Comforter Food for Thought

Picking the right comforter might be one of the most important choices you make in your bedroom– after all, you’re going to be sleeping with it every night!

Whether you get hot or cold easily, like to lie on firm or cushy materials, prefer luxury or practicability … all these factors are things you’ll want to consider when shopping for the perfect comforter.

First of all, you will want to choose one that fits your mattress – traditionally-sized ones will generally stop at the foot of the bed, while oversized ones will have an 8-15 inch drop.

Next, you need to decide what weight you want. Light weight equals the warmth of about one wool blanket, which is good for summer and warm climates. Medium weight equals about two wool blankets, a good year-round weight. Heavy weight equals the warmth of about three wool blankets, which is particularly useful on chilly nights. The best combination is to get the greatest amount of warmth with the lightest weight.

Just like sheets, comforters will have a thread count. Take the fiber of the fabric into account as well – higher thread counts do not necessarily mean better quality. Cambric cottons are sturdy and long-lasting; sateen cottons are lighter and softer to the touch. It’s a good idea to actually run your hand along the material and see if you like the feel as well as the look.

If shopping for a down comforter, fill power is another term you will want to learn – it refers to the down’s ability to warm – the higher the fill power, the fluffier the down, and the better it insulates. High fill power gives you a lot of warmth, which can mean savings on your heating bill! Look for comforter shells that are down proof (210 thread count or higher) – which means you won’t wake up in the morning resembling a duckling.

Cleanliness is also an issue for down comforters. Depending on how well the down was purified, it may or may not be hypo-allergenic. There are two basic tests in the industry – the oxygen test, which determines the amount of organic matter left in the material. The acceptable standard is 10, though better products have lower numbers. There is also the turbidity test, which measures suspended solids such as dust and dirt in the comforter’s material. The scale range from 60 (unwashed feathers) to 550 (high quality).

How are Down Comforters Constructed?

The key to down’s insulating ability lies not only in its fill power, but also its ability to loft. If the down is being smooshed down by the confines of the fabric, it won’t be able to trap the air as well – so the best constructions are those that keep an even distribution of the down while still allowing it room to breathe.

There are various stitches used to secure the filling inside comforters, such as the Laro stitch, Baffled stitch, and Square stitch. Each method of stitching allows for different degrees of movement of the loose filling. Some let you move the filling around inside the comforter, while others help it to stay consistent and evenly distributed throughout. Better sewing means a longer life that you and your comforter can share. Generally, they will either be sewn through or baffled. Light weight comforters are OK when sewn through, but if you need a heavier, more durable comforter, look for a baffled one.

Finally, whether going with down, synthetic down, silk or a cotton comforter, find a duvet cover (which is essentially like a giant pillow case for your comforter) that pleases you. There are many styles, colors and patterns to choose from – so you can customize your comfort. Don’t do too good of a job, though – or you’ll never want to get out of bed!