How to sleep in style

How to dress your bed

The basics

Choose a mattress protector made from natural fibres, which make it easier for the body to maintain a healthy temperature and also prevent static electricity from forming around it. 

Add a bottom sheet, which can be either fitted or flat, followed by a top sheet if you like one. Some people prefer only a bottom sheet followed by a duvet. (See How to Choose the Perfect Sheets)

Duvets are a popular covering choice but partners’ different temperature requirements can make it difficult to choose the right one. Using two single duvets or one with different tog (thermal) ratings on each side are ways to get around this. Filling choices include goose down, silk, wool, cotton or synthetic.

Add colour and texture

coverlet is a thin, decorative bed cover that does not hang to the floor or cover the pillows, while a bedspread does both of these. Use either to create a polished look.

throw is normally smaller than a blanket and is used as a decorative accent or to add extra warmth. 

comforter is a bed cover stuffed with fibre and sewn together on all four sides. The fabric is decorative, which adds colour and texture. 

A continental pillow is a large square pillow usually used for back support when reading or watching TV. The most practical size is 65 x 65cm. 

sleeping pillow is a medium-sized rectangular pillow that’s either standard size (45 x 70cm) or king size (50 x 90cm). The ideal thickness of your pillow is determined by the position you prefer to sleep in. If you sleep on your stomach or back, you need quite a thin pillow. If you sleep on your side, you need a firm pillow that supports your neck. Sleeping pillows absorb moisture (perspiration) at night, which is why it is important to make sure that they are properly aired during the day.

decorative pillow can be any size but we recommend 65 x 65cm, or 45 x 65cm. 

bolster is a decorative tubular pillow that can range in size from small to the width of a bed. 

bed skirt is a decorative piece of bedding that covers a mattress base. It can match the bedding, the headboard or another aspect of the room.

How to choose the perfect sheets

1. Choose a colour that makes you look and feel great Most people choose the colour of their sheets to match their rooms. The Italians suggest that you choose the colour in which you feel most beautiful, or which best suits your personality and mood. Think about the shade you want to see first thing in the morning – maybe bright white is not ideal after all.

2. Thread count Egyptian cotton may make the best sheets but there are different grades available, which is never made clear on the label. Thread count measures the number of threads per square inch. The simplest weave is percale and if the thread count of percale goes below 200, it is considered muslin cloth. But a higher thread count does not always mean the sheets are better quality – that is determined by the quality of the thread used to weave the fabric, as well as the expertise of the weaver. The Italians have always been known as master weavers.

3. The touch test You basically have three choices: cotton percale, cotton sateen or jacquard weaves, and then linen (woven from flax). Sateen weaves drape over the body and percale lies on top of the body. There is no right or wrong, so choose what feels good to you.

4. The weight of the sheets Different fabrics have different weights. Choose the weight that you find most comfortable.

5. Creasing All natural fabrics crease. Linen creases the most, then cotton percale. Cotton sateen creases the least.

Debbie Hall,