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Pillow Talk: How many pillows does it take to create your perfect bed?

From The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 8, 2008
By Patricia Rivera

For many people, especially in tough times, a bed and some fluffy pillows can be a real sanctuary. Even the sight of a bed with its top half brimming over with lush pillows can soothe the nerves, as many people who are coping with a stagnant economy are discovering these days.

"People find great comfort in nesting in this safe and serene space," says Beryn Hammil, an interior designer in San Francisco. But how many pillows are too many?

"Depends on who you ask," says Hammil. For example, she says, take the main characters in the movie "Along Came Polly." In the film Reuben (Ben Stiller) spends four minutes each morning and four minutes each evening fluffing throw pillows and placing them on his bed. When Polly (Jennifer Aniston) enters his life she immediately wonders why he wastes so much valuable time doing that.

Hammil's point: The more pillows you have, the more time consuming it is to arrange them every day.

New Mexico Feng Shui practitioner and consultant Carol M. Olmstead isn't sure that a large number of pillows is a good thing. She says that having too many pillows on your bed can send the wrong message to a partner and disrupt the balance and harmony she's helping her clients achieve in their homes.

"If you're sleeping with so many pillows, you don't have room for anyone else in your bed, literally or figuratively," Olmstead says. In Feng Shui philosophy, she explains, a bed overflowing with too many pillows is a signal that you want to keep this space your own; that it's not a place you want to share. Olmstead prefers to use two sleeping pillows and two throw pillows.

"You simplify your life with fewer pillows. You don't have to worry about keeping them clean and off the floor," she says.

Hammil sleeps at the other end of the spectrum. She has 11 pillows on her bed; three longer European pillows lean against the headboard along with two average-sized pillows that she actually sleeps on. She uses the remaining six pillows to create a desirable mood.

"You use the smaller throw pillows at different angles in front of the wrapped sleeping pillows to give the appearance of having been casually thrown onto the bed," she says.

She sometimes recommends to her clients that they add a small neck roll pillow - which adds elegance and whimsy - as the last pillow layer.

Each night, Hammil puts five of her pillows at the foot of a blanket stand next to her bed.

Those who don't have a blanket stand can use a footlocker, hope chest or even a windowsill to store the pillows for the night, she adds.

On weekends, Hammil takes a break from the throw pillows and leaves them off the bed. She wants the bed to be available for afternoon naps after a busy day in the garden or at a park.

But during the week she uses them all because they help make her bed into an oasis.

"You'll have a bed that's like an inviting cloud for you to fall into at the end of each day," she says.

© Copyright 2024, Carol Olmstead