A Handy Guide for Bedding


I have a confession to make.  I’m a total bedding addict and am constantly changing up the look of my bed so I tend not to make a huge investment on the products I buy. I hit the discount stores like Home Goods or Tuesday Morning to score some good deals.  And then there is always the siren song of the bedding aisle at Target.  Someday down the line I’ll invest in some high quality sheets and have a custom duvet made, but until then it’s the discount stores for me.  A custom duvet for those handy DIY types probably isn’t a huge challenge, but I’m going to stick with the experts as I am not handy in the least {something I’ve finally admitted to myself after several false starts on DIY projects, but I digress}

Besides sheets and duvet covers, I change up my bed’s look with toss pillows that I rotate through.  West Elm, Home Goods, Tuesday Morning and World Market are great sources for toss pillows.  The fill in the pillows from World Market is pretty shoddy so I swap out the fill -- just make sure there is a zipper on the pillow so you can do that.

On my bed I have four standard pillows {I sleep on two -- one on top of the other}, two euro squares and an assortment of toss pillows.  Remember my 10 Decorating Dont’s?  If it takes you 20 minutes to make your bed you’re in pillow overload and it’s time to do some editing.

 via domino magazine photo :: paul costello

via domino magazine photo :: paul costello

Here are some items to consider while shopping for your bedding ::


First off, there are fabrics. How your bedding functions has a lot to do with the fabrics you use.  Cotton, bamboo, cashmere, silk and linen are the most breathable, comfortable and durable compared to manmade fabrics.  The kind of fabric you choose also affects the look of your bed/bedding.  For example, crisp percale looks tailored and formal while the sheen of sateen {say that ten times fast} can create a relaxed or elegant look.  Bamboo is an eco-friendly option that has the look of silk, but washes like cotton.


Sheets {and duvet covers too}

Ah, thread count, you deceptive little devil, you.  Thread count is the total number of threads per square inch of fabric -- I say it’s a deceptive little devil because high thread count doesn’t always necessarily mean better.  A 500 thread count sheet can feel rough if high quality materials aren’t used.  Instead of thread count, look at the fabric content, which affects both the look and feel of your sheets.  

Pima, Supima {or Supreme Pima,} and Egyptian cotton have longer fibers that make them stronger, softer, and less likely to pill.  Cotton/polyester blends are more wrinkle-resistant but don’t breathe as well as fabric made from 100% cotton, so they may trap heat, which is a real problem if you are a heater like I am -- I always have to have at least one foot hanging out from under the covers! Percale cotton has a tight weave that makes the sheets feel crisp and keep you feeling cool.

 design :: mary mcdonald via domino magazine. photo :: miguel flores-vianna

design :: mary mcdonald via domino magazine. photo :: miguel flores-vianna


Did you know that pillows are designed for all kinds of different sleep styles?  Back sleepers, side sleepers, and stomach sleepers all have different needs.  If you’re a back sleeper, you need a thinner pillow so your head isn’t thrown too far forward.  You can also get a pillow that has a thicker loft towards the bottom third of the pillow to cradle the neck.  Side sleepers need a firmer pillow to fill in the distance between the ear and the outside shoulder.  Stomach sleepers need a very thin, almost flat pillow to avoid getting a crick in their necks.  I use the 365+ Fast pillow from IKEA -- it’s made from memory foam and is designed for both side and back sleepers.  I love them but they don’t quite fill up a standard pillow case, so I hide them under the prettier pillows.

As far as filling goes, feathers and synthetic down are the most breathable so they’re a good option for sleepers who get hot during the night {like yours truly}.  Latex pillows also have a wicking effect that helps keep you cool.  Foam pillows come in varying thicknesses and last longer than other fills.  If you are concerned about allergies, choose a pillow made of hypoallergenic materials {duh} like cotton, wool or synthetic down.  Also, Latex won’t trigger allergies and it resists mold and dust mites.



The duvet you choose should be dictated by your body temperature while sleeping as well as allergy concerns.  If you tend to get cold at night, go with natural fillings or synthetic down.  If you get hot at night, choose synthetic fillings like polyester and polyester blends.  Polyester fibers are mostly air and won’t hold heat.  There are two other important factors to consider when selecting a duvet: fill power and tog rating.

Fill power is the number of cubic inches filled by 1 oz of down.  The higher the fill power, the warmer the duvet will be.  So that big fluffy duvet is your warmest bet on a cold winter’s night. The tog rating measures the ability to trap warm air.  The lower the tog rating, the less warmth the duvet provides.  I have two different duvets, one for colder weather and another for the really warm summer months.

I hope this helps you on your next shopping trip for bedding!

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