Between the health benefits of getting a good night’s sleep and the luxurious feeling of climbing into a bed layered with soft linens, it has never felt more important to have a comfortable place to rest our heads. Since dressing your bed is both an art and a science, we reached out to Camille Murphy of Palm Beach, Florida-based Pioneer Linens, which has been in business for more than 100 years, for advice on creating the ultimate setup for slumber. Here, she shares advice on everything from the essential seasonal pieces to how to pick the perfect pillow.
Invest in the right layers. Just as our wardrobes change from season to season, shifts in temperatures call for switching out the sheets and blankets. Here are Murphy’s suggestions for ideal seasonal bed pairings:
- Spring/Summer: In the spring and summer months, Murphy recommends a nice cotton percale sheet layered with warm-weather basics—cotton blankets or a nice stitched quilt—but still keeping an extra throw or blanket on hand for optimal coziness. “We definitely can’t make it through summer without our extra lightweight blanket covers here in Florida,” she says, adding, “We love the diamond pique coverlet by Matouk. Together with a light percale sheet, it’s like having just a sliver of cover to keep you cool through the warm months.”
- Fall/Winter: When the temperatures start dropping, it’s time to start layering. In the fall, Murphy recommends adding a nice medium-weight blanket to the bed. When the winter chill really sets in, she suggests layering on a Scandia down comforter in a medium weight and a fluffy Hungarian goose down duvet for when you curl up in bed. For additional warmth—and a luxurious touch—consider investing in a cashmere blanket to top it all off. In terms of sheets, Murphy advises transitioning to pieces woven in Modal in the fall. “They are super silky and temperature-regulating, so you’re not too hot or too cold,” she notes.
Know that a high thread count does not necessarily mean comfort. When it comes to sheets, “It’s all about the cotton,” Murphy says, versus the often-touted thread count, which refers to the amount of threads per square inch—and, according to Murphy, does not guarantee a softer product. “The best way to explain this is, if you have 500 pieces of hay and sew it into a square inch, it’s not going to make it softer, it’s going to be a heavy, more itchy piece of hay.” Instead, Murphy advises that buyers pay attention to where linens are made, and what they’re made of. “What we look for in luxury linens is long staple Egyptian cotton. When you take 500 threads of the finest cotton and sew them into that square inch, you end up with a light, super soft luxury piece of fabric,” she says.
Let your sleep habits guide your pillow selection. “When it comes to choosing sleep pillows, knowing your own sleep habits will prove to be the best guide,” Murphy says. The most important factor is whether you sleep on your stomach, back, or side. “We usually recommend that a soft pillow will work best for stomach sleepers, while back sleepers will prefer medium, and side sleepers may prefer a firm pillow,” she says, noting that if you are uncertain which way to go, medium pillows are a safe bet. As for how many, the pros at Pioneer Linens pros usually recommend four standard pillows for a queen size bed (with two pillows placed on each side), and four king size pillows for a king size bed. “You can always add some euro pillows, which are the big squares, for decorative purposes or for reading and sitting up,” she adds. In terms of brands, Murphy highly recommends the Hungarian goose down pillows by Scandia. “The down is hypoallergenic and goes through a rigorous cleaning process, and these pillows are like putting your head on a cloud,” she says.