Basic bedding, like pillows, duvets, featherbeds & foam mattress toppers, are the first step to building your perfect bed based on your individual comfort needs.
If you’re looking for a great night’s sleep, the right pillow is a must. Since pillows come in a variety of sizes and with many types of fills, here is a guide to finding the pillow that works best for you!
- Standard (20”x 26”) is suitable for twin size or double beds
- Queen (20”x 28”) is suitable for queen size beds
- King (20”x 36”) is suitable for king size beds
Keep in mind that you do not need to have a pillow to match your bed size. Use whatever size pillow works best for you.
Natural fill pillows, such as those with feathers and down, offer superb resilience and adjustability and can last up to 10 years if cared for properly. Down also has a natural ability to wick away moisture and its light and lofty characteristics provide superior adjustable comfort without added weight.
Many synthetically filled pillows are hypoallergenic and present a less expensive option, however they should be replaced every 1-2 years or when they lose their loft. Polyester fills are available in a variety of qualities and price ranges and are a good choice when you’re looking for something hypoallergenic. Microgel polyester fill is extremely soft – its silky construction makes it the closest in feeling to natural down. Cluster polyester fill mimics natural down clusters by shaping the polyester fibres into little balls. Like down, cluster polyester pillows can be “re-fluffed” to maintain their shape and support.
The Right Pillow for Your Sleep Style
Before purchasing a pillow it is important to ask yourself what position you tend to sleep in. Pillows often come in soft, medium and firm varieties and serve several different purposes – each well suited to a specific sleep style. Firm pillows are great for side sleepers as they provide excellent neck support. Medium varieties are best for back sleepers. Soft pillows provide light support and are most comfortable for stomach sleepers. In terms of natural fill, a feather pillow typically gives firm support while a down pillow is considered soft. Blends of down and feather fill produce a medium support pillow.
Duvets are bed covers that can be made with either natural down fill or synthetic fill. There are advantages to both types, so weigh your options carefully.
Down Filled Duvets
Down refers to the light and fluffy undercoating that geese, ducks and other waterfowl have to keep them warm. It is made up of tiny clusters of plumules that can be found under the feathers and close to the skin. Down does not refer to feathers as many believe, which is good since feathers do not have good insulating properties. Plumules are far better agents to fill duvets as they help to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer by regulating body heat. Down does not have quills attached to it like feathers, so if your duvet has hard or prickly parts that protrude through the fabric it has been made of ground up feathers. This is not a high quality duvet.
Loft is the number, in cubic inches, that one ounce of down will occupy under specific conditions. The highest quality loft, identified by a high loft number, is usually produced from older, larger geese. The highest loft number to be consistently tested is 800. Interestingly, if a number higher than 800 is associated with a down duvet, it is not actually a loft number! Many manufacturers may use a large number as a trade name or marketing tactic without identifying the number as loft, leading the customer to believe that the duvet is a higher quality, so read the labels carefully.
Cleaning & Allergies
High quality downs are carefully washed, rinsed and dried using special machinery and cleansing agents. It is important to know that all impurities from the down are removed prior to the manufacturing of high quality duvets. This is particularly important when considering allergies. While many people may believe they are allergic to feathers or down, it is actually the dirt and microbes that down and feathers attract that give people allergic reactions. If you suffer from common allergies, it would be worth your while to seek out a high quality down duvet to ensure minimal exposure to allergens.
Synthetically Filled Duvets
Synthetic fibers are usually a mixture of cotton and polyester and are less expensive and usually non-allergenic alternatives to natural fibers. They provide good loft and warmth, can last up to 10 years, and are a great option if you prefer to clean your duvet frequently.
Baffled Construction: This type of duvet has a vertical wall of fabric which joins the upper and lower portions of the shell. Baffles allow the down or fill in you duvet to assume its fullest loft without collecting unevenly in a particular corner. The baffles are usually between 6 and 15 inches in size, with an equal amount of fill in each.
Box Stitch Construction: This type of duvet is sewn in a checkerboard pattern; rather than using small strips of material to separate the top and bottom covers, the top and bottom covers are sewn together to form boxes. These boxes serve the same purpose as baffles; they keep the fill evenly spread out across the entire duvet.
Featherbeds are designed to fit over a mattress as a topper, and to provide additional comfort and temperature control. As their name indicates, the fill is generally feathers, which offers the ultimate in softness. They are constructed similarly to duvets, so look for a baffled or box stitch construction to avoid feather buildup in the corners of your featherbed.
In terms of care, the best way to prolong the life of your featherbed is to cover it with a mattress cover. Spot cleaning is recommended, as is airing it out in the sun from time to time. Be sure not to “beat” the featherbed, as this can lead to feather leakage. Treat it gently and it should provide up to 10 years of comfort.
Foam pillows and mattress toppers are great alternatives to down pillows and featherbeds. They can often provide more support than down, and their foam nature allows them to retain heat for a longer period of time, making them a cozy option for winter months.
In terms of care, it is recommended that foam products be spot cleaned only, and under no circumstances should they be placed in a dryer or near extreme heat. They are flammable, and should be treated with caution. Also, most foam products have a “new foam” smell for the first week after delivery. This is perfectly natural, and is not a hazard. Fabric deodorizers can be used to help.
Most foam products are shipped in a compressed form, and will not appear as expected when you first open them. Allow up to 72 hours for full recovery of the size and shape of the product you purchased. Finally, be aware that foam products will turn yellow when exposed to light and air, and this natural colour change will not hinder performance or wear.