Bedding buying guide

Sinking into quality bed linen at the end of a hard day is a positive pleasure. To find the right linen, in the best fabrics, weights and textures to suit your budget, read on.

Pillow talk

The softness of the pillow is really down to personal taste. Some people, especially those who sleep curled up on their side, like the neck support offered by a firm pillow. Back sleepers need something a little more giving, usually, so a medium-firm surface from the pillow might be the best. If you sleep on your stomach, a softer pillow could be just the thing.

The memory pillow, which moulds to the shape of your head and neck, may give the ultimate personalised response. Whichever pillow you plump for, however, don’t hope for the best and buy your partner the same style, pillows are very much down to individual needs and tastes, so your partner may choose a different surface on which to lay his or her head.

Not every pillow is created equal, either. You might decide that the pillow you’ve selected for sleeping on just isn’t good enough when you need the upper back, neck and head support while sitting up in bed, reading. V-shaped pillows are really good for this, and they give perfect support for those happy days when your partner brings you breakfast in bed (and, perhaps when there’s a hungry baby that needs breastfeeding).

What kind of filling is best for your dream pillow? If you tend to wheeze and sneeze because of allergies and house dust mites, it’s wise to opt for a hypo-allergenic stuffing, which is synthetic, rather than filled with feathers or down. Microfibres do a very good impression of feathers though, and won’t have the sneezy elements.

Pillow care

Go ahead and plump up your pillows! It’s not just a way to make your bed look all soft and inviting, it actually helps extend your pillows’ bed life, because it helps keep them firm and in shape. If you’ve spent a bit of cash on the perfect pillow, it’s worth giving them all the protection they need from sweaty heads, hair gels, face creams and all the other unguents we tend to anoint ourselves with before slumber. Pillow protectors do the job nicely.

If you can, wash your pillows every three months or so. Most pillows sold today are machine washable. Synthetic ones dry the quickest: bear in mind that all bedding needs to be washed at 60°C, the temperature at which dust mites are killed. Your pillow will not last as long as your duvet, so think about changing a pillow you use every night after a year in circulation, because old pillows lose their support.

Duvet decisions

Your first decision is whether you want a natural filling for your duvets, namely duck or goose feather, or whether you’d prefer synthetic fillings. Duck feathers keep the cold out and the heat in while allowing your skin to breathe. Goose down duvets usually weigh a little less than duck ones, but they’re equally toasty.

Sometimes the decision is made for you, because if you have a tendency toward allergic reactions, especially to house dust mites, you’re better off with the synthetic type. Some such are specially formulated to be antimicrobial and antibacterial, which can minimise allergic reactions. Synthetic duvets are just as warm as natural down duvets but are heavier and machine washable. If you like the feel of featherdown duvets choose those with a polyester microfibre filling , because these are are designed to feel just like the natural ones.

When to replace? It’s a matter of personal taste and wear and tear levels, of course, not to mention budget, but it’s wise to replace your synthetic duvet every three years. If your quilt has feathers inside, you can make it last about five years.

Duvet warmth is measured in togs

The higher the tog rating the warmer the duvet, so a tog rating of 3.0 to 4.5 means lightweight, which is good for summer. For spring or autumn a 7.5 to 12 tog rating is ideal and cold winter weather requires a 13.5 to 15.0 tog value.

An all-season duvet combines two duvets together in a single cover. When the weather gets warmer you simply detach one part of the duvet and put it into storage.

Covering up

Once you’ve chosen your pillow and duvet, it’s time to make them look lovely. Bed linen can transform the look of your bedroom and there are so many styles and colours to pick from. You can go all romantic and vintage with sprigged roses, or if bold, bright colours suit you, there is a huge variety of coordinating bed linen available. Styles include classic Oxford pillowcases (with a border) and decorative throws.

The fabric of your bed linen is just as important as the design. The very best quality fabric is Egyptian cotton which creates a soft but hard-wearing cloth. For quality fabric look out for linen that states a ‘thread count’ – the number of threads per square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count, the better quality of the fabric. For softness and warmth brushed cotton feels really good and is low maintenance. Polycotton is even lower maintenance: easy to wash, dries quickly and needs little or no ironing.

Fitted bed sheets are a popular and convenient choice and take the effort out of changing a bed, although some people still prefer traditional flat sheets that require manually tucking in around the mattress. People who aren’t keen on duvets may prefer to have flat sheets and blankets as an alternative cover up.

We stock a wide range of pillows, fitted and flat sheets, duvet covers and valances designed to fit the following sizes:

Fitted Sheets

Bed Size Dimensions
Single W90 x L190cm (3ft x 6ft 3in)
Double W135 x L190cm (4ft 6in x 6ft 3in)
King size W150 x L200cm (5ft x 6ft 6in)

Duvet Covers

Bed Size Dimensions
Single W135 x L200cm (4ft 6in x 6ft 6in)
Double W200 x L200cm (6ft 6in x 6ft 6in)
King size W230 x L220cm (7ft 7in x 7ft 3in)
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