Elevate your Sleeping

Elevate your Sleeping: Benefits of Adjustable Mattress Bases

 

Picture this scenario, you have a head cold and its time for bed.  You know you’re in for a restless night’s sleep full of difficult breathing, snoring, and general discomfort.  That is the exact scenario I was facing a few weeks ago.  Thankfully with a little bit of elevation from my adjustable bed, I was soon breathing easier which means less snoring which means my wife was happy.  It is a pleasure to be more rested but more importantly as the old saying goes, “Happy wife, happy life.”  We purchased our adjustable base last winter and has been a pleasure to own.  In this blog I am going to address a few of the benefits adjustable beds provide.  With a little knowledge you may find one beneficial for you as well.

1.     Easier Breathing, Less Snoring:  As I mentioned before, adjustable bases help you breathe easier and results in less snoring.  The reason for this is because the windpipe is more restricted when laying down flat according to healthguidance.org.  Even raising your head slightly allows for easier air flow. Easier airflow means better breathing which helps ease and quiet snoring.  So that means if you’re are the snorer you sleep more rested and so does your partner since you no longer sound like a jet engine.  That’s what we call a win-win.  On a personal level I definitely raise my bed up a bit more when I am congested.  It truly makes a world of difference.

2.     Ease pain:  One of the biggest challenges Americans face in getting a good night’s rest is pain.  Back pain in particular seems to affect an incredible number of adults.  When suffering from a chronic condition of even a temporary ailment.  Changing the pitch of your mattress and often provide some relief.  Different positions relieve pressure from different locations such as back, neck and shoulder, hip and legs. This also applies to swelling feet and ankles for swelling.  This is an incredibly valuable non-medicinal aid for a better night’s sleep.

3.      Fun and relaxation:  An adjustable base really does make being in bed more fun and relaxing.  Do you ever read or watch television in bed?  If you are one of the many folks who enjoys unwinding and relaxing in bed, an adjustable is perfect for you.  No more straining and stretching to see the television or moving your book around to catch both light and a comfortable position.  The base has certainly made spending time in bed more comfortable and enjoyable.

4.     Partners with different needs:  It is very common for partners and spouses that have different needs and comfort levels.  While some spouses do sleep in separate beds, a split king adjustable base allows you both to manipulate your own side of the bed and achieve a personalized comfort level.  In some instances, couple choose different mattresses to put on their bases.  One may prefer and firm and the other soft.  You can have your preferred comfort level and still sleep next to your loved one.

5.     More digestion, less indigestion:  Many of us enjoy a snack before bed whether we should or not.  One of the issues that arises from this is less than ideal digestion again due to being flat.  Raising up a bit again help counteract this allowing better digestions thus better sleep and better health.  The same is true for indigestion, this will not cure people with chronic indigestion but it can help relieve some of this discomfort associated with that condition.

6.     Style and looks:  This does not really fit “benefit” category exactly but is far from a negative.  A big concern often expressed as a negative about adjustable bases is the look and concern over their existing bed.  Some are worried they will have to get rid of their existing bed thus ruing their set.  That simply is not the case.  The adjustable bases are designed to drop down inside your existing bed.  Just have a head board?  Not a problem.  The bases can be mounted to your existing headboard.  The process is simple and easy and should not be seen as a barrier to getting your adjustable base.

Starting to sound like a good idea?  It certainly does not hurt to try one out.  Come in, test them out and see for yourself.  Different bases offer different features in a variety of price ranges.  Come in to the Blackstone Emporium and see which one works for you!

The Best Cotton Sheets in the World

The Best Cotton Sheets in the World

There is a reason that cotton is the most popular material for bed sheets.  It is both soft and durable making it ideal for sleeping.  That being said, not all cotton is equal.  Just like anything, there are better varieties than others.  If you want the best cotton buy Supima; if you want the best sheets buy Malouf’s Supima Cotton.  It is quite simply the best for reasons we will get into, but let’s back up a minute.  Ever heard the term Egyptian cotton?  For the longest time Egyptian cotton was synonymous with luxury.  If you told your friends about your new Egyptian cotton sheets, you might hear lots of “ooos” and “ahhhhs.”  Unfortunately, many of the sheets, even those with ridiculously high thread counts, are second rate at best.  “Excuse me, what?!” you might exclaim.  The fact that it comes from Egypt does not indicate quality.  High quality cotton comes from extra-long staple cotton but very little of the cotton produced in the world is extra-long staple.  The vast majority of cotton that comes from Egypt is long staple not extra-long staple.  This “extra” does in fact make a big difference because the longer the fiber, the softer and more durable the thread.  When it comes to cotton, longer fibers are always better.

Extra Long Staple Cotton

            Pima cotton, as it is also known, is the specific species that produces extra-long staple.  In 1954, the term Supima was trademarked by an organization dedicated to growing and researching the finest Pima cotton in the world http://supima.com/faq .  Referred to as Supima, or Superior Pima, this label indicates an assurance of quality because of the careful control and dedication from the farmers.  Pima cotton produced by Supima members is only produced within the United States and only by select farms and farmers in the American southwest.  Quality over quantity is the key.  Supima cotton only accounts for 1% of the world’s cotton production making it highly desirable. Only select brands are allowed to use Supima cotton in order to assure manufacturing quality and to maintain the brand.  When you buy Supima cotton sheets, you are getting the best quality cotton in the world, guaranteed.

Supima Cotton Sheets

            Partnering with the Supima organization, Malouf has taken the very best cotton in the world and created wonderfully luxurious sheets that will help you sleep comfortably for years to come.  Malouf’s Supima Cotton sheets have a 600 thread count single ply design ensuring the softest feel.  Thread count is something commonly embellished in a variety of ways for a better understanding take a look at this simple explanation.  https://www.maloufsleep.com/education/woven/ The sateen weave further provides a softer feel and a more beautiful drape for your bed. Anything over 600 is a waste of thread due to the dramatic diminishing returns on higher thread counts.  Designed to easily fit any mattress, the deep pockets fit up to 22” deep and feature a strong elastic band on the fitted sheet ensuring it fits your mattress securely.  An industry leading warranty of 5 years backs this wonderful product.  Invest in your sleep and stop sleeping on mediocre sheets.  Make the transition to Supima cotton from Malouf and you will not regret it.  Available now on our website for the best deals.  Come on into the Blackstone Emporium and see and feel them for yourself!

Benjamin Winn,

Wanting you to sleep like Royalty

Blackstone Emporium

When should I buy a new Mattresses?

When should I buy a new Mattresses?

 

The sooner you know it is time to purchase a new mattress the better.  Unfortunately, people often ignore the signs and suffer as a result.  Waiting too long means losing restful sleep.  Without restful sleep your productivity decreases as does your quality of life.  It is not a great leap to say when you are rested you are happier.  This means having a comfortable and supportive mattress is crucial for a healthy, happy life.  The best answer to this question is listen to your body.  This is not always easy for a variety of reasons; here are some things to be on the lookout for:

Are you sore and achy?

When you wake up in the morning, how do you feel?  Pain in your hips, back and shoulder is not what you are supposed to feel.  As the mattress ages and degrades, your body will be less supported which leads to discomfort. The problem with this is that human beings are adaptable.  We can get used to most anything so long as it is gradual over a period of time.  Often customers talk about staying in a nice hotel and having such an amazing night’s rest only to return home and feel miserable.  At some point either their comfort level changed or the mattress no longer supported them.  Without staying in the hotel, it may have been a while before they realized there was a problem.  Be mindful of your body and the signs its giving.

How long have you had your mattress?

Have you had your mattress longer than ten years?  If yes, it is time to consider a new set.  The number of years a set should last will very.  Typical warranties on national brand sets are for ten years.  This generally applies to body indentations and sagging not the comfort level.  Additionally, your desired comfort level may have changed during that time period.  A firmer or possibly softer feel may be better.  Consider this as well.  Over the course of ten years, your body secretes quite a lot of moisture and sheds dead skin cells.  Unless you have a quality mattress protector, all of that goes straight into your mattress.  Unpleasant but true.  Keeping mattresses for a long time can be unsanitary in addition to uncomfortable.  Something else to consider is that with constant improvements in technology mattress are simply better than they were ten years ago.  Just like with an iPhone or television, you may want to see how a up to date mattress set feels.

Has your lifestyle or body changed?

Has something fundamentally changed in your life?  If you have been sleeping alone and are now sharing your bed with a partner, you may need to consider changing mattress types or even size.  Old fashioned innerspring mattresses tend to be more sensitive to weight transfer.  People who move around a lot of sleep on different schedules often disrupt their partners sleep.  Many new mattresses use specific technology to minimize or even cancel out weight transfer.  Have your recently started sharing your bed with a partner and are feeling crowded.  Increasing from a full to queen, or to a king when space permits, may help sleep more soundly.  Medications and normal life events such as menopause often lead to increased temperature sensitivities.  If you are now hot natured, consider a mattress with cooling effects or vice-versa.  Injuries or surgeries can often alter how you sleep and should be considered when determining whether a new mattress or adjustable base may improve your quality of life.

Conclusion

If you are questioning whether it is time to purchase a new mattress; Now is the time to start looking.  It never hurts to see what is out there.  If your mattress is approaching ten years, start looking now.  Being proactive will prevent there being a time when you are sore and miserable due to an old mattress.  Take your spouse or partner when you look and see what works for both of you.  Visit Blackstone Emporium and lay down on some mattress systems.  See what works for you and your needs.  Few things are better than waking rested; come and find out for yourself!

Benjamin Winn,

Chief advocate for throwing that 30 year old mattress away,

Blackstone Emporium

 

Explanation of Leather Types

Explanation of Leather Types

           There are few upholstery covers that generate more questions and confusion than leather.  Understanding leather requires vocabulary not generally used outside of the furniture or tanning world.  Lucky for me, my job requires me to know.  Unluckily for me, even I need constant refreshing in order to keep it all straight.  Writing a blog post on the topic proverbially “kills two birds with stone.”  I am going to explain some of the common forms of leather seen on furniture and related terms.  With this knowledge, shopping for your next leather sofa or chair will be less daunting and more enjoyable.  Without further ado, here we go.

Top Grain Leather

            When leather is processed, the leather is separated into different layers with the top layer being referred to as “top grain leather.” Thankfully this one is easy.  “Top grain” literally refers to the top grain of the hide.  Not only is the top portion of the leather more durable and softer, is also contains the natural grain.  Because of this, top grain leather is commonly used on upholstery.  The only down side is the price.  Top grain leathers are generally more expensive, but they last longer and age better.  

Split Grain Leather

“Splits” are the layers under the top grain.  Think of splits as the cheaper version of its classier brother.  Often Splits are often embossed with a pattern in order to give it a grain. These are primarily used on the backs and sides of upholstery to save a little money.  The vast majority of the leather on upholstery is top grain, but I would always advise on asking.  Do not fear a sofa or recliner with a split back and side!  It will wear just fine and save you some money.  On a side note technically suede is made from split grain leathers and a unique abrasion process.  It feels amazingly soft; however, it is far from durable.

Corrected Grain, and Pigmenting

            Okay so now the we know the difference between leather types.  Let’s get into the finishing and dying process.  One of the common production processes is correcting the leather’s grain pattern.  Machines are used to buff and remove natural imperfections.  When this is complete an embossing machine applies a simulated grain to the leather in order to give a uniform pattern.  This provides a much cleaner looking leather that some people prefer.  The leather is then pigmented or colored in a manner to further hide the imperfection but also gives a nice protective coating for some of the most wear friendly leather available.

Full Aniline

            Aniline is a word often seen accompanying leather.  It refers to the dye used to color the hide.  Aniline dyes are transparent in order to bring out the natural characteristics and beauty of the leather.  You will typically see strong grain patterns, scars, and other distinctive marks.  Coloration will vary throughout the pieces adding to the luxury look.  In addition to luxury looks aniline dyes also provide a supple and luxurious hand or feel to the piece.  Customers who want as natural and soft a look as possible should look for aniline leather.  As time progresses, the leather will age more naturally and develop a patina enhancing the look.  Because the dye is transparent, it generally lacks a protective coating. This means it is more sensitive to excessive light and heat which can lead to fading.  Additionally, specialized cleaners should be used when dealing with aniline.  Aniline is a great choice for the softest and richest looking leathers but requires a little more special care.

Semi-Aniline

            You may see this type go by several names including, aniline plus, pigmented or protected.  Almost exactly like fully aniline leathers with a slight difference.  The aniline dye is the same, however a protective layer or coating is then applied.  This makes the leather more resistant to life accidents and general wear and tear.  This is a much better option for families with indoor animals such as cats, dogs, or children.  Just kidding on that last one.  These leathers are still supple but not quite as soft as their full aniline cousins.  Protective build ups can also hide some of the grain pattern and natural characteristics as result.  Think of semi-aniline as high-performance leather that looks and feels great and will better maintain a consistent look for many years.  This is a great middle ground between the Full Aniline and corrected leathers.

Bonded Leather

            I hate to even bring this up, but I feel it is necessary.  It is basically all the scraps left over from leather production that is shredded up and has a coating sprayed on to hold it together.  Because it is derived from the cast offs and synthetic material, it is cheap.  When I say cheap, I do not mean inexpensive, I mean cheap. The backing of the cover is the only leather on the item.  If you are seeing a leather looking sofa and the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.  Everyone has a different budget which is completely understandable.  Just be forewarned, bonded leather does not hold up very long.  There are better options including heavy duty polyesters engineered to look like leather and polyester with polyurethane blends that feel more like leather.  The reason I bring this up is that customers frequently tell me about the “leather” sofa they purchased that was horrible and fell apart.  More than likely they purchased bonded leather.  There is nothing wrong with purchasing a bonded leather sofa if that is what you want but buying one, and thinking it is real leather is not okay.

Conclusion

            This is a fairly cursory explanation; however, it should allow you to ask informed questions when purchasing leather upholstery.  Whether you are looking for the exquisite beauty of full aniline leather, or heartier and less expensive corrected grain leathers, do some research.  Knowing the characteristics of the of the leather types will help you make an informed decision based on your unique needs.  Ask your sales representative questions.  If she or he does not know, they can probably find out relatively easily as most samples of leather are labeled accordingly.  Stop in and see us and some gorgeous leather in person!

 

Benjamin Winn,

Leather Guru

Blackstone Emporium

Zoned Dough Pillows

Hey everyone, I wanted to write a mini post on the new pillows we have available at Blackstone Emporium and highlight one in particular.  The revolutionary zoned dough technology offers all the benefits of memory foam and none of the downsides.  The unique zoned structure provides excellent neck support while cradling your head for superior spine alignment.  This is achieved by creating holes of varied sizes in the pillows structure.  In addition to creating a durable and luxury feel, they also ventilate the pillow allowing for better temperature regulation.  All of these pillows feature this amazing zoned technology, however the unique design allowed the engineers to further refine and differentiate their pillows.  The one I want to talk about today is the Zoned Dough + Bamboo Charcoal.  By infusing their dough foam with bamboo charcoal, the standard pillow is greatly enhanced.  The infusion further enhances the temperature regulation of the standard zoned dough pillow for a cooler pillow.  Additionally bamboo charcoal naturally eliminates odors, absorbs and wicks excess moisture for a dryer and healthier pillow.  This works well with the amazing bamboo velour cover that is super soft and washable.  All of this culminates into a superior and more environmentally friendly pillow.  This is a great pillow option for someone with sensitive skin, allergies, asthma or looking for a healthy comfortable pillow.  It is available in both king and queen sizes as well as in both mid loft (6 inches) and high loft 7 inches. A bigger person would be better served with a higher loft which offers more support.  Explore our offerings and find the perfect pillow for you!

Benjamin Winn

What is a Sleep System?

What is a sleep system and why should I care?

 

Sleep, everybody does it and probably wishes they could do it more.  Getting quality sleep is crucial to both our physical and mental health.  Today’s world moves at breakneck speed and is filled with distractions and stressors that impact our health.  We have all seen the studies talking about how little sleep Americans which means when we do sleep it is vital to get quality sleep.  When it comes to optimizing your sleeping, a comprehensive sleep system will give you the advantage.  In this blog I will try and cover the basic components of the sleep system in an overview so that this does not turn into something like a Russian novel in length.  Specific components will be covered in greater depth and detail soon.

What is a sleep system?  I never thought you would ask.  A sleep system is a comprehensive setup designed to offer optimal comfort so that you may better rest and sleep during your precious down time.  At the core of this system is your mattress. Mattresses are the starting point for assembling your perfect sleep system.  Everyone has a unique body and therefore unique preferences.  This is reflected in the incredible variety of mattresses available.  The most important thing to remember is to choose the right mattress for you!  There are many factors to consider but the most important is that you are comfortable and supported.  Take some time when shopping and actually lay on the mattresses.  Sitting on the edge tells you very little about how it feels.  You do not have to buy the most expensive mattress, but I encourage you to choose the mattress that is most comfortable for you.

After the mattress you must consider the proper foundation in order to support your mattress and ensure it holds up properly.  The terms “box spring” and “foundation” are usually interchangeable these days and come and are generally sold in sets.  It is usually a bad idea to place your new mattress on an old foundation for two important reasons.  First, the mattress may not be adequately supported causing it to sag and deform prematurely.  Second, it generally voids your new mattresses warranty which is bad.

An important piece of many sleep systems, and one you should consider, is an adjustable base. These bases are used instead of foundations and allow you to move your head and feet up and down in order to achieve positions more comfortable to your body.  They also help you better relax and unwind in bed.  It is amazing the difference raising your head and feet a few inches can make. These are particularly helpful to people who suffer from a variety of common ailments including acid reflux, hiatal hernia and more.  Again, your sleep system should satisfy your needs and increase comfort.  Try one out and see for yourself.

Other accessories should be given important consideration as well, including but not limited to sheets, pillows, mattress protectors, air purifiers and essential oils.  Invest in durable and comfortable sheets that regulate temperature and give you the desired softness.  No matter how comfortable or expensive your mattress is, cheap scratchy sheets will not help you sleep.  The same can be said for pillows.  Check out some different styles and find the one the best fits you.  Are you a side sleeper?  Perhaps a pillow with a cut out for your shoulder that smells of lavender or chamomile would suit nicely.  The importance of mattress protectors and encasements cannot be over stated.  Their purpose is to keep your mattress clean and hygienic.  At the minimum it should be water proof and dust mite proof but also consider getting bedbug proof encasements.  Speaking from personal experience, they really do help with allergies. Additionally, they are also important to protect your warranty.  Many warranties expressly state that the mattress be kept clean and sanitary. And do not worry, a quality protector will not be felt under your sheets.

The main point of this, if any, is that a one size fits all approach should not be taken.  At Blackstone Emporium we encourage you to explore all our options.  Find your specific mattress, foundations, adjustable bases, pillows, sheets and encasements.  Take a comprehensive approach to your sleep.  As my grandfather jokingly used to say, “I was just an average looking man too, until I got my new mattress; see what you have to look forward to!” Get a new lease on life with an optimized sleep system.  Come see us and start sleeping better!

Benjamin Winn,

Sales Associate and Purveyor of an Excellent Night’s Sleep

Blackstone Emporium

Cats and the Art of Cleaning Fabrics

This past weekend, my lovely wife’s new kitten decided to try out our sofa instead of the litter box much to our chagrin.  Since cats as a species lack opposable thumbs the job to cleaning fell to us.  After successfully spot cleaning the sofa, I figured it might be helpful to write a blog post regarding basic upholstery cleaning.  One of the most common questions asked when we sell upholstery is how to clean the items and the ever-vague answer is, it depends.  There are a variety of factors that dictate how the cleanup should be done, and below are the three most important factors.

1.        There is a cleaning code on your furniture.

The cleaning code found on the item’s manufacturers tag is located either under the cushion or underneath the item itself.  This will indicate what kind of cleaner to use.  For instance, if the cleaning code is W the cleaner should be water based, and if it is an S or D, the cleaner should be a dry-clean style solvent.  The reason is that water based cleaners can distort and bleed the colors on dry clean only materials.  Some materials are marked with WS meaning you can use either type of cleaner.  Now we know what the cleaning codes are and as they say, “knowing is half the battle,” or something similar.

 

2.       How do you clean it up?

Once the cleaning code is identified, the next step is to start cleaning up the effected area.  For dirt, food and such, the area should be gently brushed to remove the top layer of grime. Gentle is key so as not to push the soil into the fabric any further.  Think of an old timey archeologist brushing off sand and not Indiana Jones with a stick of dynamite. Light vacuuming may also be necessary.  The next stop is to take a clean cloth and blot the stain with the appropriate solution or soapy water.  Remember, when you blot the area constantly switch to a clean area on your cloth.  Not doing this can lead to accidentally reapplying the dirt you just removed.  Trust me, I have done this with an ink pen when I was not being careful which made things harder than necessary.  Blot gently as the cleaner should be doing most of the work.  Avoid any excessive scrubbing which can be bad for the material.  This method can be used to handle the vast majority of accidents, however for certain uniquely bad spills and the like, do some research or even call a professional. It less expensive to clean something correctly than ruin a nice piece of upholstery.  

 

3.       What should you be looking for in a fabric?

As technology progresses, textile companies are continually striving to invent tougher, more stain resistant fabrics.  At Blackstone Emporium we are proud to offer these materials on the vast majority of our frames.  You have probably heard some of the fabric brands including Sunbrella, Crypton, Revolution, and Lifeguard just to name a few.  They are all designed from the ground up to be superior fabrics that are easy to clean.  Murphy’s law states that anything that can happen will happen. Mistakes and accidents will and due occur.  When they do, it is good to know that your upholstery will hold up.  Performance fabrics are definitely well worth considering when purchasing new furniture if you are at all concerned about extreme wear and tear. 

Thanks!

Benjamin Winn,

Sales Associate, and assistant cat accident cleaner-upper

Blackstone Emporium

A New Year and A New Look

A New Year and a New Look

Happy New Year to everyone!  This is the time to stop and reflect on both the past year and the year to come.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers for their business,  continued loyalty and confidence. We could not do this without you.

With a new year comes renewed optimism to make positive change personally and professionally.  In the spirit of the New Year, Blackstone Emporium has a brand-new website to better showcase our products.  Our new setup will allow us to more easily change and update, keeping things fresh and representative of our current offerings.  The new website will be continually evolving as I add more pages and refine the existing ones.  Certain areas on the website are still under construction and we greatly appreciate your patience while the work continues.  Additionally, I am excited to periodically post blog updates on furniture, bedding and accessories.  We are very excited for the coming year and look forward to the new challenges and adventures it brings.  Whether you are a lifelong customer or seeing us for the first time, we are excited to help furnish your lives.  Come on in and see us!

Benjamin Winn,

Sales Associate, Marketing Associate and General Jack-of-All-Trades

Blackstone Emporium