One of the most debated topics Martin and I considered once we knew we were moving to Switzerland was whether to get American- or European-sized beds. We knew that we would most likely be returning to the States in a few years and we wanted to make sure that we could get the best long-term value for our money. Eventually we settled on European-sized beds. After a lot of searching, we found two beds that were firm enough for Martin and soft enough for me, and seemingly the only Swiss beds that use springs (and not just foam) for support.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been busily searching for bedding and, even though we chose European-sized mattresses, I’ve been struggling to find sheets that fit, either in size or style. I’ve been looking for bedding that fits, ideally cotton percale of a neutral color/pattern and reasonable cost. I naively assumed that since Switzerland was a textile hub, these requirements wouldn’t be hard to meet. Here is what I’ve found so far.
Challenge 1 – Fitting the Mattresses
Our beds have unique dimensions. The Ikea guest bed is a fairly common size (160 x 210cm, slightly narrower and longer than an American queen) but the mattress is much deeper than is common in Switzerland (about 14″) and since it is a combined mattress and box spring with legs, there is not a good way to tuck in flat sheets. Also, our recently delivered master bed is not a common size given its extra 10cm of length to accommodate Martin’s height (180 x 210, nearly a California King in size so it will be easier to find bedding when we return to the States).
Challenge 2 – Cotton Percale
Here the prevailing fabric of choice for sheeting is cotton jersey or a nearly see-through satin. I love t-shirts, but not sleeping on jersey sheets. I feel like I stick to them. The satin is just too thin and too slick.
Challenge 3 – Swiss Florals
I love a good pattern, but I have serious reservations about the choices of Swiss bedding designers. The majority of the patterns are crazy florals and plaids in colorways that seem wrong in any decade. Even the elite Swiss bedding designers like Christian Fischbacher and Schlossberg Switzerland have made some bad choices with florals, but at least their collections are redeemed by lots of neutral textures. The only problem is, I cannot afford their sheets.
Challenge 4 – Price
Those of you that know me well know that I am not cheap, but I cannot fathom paying >$200 for one fitted sheet or >$500 for a basic duvet cover, especially when most of the bedding here is based on the assumption that you don’t use a flat sheet, and just rotate duvet covers and fitted sheets as bedding. Since I have yet to see a Swiss bed that is actually outfitted in any of the crazy patterns I’ve seen, I guess somebody is buying these fancy sheets. I’m hoping I’ll see some Schlossberg or Fischbacher bedding at an “Aktion!” sale price in the next few months.
Until then, I’ll be: (1) adjusting to sleeping on jersey, (2) getting my personal shopper, Greta, to send me a few packages, and (3) learning to sew extra deep fitted sheets. I’ll enjoy the challenge, and I’ll let you know if I ever come across a bed actually outfitted in one of these floral patterns.