Monday, September 28, 2009

All About Bedding - Bedding Guide

Good bedding makes all the difference when it comes to both comfort and style in your bedroom. With so many different types of sheets, comforters, pillows and blankets, however, it can be difficult to differentiate between a quality product and a cheap one. Just knowing a few facts can help you make the right decision. This bedding buying guide will give you some basic information to aid you in your shopping.

It's easy to find sheets for every common bed size. Most sheet sets consist of a fitted sheet that wraps around the mattress, a flat sheet that stretches over the mattress, and a pillowcase or two. Fitted sheets are approximately the following dimensions:

  • Twin: 39 inches x 76 inches (80 inches for extra long twin)
  • Full: 54 inches x 75 inches
  • Queen: 60 inches x 80 inches
  • King: 78 inches x 80 inches
  • Cal King: 72 inches x 84 inches

When most people buy sheets, they look for a color they enjoy. And while the right color is essential, there is a whole lot more that goes into a good sheet set. The most important qualities in sheets are the thread count, fabric, and type of weave.

Thread Count

The thread count is the number of horizontal and vertical threads in a square inch of a bed sheet's fabric. Typically, a higher thread count means a tighter, softer and more durable sheet. It also makes sheet sets more expensive. You should purchase something with a thread count of at least 200 if you want your sheets to last a while. Sheets with a thread count of 300 to 400 are very nice while remaining quite affordable. Some sheet sets boast a thread count of 1000 or more. While these sheets will feel extra smooth, they probably won't last as long, since the threads must be finer in order to achieve such a high count.


Two types of weaves are usually used in sheet sets. A percale weave is closely woven with no gloss, which gives percale sheets a smooth texture. A sateen weave has more yarns on the surface of the fabric. This makes a sheet more lustrous and gives it the look of satin.


The best fabric for sheets is Egyptian cotton, which is grown exclusively in the Nile River Valley. It is one of the world's strongest, most lustrous cottons, and Egyptian cotton sheets with a high thread count are generally considered to be the most luxurious.

Pima cotton is long-staple cotton grown in the southwestern United States, Peru and Australia. Pima sheets have a soft, silky finish. You might see some sheets made from "Supima" cotton. Don't let this confuse you. Supima is just the trademarked name for 100-percent Pima cotton grown in the United States. It stands for "Superior Pima."

Muslin cotton is course cotton, often used in kids' bedding. It is not as smooth and durable as other types of cotton. Muslin sheets are often printed with colorful character patterns, and they tend to fade and pill with washings.

Flannel is usually a blend of cotton and wool or some other synthetic fabric. Flannel sheets are popular for their warmth. The quality of flannel sheets is not measured in thread count, though. It is measured in ounces per square yard. Generally, 4 oz. or more is considered good quality.
Silk is the finest and strongest natural fiber, a fact that makes silk sheets a real luxury. They are shiny, smooth and expensive, but difficult to clean and maintain.

Satin is a polished synthetic fabric -- usually nylon. It is often used in luxury bedding, but it's not as strong as silk while being more difficult to clean. Sateen bed sheets are also smooth and lustrous, but shouldn't be confused with satin sheets. "Sateen" describes a weave, while "satin" describes a material. Furthermore, sateen sheets are usually made of natural fibers. They are usually less expensive than satin sheets.


Comforters can be filled with down or some other down alternative. Down comforters are popular because they combine both softness and warmth. Down typically comes from geese or ducks, but goose down is fluffier and warmer than duck down. And a goose down comforter will last longer and look better than one made with duck down.

Down comforters, usually require special care and cleaning. To avoid this, you should purchase a duvet cover. If you want to save time, you can purchase comforter sets that include coordinating pillow shams and duvet covers along with other bedding essentials. For those with allergies, down alternative comforters often provide the same warmth, and they are usually much easier to clean.

Besides thread count, the important things to pay attention to when buying a down comforter are fill power and design.

Fill power

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 normally considered good.


Makers of down comforters typically use two designs to keep the down from shifting and clumping. A box stitch 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.

Blankets and Quilts

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 wants and needs. Just pay attention to things like weave and edging to make sure you get a blanket that will hold up after years of use.

When it comes to quilts, handmade does not necessarily mean high quality. Straight, even stitching is important, and many handmade quilts don't have that. You also want to pay attention to whether or not the quilt is machine washable.


One of the most important things to consider when buying pillows is the position in which you tend sleep. A flatter pillow is usually good for back sleepers, while a firmer, raised pillow is good for side sleepers. Bed pillows come in several sizes. Standard, queen and king are the most common. They have the following approximate dimensions:
  • Standard pillow: 20 inches x 26 inches
  • Queen pillow: 20 inches x 30 inches
  • King pillow: 20 inches x 36 inches

Be aware that most bedding companies don't make queen pillowcases, only standard and king sizes. That's okay, though, because standard pillowcases will work just fine for queen pillows.
The fill inside your pillow will make the biggest difference as to how comfortable it is and how it holds up over time. Most bed pillows are filled with some kind of foam or down. Foam pillows can be found in various levels of firmness. They have great elasticity and don't sag. A good foam pillow will hold up for two or three years.

If you want firmness without elasticity, down pillows are the way to go. Down pillows can also be molded and fluffed for each new sleeping position. High-quality goose down pillows will hold up for almost a decade if well-maintained. You can purchase allergen-blocking pillow covers if you're allergic to down.

Memory foam pillows (often referred to as contour pillows) soften when they come in contact with heat. That means a memory foam pillow molds to the shape of your head and evenly distributes the weight, no matter what position you are in. Another benefit of a contoured memory foam pillow is it lasts much longer than other foam fill.

Bedding 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 up 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 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 principals as you do to down comforters. You can also purchase memory foam mattress toppers and other mattress covers with extra layers of softness.

Common bedding questions

How can I make my down comforter last longer?

Since most down comforters should only be dry cleaned, it would be wise to cover yours with a machine washable duvet cover. A duvet cover will prolong the life of the down comforter and save money on cleaning. You can get multiple inexpensive duvet covers from to match your room's d?cor in every season. When storing a down comforter, it is best to keep it in a loose, breathable bag and avoid compression.

How can I make my sheets last longer?

Always follow the cleaning instructions on the tag, as they are specific for preventing shrinkage and pilling. Drying your sheets on a low heat or line drying also helps prevent the break down of fibers.

How can I make sure my fitted sheet will actually fit?

Fitted sheets with an elastic around the whole edge of the sheet often fit better than ones with a partial elastic. Pocket size also makes a big difference. You should measure the thickness of your mattress and buy a fitted sheet with a sufficient pocket size.

Is a pillow sham different from a pillowcase?

A pillow sham's opening is on the back, and it often has some sort of decorative edging. Pillow shams are usually meant to be displayed on pillows that sit outside of the blankets as decorations. Pillowcases are a little more utilitarian, with an opening on one edge and very little decoration. More often than not, you'll want to use the pillowcases for sleeping and the pillow shams for decorating.

Ideas from

Want to rejuvenate your bedroom but don't know where to start? has some good ideas for bringing it all together in each of your home's bedrooms. And what makes it really great is you can find it all in one place for a great price.

Teenager's bedroom

Bright-colored sheets and comforters give a teenager's room personality. has a great collection of memorable movie posters and framed pop art to go along. You can also find colorful coordinating window curtains to tie it all together.

Luxury bedroom has a wide selection of luxury bedding. You can match one of our high thread count Egyptian cotton sheet sets with a high thread count Hungarian goose down comforter and duvet cover. We also have bed canopies to make you feel like royalty. Put it all together with some of our classic art prints and one of our comfy armchairs. A handmade nightstand topped with one of our many tiffany-style lamps would add a heavy dose of elegance.

Budget bedroom

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 is a great way to make it all match while saving money. Add some colorful curtains and throw blankets for an inexpensive touch of class.

Our bedding store has everything you'll need for a good night's rest. Your new bedding will keep you comfortable for years to come. And you can sleep peacefully knowing you got a great deal at

Best Wishes

1 comment:

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