To Down or Not To Down

You’ve heard from one friend that there’s no better bedding than down. Then you’ve heard from another that it makes you sneeze. Now you’re faced with the decision of doing your own bedroom … mattress, sheets, comforter, accent pillows, curtains, furniture, lamps, knick-knacks … it can all get overwhelming pretty quickly.

You know you have to sleep on something, though, so let’s take care of this fundamental question: what’s the deal with down? Is it really better than synthetic filling? Are there different kinds? Is it worth the cost?

Well … if you are the type of person that likes to feel pampered, down is definitely a good choice. It’s soft, fluffy and keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It accommodates the shape of your body and lightly envelops you in a cushy embrace. It’s also completely natural and free of chemicals … the only thing you want to watch out for is the purity of the feathers – make sure they are hypo-allergenic.

For those that have extremely sensitive allergies or prefer not to use animal products, there are also synthetics that mimic down. For the most part, they act just like down, though they are generally firmer and somewhat less warm. This may suit you, though – some prefer a sturdier pillow or a lighter cover.

Apart from down and down alternatives, there are also your standard cottons, linens, and silks to think about. Cotton is an old-time favorite; it’s relatively inexpensive, it breathes well and keeps you cool, and is nice and soft. It’s also, unlike down, easy to wash.

Linen bedding can be great for warmer climates as it is lightweight and dries quickly. However, it wrinkles easily and can be somewhat scratchy, so may work better on top of the bed than as a sheet. The more you wash it, the softer it becomes.

Silks are as luxurious as they say, but they are also expensive and generally require dry-cleaning. But, they’re gorgeous, and feel great on the skin. You could always get a set just to use once a year on your birthday! Not only is silk great as fabric, but it also makes a wonderful filler for comforters. The best silk comforters you can find are made from mulberry silk, which is lighter, warmer, and shifts around less than other silk fillers. In contrast to down comforters, a silk comforter is deliciously lightweight, making it a lovely summer cover. The only downside is that silk comforters are fragile, generally only lasting five years (even using a duvet), and must be dry-cleaned.

Basically it breaks down to how much of an investment you want to make both in terms of price and care requirements. Cotton products require the least maintenance and are often the least expensive. Down products give you much more luxury, often last for a decade or more and can be cared for at home, but their care requires a little more effort and silk simply must be cared for by a professional. However, there’s nothing quite like crawling into a bed that makes you feel peaceful as soon as your head hits the pillow so if there was ever a time to splurge on the fabrics that make you feel good, you’re bedding products are definitely top of the list!