A Complete Guide to Bedding Terminology & Choosing the Best Bedding

The bedroom is the ultimate place for relaxation after a long day at work which is why people try to make it as comfortable as it can get. A well-accessorized bed is not only relaxing but good for your health. A well-maintained bed with the right bedding can rectify your sleep posture and reduce chances of injuries due to bad sleeping posture. Bedding is not just about the mattress, pillows and bedsheets; there are accessories to consider as well. Every component of bedding has certain terms associated with them.

Guide to Bedding Terminology & Choosing the Best Bedding

Getting familiar with the terminologies will make shopping for bedding items easier for you. In this post, we are going to discuss the various terms associated with bedding items and what they mean. We will also provide suggestions which will help you determine the best bedding products to invest in.

  1. The types of bed

Beds come in different size and styles. Understanding what’s available will help you buy the right bedding and know exactly what to look for.

  • California king- This bed size can accommodate a mattress that is 6 inches narrower and 4 inches longer than conventional king sizes.
  • Canopy bed- This is similar to four-poster beds with posts at each corner which are 4 feet or longer. It has a decorative cover or a cloth that is suspended between the posts.
  • King bed- They are 80-inch-wide and 76 inches in length. They are similar to queen beds in width, but 16 inches longer in length. Another name they are known by is ‘eastern king’.
  • Queen bed- They are 80-inch-wide and 60 inches in length. Queen beds are generally 6 inches wider and 6 inches longer than regular double or full beds.
  • Twin bed- This is also known as a single bed and is the smallest size mattress available for adults.
  • Twin XL- These beds are six inches longer than regular twin beds and are more suitable and comfortable for taller individuals.
  • Full bed- They are also known as double beds and are 54-inch-wide and 74 inches long. They are 16 inches wider than twin beds and are one of the most common choices for smaller bedrooms.
  • Futon- This multifunctional piece of furniture is like a low sofa which can be unfolded for use as a bed.
  1. Bed parts

There are different parts of the bed which can vary from one bed style to another. It is important to know these terms as well.

  • FinialIt is a decorative ornament that is optional and seen at the top, end or the corner of the bed.
  • Footboard- It is an upright panel at the foot of the bed.
  • Frame- This is also known as the bedstead which is a part of the bed and is used to position the mattress and the base foundation. This is usually made from wood or metal and includes the head, foot and the side rails.
  • Headboard- This is an upright panel that is placed behind the head of the bed.
  • Spearhead- This is a rail that is there along the side of the bed which connects the headboard and the footboard.
  1. Bedding items

Determine the bare essentials that you need for a comfortable bed and which accessories are and just for aesthetics. You can skip investing in certain bedding products like bed skirts and pillow shams for a bed that is used daily.

  • Top sheet- Popular in North America and in parts of Europe, it is also called the flat sheet and is a separation between the quilt, comforter or blanket and you. In European countries, the duvet cover replaces the top sheet.
  • The bottom sheet- This is the sheet with elastic edges that is used for covering the mattress. It is also called the fitted sheet for its elastic lining that helps to keep the sheet in place.
  • Coverlet- This is a decorative covering over the bottom sheet that does not cover the pillows or touches the floor. Quilts and woven coverlets fall under this category.
  • Bedspread- It reaches the floor and covers the entire bed similar to a coverlet. It can come in different materials like wool, cotton, polyester, microfiber plush and other fibre
  • Euro or continental pillow- This is a decorative and large square pillow that sits back against the headboard. It is an optional accessory that adds to the aesthetics and comfort if you tend to rest on the headboard at times.
  • Sleeping pillow- The rectangular pillows for sleeping comes in three sizes- regular, king and queen respectively. Choose the one that fits your bed and your sleeping habits best. This is a basic bedding item you need and should invest in.
  • Decorative pillow- They are also called accent or throw pillows and come in varied sizes, shapes and colours to add to the decoration of the bed.
  • Bolster pillows- They are tubular pillows that can be as long as the length of the bed. These pillows can be used as lumbar support while sitting up or reading.
  • Pillowcases They are coverings for pillows and can be plain or decorative. The pillowcase should be changed from time to time to keep it clean. Using a soiled pillowcase can lead to breakouts and skin irritation.
  • Bed skirt- It is a decorative piece of fabric that is attached between the box springs and the mattress. It is also available as a detachable part. It adds sophistication and colour to the entire décor of the room.
  • Throw blankets- They are usually smaller than regular blankets and are added to the bedding for extra warmth at its foot.
  • Duvet- It is similar to a comforter but requires a duvet cover as well.
  • Comforter- It is a bed cover stuffed with fibre or down for warmth and sewn together on the four sides.
  1. Factors to consider while choosing bedding

Once you have a complete understanding of the different bedding terms and items, you should consider your requirements. Depending on what they are, choose the bedding accessories and items. Here are certain factors that you should consider while buying bedding items.

  • The mattress pads

Mattress padding protects against dust and allergens. The mattress pad materials are generally wool, cotton and polyester.

  • Bed sheets

When you are choosing a bedsheet consider the weave, thread count and material for optimum comfort. Decorative bed sheets are not always comfortable for sleeping on daily. Look for bedsheets which are warm and soft. Stock up at least three to four bedsheets for different seasons and also to make sure you have a clean sheet in stock when needed.

  • Pillows

Pillows play a crucial role in how comfortably you sleep at night. Replace your pillows every 12-18 months as the fillings can get stiff and uncomfortable from use over time.

  • Bed foundation

There are different bed foundation structures like traditional water beds or metal bed frames with storage space underneath it. Get the bed foundation for your bedroom based on the storage space you will need.

  • Budget

Make a list of the bedding items you need. Determine a realistic overall budget for all the items and an average per item cost and then start shopping accordingly.


Bedding should be chosen based on how it adds to the appeal of the bedroom and the comfort it provides. Invest in bedding accessories that are suitable for entertaining guests as well as for regular use. Having adequate knowledge of the bedding products and the different bedding terms will ensure you buy only what you need.

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