life in a tiny apartment.

October 16, 2013

Tip #82: Choose white sheets.

Not all tiny apartments have tiny sleeping lofts, but some do, and even if yours doesn’t, unless you sleep on a futon or a murphy bed, there’s no way that your bed doesn’t loom large in your space. How’s that for double negatives? Keeping your bed neat and tidy goes almost without saying (though of course, I do say it in Tip #24); but a recent switch to white bed sheets has been the real game changer in our tiny nook.

I’ve been putting off buying new sheets because I hold out hope against hope that one day we might one day soon live in a space large enough to host a queen-sized bed. But now that it’s going on 2.5 years in this tiny apartment, I broke down and bought an inexpensive set of whites to serve in the interim.

And, “Ahhhhhh!” The angels are singing.

Background: We started out with a set of bright yellows, but they didn’t really match anything else and the bottom sheet ripped down the middle rendering them useless. Then came a set of baby blues. The bottom sheet of this duo turned a mysterious three shades lighter than the top sheet in the wash, and I felt like I was walking into a college boy’s dorm room every time I scrambled to the top of the ladder. Not good. Finally, there were dark greys. An apparent run-in with bleach turned those into a set of Halloween-inspired sheets, all flecked in orange. Festive!

So: white. Surely I’ll complain about James’s drool rings before too long, but for now, white’s the clear winner.

What about you? What’s dressing your beds lately?

Tiny Apartment Survival Tips #1 – 81.

PS. More on that bit of greenery, right here.

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  • Reply Caroline October 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    We have a set of white and a striped set. I love both, but I have to say, the striped set does win points for making it easy to figure out quickly which is the short end of the fitted sheet.

    • Reply Pat October 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      LOL! I finally used a Sharpie and marked an X on both ends of my fitted sheets. Problem solved.

  • Reply Ashely Schneider October 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Where did you get your white sheets? In the market as well!

    • Reply Erin October 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      Honestly: A total impulse buy at a discount store a few weeks ago. We have a set of Organic Cotton sheets from West Elm that we got for our wedding. They seem *lovely*, but we haven't used them yet since they're Queen-sized!

  • Reply omoriala October 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    I totally agree. I have two sets of plain white sheets that are the Threshold organic cotton brand from Target. Well worth it, and not even that pricey for organic cotton. When mine start to look dingy, I just soak them in the bathtub with several scoops of oxygen bleach works wonders.

    • Reply Erin October 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      Thanks for the source tip! A soak in the bathtub seems like a good idea!

  • Reply olga October 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Same place as you – on white sheets. Somehow, my husband's pillowcases (and side of the bed) gets yellow spots from drool or what have you. But I'm staunchly pro white sheets. Do you have a brand you like? I'm also looking for inexpensive!

    • Reply Erin October 17, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Same! I'll let you guys know if I come across a brand that I love.

  • Reply Jay October 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I'm all about the white sheets. I buy one set of really nice, soft sheets and use them until they wear out. It makes such a difference crawling into a bed that is outfitted well.

  • Reply Julia Barger October 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    White is ALWAYS a good choice!

  • Reply J and H from Beyond The Stoop October 16, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    i never thought sheets were ever an isues until 3 years ago when i moved in with my boyfriend. i bought white sheets because at the time i was using mega-potent face wash that bleached everything my face touched. however, it only took a few months and his side of the bed and his pillowcases were SO gross and yellow and oily. i moved towards light green sheets, and his side is STILL gross! i put bleach in the washer, but apparently it wasn't potent enough for his grossness. i guess i have to go back to white and start soaking them in the bathtub like omoriala…

  • Reply Linda October 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    although my sleeping space doesn't seem as cramped as yours, i've always preferred white sheets over others. once in a while i'll go with a light pattern or motif, but 95% of the time it's white. it definitely brightens up the space since the bed takes up so much room, and that's a plus when there's not much space. =)

  • Reply momentstoyears October 16, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    ALWAYS white sheets. I don't even enjoy my plum purple and spring green sheets any longer, give me white, bleachable sheets any day!!

  • Reply emily @ cabin fervor October 16, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    White sheets for us too — they're the perfect clean slate for good dreams. 🙂 I'm still looking for the right brand though. After 7+ years of sharing a double bed with my broad-shouldered linebacker husband, we're finally graduating to a queen soon and I'm on the prowl for better quality bedding.

  • Reply Archana | my SoCald life October 16, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    We have white sheets as well! I toyed with the idea of stripes, polka, ikat or any of the fun prints available at Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, but then there was something so crisp and comforting — and easy on the eyes before winding down for bed — about pure whites. We got our sheets and duvet cover at TJ Maxx. I do like sleeping on a (cheap) satin pillow, but those pretty much never come in white. So those are a maroon I brought from my parents' house, but if guests come over, I easily slide those on the bottom for hiding 🙂

  • Reply Drake Collins October 16, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I actually own almost no white fabric whatsoever. It's impossible to keep it white, and the chemicals that go into the vain attempt at doing so are not good for the environment. I love the look of the all-white breezy bedroom, but it only seems to work in magazines. My bedroom's colors are a light grey-blue, and chocolate brown. The Sheets are Brown, because I tried the blue at first and they ended up just as dingy looking as white would.

    • Reply Erin October 17, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      I was in this camp for a long time, Drake. But I'm hoping that I can keep these whites bright without chemicals!

  • Reply Marygrace October 16, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Wise advice. We had ivory sheets for a long time, and they were fine. Then I found these yellow floral ones that were really pretty and quirky in a Brady Bunch bedroom sort of way. I put them on the bed, but they, of course, went with nothing in our room, and something about it just felt off. Like I was trying too hard. I went back to the ivory and feel much more like myself. The room looks better, too.

  • Reply Sam | ashore October 16, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    yes, white bedding! I have white sheets right now but switch to a set of light gray flannels in the winter, which is one of the few welcome parts of the cold coming. In other news, just read your post about the plant on Gardenista and then clicked through to Fiddle Leaf Figs … is it kooky to start a houseplant wish list? Because I'm doing it.

    • Reply Erin October 17, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      Sounds just right to me!

  • Reply Jennifer October 17, 2013 at 12:38 am

    always white, and always a high thread count :o)

  • Reply Britty Wesely October 17, 2013 at 1:21 am

    Agreed! Glad to know I'm not the only one who has tried every color under the sun, only to return to the simple, basic staple of white sheets. Looks great!

  • Reply Anonymous October 17, 2013 at 4:18 am

    Du blanc, du blanc, du blanc !! Percale sheets and vintage linen pillow cases, because the good thing about white is that you can mix and match.

    • Reply Erin October 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Yes! We have linen pillow cases on our bolsters right now!

  • Reply Abby October 17, 2013 at 11:46 am

    It's funny that you say the yellow sheets were useless when they ripped–my great-grandmother deliberately ripped sheets down the middle when they were growing too worn. Then she sewed them back together along the hemmed sides, so that the less-worn areas would be in the middle. A weird kind of frugality!

    • Reply Erin October 17, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Oy. An amazing kind of frugality! Wish I was as handy!

  • Reply kristyn October 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    White sheets are the way to go. Still trying to convince my man of that. He is dead set on dark sheets–for now!

  • Reply Anne Tews October 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I've got blue flannel on my bed now. I broke down now that it's getting to the 1st hard frost of the season in MN. I also have a set that's a pink fitted sheet with white top sheet & pillow cases. My 2 sets of summer sheets are either a plain pink or white with flowers on them. I like that last set the best. I don't like the blue flannels much anymore….

  • Reply Linn October 17, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I'm in for purple right now, some of them patterned but most of them plain. If you live small I think white is always a good idea. On everything. My apartment isn't that big and I love my white walls. It looks brighter and bigger.

  • Reply Little Miss Know-it-all October 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    White Ikea linen has been wonderful through the hot summer months but now it's time for the dark pink/red patterned set for winter – so cosy and not a problem when everything around the bed is white (and we have two windows in our tiny bedroom!)…

  • Reply paper squirrel November 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Love the blanket in the picture. Where did you get it? Is it wool?

  • Reply Zoe January 26, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    I love the little lamp!! I know I'm over a year late to this, but I just discovered your blog and have spent the day at work (oops) reading the history of your tiny space posts.
    Any chance you remember where the lamp is from?

    • Reply Erin January 26, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      No worries! Thanks so much for reading! I got the lamp at ABC Carpet & Home (a Christmas gift certificate find!)! I don't think they sell it online, but could be worth a search!

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