Bedding Styles of our B&B

Last month I shared a personal story of how we selected the various room themes and décor style for each of our unique guest rooms at the B&B.  This month, I wanted to follow up specifically in regards to selecting the bedding for each room.

If you’re like me, just walking into a housewares department store, or clicking on “bedding” on any major retail website is overwhelming. There are just so many options.  Where do you start to select the right bedding for your master retreat or guest room?

First let’s start with my thoughts on sheets:

  1. Stay away from microfiber: Microfiber, is basically a man-made fiber product that resists wrinkling and is easy care. That being said, it also tends to be very hot to sleep under, does not breath or create air flow, and slides around on the bed. There are a lot of people that are very sensitive to polyester fibers in their clothes and sheets. In my opinion, it’s just not the best choice.
  2. The prefect blend: We try to find that happy balance between a 100% natural fiber such as bamboo and cotton, and ease of care such as a low percentage of poly fiber. I find the best combination is 60% cotton and 40% poly.  This creates a sheet that is easy to take from the dryer to the bed and still maintain the look and feel of cotton.  If you have a method and the time to iron your sheets – go 100% cotton.  I have been researching lately bamboo sheets. I’m not sure they will work well for us here at the B&B since we do use bleach in our wash which breaks down the bamboo fibers and decreases the life of the sheets. Just a thought.
  3. What about the count?: Thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch. So, it makes sense that the higher the count, the more threads per square inch. The more thread content equates to a better quality and wear for your sheets. But hold on! In reality, you can’t get a 1000 threads per square inch unless you make the threads smaller. According to a September 2013 article by Consumer Reports, the perfect thread count for the best feel and care is 400. So instead of a higher thread count look for materials like Combed Cotton, Egyptian Cotton and Pima Cotton for the softest sheets with the longest life.

That brings us to the cover.  Your duvet, quilt or bedspread is the largest canvas surface of your room. Here is where you get to “paint the picture” of what emotions and style you want your room to evoke.  The options are endless!

  1. Fabic Content: Use the same information presented on sheets to compare fabric content and wearability of potential duvets or comforters. There are actually some bed products out there that are beautiful but NOT machine washable. Do you really want something on your bed that is not able to be easily washed in the washing machine? Do you have time to take your bedding to the dry cleaners? Read washing labels carefully and make sure your final selection is machine washable, easy care and hopefully natural fiber based.
  2. Style: Determine your style by spending some time on Pinterest. Do you want simple clean base colors or do you want your bed cover to be bright, graphic and colorful?  Most of our bedding at the B&B is a simple base of white. We’ve added other colors by using pillows. It is always best, if you can afford it, to get two full sets of all your bedding.  On laundry day, just take off the dirty set and remake your bed with clean linens. After the wash is done, fold and put away the clean items ready for the next laundry day.  This purchase saves wear on your bedding and keeps it looking fresh and clean longer.   Bright colors on bedding will tend to fade over time so limiting the number of washes lengthens it’s use life.
  3. Duvet? Comforter? Bedspread or Quilt? Here’s a quick cheat sheet on the various styles of bedding.
    1. Duvet: It you’re going for a European feel you must go duvet. It’s basically a huge fabric envelope that you insert a down or faux-down “comforter” inside. It allows you to vary the thickness and warmth of your cover based on season and weather.  Winter = thicker comforter insert (or even 2 thinner ones) and Summer = cover with thin insert (or even no insert at all).  When traveling in Europe, most lodging facilities have a king bed with two twin duvets.  This allows two people to have their own covers and eliminates tussles with the cover-hog in your life. If you’re struggling to get that insert neatly inside the cover. Come back next month for a little video blog on “how to” make it fit.
    2. Comforter: This refers to the insert inside the duvet cover, but, also means a pieced and tied comforter that can be used as a top cover to your bed. The pioneer based word referred to the “warmth and comfort” of a handmade pieced and fluffy comforter.
    3. Bedspread: A somewhat outdated term that refers today to a solid fabric bed cover that drapes down longer on the bed. Somewhat difficult to wash at home since they are traditionally quite large.
    4. Quilt: A quilt is a pieced cover and backing that has a layer of batting / cotton sandwiched in between and then “quilted” or stitched in a pattern through all layers to keep it from shifting or coming loose. Our pioneer women made quilts (and comforters – tied with yarn) out of used clothing and old blankets. Now, a quilt on a bed can be an heirloom piece handed down, or fresh new contemporary look.
    5. Coverlet: This is a lighter weight smaller blanket that is mostly found neatly folded at the bottom of the bed. It is to pull up and add warmth during the night. It also makes a great option for an afternoon nap.
  4. Cost: There are as many price points for bed coverings as there are bed covering options. Set yourself a budget. Do your research.  Look at fabric content in relation to care. Read reviews. Don’t think that just because you are spending more money that your purchase will last longer.  We started out with a beautiful, but expensive set in our largest guest room thinking that since the room rented for more money, we could justify a higher priced bedding option.  After one year of washing, the cover was faded and had shrunk to the point the insert no longer fit in the duvet cover.  To be honest (and I’m not being paid to promote this), overall, we have found the best value and price on our beautiful duvet covers has been found at IKEA.  Needing to purchase three sets for each room, a reasonable cost was essential.  We also like that if a set was damaged or stained, we could replace it since IKEA traditionally maintains their inventory selection for several years.
  5. Pillows: Just a quick note on pillows. While having a mountain of pillows layered artistically on your bed is inviting and beautiful, in all practicality, all those cute little pillows will just end on the floor.  You should have 2 sleeping pillows with the pillow cases from your sheet set. Add two larger pillows to put inside the shams that come with your cover set. Then if you want to add a bit of flair you can add 1 – 3 decorative pillows. Make sure they have washable covers or are replaceable since they will end on the floor during bed time.

Hopefully, all this information and advice will allow you create the perfect combination of beauty and care when it comes to your bedding style. Feel free to share a picture of your perfect bed in our comment section below. I’d love to see how this article inspires or fits your bed style.

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