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Sweet dreams: Summer bedding to lull you to sleep

By Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

Longer days and warmer nights are among the endless perks of summer. Now you can add another layer of luxury with seasonal bedding that gives any sleeping space a completely new look and feel. Here are some suggestions to refresh your beds. 

During the warmer months, Steve Coval, who owns Cristions Fine Linen & Down in Birmingham, says you can switch from darker shades to pastels by swapping out pillow shams, throws and other decorative accents like a matelassé.

If a down comforter and duvet become too hot, try a summery comforter instead. A lightweight blanket with a matelassé or quilted coverlet can replace a duvet. Add a top sheet and light cotton or down blanket if the matelassé feels a bit stiff. Quilted coverlets are also quite comfortable and many are washable as well.

Cotton is the most common fiber for sheets as it breathes well and absorbs moisture. Many choose percale in warmer conditions for that cooler, crisper feel. Natural fibers like cotton and linen also have better wicking properties, which keep you more comfortable in the summer months.

While some prefer a monochromatic look like white, current bedding trends include celadon green and soft blues during the summer months when people tend to launder their sheets more often. If you don’t have time to wash them weekly, keep extra pillowcases on hand to change more frequently. “This is a quick and easy way to freshen up your bed,” says Coval.

Other extras can come in handy, too. “People are spending more time at home, taking naps in the afternoon, the kids have come back and there’s less travel for work and vacations, so they cycle through things faster like pillows,” he adds.

Sweet dreams

To beat the heat, Missy Tannen, founder and chief design officer at Boll & Branch, an online luxury bedding company, suggests layering your bed with fabrics that are airy and breathable, but soft to the touch. For sheets, this can mean percale or chambray, like their stonewashed styles with a carefree finish that’s perfect for summer.

“You’ll want to keep your main layer light and airy, too,” she says. “Go for a cool, all-season quilt that has some thoughtful texture, like the basketweave stitching rendered on our Heritage Quilts.” No summer bed is complete without a breezy blanket that adds a soft pop of color and texture.

Current combinations include chambray sheets with a matelassé duvet. Pairing light gray with white creates a welcoming look that’s perfect for guest rooms and masters alike. A classic botanical print can introduce beautiful colorways and rich, organic florals to any summer space.

Classic and charming, eyelet delivers fine craftsmanship and subtle detail. “It’ll give a master bedroom that timeless, heirloom-quality look, and will make a guest room feel like anything but an afterthought,” says Tannen.  

A quality duvet and cozy pillows should be among your bedding essentials. Duvets have a light yet lofty feel that’s perfect year-round and you can easily swap them out to create a whole new look each season. They also last longer and can be replaced every five years or so. 

Bedding basics include finding the right pillow and layering lightweight styles for the season in the form of sheets and other coverings.

With pillows, you’ll want a firmer style if you sleep on your side, softer if you sleep on your stomach and something in-between if you sleep on your back. “The idea is to keep your neck in line with your spine during the night,” she says.  

Don’t be afraid to mix colors, patterns and textures like detailed throw pillows and textured blankets for visual interest. Just make sure the prints and colorways complement rather than compete with each other.

Shore, a soothing seaside-inspired hue, is a top pick for summer that can easily be integrated into any personal space. “Pastels have won us over again, too,” says Tannen. Pantone’s Color of the Year, Classic Blue, adds a fun pop of color to neutral sheets.

Details are important when shopping for bedding online. In addition to your sleep habits and aesthetic preferences, consider quality and craftsmanship. At Boll & Branch, bedding is made with ethically produced, 100-percent organic cotton. This yields a super-soft, heirloom-quality product free of harsh chemicals that lets the company pay fair wages to farmers and weaving partners and is kinder to the environment than conventional cotton production.  

Sleep tight

At Garnet Hill, where sustainability and social responsibility are also priorities, Sarah Keneally, associate merchant for home, says patterned sheets, which are especially refreshing come summertime, can brighten your room and your day. “This can be done with just pillowcases or a fitted sheet,” she says. “I started using my linen plaid in just the fitted sheet. Also throws or blankets in soft cotton are nice updates to bring in color and texture.”

With kids spending more time at home, treat their personal space to an affordable update with colorful bedding that welcomes them back after a long day.

Tap into the trend for cool blues with layers. You can either create a monochromatic moment in the bedroom or add stripes and prints to the mix. Linnea Nemeth, associate merchant, home, suggests adding pillows in a different size to give some quick depth to the bed, such as lumbar or euro. 

For summer, Lara Gibson, senior designer, home, suggests a lightweight blanket with decorative linen pillows in fun color combinations. Skip the quilt and grab a pair of shams or add a linen duvet cover or throw for some pattern and color, she says.

Seasonal trends that suit guest rooms and kids’ rooms too include timeless striped linen sheets that play well with other elements. Fruit motifs can be another fun fit for the season. Try them on pillowcases or shams for a touch of pattern.

Color blocking is another popular option. Hot color combinations include sunny straw gold and ochre, muted and Tuscan clay and cayenne, and tonalities of watery blues mixing light to dark.

When ordering online, know if you sleep hot or cold, like smooth silky sheets or dry textured sheets. If you share your bed with your pets, she suggests avoiding bright white. Make sure you have the basics in place: a mattress pad, good pillows, an extra blanket for cooler temps, and reading pillows for added comfort.

The rest is the fun part. “Get creative. There are no rules,” she says. “Mix different fabrications in your components so you have your favorite patterns and colors together. Whatever brings you joy!”

Jeanine Matlow writes the Smart Solutions column in Homestyle. You can reach her at