Buying Bedding? Here’s What to Look For
Putting together your perfect bed is one part sizing, one part knowing what to look for, and one part personal preference. We took care of the first two aspects in our bedding guide below, but the personal preference is all up to you.
One thing to keep in mind about bedding is the link between quality and price. In trusted stores, higher prices generally point to higher quality pieces, especially when it comes to sheets. That’s not to say you can’t score generous discounts, of course, if you’re a super savvy shopper.
Bed Size Basics
For sheets, comforters, and other bedspreads, it’s essential to choose items that fit the size of your bed. For the record, standard bed sizes are:
- Twin: 39 x 75 inches
- Twin XL: 39 x 80 inches
- Full: 54 x 75 inches
- Full XL: 54 x 80 inches
- Queen: 60 x 80 inches
- King: 76 x 80 inches
- California King: 72 x 84 inches
Most bedding items make it clear what size bed the item fits. Mattress depth is important for fitted sheets, mattress pads, and protectors. Mattress depths typically range from 9 to 15 inches.
Sheet sets are typically sold in sets that include one fitted sheet, one flat sheet, and at least one pillow case. You can also purchase sheet elements separately in some cases.
Thread count is often the first or most important characteristic people look for in sheets, although the whole thread count hoopla is largely a marketing ploy. High thread count does not necessarily indicate high-quality sheets, especially if that’s the only aspect you use.
Cotton fibers are the main component in most sheets, and high-quality, longer cotton fibers produce less pilling. High-quality fibers can be found in Egyptian cotton, organic cotton, cotton-poplin, cotton-polyester, bamboo, pima, and supima.
The weave of the sheet contributes to the sheet’s look, feel, price, and longevity. Percale weave is one of the most common, featuring a crisp, cool feel. Sateen weave is another popular one, featuring a warmer, softer feel.
You want a set that fits your bed, and to make sure it does you want to pay attention to how thick your mattress is. Extra-thick mattresses, or those outfitted with a super-thick mattress pad, may require fitted sheets with extra-deep pockets. This way the elastic band that holds the fitted sheet in place can be properly tucked beneath the mattress.
Three sets of sheets is the ideal. That way you can have one set on the bed, a second clean set waiting in the linen closet, and a third set in the laundry basket waiting to be washed.
Pillows and Pillow Cases
Pillows come with a wide range of filling types, materials, thicknesses, and support levels. Experimenting with different types, or at least giving them a feel in-person, can help you choose the type and quantity most comfortable for you. Some people sleep using one pillow; others choose two.
Standard Pillow Cases
Standard pillow cases follow the same rule as sheets when it comes to thread count, material, and weave. Sheet sets meant for twin beds typically come with one pillow case; sets for full, queen, and king beds come with two.
The world is yours when it comes to decorative pillows to add to your bed. Just try to limit the collection to fewer than about six pillows or they tend to get overwhelming. Keep a basket next to your bed to store the decorative pillows while you’re sleeping.
Bedspreads top off your bed with an extra layer of comfort and flair. Like decorative pillows, the playing field is wide open here, with a variety of different textures, warmth levels, colors, patterns, and styles. Getting the right size is essential; most other details are all based on personal preference.
- Comforters: Decorative and filled with layers of material, comforters add different weights and levels of coziness.
- Duvets: Duvets are filled with layers of material, but typically come as plain white to be used as inserts inside a decorative duvet cover.
- Quilts: Typically thinner than comforters, quilts feature three layers of material: a woven top and bottom layer filled with thin layer of batting.
- Coverlets: Lightweight and decorative, coverlets are meant to be used over thicker bedding. Some may be filled with batting and warm enough to use on their own.
Mattress Pads and Protectors
Mattress pads and protectors are placed over your mattress and beneath the fitted sheet.
Mattress pads can add a cushy layer while protecting the mattress from dust, perspiration, and allergens. They can be quilted and filled with batting, memory foam, or even feathers. Like pillows, the best mattress pads depend on what’s comfortable for you.
Pick a size that fits your bed’s dimensions. Pay attention to the depth of your mattress, as pads usually have an elastic band you secure around the mattress base. Size and filling type are generally the two most important factors to look for in a mattress pad.
Mattress protectors are designed to keep your mattress free from allergens, perspiration, pet accidents, and other wetness and stains. Unlike mattress pads, mattress protectors do not usually add a layer of cushiness to your bed—just a protective cover.
Look for size and material, with waterproof options typically made of vinyl, latex, or polyester. Protectors with zipper closures totally encase your mattress for the highest level of protection.
Save Money on Bedding
Since price and quality are connected when it comes to bedding, you may want to head to trusted, well-known shops for putting together your perfect bed.
You’ll find a gorgeous array of different styles, sizes, types, and price ranges at places like JCPenney, Macy’s, Crate and Barrel, and Bed Bath & Beyond. If you follow the above links, you’ll have the opportunity to get coupons and cash back on any purchases. Upgrade your bedding today!