Know your sheet: welcome to Bedroom 101

With hundreds upon hundreds of options for bedding, bed sheets, bed spreads, bed parts, and bed...beds, the world of sleep can get pretty technical. We’ve made it easy by compiling all the bedroom-related terminology in an easy-to-read glossary. Did we miss anything? Let us know what’s still got you bewildered and baffled over bedding by emailing us at hello@primarygoods.com!

Materials

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French Linen: A thick, matte material sourced from the French flax plant; notorious for its high quality and ability to adapt to body temperature in real-time.

Cotton: A soft, white material sourced from cotton plants

Percale: Woven in an over-under pattern, slightly loose to allow more air flow and a slightly sheen finish.

Egyptian: Hand-picked and made from straight fibers, which create a soft and flexible finish. Most Egyptian cotton is blended with polyester or other materials unless it is directly purchased from Egypt due to its rarity and high expense.

Sateen: Woven in the style of satin, tightly bound and dipped in acid and lye to create a glossy surface.

Jersey: Similar to T-shirt fabric, jersey is known for its flexibility, but conducts heat and absorbs sweat more easily than more expensive fabrics.

Silk: A hypoallergenic material made from silkworm strands. Silk has a luxurious sheen finish.

Hemp: Made from the hemp plant, these sheets are known for their durability and antibacterial properties. They are thicker than standard cotton and is grown under sustainably, eco-friendly conditions.

Bedding Anatomy

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Fitted sheet: A sheet that wraps around the corners of your mattress using elastic edges, sometimes over a mattress pad, which protects your skin from the surface of the mattress.

Flat sheet: Also known as the top sheet, this is placed between you and your duvet. It was originally made to wrap around the mattress and tuck underneath it.

Top sheet: Sometimes used interchangeably with the term “flat sheet”, the top sheet lays between you and your duvet. This is typically shorter on the sides and folds up over the top of the duvet, allowing for a more comfortable and hygienic sleeping experience. [Here’s why we recommend everyone use one].

Duvet/Comforter: Also called a “comforter”, this plush quilt is stuffed with a filling (like down or goose feathers) and lays on top of the top/flat sheet inside a duvet cover to provide additional softness and warmth.

Duvet cover: A pocket of cloth that contains the duvet/comforter to keep it clean and add to the aesthetic of the bed.

Quilt: a bed coverlet made with two layers of cloth filled with padding (such as down or batting) held in place by ties or stitched designs. The difference between this and a comforter is that a quilt is typically meant to be seen and admired, whereas a comforter’s sole purpose is to provide comfort, aptly enough.

Pillow case: A cloth covering with an opening on the side.

Pillow sham: Similar to a pillow case, but the opening in in the middle to allow for a cleaner aesthetic.

Euro sham: Like an American sham, the opening is in the middle, but European shams are square-shaped and larger to rest behind standard American pillows.

Bedskirt: A long, flat cloth that lays under the mattress to cover the gap at the bottom of the bed. Typically made of lace or a similar decorative fabric.

Blanket: a large piece of woolen or similar material used as a bed covering or other covering for warmth.

Throws: So named for their ability to be quickly “thrown” across a couch or your lap for quick warmth and comfort, throws are smaller blankets, usually made of some kind of quilted or woven material.

Breakfast pillow/Throw pillow: These are tiny, decorative pillows used to accent a home, usually placed on chairs, on top of a bed, or against the arms of a couch.

Mattress Pad: A padded surface that wraps around the mattress like a fitted sheet, but adds a few inches of softness underneath it. These can be filled with memory foam, down, or another down alternative.

Bedspread: An umbrella term for all the pre-filled bed covers that lay on top of the bed. Comforters, quilts, and throws all fall into this category, while top sheets and fitted sheets do not.

Bedding: A general term for all the sheets, throws, cases, and blankets that cover a bed.

Bed sheet: An even more broad term for any long piece of fabric used as an article of bedding.

Bed linen: Another term for sheets and pillowcases that cover a bed.

Fillings

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Memory Foam: This filling is made from polyurethane, as well as additional chemicals to increase flexibility and stability, seeming to “remember” the position of your body once you move. It was developed by NASA to improve the safety of aircraft cushions, but is enjoyed by many as a highly responsive material to increase blood flow and reduce muscle and joint pain.

Down/Feather: This is most commonly made from the small feathers closest to a bird’s skin, which keeps you warm in the way it was designed to keep the birds warm. For ethical reasons, many people opt for a down alternative in their bedding.

Down Alternative: These are great options for people who may be allergic or opposed to traditional down feathers. Usually made from a combination of rayon, polyester, or cotton, these synthetic materials are a cleaner, more simple and safe solution to the slightly softer down.

Polyester: Polyester is made of synthetic fibers and is usually used to stuff all things soft and cuddly, such as teddy bears, and tend to hold their shape better than pure cotton filling.

Lyocell: This is a synthetic material made from spun wood pulp of sustainable tree farms, which makes it lightweight, breathable, and highly durable.

Size:

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Single: 39” x 75”, usually meant for children and smaller guest rooms or hotel “triple” rooms. Also the European term for a twin-sized bed.

Twin: The same size as a single, but usually one of a matching pair of single beds used for siblings who share a room, dorm rooms, or “double” hotel rooms.

Twin XL: The same width of a twin, but about 5” longer at the bottom to accommodate taller people.

Double: 54” x 74”, used to describe a bed that is small but can comfortably fit two people. This term is interchangeable with a “full” bed.

Full: The same size as a double, and leave only 27” of sleep space for two adults which is less than two twin beds. These were the most common beds for couples to share until the ‘60s.

Queen: 60” x 80”, the most common beds for couples and adults.

King: 76” x 80”, wider than queen-sized beds and allows more room for each person, but still 9” fewer than a twin-sized bed.

Split King: These are essentially two Twin XL beds pushed together on separate bases and box springs. These allow each member of a couple to adjust the height of their heads to their personal preference, move the beds more easily, and get a little more personal space at night.

Cal King: 72” x 84”, this size was so named for its origins as a luxury product for celebrities in California.

Large Emperor: At 7’ x 7’, these beds are specially made for co-sleeping families or those who just prefer some extra space.

Caesar: Slightly larger than the Emperor, the 7.3’ x 8’ bed can accommodate up to 6 adult bodies. For, you know, any purpose at all.

Bed Anatomy

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Headboard: A piece of furniture that attaches to the head of the bed frame. Some headboards can be made in pieces that stick to the wall behind the bed, giving the illusion of a large board.

Slats: Long wooden planks that support the mattress/box spring and lift them atop the bed frame.

Legs: The supportive corners of the bed frame that lift the rest of the bed up. Can be placed atop risers/platforms to provide extra space under the bed.

Risers/platforms: Plastic, wooden, or metal supports that are placed under each leg to lift the bed higher above the ground.

Mattress: A fabric case filled with flexible material to support your body while you sleep.

Bed frame: The exoskeleton of the bed, which supports the mattress, box spring, and bedding.

Brass: A simple version of a bed frame made from brass, copper, steel, and zinc.

Iron: Made from iron, these beds were developed to address concerns about bed bugs and moths. Typically constructed for military purposes due to their cost-effective production.

Wood: The most diverse bed frame, with a variety of designs including drawers underneath the mattress.

Waterbed: A bed made from rubber or plastic and filled with water, usually which sits on top of a waterproof frame. These were most popular in the 70s, but were invented as early as the 1800s as a bed made for those with limited mobility.

Box Spring: A mattress-like box filled with cylindrical springs that sits under the mattress and provides additional support and structure.

Let us know what if we missed anything at hello@primarygoods.com!