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Courtesy of Stearns & Foster
Courtesy of Stearns & Foster

8 Tips to Make Your Bedroom More Relaxing and Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Courtesy of Stearns & Foster
Courtesy of Stearns & Foster

Any HGTV fan knows that your bedroom (or “master suite”) should be your sanctuary. And the reason for this, designer Jonathan Scott (of Property Brothers fame) tells mental_floss, is about more than keeping up appearances.

“The problem is, in design, everybody focuses on the areas that they can brag to their friends about—kitchens, entertaining spaces, bathrooms—and they put themselves in the back seat,” Scott says. “But that’s not how it should work. [The bedroom] is supposed to be your space to unwind and your space to decompress from a stressful day. So you have to invest in your quality of life and invest in a good sleep.”

Scott shared eight ways you can set the right mood in your bedroom without spending a fortune or tearing down any walls. After all, he says, “Design is not rocket science. Anyone can do it.”

1. INVEST IN A GOOD MATTRESS.

Scott, who proudly sleeps on a Stearns & Foster Reserve Collection mattress, tells us, “You will never understand the value of investing in a good mattress until you’ve slept in one.” And, according to Scott, people wait far too long to ditch their hand-me-down or discount mattresses for the real deal. “There are these milestones in your life where you decide to all of a sudden invest in your quality of life, like getting married. And that’s generally when people will realize they want to invest in their sleep, they want to invest in a mattress,” he says. “A mattress is your most-used piece of furniture in the entire house. I don’t know why most people don’t realize that.”

But if shelling out multiple thousands of dollars on anything feels laughable, you should know that good mattresses can be found at lower price points. Stearns & Foster has queen-sized beds starting at $1499, and internet-based mattress startups (like Casper, Tuft & Needle, or Leesa) sell quality products for under $1000.

2. ELIMINATE CLUTTER.

“Having chaos surrounding you—kids' toys, papers, stuff from work piled up—that has no place in the bedroom,” Scott says. His solution: lots and lots of storage. “Especially if you have a smaller place or an apartment, you need to have as much storage as possible,” Scott says. “So instead of having a bench at the end of the bed, have a trunk you can put things away in.” Maximize your space by elevating things off of the floor and adding shelves.

3. BANISH WORK FROM THE BEDROOM.

Sometimes it can be impossible to completely leave work (and work stress) at the office, but you can at least make an effort to keep it out of the bedroom. Having a desk in the bedroom can completely ruin a relaxing atmosphere, Scott says. “I don’t believe that you should have a work station in the bedroom.”

4. TO COOL DOWN, GO AU NATUREL.

To combat one of the most common sleep problems—overheating—Scott recommends outfitting your bed with natural fibers. “Stearns & Foster, they use a lot of natural fabrics in their materials, which breathe better. So if your mattress breathes, you don’t have a problem with it being too hot,” Scott says. “Better quality sheets also breathe a bit better, they’re not as scratchy, so all of that plays into getting that good sleep.”

Scott also recommends layering your bedding so that you can adjust your temperature over the course of the night. “I love to have the sheets, then a coverlet, then the duvet, then extra blankets, and you can sort of peel them back as you need,” he says.

5. TONE IT DOWN.

Designed by Jonathan Scott for Stearns & Foster

When decorating your bedroom for maximum zen, skip the Crayola colors. “You don’t want anything that’s too jarring or too crazy. So you would never paint a wall red or something like that, because then you wake up and are like, ‘Ah!’” Scott says. “I typically use muted colors in the bedroom. Even if they are beautiful bold colors, still I just do a little bit of a muted tone of it.”

6. STICK TO THESE SIMPLE RULES ABOUT COLOR.

Speaking of color, Scott says that if you keep two guidelines in mind when designing a room it will always look posh and polished. First, “you want to have color repeated at least two or three times throughout in a subtle way so it all blends.” So if you choose turquoise as your accent color, for example, make sure your throws, pillows, and area rug all have hints of turquoise.

Second, Scott says you should have a mix of solid colors and patterns in your design. “You never want to have everything solid, it would be too boring. And you never want to have everything patterned because then it would be too chaotic. So blending your patterns with your colors makes more sophisticated design.”

7. CHANGE WITH THE SEASONS.

Refreshing your room with each new season is not only fun, it can make you more comfortable. “In the winter you want to create a warmer environment, so I use warmer colors.” Scott says. He’ll swap out white and silver accent pieces for copper and brass details, and will change the curtains. “Put in heavier drapes instead of sheers or light curtains in the summer because in the wintertime, most of your heat loss is through the window, so closing drapes actually does help.”

8. MIX AND MATCH HIGH AND LOW.

“The main thing people notice in the bedroom is your bed,” Scott says. “Is it a quality bed? What does the bed frame look like? Is the headboard nice? That’s the main thing. The rest of it you can mix-and-match from more affordable pieces.”

Scott recommends making your own curtains, for instance, by buying material from a local fabric store. And IKEA is one of his go-to places for affordable shelving solutions. “You can even go to discount home stores and they might just have a random pillow or throw and it’s discounted—you can get it for $5 or $10 and it’s beautiful,” Scott says. “You can go to designer stores and you can pay a fortune for these things; nobody would know the difference between you going and finding something more affordable and blending it in.”

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History
The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

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The Force Field Cloak
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Design
This Glowing Blanket Is Designed to Ease Kids' Fear of the Dark
The Force Field Cloak
The Force Field Cloak

Many kids have a security blanket they bring to bed with them every night, but sometimes, a regular blankie is no match for the monsters that invade their imaginations once the lights are off. Now there’s a glow-in-the-dark blanket designed to make children feel safer in bed, no night light required.

Dubbed the Force Field Cloak, the fleece blanket comes in several colorful, glowing patterns that remain invisible during the day. At night, you leave the blanket under a bright light for about 10 minutes, then the shining design will reveal itself in the dark. The glow lasts 8 to 10 hours, just long enough to get a child through the night.

Inventor Terry Sachetti was inspired to create the blanket by his own experiences struggling with scary nighttime thoughts as a kid. "I remember when I was young and afraid of the dark. I would lie in my bed at night, and my imagination would start getting the best of me," he writes on the product's Kickstarter page. "I would start thinking that someone or something was going to grab my foot that was hanging over the side of the bed. When that happened, I would put my foot back under my blanket where I knew I was safe. Nothing could get me under my blanket. No boogiemen, no aliens, no monsters under my bed, nothing. Sound familiar?"

The Force Field Cloak, which has already surpassed its funding goals on both Indiegogo and Kickstarter, takes the comfort of a blanket to the next level. The glowing, non-toxic ink decorating the material acts as a gentle night light that kids can wrap around their whole body. The result, the team claims, is a secure feeling that quiets those thoughts about bad guys hiding in the shadows.

To pre-order a Force Field Cloak, you can pledge $36 or more to the product’s Indiegogo campaign. It is expected to start shipping in January 2018.

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