At Down Comforter Expert, we may be all about comforters, but we know that a great comforter isn’t the only thing that goes into making an exquisitely comfortable bed. No, you’ll need sheets, mattress pads, maybe a quilt – there are so many pieces to the perfect bed and everyone has their own preferences.
How will you know what pieces to add to your bed? While it’s a personal decision, and one influenced by seasonality, we’ve created a quick guide to the full bedding package, from the mattress on up. Whether you consider this list the essentials or the ultimate list with all the trimmings will depend on how you’re most comfortable, but by starting here you’ll have a clear idea of what components you should consider when putting your bed together.
The Lower Level: Mattresses and Mattress Pads
There are so many types of mattresses, and preferences vary so widely, that this base layer of your bed deserves its own article and we won’t cover it here. In terms of bed linens, however, you’ll want to start just above your mattress with a great mattress pad. Your mattress pad will help keep your sheets from shifting around and will also protect your mattress from absorbing odors and stains.
Shop Talk On Sheets
After your mattress pad, of course, comes your sheets. Everyone prefers different fabrics for their sheets, and this may even vary by season – think flannel sheets for those chilly winter nights! The main question that people have about sheets, though, comes down to a question of thread count. What do those numbers mean and how much does thread count really matter?
Thread count is a measure of the numbers of individual threads per square inch of fabric. As a general rule, higher thread count fabrics are softer and more luxurious, but the type of material your sheets are made from may actually matter more. Egyptian cotton, followed by Pima cotton, will almost always be the softest, even at a slightly lower thread count, when compared to standard American cotton, for example. If the package just says 100% cotton, assume you’re getting the lower quality product.
Another tip for sheets – don’t fall for excessively high thread counts. Sheets that boast thread counts of more than about 300 are likely using a loose definition of thread; these sheets will be made from processed, semi-synthetic materials that wouldn’t meet the traditional definition of a thread. It’s better to look for long strand cotton threads rather than sheets advertised as having a very high thread count.
The Most Comfortable Comforters
Our area of expertise is, of course, comforters, but even ‘comforter’ is a generic category. When people talk about comforters, they may be referring to several different things – a down comforter which is one filled piece with a printed exterior, a duvet, which is essentially the same, but comes with a solid exterior and is used with a duvet cover, and some may even be talking about a quilt of blanket, though this would be a misuse of the term.
Some people prefer down comforters to duvets because there’s only one piece to wash, but down comforters can also be limiting. They fade over time, are difficult to store if you want to change patterns, and if you get a stain or pet hair on your comforter, you’ll have to wash the entire thing. With a duvet, however, you can swap out several different covers to give your bedroom a different look, while only having a single large duvet. You can also run a duvet cover through the wash more easily than you can a comforter since they tend to be materially more like sheets than heavy blankets.
Toppers and Trimmings
Finally, some people like to add additional blankets and trims to their beds on top of or under their comforter. These can provide added warmth during cold weather, may be made of a preferred material, or can be exclusively decorative.
Coverlets and quilts, for example, are used by some as a middle layer between the sheets and a comforter, but they may also be used alone as the top cover of a bed. Coverlets are thin and decorative, typically with intricate stitching, while quilts have a fill that is similar to a comforter and gives them more bulk. Some people also switch out their comforters for a quilt or coverlet during the summer months when it gets too warm for a down comforter. Any and all of these upper layers of bedding can also be referred to as a bedspread.
Other decorative details you might want to use on your bed include light throws – perfect for snuggling up to read a book or watch television, shams, and accent pillows. Most duvet covers and comforter sets come with matching pillow shams, full-size cases that aren’t meant to be slept on. Shams help pull the bed together, much like accent pillows do.
Accent or throw pillows are a beautiful touch in any room, but some prefer to skip them on their beds because you’ll just take them off before you go to sleep anyway. If you have a guest bedroom, however, consider adding a few accent pillows so that guests are greeted in their room by a fully coordinated and outfitted bed. These pillows also look great when you’re giving visitors a tour of the house, so consider saving them for special occasions.
Put It All Together
Only you can choose the perfect combination of pieces for your bedroom, but this guide will give you a framework for determining what you really need to put together a comfortable and attractive space. But while you’re on your own from an aesthetic standpoint, at Down Comforter Expert we have all the information you need to choose the perfect comforter. Drop by and check out our reviews and learn a little more about the most important part of your linen closet. You’ll be amazed just how much the right comforter contributes to a good night’s sleep.