Bedding Buying Guide

If you want a good night’s sleep, the right bedding is crucial. Finding the right bedding is a different process for everyone, but there are a few key things to know before you begin your hunt. Take a look at the bedding buying guide below to learn some valuable tips.

  • Comforters: Fill power is a measure of how many cubic inches one ounce of down fills. A higher fill power means a down blanket will be fluffier and warmer. A fill power of 550 or more is considered good. Makers of down comforters typically use two designs to keep the down from shifting and clumping. A box-stitched down comforter has boxes stitched throughout that hold the down in place. A baffle-box stitch has gated baffles — pieces of vertical fabric between the top and bottom of the comforter — that run the length of the comforter to keep the down in place and allow it to keep its fullest loft. For those with allergies, down-alternative comforters are a great choice, and they will provide the same warmth as down comforters.
  • Comforter covers: Down comforters usually require special care and cleaning; often, they must be dry cleaned. To keep your comforter clean for longer periods, purchase a duvet cover for it. If you want to decorate your bed as well as protect the down comforter, you can purchase bedding sets that include coordinating pillow shams and duvet covers.
  • Duvet: Duvet actually means feather in French, but in English it’s synonymous with down comforter. Duvet cover is sometime incorrectly shortened to just the word “duvet.”
  • Coverlet: A bed cover that hands over the top of the bed to the bottom of the box springs on three sides of the bed.
  • Matelasse: A double or compound fabric in which the quilted character and raised patterns are made on a jacquard or dobby loom.
  • Blankets: The most important aspect of any blanket is its fabric. Different fabrics obviously have different qualities of warmth and softness. For instance, cotton blankets tend to be more breathable than those made from synthetic fabrics. However, synthetic fleece blankets tend to be lighter and softer. Wool blankets are extra warm. It all depends on your personal preferences. Just pay attention to things like weave and edging to make sure you get a blanket that will hold up after years of use.
  • Quilts: When it comes to quilts, you can find colors and patterns to fit any decor you have in mind. Plus, many quilts are handmade so that no two will be exactly alike, giving you a unique piece of bedding. If the quilt is machine washable, and most are, it will be easier to maintain than a down comforter.
  • Extras: A few things will take your bed from bland to beautiful. They aren’t completely necessary for a good night’s rest, but they will help you feel extra comfortable in your bedroom. A bed skirt will cover unsightly box springs, completing the look of your bed. Bed canopies will help you feel like you’re sleeping in a palace. Maybe you want to take your bedroom design even further, from comfortable to, say, heavenly. If that is the case, think about featherbeds, which are basically down-filled mattress pads. For quality featherbeds, apply the same principles as you do to down comforters. You can also purchase memory foam mattress toppers and other mattress covers with extra layers of softness.
  • Just because you don’t want to spend a lot of money doesn’t mean you have to forget about style and comfort. A bed-in-a-bag set is a great way to make it all match while saving money. Add some colorful curtains and throw blankets to the room for an inexpensive touch of class.

Tips on Shopping for Bedding

Shop by Fiber

There are a lot of fiber options in bedding, but three of the most popular fibers are cotton, linen, and cashmere. Why so popular? Here are a few things you may not have known about these three natural classics.

Cotton

There is evidence that cotton was used in textile wrappings as far back as the third millennium B.C. in India. However, imported cotton first appeared in Europe and Egypt during the Classical Period of ancient Greece. Currently, cotton is grown in the warm weather regions of the world, particularly in Egypt, China, USA, India, Pakistan, Brazil, and Turkey. It is now one of the most important natural fabrics, particularly in bedding, because of its versatility, supple texture, and supreme softness.

Linen

Linen has been woven for over 4,000 years in Egypt, making it one of the oldest known fabrics. It even appears in the Bible! In the Middle Ages, linen was the principal textile of Europe. Since the 18th Century, cotton has replaced many fabrics that used to be made of linen, including chintz, toile, and table damask. Linen is one of the most durable natural fabrics, becoming softer with every wash and naturally wicks away moisture for comfortable sleep. We hear that Queen Elizabeth II is still sleeping on Queen Victoria’s linen sheets.

Cashmere

Cashmere comes from Kashmir goats that live in the Kashmir region of India and Pakistan and other parts of northern Asia. The goats are raised as a domestic animal and live on mountains that are between 10,000 and 15,000 feet above sea level. Most cashmere is combed from the goats during the molting season and it takes the wool of about 20 goats to make a cashmere throw. Cashmere is celebrated for its extremely soft texture and luxurious warmth.

Shop by Thread Count & Construction

Thread count isn’t everything, but it is important. Here’s a thread count breakdown and an explanation of how all those threads are woven into fine bed linens.

Thread count is a measurement that is often used to describe the quality of fabric, but it is only one factor of many that determine quality. Thread count is the number of yarns (“threads”) per square inch when vertical and horizontal yarns are woven together. To achieve a high thread count, sometimes multi-ply yarns are used (a multi-ply yarn is one where more than one yarn is twisted together) and each of the plys are counted in the thread count. Whether a fabric is woven from single-ply or multi-ply yarns is not as important as the quality of the cotton used to spin the yarns. Although a high thread count often denotes high quality, we suggest you take other attributes of bedding under consideration as well. These include the staple length of the cotton, whether or not the fabric is mercerized or Sanforized®, and the finishing techniques used.

There are three basic constructions of bedding: plain weave, twill weave, sateen weave, and pattern weaves.

  • Plain weave, the simplest of the three basic weaves, is used for the majority of bedding. In a plain weave each yarn alternately crosses over and under another, to produce a strong, even fabric.
  • Twill weave, identified by a diagonal rib or twill line, is used to produce strong bedding fabric that can have a softer “drape” than a plain weave.
  • Sateen weave is used to produce smooth, lustrous, higher thread count bedding with a thick close texture. The number of yarns exposed on the surface of the fabric gives sateen its characteristic sheen.
  • Patterned weaves, such as jacquards and damask are the most difficult and most expensive to produce due to their complexity, and are some of the most durable fabrics used in bed linens.

Shop by Fiber

There are a lot of fiber options in bedding, but three of the most popular fibers are cotton, linen, and cashmere. Why so popular? Here are a few things you may not have known about these three natural classics.

Cotton

There is evidence that cotton was used in textile wrappings as far back as the third millennium B.C. in India. However, imported cotton first appeared in Europe and Egypt during the Classical Period of ancient Greece. Currently, cotton is grown in the warm weather regions of the world, particularly in Egypt, China, USA, India, Pakistan, Brazil, and Turkey. It is now one of the most important natural fabrics, particularly in bedding, because of its versatility, supple texture, and supreme softness.

Linen

Linen has been woven for over 4,000 years in Egypt, making it one of the oldest known fabrics. It even appears in the Bible! In the Middle Ages, linen was the principal textile of Europe. Since the 18th Century, cotton has replaced many fabrics that used to be made of linen, including chintz, toile, and table damask. Linen is one of the most durable natural fabrics, becoming softer with every wash and naturally wicks away moisture for comfortable sleep. We hear that Queen Elizabeth II is still sleeping on Queen Victoria’s linen sheets.

Cashmere

Cashmere comes from Kashmir goats that live in the Kashmir region of India and Pakistan and other parts of northern Asia. The goats are raised as a domestic animal and live on mountains that are between 10,000 and 15,000 feet above sea level. Most cashmere is combed from the goats during the molting season and it takes the wool of about 20 goats to make a cashmere throw. Cashmere is celebrated for its extremely soft texture and luxurious warmth.

Shop by Thread Count & Construction

Thread count isn’t everything, but it is important. Here’s a thread count breakdown and an explanation of how all those threads are woven into fine bed linens.

Thread count is a measurement that is often used to describe the quality of fabric, but it is only one factor of many that determine quality. Thread count is the number of yarns (“threads”) per square inch when vertical and horizontal yarns are woven together. To achieve a high thread count, sometimes multi-ply yarns are used (a multi-ply yarn is one where more than one yarn is twisted together) and each of the plys are counted in the thread count. Whether a fabric is woven from single-ply or multi-ply yarns is not as important as the quality of the cotton used to spin the yarns. Although a high thread count often denotes high quality, we suggest you take other attributes of bedding under consideration as well. These include the staple length of the cotton, whether or not the fabric is mercerized or Sanforized®, and the finishing techniques used.

There are three basic constructions of bedding: plain weave, twill weave, sateen weave, and pattern weaves.

  • Plain weave, the simplest of the three basic weaves, is used for the majority of bedding. In a plain weave each yarn alternately crosses over and under another, to produce a strong, even fabric.
  • Twill weave, identified by a diagonal rib or twill line, is used to produce strong bedding fabric that can have a softer “drape” than a plain weave.
  • Sateen weave is used to produce smooth, lustrous, higher thread count bedding with a thick close texture. The number of yarns exposed on the surface of the fabric gives sateen its characteristic sheen.
  • Patterned weaves, such as jacquards and damask are the most difficult and most expensive to produce due to their complexity, and are some of the most durable fabrics used in bed linens.

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