Since I moved into my apartment in September 2020, I’ve spent most of time and money focusing on the most highly trafficked areas of my apartment—my desk area, my kitchen, my living room, and my balcony. Given I keep a busy travel schedule, which is demanding on my budget, I have to save up between purchases for my apartment—especially because I would rather invest in pieces I can keep a long time instead of just buying something to fill a space. So I’ve slowly, but surely, been making some changes to my bedroom.
When I first moved into this apartment, my bedroom looked much like it did in my old Arlington apartment. I had pretty much all the same furniture—a full size bed with the upholstered nail headboard, my vintage green dresser, and my nightstands. I loved the look of the room overall, but wanted to make some tweaks as my design has evolved some and my needs have changed. My room is still very much a work in progress as I’d like to get another dresser (I am in desperate need of more storage space!), swap out the lamps on my nightstands, and hang a gallery wall to complete the space—once it’s complete, I’ll share a full room tour. But in the interim, I wanted to give you a look at the changes I’ve made so far. Starting with…
THE GREAT MATTRESS SAGA OF 2021
During the first three years of my academic career at UVA, I always lived in housing that came furnished—the dorms, an on-grounds apartment, the sorority house. So when my friends and I signed a lease for an apartment on Wertland Street for our fourth year, I needed to get a mattress. The summer before school started, my mom and I went mattress shopping and after laying on nearly every option in the store, we found an amazing pillow-top option that I ordered in a full size. It was so comfortable that I held onto it longer than I probably should have, but it ended up working out perfectly given a queen size bed would have been really tight in my Dupont Circle studio.
When I moved back to Arlington, I knew I wanted to get a new mattress and upgrade to a queen size since I had more space. Because of said move, I received a really nice tax return last year and decided to use that money to buy a new mattress. While I know ordering a mattress online is the thing to do these days, I wanted to go test them out in the store. Because the mattress I loved was a Beautyrest, I looked up which mattress stores near me carried that brand. I found a Mattress Firm about a 10 minute drive away from my apartment that had several Beautyrest options on the showroom floor. My sister, Jennifer, agreed to go shopping with me as a second opinion, so we made a day of it.
When we arrived in the store, the sales guy showed us the Beautyrest options and I really liked both the 12.25″ Beautyrest Pressuresmart Plush Mattress and the 14.75″ Beautyrest Pressuresmart Plush Pillow Top Mattress. After he tried to upsell us on some more expensive options, Jennifer and I went back to those two Beautyrest options, which were conveniently located right next to each other. I like really soft mattresses, and both thought the 12.25″ Pressuresmart Plush Mattress was the winner. After negotiating, I placed the order and it was scheduled to be delivered to my apartment later that week.
That first night, when I went to bed, I knew I made a huge mistake—I should have gone with the pillow top mattress option. It was just far too firm for me to get comfortable, And, clearly, I didn’t take into account the fact that the store model was probably extra soft given how many people test it out.
I spent the next two days obsessively searching, “how long does it take to break a mattress in?” and reading Reddit threads, online reviews, and any article I could find comparing the two mattress options. On the third day, I decided I was absolutely miserable—and admittedly, a little dramatic, probably due to the lack of sleep—and knew I needed to just go back to Mattress Firm and beg for mercy. You see, they have a 30-day return policy—you can return a mattress, but only after sleeping on it for a month. But I figured it was worth asking if they could make an exception, and figured I’d have the best luck if I went over there in person.
So one day on my lunch break, I headed back over to Mattress Firm, and to my luck, the manager was the one that greeted me. I explained my situation and told him while I respected their policy, I could absolutely not make it another 27 nights on the aforementioned mattress and that I’d like to exchange it. To my delight, he said that would be no problem and that he’d grab someone to help me. Turns out, the person he asked to do my exchange was the original sales guy—who understandably was a little frustrated, probably because it hurt his commission. It was a slightly awkward transaction as a result, but I was just so relieved that it worked out that I didn’t mind a few uncomfortable minutes. And, to top off my luck that day, the pillow top mattress was on sale, so I was able to get it for the exact same price I had paid for the original mattress, without having to negotiate further. (Because let’s be real, I was not going to push my luck on this one!)
You could say there are two morals to this story. First, I am a pillow top mattress person. Second, if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
I’ve had my 14.75″ Beautyrest Pressuresmart Plush Pillow Top Mattress for a little over a year now and I am so happy with it. It’s the newer model of the old mattress I had, and is just so, so, so comfortable—it certainly makes getting out of bed in the morning a challenge! If you’re like me and want to feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud, I can’t recommend this one enough.
When I purchased my queen size mattress, I had to sell my old headboard since it was made for a full size bed. It went to a lovely Touch of Teal reader who bought it off my Instagram, and I was thrilled I could pass it along to a good home.
I knew I wanted to get a new headboard or bed for my new mattress, but I wanted to take my time finding one I really wanted—and save up for it, too! I thought about this one from Serena and Lily for a long time, but I didn’t know if I wanted to commit to that much rattan. So then, I decided on a white wingback-style bed. Lots of retailers make this style, but I wanted one that was a true white twill—nothing off white, nothing that was velvet, nothing that was linen. I wanted something that was just clean and classic. The Kelly Wingback Bed in Color White fit the bill perfectly, and I ordered some swatches to ensure that the fabric would be what I was looking for before I placed my order. I already returned a mattress, I was not about to return a bed, too!
Once I determined the Kelly Wingback Bed was the one I wanted, I waited for a great sale—and luckily, Black Friday sales delivered! I was able to snag it for 25% off with an additional 10% off because my order was over $600. With shipping, I paid $890 for it, which was at least a couple of hundred off the normal price. It took about two months to arrive, and the delivery date estimate in my email was spot on.
The bed arrived in two big boxes on two different days, and nothing was missing or damaged in shipping. Setting up this wingback bed is definitely a two-person job—I don’t think it would be physically possible to do it yourself. It took me and my dad about two hours one Saturday afternoon to assemble it. Not only do I love the look, it’s extremely sturdy—it doesn’t creak or move at all. I can’t recommend going with the Kelly Wingback Bed if you’re in the market for a bed!
Last spring, when I purchased my queen size mattress, I also wanted to use it as an opportunity to get new bedding. My old duvet was for a full size bed, and while it fit my queen size mattress okay, I knew I could do better. I loved the look of the Serena & Lily Border Frame Duvet Cover, but when you added on Euro shams and regular shams, it would have cost $600+ to outfit my bed—and I just didn’t want to spend that on bedding.
One Saturday, I was pursuing the aisles of Target as one does, and found these Hotel Border Frame Euro Pillows in Navy. I loved that they emulated the look of Serena & Lily for much, much less. I opened up the Target app and was thrilled to discover those Euro shams were part of a broader collection and that I could order a Hotel Border Frame Comforter & Sham Set in Navy.
I’ve now had this bedding for a year+ and have been thrilled with it—it’s great quality despite the more affordable price tag, and the fabric is extremely comfortable. To fill the regular size shams, I bought a set of these Beckham Hotel Collection Pillows which are seriously THE BEST pillows ever if you’re in the market.
Finding a duvet insert was more of a challenge. My recommendation when shopping for duvet inserts is to look at the size of your duvet cover and find one that is the same size or slightly larger. You would think there are standard measurements for queen duvet covers and inserts, but I’ve found that there is some deviation between brands. I loved my old duvet insert as it was the perfect weight, but it was too small for the queen duvet cover. I tried duvet inserts from West Elm, Pottery Barn, Amazon, and Buffy before just going to Macy’s and luckily finding the newer version of the old duvet insert I have. I sadly can’t find it online as it’s been about a year since I purchased it—but I will say, I’m glad I kept shopping until I found one I liked. A lot of the duvet inserts from big box retailers have squares stitched into them and I found those showed through my duvet cover, which was a look I didn’t like.
SHOP MY ROOM —
- Kelly Wingback Bed in Color White
- Hotel Border Frame Comforter & Sham Set in Navy
- Hotel Border Frame Euro Pillow in Navy
- Boll & Branch Herringbone Stripe Bed Blanket
- Navy Flower Sheets — these are a TJ Maxx find I couldn’t find online!
- Tall Glass End Tables
- Stacked Ball Lamps — similar here
- Floating Brass Frame
- Capri Blue Mini Volcano Capiz Jar Candle
SHOP THE BOOKS FEATURED IN THIS POST —
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanthi
- Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
- From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein
- Jackie, Janet & Lee by J. Randy Taraborrelli
- The Corner by Coy Barefoot
- Happy Times by Lee Radziwill
- Modern Monarchy by Chris Jackson
- The Private Passion of Jackie Kennedy Onassis by Vicky Moon
- Slim Aarons Once Upon a Time
- Slim Aarons Women
- Leaf Frame
- Patterns of India by Christine Chitnis
- Pattern by Rebecca Atwood
- Island Whimsy by Celerie Kemble
- Beautiful by Mark D. Sikes
- More Beautiful by Mark D. Sikes