Comfortable BedYou don’t have to stay at a five-star hotel to enjoy the perfection of an upscale bed. At the end of a long, hard day, there is nothing better than sinking into plush sheets and curling up under the heavy weight of a luxurious comforter. Now you can enjoy all the comfort that a professional sleep concierge provides from the convenience of your own bedroom with just a few simple changes.

Here are some tips to help you transform your ordinary bed into the perfect retreat without breaking the bank to make it happen.

The first step is to upgrade your current mattress by adding a soft topper.

If you have an extra firm mattress and you dream of gentleness, invest in a memory foam topper that will give you the sensation of an expensive mattress without spending thousands on a whole new bed. Once it is in place, add a quilted mattress pad on top to complete the transformation.

Next, you need to select the right sheets.

It sounds simple, but changing your sheets can make an instant difference in how your bedding feels when you crawl under the covers at night. Always opt for the luxury of Egyptian cotton if you have the chance. This is the top cotton grade and it will give you the high quality that keeps your bed feeling brand new for months or even years. Choose a higher thread count to insure the sheets are soft and never stiff or scratchy. It’s easy to find 400 and 500 thread counts at an affordable price if you shop around at local bedding stores and look for deals online.

Don’t make the mistake of guessing the size you need, an especially common error made by future college students who are purchasing sheets for a mattress they have yet to see; if this is a predicament you’re facing, you’ll probably need twin XL sheets. Sites like OCM specialize in dorm bedding and come in all sorts of awesome colors and patterns.

Now you have assembled the skeleton of your new bed and it’s time to start adding the toppings.

Begin by covering your mattress pad with a fitted sheet, tucking in the corners tightly. The next layer should be a flat sheet in a coordinating color and the same high thread count as your base layer. Tuck in the bottom of the flat sheet and smooth out the rest to cover the bed with the top of the sheet resting right where you head would normally be positioned.

On top of the flat sheet, add a soft cotton blanket. This should ideally be thin so you don’t get hot during the night, but this extra layer will add just enough weight to the bedding so that you can enjoy that “hotel bed” sensation when you curl up under the covers. Most people skip this cotton blanket, not understanding that this is arguably the biggest difference between five-star bedding and an ordinary home bedroom. I personally use this Sun Yin blanket that can be found at Sears. Don’t underestimate the importance of that soft blanket!

The final layer is the comforter or duvet.

Opt for a down comforter that isn’t overwhelmingly thick. If you are allergic to feathers, you can find down alternatives that are just as soft and luxurious.

For a complete hotel feeling, choose a light color like white or cream. Just make sure the bedding is machine washable to avoid frequent trips to the dry cleaner when you want to freshen up your bed. Once your duvet is in place, fold down the top three layers (duvet, cotton blanket, and flat sheet) so they lay neatly below the area where your pillows will rest.

Finish off the bed with plush pillows that are soft and customized to your sleep style.

You can find affordable pillows specifically designed for your personal sleep position. Crate&Barrel is always my first stop when I look for pillows, but big box stores such as Walmart or K-mart may have more affordable options. The level of firmness should be chosen based on whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach. For the ultimate comfort, try a down or down alternative pillow.

With a few simple changes to your current bedding, you can transform your old bed into a luxurious paradise worthy of a fancy hotel. Invest in quality sheets and comfortable pillows and you will be amazed at what a difference it makes when you crawl under the covers at night.