10 Tips for Choosing Bedding



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I’m no expert on bedding – fabric types, thread counts, etc.  But I do know what I like and don’t like.  And I learned the hard way how to increase my chances of choosing bedding that makes me happy.


1.       If you’re going to re-paint the room, get the bedding FIRST.  It’s easier to match paint to bedding than try to find bedding that matches the paint.

2.       Don’t rely on standard labels like “full”, “queen” or “king” to ensure the bedding will be the size you want.  We have a full size bed and I’ve purchased comforters labeled full size that didn’t actually fit.  And in some cases you need to allow for shrinkage.  So instead of purchasing based on the label, measure the area you want to cover and purchase based on what matches your measurements.

3.       Before you purchase bedding, TOUCH IT.  I purchased a bedspread that looked good and matched my measurements but I wasn’t able to touch it before I bought it.  I took a chance and guess what happened?  I hated the way it felt and took it back ASAP. My new rule is that if I can’t touch it, I won’t buy it.

In retrospect, I probably could have asked a salesperson to open the bag for me but I didn’t think of it at the time.  I will next time.

4.       Read the care instructions and fabric type.  I’m usually looking for bedding that can be washed at home so I avoid dry clean only bedding.  I also know that if it’s 100% cotton it might shrink so I need to allow for that when I choose a size.

5.       Don’t pass on bedding that doesn’t have pillow shams.  Some of the “coverlets” and “quilts” don’t have shams.  You can purchase shams from other bedding sets that will coordinate or you can use a fancier pillowcase.  Our last bedspread didn’t have shams so I purchased a hounds tooth print pillow case.  I intended to sew buttons on the ends to make it look a little fancier but I never did it.  I liked the way it looked.

6.       If you don’t like it, TAKE IT BACK!  I think I returned at least three bedspreads when I was on the hunt for a new one.  The thing is, you can’t tell if you like it until you get it home and put it on your bed.  Sometimes they look good in the package but not so good on the bed.  So be willing to take it back if you don’t like it.

7.       This is important:  pay attention to how it’s folded in the bag so that if you need to take it back you can fold it back up and get it in the bag.  I finally learned this.


8.       Again, touch the fabric.  More important for me than the thread count is how the sheets feel.  I like the silkier feeling sheets over the cotton.  And I can’t always tell by looking at the sheets – I need to touch them!  The last set I got had a decent thread count but they were cottony feeling and I don’t like them.   I’ll be replacing them at my first opportunity.

9.       Mix and match.  There’s no rule that says the top sheet has to be exactly the same as the bottom sheet.  If you buy separates, you can choose whatever combinations you want.  And then if one of the sheets bites the dust, you can easily replace just the sheet that’s out of commission.

10.     Buy fitted and flat separate.  If I can, I buy a full size fitted sheet and a queen sized flat sheet.  The full sets come with flat sheets but they just aren’t big enough!  But a queen flat is perfect.

What do you look for when purchasing bedding?

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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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11 thoughts on “10 Tips for Choosing Bedding

  1. A few more: If you see the bedding in advertising flyer, it may look quite different in real life. My father really liked some black sheets that were in a slick flyer. Went to the store and the sheets were disappointing. the flyer made them look really high quality and luxurious, and they were flat and bland.

    Blankets: Purchase a few light blankets and heavy duty blankets. Northern Virginia tends to have a lot of power outages. A friend’s power went out for six days in the middle of the worst cold weather we’d had in a while, and she didn’t have any heat. Hotels were jammed, so she was stuck in a freezing house until the power came on.

  2. Oh, my, yes! I actually only pay attention to ads for the brands that I trust. That list of trusted manufacturers has been shortened over the years because the quality does not run the way it used to. Producing cheap goods does not endear these companies to me. I buy sheets based on thread count and “touch”. Just because it says “600 thread count” on the label does not mean that the sheet will have that smooth silky feel to the touch. Although my bed is a queen size, I usually buy king sized top sheets and spreads so that they cover the box springs after being washed. As you noted, Patty, it is important to allow for shrinkage after cleaning.

    Making my bedding pretty is almost always a journey through the entire bedding departments of at least three stores. I love Egyptian cotton sheets, but I only like the very smooth ones. Since my bed is under my window, I keep the colors in ranges that work together and I do not often make radical changes in my colors. I like what I like and pretty much ignore “fashion” trends because visitors do not enter my bedroom.

    I am picky about bedding, towels and even table cloths and napkins. I like quality and do not mind paying for that, but I hate cheapness in content and inflated prices. Sometimes what I can find at Walmart or Kmart works out better than what I can find at Nordstrom’s, but that an easily change around. Most of the bedding in my home is more than 10 years old, but it looks like new because the quality is there. I love pretty bedding, but not at the cost of comfort.

  3. One other thing to note – I think the fabric used for high-quality sheeting has large amounts if sizing/stiffener in it. For reasons I’m not quite clear on, my husband likes to buy (high-quality) sheets almost every year for Christmas. For our current king size bed, we’ve got a variety – flannel, knit, and 3 sets of Egyptian cotton.

    Two of my now-favorite sets of sheets I hated in the beginning. They probably would have softened up sooner, but I disliked them so they sat in the linen closet and only got used when I was desperate. I think the fact that they are king size they might not get enough agitation in a standard washer. When we moved in to our current house, the laundry hook up leaked and I had to use a laundromat for over a month while we found time to replace plumbing. Of course I used every sheet we owned before breaking down and going to the laundromat, so the awful sheets got used again. After I washed them in the commercial washers, they were SOO soft.

    1. That’s interesting about the commercial washers softening the sheets. Who would have thought.

      I’ve never tried flannel and won’t. I tend to get hot (peri-menopause) so those would kill me. I don’t really like knit either although my daughter and daughter-in-law both love them. They move around too much. But give me Egyptian cotton every time! Love those!!!

  4. Hi! Greetings from Finland!

    Thank you for this post. The more I watch videos or read about home organization and bed spreads, pillow shams, the more curious I get. I feel reading about these types of things are sort of like cultural education because here we have a different way of making the bed, and I had never even heard of pillow shams! As crazy as it may sounds, I am intrigued by how people make their beds! 😀

    I want sheets that feel nice. I used to have a variety of colors for sheets covering the mattress, and a colored-patterned duvet cover sheet. I have never seen anyone use a flat top sheet with a duvet on top. We just put a duvet cover on the duvet/blanket. My boyfriend prefers to have all white bedding, because he feels it makes the bedroom feel more like a hotel and more luxurious.

    We use two twin size (I think) duvets because they are easier to handle, the duvet covers are smaller and that makes their washing and drying easier. Also the majority of bed sheets, or duvet covers rather, that are sold are for twin sized duvets. Trying to find a king size duvet cover in stores or even a duvet is often very difficult and they might have to be specially ordered into the stores when there is a customer who wants a king size duvet. It doesn’t happen often. We have thicker duvets for the winter and thinner for summer. My boyfriend likes to switch from the winter duvet into the summer duvet much earlier than I do, and similarly in the fall he wants to use the summer duvet longer than I do so that also is easy to do with two twin duvets.

    1. Very interesting, Serafia. Some people here use duvets but they’re not extremely popular, at least in the Midwest United States. Most people use a comforter or bedspread and it’s very common to have a fitted sheet to cover the mattress AND a flat sheet between you and the comforter. Most people use both.

      It’s surprising how different it is from one country to another.

  5. I always buy white sheets. That way I can mix and match the top sheet and the fitted sheet. If one wears out before the other, I can easily replace the worn out portion of the set.

  6. I like the post very much. I appreciate skilled writing. I also want to add something from my point of that as air circulation is very necessary for anything, for beds too. so never place anything very much closer to it.

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