5 Steps to Making the Perfect Bed
Comfort is key, and the right linens and bedding make all the difference.
Nothing beats a good night’s sleep. Comfort is key, and the right linens and bedding make all the difference. We talked to textiles experts to get their advice for outfitting your bed with style (and dreaming) in mind.
Start with a great mattress pad, says Lynne Jenkins of Lynnens in Greenwich; it really affects sleeping comfort, helping with temperature regulation while also protecting the mattress. There are many options, including those filled with silk, wool, or cotton. Jenkins’ favorite is an Austrian pad filled with Tencel, which absorbs moistures and has anti-bacterial properties. “I sold it to a couple in which he was hot, she was cold,” she says. “They liked it so much that they also bought comforters of the same material for every bedroom in
Choose quality sheets, which may include a cover for your duvet. See “Between the Sheets” on the following page for advice on finding your perfect fit.
Layer with a light cotton blanket for natural breathability and a cooler option on nights when your bedroom feels warm. For the ultimate luxury and softness, splurge on a cashmere blanket.
Place a coverlet or duvet over the light cotton blanket. Fold the duvet/coverlet at the bottom of the bed. Also popular now are quilted coverlets, which give beds a beautiful finish and European appeal; tuck them in for a tight, clean look. Quilted coverlets can be ordered in custom patterns and thicknesses (¼ to ½ inch).
Finish with pillows, a huge component in the sleeping experience, especially for people who have neck, back, or shoulder issues. Side sleepers often pick fluffier pillows to support their necks; lie on one in person in order to choose. You’ll want two pillows per person. The days of propping a bed with loads of extra throw pillows are over, Jenkins says. A minimalist approach is in. “For styling the bed, less is more.”
Between the Sheets
Which fabric is a fit for you? Most people prefer cotton bedding. Egyptian cotton collections imported from Italy, Portugal, and France are the most luxurious, but there’s a shortage of Egyptian cotton in the world right now. If Egyptian seems too pricey, shop for Supima or Pima cotton for good quality. Then, don’t rely on thread count alone to determine what’s best. “Thread count has really become just a marketing tool,” says Kathleen Huddy, textiles expert and former director of textiles for the Good Housekeeping Institute. “The type of cotton used, the type of weave, and how it’s finished all make a difference.”
What to look for
For light, crisp, cool sheets woven of strong, smooth cotton that’s tightly spun, choose a Percale weave with an average of 200 to 300 thread count.
For softer, smoother sheets, pick a sateen weave (in which the yarns float over other yarns) Pima or Supima with 300 to 400 thread count.
Beware of super high thread counts in sheets made of cotton/poly blends. A 1,000-count sheet in a blend of fibers won’t be any better than a 400-count sheet in cotton. Stick with all cotton for comfort and durability, Huddy advises.
Some people like bamboo and Tencel (fabric made from cellulose from eucalyptus trees) for their smooth texture and breathability. Though these fabrics are often marketed as being more eco-friendly than cotton (the crops are easier to grow/more sustainable), in fact, the bamboo is technically rayon made from bamboo and needs to be extruded using lots of chemicals, so it’s not necessarily kinder to the environment.
Watch for sales and you can get a quality king sheet set for about $150.