Bedding is one of those decor decisions that might not always get the attention it deserves. It’s not as permanent as furniture and decoration, so we often choose something neutral, safe in the knowledge that we can easily change our minds later on. And yet, when you consider the impact bedding has on the look and feel of the bedroom, shouldn’t it really be the first decision we make?
At AMARA, we’re a bit obsessed with bed dressing, a fact that’s reflected in our pages and pages of bed linen. You can chop and change it to adjust the mood of the bedroom as the seasons progress, and there’s always a cozy pillow and an intriguing pattern with your name on it. Quality bedding is also an essential ingredient for a good night’s sleep. So you should be looking at the best material for bedding as well as its look. Here’s our guide to finding the perfect bedding set and bedroom pillows, with a little help on how to dress a bed for maximum comfort and beauty.
Choosing the Color
The color of your bedding sets the tone of the room from the moment you enter it. You’ve got a few options when deciding. First, do you want a plain color or a pattern? Plain is more serene, and if it’s a bright color it’ll reflect more light, which is useful where there isn’t much natural light. A dark color is perhaps more inviting, especially an earthy tone. Not everyone wants a bright bedroom; it’s a place for relaxing, after all.
When it comes to patterned designs, there’s really no limit. You can go bold and beautiful, with a duvet cover and matching pillow set in Liberty London's iconic prints or something floral from Ted Baker. A subtle pattern can be stunning too – check out designs from Alexandre Turpault and Yves Delorme.
Whether you choose patterned or plain, the color notes will have to match the room’s decor. This can be where people struggle, but there’s help available. Find the main tone of your room, be it the wallpaper, paintwork or carpet, and set it as the basis for a color wheel. Canva has a simple one that has monochromatic, complementary, analogous, triadic and tetradic schemes.
Essentially, you’re choosing your bed clothes based on the suggested colors, and you can pick out a single color or several that are guaranteed to work off each other. You could have a plain sheet to complement the walls, and pillows for the bed in a third hue for punctuating pops of color.
The Perfect Fabric
Your next decision will be the fabric the bedding set is made of, so let’s go through the main contenders. Silk sheets are the height of luxury, but there’s plenty of sumptuous comfort to be found in other types of fabric. High quality Egyptian cotton bed sheets are breathable and soft on sensitive skin, and even some synthetic materials, perhaps in a natural blend, can bring comfort to the bed.
You probably don’t need to be told that silk is synonymous with luxury and softness, so let’s start there. Silk bedding certainly feels amazing against the skin, and the sheen of the fabric is an absolute delight to behold. Silk is also excellent at regulating your body temperature – it cools when it’s warm, and warms when it’s cool. Silk is not without its drawbacks though. First is the price – you need a lot of silk for a set of bedsheets. Second, it can absorb moisture quite easily, so needs cleaning more regularly than other materials. You can compromise, of course. Why not get a pair of silk pajamas, and rest your head on pure silk pillows instead? Some stunning silk pillowcases will do just as good a job, and they’re really easy to wash.
The most popular option by far is cotton. High quality 100% cotton sheets can be every bit as sumptuously soft as silk, but they come with a much more affordable price tag. Soft cotton sheets are also easy to care for, are wrinkle resistant and, importantly for bedclothes, they are breathable. It’s a feature of cotton fabrics used in clothes too – they let the moisture out while maintaining insulation, perfect for those hot summer nights.
Not all cottons are the same, of course. Look for long staple cotton, which means the natural fibers are longer. This makes the sheets softer and more durable than Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton. They’re more expensive, but you’ll really sense the difference when you feel them against your skin.
Egyptian cotton is the material used in some of the most luxurious bedding available. Look at Ralph Lauren’s Polo Player range or Reed Family Linen – comfort, coolness and beauty all rolled into beautiful packages. Have a look at our bed linen guide for a more detailed description of the types of bedding.
Dressing a Bed
The two main elements are a mattress protector and a fitted sheet. Mattress protectors and toppers are attached directly to the mattress, and are usually quilted and padded, and are often waterproof too. They give an extra layer of comfort and warmth while protecting the mattress, which should hopefully give you six to eight years’ use.
Second comes the fitted sheet. It’s what you’ll be lying on, so make sure it’s cool, easy to clean and luxuriously soft. If you have a particularly deep mattress, make sure you get fitted sheets with generous edges – they’re elasticated so will come off unless they grip the underside of the mattress.
Next is a flat bed sheet – it’s a thin layer, again made of the softest material, and its main job is to put a comfortable barrier between you and the duvet. Tuck it under the mattress and it should last the night, but be warned - you’ll have to re-do it every morning.
Now for the duvet itself, the part that keeps you warm and snug on the coldest of nights. There’s a whole article in choosing the right duvet, but they come in togs, which is basically how warm they are. You might want different tog duvets for summer and winter, but you could just get a light and medium duvet set then double up when it gets really chilly. Pillows simply have to be as cooling and luxurious as you can afford – no compromise. Brinkhaus and Hefel have a great selection of duvets and pillows to ensure you sleep soundly all year round
The Finishing Touches
Finally, for the finishing touches, a throw or bedspread gives one last insulating layer and lets you shift the mood from day to day with the minimum of fuss. Sprinkle plump pillows with quirky bed pillow covers for the final piece of the jigsaw, and your bed is ready to invite you in after the hardest of days.