Now's the time to make sure those heavy flannel sheets and wool blankets of winter are tucked away in storage and replaced with lighter, breathable fabrics for summer.
Materials are crucial. "I like to use cotton and linen," says Denise Rinfret, president of The Rinfret Group, an interior design company based in Manhasset and Manhattan.
"One thing I think linen adds, especially for a summer bed, is texture," says Nancy Pearson, principal of Nancy Pearson LTD, an interior design company based out of Manhattan and Southampton. "The texture of linen makes me think of fresh grass and about being out in nature."
It's also nice to have more than one layer on your bed, especially for chilly evenings, designers say. A cozy throw or coverlet should be within easy reach to add both a touch of warmth and texture. Just because the temperature soars during the day doesn't mean that evening breezes (or overactive air-conditioning) won't bring cooler temperatures at night.
Here are two beds dressed for the season.
THE AFFORDABLE SUMMER BED
Styling an elegant, budget-friendly summer bed doesn't have to cost a fortune. The main focus should be on buying natural fibers such as cotton. For this master bedroom in Atlantic Beach, decorator Denise Rinfret says she wanted to keep the feeling simple and light while still providing a bit of comfort for cooler nights since the home is on the water. "The pillowcases, sheets and the duvet cover are all from Pottery Barn," says Rinfret. The 280-thread-count cotton percale Pearl Embroidered Sheet Set featured here starts at $119.99 for a twin set, and the embroidery is available in eight different colors. To add layers, Rinfret brought in two Metropolitan Grey Langdon Shams bought on sale for $91 each at the Ralph Lauren Outlet and had them embroidered at the Initial Shop in Port Washington. "They can do any kind of print you want, and it's only $15 per pillow," she says. To add color, and account for occasional chills, Rinfret used a Sferra cotton throw ($95 from Gracious Home) at the foot of the bed. "We used a thick herringbone cotton with fringe, because when the bed is all white, you want a pop of color," she says. Rinfret also notes that summer weight duvets from Ikea are an excellent and inexpensive option (starting as low as $7.99) for warmer months. "It's just as good as any quilt you could find," she says.
THE LUXURY SUMMER BED
If you're going to go all out on summer linens, thread count is less important than feel, says designer Nancy Pearson. "I have clients who have said they got 550-thread-count sheets on a discount website, and then I felt the sheets and they felt like burlap," she says. For her own master bedroom in Southampton, she chose black-accented white Lowell sheets by Matouk. "They're made of the finest Egyptian cottons, and you can get them in any color," she says. The cotton percale sheets are woven in Italy, and run about $399 for a twin/queen flat (available through Long Island retailers, including Lagoon Linen in Cedarhurst and English Country Antiques in Bridgehampton). She also used Terra linen euro shams, also from Matouk ($99 each) as well as a matching Terra linen Matouk duvet cover ($448 for queen). After her sheets, Pearson layered on a silk Designers Guild coverlet from Elegant John in East Hampton ($720). "This silk white coverlet reverses to a graphite gray," she says. Then she began to add color and texture. For fun, she used two Mongolian lamb pillows ($500 each, from Home Nature in Southampton) and a single, colorful Hiranya Cobalt Throw Pillow Designer's Guild ($180). Finally, she tossed on extra blankets: a fluffy white merino wool Cloud Throw ($1,065, Home Nature) and a hot pink baby alpaca blanket (her own).
FOR THE BEDSIDE
Warm weather plus air-conditioning can lead to some very thirsty nights. Stay hydrated by keeping a carafe of water and a glass next to the bed. This Chalk Note Glassware has space to scribble sweet dream inscriptions every evening, and it's completely dishwasher safe. $3.95 to $10.95 at Long Island Pier 1 stores and pier1.com
Few materials evoke soft summer breezes and sweet summer nights like linen. Dress your bed as well as you dress yourself by indulging in a set of Stonewashed Belgian Linen Sheets. Available in 13 colors, the machine-washable Belgian flax linen gets softer over time, and it is meant to be tumble dried and tousled for a lived-in look. $69 to $299 by special order at Restoration Hardware, 69 Main Street, East Hampton and on rh.com
Get the best of both worlds at an incredible price with this "Terra" Cotton & Linen Duvet Cover from Nordstrom at Home. Made of 80 percent cotton and 20 percent linen, this raw-edged duvet cover brings casual elegance to any bedroom. It can be machine washed and tumble dried, and is available in white or blue. $128 to $148 at Nordstrom Roosevelt Field and shop.nordstrom.com
Designed in Venice Beach, California, manufactured in Tuscany, and made from either the finest long-staple Egyptian cotton or pure, textured white linen, Venice bedding from Parachute is created with an eye to environmental and social responsibility. Each set is made by weavers using only natural dyes. For every Venice bedding set sold, Parachute donates one bed net to Nothing But Nets, a campaign created by the United Nations Foundation to prevent malaria. From $199 at parachutehome.com
There are pillows, and then there's Technogel Pillows. The luxury sleepers are created with a thick top layer of gel technology that helps regulate body temp to keep you cool at night. The design is also engineered to provide extra help with spinal alignment and pressure point relief, and each pillow comes with a five-year warranty. $179 at technogelworld.com