Bedding 101: The Ultimate Guide to Making the Most Comfortable Bed
Choosing the right bedding is essential when making a perfect, snuggle-ready bed. But with so many options, how do you know what you actually need? You’ll want to consider your sleep preferences, decor style, and climate when deciding what sheet material is best, how many layers to put on your bed, and what extra options to have on hand.
Here in our Bedding 101 Buying Guide, get the scoop on different bedding pieces—how many sets of sheets you really need, what’s the difference between a duvet insert and comforter, and how to make your bed like a pro—and create the bed of your dreams.
Making an ideal bed starts with a foundation of bedding essentials—the pieces that form the underpinning of a restful night’s sleep.
- Set the stage for comfort with mattress pads, toppers, and featherbeds. Boost support with memory foam, choose a waterproof mattress pad for a comfy layer that also protects, or opt for an opulent featherbed for a lofty sleep surface.
- Choose your pillows by sleep position: Side sleepers often prefer firm pillows; medium-fill pillows offer the best support for back sleepers; stomach sleepers tend to lean to soft pillows.
- Mattress & pillow protectors block allergens, debris, and spills, and they are easy to wash when necessary.
- A ruffled or split-corner bed skirt offers a clean, fluid look that covers the box spring and hides under-bed storage.
for Ultimate Comfort
Climbing under the covers can be the most relaxing part of your day, but the wrong bedding can impact your sleep quality. The first step to ultimate comfort is figuring out your sleep preferences: Do you like to sleep cooler, or does an extra-warm comforter call to you; are you all about layers, or are you a ‘less is more’ type of person; does your decor change by the season, or do you stand by one style year-round?
Choose Your Perfect Sheets
We recommend keeping three sets of sheets per bed. This way, you can keep one set on the bed, have one in the laundry, and have a back-up set in your linen closet. You may choose to add seasonal designs or have fuzzy flannel options for cooler weather.
Getting the ideal sheets comes down to a few steps:
Knowing how weave types affect temperature and sleep quality
Understanding how thread count relates to comfort
Selecting the right material based on season, preferences, and care requirements
Getting the right size sheets to fit your mattress—without overlooking mattress depth
Pile on the Comfort(er)
Down and down alternative comforters are the lofty, plush layer that gives your bed a magazine-worthy look. Comforters aren’t one-size-fits-all: choose fill, weight, and shell material based on your preferences. Need help picking the perfect comforter? Check out our Comforter Guide.
Add Personality (and Protection) with a Duvet Cover
A duvet cover transforms a white duvet insert into an incredibly versatile piece. Duvet covers protect your comforter, and they wash easily—so you’ve got more options and less laundry. Putting on a duvet cover isn’t as complicated as it looks, either. We’ve got your back: Check out our instructions and video for how to put on a duvet cover easily.
Don’t Overlook the Extra Details
Make the bed with sheets and blankets, then complete the look with extras that fill the room with character. Keep supportive posture pillows ready for reading, lounging, or sleeping in the exactly perfect position.
Add pops of color and personality with accessories like decorative pillows or throw blankets. They’re perfect for extra support and warmth when you’re lounging in bed, but they don’t have to be confined there—line up a few bolsters or Euro pillows on a bench at the foot of the bed or deck out a statement-making armchair with a draped throw.
Layering your bedding isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Choose bedding pieces—sheets, blankets, comforter, quilt—to suit your sleep preferences and reflect the look you like in the bedroom. Whether you’re all about multiple layers or you prefer to stick to the basics, choosing layers based on sleep, season, and style is the best way to make a bed.
Create Kids' Rooms
When it comes to layering kids’ bedding, simplest is sometimes best. Ensure it’s easy for them to make their beds by using a minimum of layers, and incorporate whimsical prints that coordinate with their favorite colors. Printed sheet sets and playful quilt patterns are a great place to start, and check out these other tips for making kids’ rooms special:
- Reversible throw blankets or comforters can be flipped in an instant for double the style.
- Duvet covers are both fun and functional: They make it ultra-simple to switch up the decor, plus they provide a top layer that’s so easy to wash.
- Choose skin-friendly materials—kids’ skin is sensitive, so opt for soft, organic cotton and fuzzy flannel sheets.
Seasonal Bedding Tips
Though you could keep piles of comforters in prints for every season, there’s an easier way—and requires much less closet space. Choose your ideal comforter, then change the duvet cover each season. From holiday-specific prints to solid colors perfect for spring or autumn cheer, duvet covers make it easy to swap out your look with the season.
Warm weather means fewer bedding layers, but your bed doesn’t have to be boring. Layering crisp, cool sheets with lightweight blankets provides just-right layers to snuggle beneath, and brightly colored pillows and summery throws finish off a look perfect for summer nights. Keep a lightweight duvet folded at the foot of the bed to fend off a late-night chill.
Glossary of Common
This piece can be used as an extra layer beneath the comforter, as a lightweight summer blanket, or as a decorative top layer.
Comforters and duvet inserts are similar in that they are a lofty down or down alternative bedding layer that can be used with a duvet cover. Comforters may come in prints or colors and can also be used without a duvet cover, while duvet inserts are typically white or ivory.
A comforter or pillow fill material that is made from the soft under-layer of feathers from ducks or geese.
A down-free material made from synthetic fibers used to fill comforters and pillows.
A decorative, protective cover that functions like a pillowcase for your comforter or duvet insert.
Fill is the fiber inside your pillow or comforter. Fill power refers to the volume occupied by an ounce of down. Higher fill power means more insulation.
A supportive layer that is placed on top of the mattress, but beneath the sheets, that may also provide moisture-wicking, warming, or cooling benefits.
A bedding layer constructed with batting stitched between top and bottom fabric.
A decorative pillow covering available in a variety of sizes including Standard, Euro, and King.
The fitted sheet has an elastic edge for a snug fit against the mattress.
The optional flat sheet contains no elastic and it is used beneath blankets to provide warmth and protect the rest of the bedding.
A decorative pillow available in a variety of shapes and sizes that may be displayed on a couch, chair, bench, or bed.
A small blanket that can provide an extra bed layer or cover one or two people as they relax on a sofa or armchair.