A few summers ago I decided I needed to give my house a little facelift. Most of my décor was gifted to me 14 years ago at my wedding. While it was all lovely and fashionable in 2003, many items were starting to show their age.
One of things I was certain needed updating was the comforter in our master bedroom. I wanted my bedroom to be fresh and modern and clean. That meant my red and green plaid bedspread had to go.
As I gathered ideas for my update, I started to pay attention to bedrooms on television, movies, and social media. I started to see a common theme in modern bedrooms. White.
White walls, white blankets, white pillows, white rugs, white accents, and white comforters.
Even my late night Netflix binges reinforced this color scheme. Olivia Pope and Lorelai Gilmore both had bright white duvet covers at one point or another in their respective bedrooms.
In any other room of my house I would avoid white at all costs. I have four kids. They eat and play and craft and color and wrestle all over my furniture. I know better than to set myself up for that type of disappointment in common spaces, but my bedroom is not common. It’s my space, and I can control the mess in that room more than anywhere else in my house.
I became convinced that a new white comforter would be not only the focal point of my freshly decorated bedroom but also an opportunity for me to have a space decorated for me, not for my kids.
As I was shopping for the perfect pristine bedspread, several people tried to caution me against white. My friends said it would show dirt easily and my husband reminded me that all it would take was one set of sticky fingers or a late night stomach bug to destroy the whole thing.
Still, I would not be dissuaded. I was sure I was more than capable of keeping a white comforter nice and white in my own bedroom at 38 years of age.
After all, didn’t I deserve to have a bedroom as beautiful as the stars of Scandal and Gilmore Girls?
Certainly I did. So I purchased a white pintuck comforter set with matching drapes and accent pillows.
With great excitement, I replaced my dated bedding with its fresh new alternative. Almost instantly—less than 24 hours instantly—I realized that I had made a terrible mistake.
No, it didn’t fall victim to a dirty child’s messy hands or an upset stomach. My kids had, in fact, barely noticed its arrival.
But that night when I crawled into my own bed, my mental dialogue was harsh. “Hey!” I told myself, “Watch how tightly you tug on the bedspread; you don’t want you to pull out a pintuck! Oh, and make sure you fold the sheets over the top edge a few inches so you don’t get it dirty!”
In the days that followed, I continued to make silly rules for our family in an attempt to protect my new purchase:
“No laying on top of the comforter!”
“If you feel sick use the blanket under the bed instead!”
“Don’t use the accent pillows as actual pillows; lay them gently on the floor before you climb into bed!”
“No kids on the bed…ever!”
It was ridiculous. I was ridiculous.
Because even when following all the rules, my bedspread got dirty. Things get dirty and things are just things. Why was I welcoming unnecessary stress by insisting otherwise?
Why would I choose to be grouchy about the upkeep of a replaceable item? Was it worth sucking the joy out of everyday moments with the people I love most?
I revere Olivia Pope and Lorelai Gilmore as much as the next Netflix addict, but they are not real people. They are characters on television shows. Set designers decorate their faux master suites, while a different set of professionals clean and fluff their bedding between takes.
I am a working mother of four who makes my own bed…most of the time. When I come home at night I want to focus on cuddles and dance parties and distraction-free conversations. I do not need to focus on some self-invented pressure to achieve interior design perfection.
Simply put, my white comforter taught me that perfection is not my reality, nor should it be my goal. It also taught me that, while I might not be able to keep my bedspread (or my life) pristine and perfect, I can still love them both because of their imperfections, not in spite of them.
A comforter is no reason to be losing sleep.