces like sleeper sofas and daybeds, laptops replacing desktops, wireless internet, cell phones, microwave ovens, flat screen televisions, and hybrid storage pieces like media chests and entertainment armoires allow for much more versatile and compact solutions to modern and traditional conveniences. As far as furniture, I find sleeper sofas and daybeds just don’t hold up to the comfort of an actual bed and mattress despite their convenience, I still prefer a powerful desktop setup to the more casual and convenient laptops, and recent studies on microwaves make me wary to overuse them. But a piece of modern furniture I find effective without making sacrifices is our entertainment armoire.

Flat screen televisions, wireless routers, and Netflix have made bulky tube TVs, cable boxes, and drawers full of DVDs obsolete. What once took and entire entertainment unit or even entertainment wall, can now be rivaled or outdone in a fraction of the space. Well-designed media chests and entertainment armoires with the proper storage options to suit your needs can create the ultimate entertainment area in a space narrower than your arm span and shorter than you are. With the proper layout and setup, you may even have storage space left over for other needs in your home.

For us in our apartment, our single entertainment armoire is effective enough to solve the needs of both a dresser and entertainment wall in much more compact unit. The upper shelf holds our Playstation system which is capable of streaming Netflix wirelessly, as well as controllers and the TV remote when not in use. The two drawers immediately below the TV hold video games, DVDs, and a few extra accessories for use with the TV and Playstation system. The row of shelves below those are my sock and underwear drawers, leaving the larger bottom shelves for shirts and pants. My entire wardrobe (excluding coats and suits hung in the closet) is contained within this single unit along with the majority of my home entertainment products. Essentially if I didn’t have to work, cook, and bathe, I would have no reason to ever leave that room! Whether getting dressed for work in the morning, unwinding after work with Netflix or video games, or changing into pajamas and watching a little more Netflix before bed, I spend the majority of each day in that room. And best of all, all of this can be neatly and easily contained behind the stylish doors transforming the ultimate entertainment center/dresser into an elegant and attractive armoire. From “game room” to charming bedroom in no time flat!

And something I never knew I was missing out on growing up: waking up on Saturday morning after a draining week and being able to access a massive library or movies, TV shows, or video games without even having to drag my butt out of bed!

In my opinion, apartment life is great. In fact, entertainment armoires make it even better.

Whether you’re living the apartment life and looking to maximize every square foot you’ve got, just looking to add style and functionality to your bedroom, or wanting to live the dream of never leaving bed on the weekends like me, entertainment armoires are the solution.

 


Metal Beds

November 20, 2014
Hillsdale Furniture Vista Bed

Hillsdale Furniture Vista Bed

Dear Snooze Guru,

After several years of working and scrimping and saving — and putting every spare bit of cash into my student loans — I’ve finally been able to pay off all of my college debt. The only things I’ve bought myself have been things that are absolute necessities, so I really want to use this next paycheck to treat myself to something — specifically a new bed. I’ve been using the same bed since middle school, so I think it’s time for an upgrade. I’m looking for something that is both moderately priced and still a good investment (since I still have regular bills and things — you know, adult life). From what I’ve seen, metal beds seem like they would do the job well. What’s your take?  

Phoebe from Voorhees, NJ

Finished with your loans? Way to go! And look at you now, still using your money for something very practical. A new bed is certainly a good investment, especially if it’s a quality piece. Metal beds are great not only because they are quite economical, but also because they take up less space than a typical wood or panel bed. Their reduced mass also means that they weigh less than most other beds. They’re very durable as well, which is especially great for young adults and young families who plan on moving not far into the future. You don’t have to worry about the frame warping or breaking, so it will hold up to years of nightly use.

Metal beds also have a more contemporary look. Even if they’re designed in a Traditional or Old World style, metal has a more modern association. However, you shouldn’t let this deter you if you really like those styles. A metal bed can still work with the more Victorian themes if surrounded by the right kind of furniture and décor.

I think you’ll really like having a metal bed. There are a number of different brands that sell them, including Amisco, Hillsdale Furniture, and Fashion Bed Group. With all the different styles available, I’m sure you’ll find one you like in no time.

Sleep Well (on your new bed),

The Snooze Guru


Savvy Sleeper Sofas

November 18, 2014

Dear Snooze Guru,

I got married over the summer — which is great! But now my husband and I have to split our holidays between our families, since he’s from Wisconsin, I’m from Virginia, and we live in Michigan. We decided to spend our first Christmas with his family, and they’re coming out to us because he’s an only child and they want to see where we live. Well, we live in a small one-bedroom apartment, and I’m not sure how we’re going to house them at night. (They’re kind of high-maintenance.) I would prefer it if they got a hotel, but my husband wants to put them up in our own bed. Do you have any solution that might lead to a happy compromise?

Janelle from Romeo, MI

Dear Janelle,

Yikes! Spending your first married Christmas away from your family is one thing, but giving up your bed to your in-laws too? Yeah, let’s see if we can find a better solution. You could try a futon, but those have thinner mattresses, which could be uncomfortable for an older couple. (And the last thing you need at Christmas is a passive-aggressive comment from a mother-in-law about sub-par furniture.) You should try a sleeper sofa. They’re way more comfortable, both as a bed and as a regular sofa, and they generally come in full- or queen-size mattresses (I’d recommend the queen for in-laws). Also, sofas are generally built better so that they last for a long time.

Even if your in-laws do manage to finagle their way into your bed, you and your husband will enjoy a sleeper sofa more than any other option. And it’ll come in handy down the road when other relatives come to visit. Really, it’s an investment — in your comfort and in your sanity.

Sleep Well,

The Snooze Guru


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