Ariel Kaye founded the brand Parachute in Los Angeles in 2014 to sell high-quality bedding. She became known for her soft, comfortable sheets, towels, robes, rugs and mattresses. Her first book, “How to Make a House a Home,” was released this spring.
Kaye joined staff writer Jura Koncius recently for The Washington Post’s Home Front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.
Q: It’s about to get humid in New York. What types of sheets should I purchase to avoid overheating at night?
A: Linen is a great fabric for summer for those living in hot and humid climates. Linen fibers are hollow, which allows air and moisture to move throughout. Ancient Egyptians prized the fabric for its wicking properties and breathability. It’s actually a great fabric year-round; during the winter months, the hollow fiber acts as a natural insulator and helps retain body warmth as temperatures drop. Swap out your duvet cover and heavier insert for a lightweight quilt or a top sheet to avoid overheating.
Q: I have a hard time finding soft throws that are washable. Why are these hard to find?
A: Throws are generally made from more delicate fabrics such as merino wool, alpaca and cashmere. The texture and quality of the fabric is what makes a good throw so nice to cuddle up in. Personally, I love to use our quilt on the couch when I want to read a book or watch some TV. It’s made from linen and percale, so it’s the ideal weight for getting cozy. Plus, it’s machine washable.
Q: Do I need to use a top sheet?
A: When I started Parachute, I knew that about 40% of Americans choose not to sleep with a top sheet. I happen to be one of them! We decided to make the top sheet an option to purchase rather than include it in our bedding bundle. Why pay for something you don’t need or use? I find it ends up tangled at the end of the bed, so I prefer to skip that layer.
Q: I’m trying to make my bed a sanctuary. I find my husband and I relish freshly laundered sheets in this stressful time, so I seem to be changing our bed linens twice a week. What else do you recommend to enhance that experience?
A: We recommend washing linens every seven to 10 days. If you feel like changing more frequently, I would add a wool dryer ball to your machine to soften the fabric and decrease the drying time. I love to add a few drops of lavender essential oil to my dryer balls to make my laundry smell even more fresh and inviting. We also partnered with the skin-care company Osea on a Rest Linen Mist that is lovely to spray before bed. It has natural lavender, geranium, peppermint, sage and essential oils.
Q: What are the best ways to make a new one-bedroom apartment feel like home for someone in their mid-20s, especially when on a budget?
A: Play with color and texture to create a warm and comfortable vibe. I love white walls and soft grays or tans to create a sense of calm; a fresh layer of paint can be done inexpensively. I also love to add soft touches — a cozy rug, layered blankets and a wall hanging or framed art to add dimension to any room. Parachute also recently launched a free virtual styling consultation service, which might be a good resource, too.
Q: How do I care for bedsheets? These new front-loading machines can really take their toll on fabrics.
A: We recommend you use low heat in both the washer and dryer. Use dryer balls to help reduce the time it takes to dry sheets. Never overload the machine. Wash and dry sheets with sheets — avoid throwing other clothing items, especially those with zippers, in at the same time.
Q: Do pillowcases need to be washed more frequently than bedsheets?
A: Pillowcases tend to get more dirty because of the oils on your skin and in your hair. Although they don’t need to be washed more frequently, if you think they could benefit from an extra wash, I would suggest doing so every five days and your sheets every seven to 10.
Q: Parachute seems to feature only neutral colors. Do you ever think of adding colors or prints?
A: We do gravitate toward a neutral color palette, which is both classic and timeless and is designed to work with any design aesthetic. Our assortment is designed to be easily mixed and matched. We tend to invest more in texture as a design element, which still adds a lot of visual intrigue and depth to your space. We have started to explore prints in our top-of-bed products; we have our diamond-stitched duvet, which features an intricate pattern, and we love a stripe. We also introduced a sunset color palette last fall — beautiful earthy tones of surplus, ocher, terra and amber. We continue to evolve and will certainly continue to play with color and pattern. You’ll see more bold choices from us in upcoming collections.
Q: I don’t find linen especially crisp unless it’s ironed. What kinds of sheets give that crisp feeling when you slide in?
A: Percale is a great option to get that crisp feeling. Our percale is made from 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton and is garment-washed for a soft texture and casual appearance. It’s reminiscent of a button-down shirt — cool and crisp to the touch.
Q: What is one furniture or design staple that you think is overdone right now?
A: I think people often get carried away by trends and can try to incorporate too many into their space when they are first getting started. It’s easy to get caught up in the “of-the-moment” look, and within a few months, you have a house full of mismatched styles. When I see a new item for the home, I usually give myself a week before I purchase to make sure I really like it, need it in my home and see it fitting in with my aesthetic. I am also a firm believer that design is never “done.” Especially when you move into a new space, it’s nice to give yourself time to get to know the bones, the architecture and how you are using the rooms, and take design cues from experience.
Q: I want to bring some color to my bedding instead of the all-white looks that are popular now, but I can’t seem to take the plunge. Any tips?
A: An all-white bed is always a beautiful and classic look. Adding a more colorful quilt would be a great way to test the waters of bringing color to your bedding palette. It’s a great layering piece with the warmer months approaching. A nice gray or blush quilt would look beautiful with an all-white bedding set. I might also try an accent color with Euro shams.
Q: I’m going to be in my backyard a lot this summer. What are your tips for making outdoor spaces comfy?
A: I am also spending a lot of time in the backyard these days. I love to bring out a quilt and a bunch of decorative pillows for a relaxing and comfortable setup on the grass. I’ve also added more pillows and some cotton throws that are easy to wash to our outdoor couches, so they are even more comfortable. Delicious food and a great drink also make the outdoors more comfy.
Q: Are you finding an uptick in your robe sales during this pandemic?
A: We’ve seen a huge increase in demand since mid-March. I love that a robe is now becoming a part of everyday wear. It’s one of my favorite looks.