Bedding

Turning your bedroom into an oasis

When it comes to redesign, we often think of how we can impress others rather than ourselves, but it's important that you make your bedroom redesign all about you. The best place to start is by transforming your bed into a comfortable and luxurious cocoon that is yours to indulge in at the end of a hard day – and that starts with choosing the perfect bedding.

Lying in the Lap of Luxury

While it seems like these days every designer from Ralph Lauren to Tommy Hilfiger is coming out with their own line of bedding, not all luxury bedding is determined by a brand. In fact, you're better off paying attention to fabric and thread count than you are to the designer name on the package.

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The most affordable fabric for bed linens and duvet covers is of course cotton, but if you've got a little extra to splurge with, try Egyptian cotton. Egyptian cotton is a longer cotton fiber that produces a softer finished product – the longer the fiber, the softer and more durable your sheets will be.

If you want to get away from cotton, silk and satin are other luxurious bedding options. You can find bedspreads and sheet sets in these fabrics, both of which will transform your mattress and bed into a beautiful and comfortable focal point in your room. And believe it or not, silk is just as practical as any other bedding fabric, as most silk bedding can be tossed in the wash.

Whichever fabric you choose, if you want luxury sheets, keep an eye out for thread count. Thread count, which is the number of vertical and horizontal threads in a square inch of fabric, can range between 80 and 700. Average sheets usually come in between 200 and 300, while affordable luxury bedding is usually considered to be around 400. Be wary of going too high in thread count. Often it's impossible to notice any difference beyond 400, and it may just be a sales gimmick luring you into spending more money.

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Comforters

Comforters are thick, fluffy bedspreads known for their warmth. Down comforters (stuffed with feathers) are considered the warmest and most luxurious of comforters, but they will also carry the biggest price tag. More affordable synthetic options are available. As for exterior fabric, cotton is a popular and practical choice for many rooms. Cotton comforters come in a variety of patterns and designs to suit any decor, from toile for a French country look to bold stripes and geometric shapes for a modern design.

If you're looking for an affordable and easy bedding option, keep an eye out for a comforter set. These sets come with matching or complementary shams and a bed skirt, and often a reversible comforter, which gives you two design options. Both sides will complement the other pieces of the set – one side usually matches while the other provides a complementary contrast. If you're a little unsure of your eye for design, comforter sets take all the work out of giving your bed that magazine look.

Quilts

Quilts are a great look for a country bedroom, and are often as warm as any comforter. Handmade quilts (antique quilts in particular) are beautiful bedding options, but the work involved in making one often carries a price. If you're willing to compromise on authenticity, you can find machine-made quilts in most bedding stores that give the same look without the high price.

Quilt patterns are plentiful, so the choice is really determined by the color and design of your room. Crazy quilts and patchwork quilts are a great way to incorporate accent color, while pulling in the one strong color of your room. Keep other fabrics simple and monochromatic so as not to overwhelm your room. Other popular patterns that give your room a more quaint country look include rosebud or basket patterns, while nautical and patriotic patterns can help you create a themed room.

Sheets

Bed sheets are often chosen out of practical means, rather than for aesthetics. Cotton sheets for summer and flannel sheets for winter, or specially sized water bed sheets for water beds are some examples. But fortunately, with so many patterns and colors on the market today, you don't have to compromise on style when you make your choice. Floral sheets or basic white with eyelet top hems will complement a country room, while contemporary design is flattered by bold, saturated colors. For a modern look, couple bright sheets with geometric patterns or stripes and a solid-colored blanket or comforter.

If you're looking to splurge, stretch yourself beyond basic cotton sheets and opt for silk or satin. These sheets are both soft and smooth against your skin, but are still warm enough for cooler weather. Remember, as mentioned earlier, consider thread count when buying sheets. You'll notice a difference between 200 and 400 that is worth every extra penny.

Bedspreads

A bedspread is basically a lighter version of a comforter, just a single layer of fabric rather than stuffed. You can find bedspreads in a number of fabrics, from basic cotton to more luxurious fabrics. A chenille bedspread is the perfect choice for adding romance and texture to a bedroom, but is still practical enough to stand up to everyday use. A velvet bedspread, on the other hand, is equally luxurious but will be more difficult to care for. They'll attract lint and although they're washable, they may show some wear after a few cycles.

Whatever your fabric, you'll find bedspread styles to suit any decor. Floral and quilted bedspreads, in clean white or soft hues, add a homey feel to a country bedroom. Or, you can boost your contemporary design scheme with a thick-striped, boldly colored bedspread. If you're concerned about keeping your style current through the years, choose a neutral bedspread with unique detail, such as a scalloped edge, that will match any decor. Then, use your sheets to complement your style, since they are more affordable to update.

Pillowcases

They may seem like a small detail, but the right pillowcases can add a finishing touch to your bed decor. While many sheet sets come with matching pillowcases, often there are only two to a set. If you favor lots of pillows on the bed, look to purchase your own cases to mix up your style. Match your sheets, choose a complementary color, or even better, throw in a pattern to break up a solid sheets and cases.

You can also look for specialty pillowcases for design and practicality. Vintage pillowcases often feature complex embroidery or even beadwork on their edges, which is something you don't see much of today. Embroidered pillow cases are a beautiful touch for any country or formal bedroom. If you're looking to spice things up in the bedroom, silk or satin pillowcases bring texture and sensuality to a romantic bedroom design. For more practical concerns, hypoallergenic pillowcases can help you or your bedmate sleep easier at night.

Bedding on a Budget

If you need to save a little money on your bedding, bedding sets are the most cost-effective option. Sometimes known as a "bed in a bag," these sets will include a comforter, pillow shams, a sheet set, two pillow cases and even a bed skirt to complete the look. Keep in mind, however, that these sets are only practical if you need and want these pieces. Often in modern or contemporary rooms with platform beds, a bed skirt won't be necessary, and if you're a one-pillow-only kind of person, you'll find incorporating extra pillows just to make use of decorative shams to be an annoyance.

Another option for bedding on a budget is to hunt down discount bedding. While simply choosing lower thread count sheets is a practical option (you may not even notice the difference), it's also possible to find designer bedding for marked-down prices at overstock stores or online.

Read our Editorial Review on Croscill Bedding