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How to Buy the Perfect Bedding

Sally Painter
Bedroom in soft light colors

It's easy to buy the perfect bedding once you know how much you have to spend and what bedding essentials you want. If your budget allows, you may decide to purchase everything at one time.

Determine Bedding Size Needed

Make sure you know the proper size of your mattress, such as twin, twin XL, full, queen, king and California king before shopping for bedding. You should also consider how deep the mattress is. For example, a pillow top can increase the amount of drop needed for a comforter, bedspread, etc. Start with the basic bedding requirements.

Sheet Sets

Sheet Sets

You'll need a set of sheets. It's best to have at least two sets, for laundering purposes. Sheets are available in all mattress sizes. If your mattress is deeper than standard, shop for deep pocket sheets. Measure the depth of your mattress to determine the fitted sheet size needed.

A typical sheet set includes:

  • One fitted bottom sheet: Some bottom sheets feature elasticized corners while other have an elastic banding along the entire hemline.
  • One flat sheet: Some people don't use the top sheet, especially those using a comforter or duvet for the top cover.
  • Two pillowcases: A twin size bed sheet set includes only one pillowcase. You can purchase additional pillowcases separately.

Choosing Sheet Fabrics

Some popular fabric choices for sheets include cotton, linen, polyester/cotton blend, microfiber, satin, jersey, flannel and bamboo. You may prefer organic sheets to eliminate any possible dye or chemical allergic reaction. Many people prefer wrinkle-free sheets for a neater look. Sheets are available in solid colors or patterns, such as floral, stripes, plaid, geometric and abstract.

Pros and Cons of Sheet Fabrics

Fabric
Pros Cons

Cotton

Breathability, cooling, temperature regulator, easy care, durable, dyes easily Wrinkles unless treated, wide quality range, wide cost range
Linen Breathability, cooling (some people prefer cotton), twice the durability of cotton Can trap too much heat, can't use harsh chemical detergents, texture limits color choices, wrinkles easily
Polyester Wrinkle free, durable, inexpensive Low breathability, stains easily, can pill after many washings
Microfiber Inexpensive, warm Poor temperature regulating, can pill
Satin Soft, silky, luxurious, won't trap heat Care, not warm enough for winter use, cost
Jersey Soft, warm Fabric stretches, too warm for summer use
Flannel Warm, brushed cotton (soft) Seasonal use
Bamboo Soft, breathability, hypoallergenic, light weight Can cost more

Tips for Thread Count

The thread count (TC) for sheets is determined by the number of thread per square inch. Depending on the length and how fine the threads are, the sheets will either be soft or stiff. An average soft factor is around 350 TC to 400 TC. A high thread count doesn't necessarily mean 1500 TC is going to be softer than 400 TC sheets. If the 1500 TC was woven using short and thick cotton fibers, then it will be stiffer than the 400 TC sheets made with long and thin fibers.

Selecting Pillows

You need to decide on the type of pillow that provides the best sleeping support. You have several choices since there are many materials available for pillow fillers. Some of these include, memory foam, feather pillows, therapeutic pillows and other types.

  • If you have allergies, you may want to purchase hypoallergenic pillows.
  • You can include zipper closure pillow covers, especially if you sleep on feather pillows. Select a quality cover that will serve as a barrier against dust mites.
  • Pillow size will either be a standard/queen size or king size. Some people find standard size pillows more comfortable than a king size.

Comforters, Bedspreads, Duvets and Quilts

Relaxing blue comforter

Your next decision is the type of top cover you want. The main choices include:

Comforter

Standard comforter sizes can vary, so you may want to measure your mattress to ensure the comforter you purchase is large enough. You can forgo using a top sheet with most comforters. There's a wide range of weights; some comforters are four-season use while others may be too heavy for summer use. Comforters cover the top mattress and box springs but don't always reach the floor. Old comforters can become the insert for duvets.

Bedspread

Depending on the depth of the mattress, you may decide you need an oversized bedspread. Bedspreads are available in a variety of fabrics and styles, including quilted bedspreads. Bedspreads are typically lightweight than comforters, duvets and quilts. You can add a blanket between the top sheet and bedspread for a layer of warmth in the winter.

Duvet

A duvet is a money-saving option. Most people using a duvet don't use top sheets or blankets. Like pillows, a duvet can have feather or synthetic fillers. Duvets are versatile, and a duvet cover can be used like a pillow case over an old comforter to save money. Duvets have zipper, button, tie or pocket closures.

Quilt

A quilt will give a specific look for your bedding décor. A traditional patchwork quilt can provide warmth during the winter. Lighter weight quilts are also available for summer months.

Fabric, Color and Style Choices

Once you decide on the type of top cover you want, it's time to evaluate the fabrics available. Choose from matelassé, chenille, satin and other fabrics. You'll need to decide on the color(s) you want for your comforter, bedspread, etc. You may need to coordinate your bedding to the walls and floor colors of your room. If the walls are beige or another neutral shade, you will find a range of possible color choices. Just as sheets have a wide choice of patterns, so do comforters, bedspreads, duvets and quilts. Decide on the style you want, such as farmhouse, Southwest or tropical.

Optional Basic Bedding

There are a couple of bedding options that many people consider basic bedding. Toppers and mattress covers can provide additional foundation for a restful sleep.

Toppers

Depending on the age and type of your mattress, you may decide that a topper is necessary to provide greater comforter.

Mattress Covers

If you suffer from allergies, you may want to invest in mattress covers, one for the box springs and one for the top mattress. Select zipper closures to ensure maximum protection against dust mites.

Beyond Basics for Decorative Styling

Once you've selected the bedding basics, you can focus on the decorative art of bed styling if you wish. Some comforter sets available include multiple pieces, such as 6-pc or even 15-pc sets. These may can include various pillow shams, decorative pillows, bolster and lumbar pillows as well as bed skirts or dust ruffles. The sets are coordinated as a complete bedding ensemble that can provide you with layering effect that gives your bedding a designer look. You can also get creative in adding your own optional bedding pieces to get a unique style.

Buying Perfect Bedding

When you learn how to buy the perfect bedding, you can plan your purchases to stay within a set budget. Choose the level of bedding style you want then assemble each layer to create your ideal look.

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How to Buy the Perfect Bedding