A Guide to Country Bedding

What do we mean by "country" bedding? Country bedding is simply a style of bed linen that is designed to accent traditional country or rustic style decor. The look is casual, comfortable, nostalgic and simple. Never fussy or pretentious. The style can range from romantic country cottage floral designs to masculine western looks. If you would like to learn more about country style bedding and how to use it in your home, read on! We've complied a list of commonly used terms and some helpful decorating hints and tidbits thrown in along the way.

Elements of Country Bedding

  • What is a quilt? a quilt is a traditional bed covering with 3 layers- a decorative top layer; a backing; and some kind of batting sandwiched between the two. The top can consist of one piece of fabric (a whole cloth quilt), or it can consist of many different fabrics sewn together in a multitude of different patterns (a patchwork quilt.) The actual "quilting" refers to the stitches that bind all three layers together. The quilting part can be done by hand or by machine. The inner layer is generally cotton or polyester. Better quilts will use cotton fill and more quilting stitches per inch.

  • What is a comforter ? a comforter is a modern bedding invention also made of three layers. It's similar to a quilt, but thicker and more fluffy. Comforters are typically filled with synthetic fibers or down. The outer shell can be made from most any fabric- cotton, linen, suede, etc.

  • What is a duvet ? (Also known as a duvet cover or a comforter cover.) This is simply a decorative fabric envelope used to cover a comforter. Duvet covers keep your comforter clean and allow you to change your decor easily. Duvet covers generally have buttons or zippers for closure around the comforter.

  • What is a bedspread ? The bedspread is another traditional bedding item that is really making a come-back. Bedspreads are the thinner, one-sided numbers that were once popular in hotels and motels across the land. They drape gracefully to the floor and have rounded edges at the foot of the bed to create even more drama. Bedspreads tuck around pillows at the top of the bed making pillow shams unnecessary.

  • What is a coverlet ? A coverlet is a looser term that can be used to describe most any top-of-the-bed treatment that is not a quilt, comforter or bedspread. A coverlet generally covers part of the bed, meaning it does not extend to the floor. A coverlet can be functional or merely decorative.

  • What is a pillow sham ? A pillow sham is the decorative covering that is used on top of a bed pillow. Generally, pillows that are used for sleeping do not wear pillow shams. Shams are purely decorative items that can be filled with inexpensive filler pillow rather than the higher quality bed pillows used for sleeping.

  • What is a king sham ? A king sham is a larger pillow sham that is intended to be used on a king size bed or a Cal king size bed. Many bedding manufacturers make these but some do not. When king shams are not available, use three standard size shams to fill a king size bed. Using two standard size shams on a king bed with result in a skimpy looking bed.

  • What is a bedskirt ? (Also called a dust ruffle) A bedskirt is used to cover the area below the mattress. Bedskirts sit between the mattress and the box spring, draping over the sides of the bed. To choose a bedskirt, it is essential to measure your bed first. Measure the distance from the top of your box spring to the floor. This is the drop length that you will be needing. Bedskirts are generally made in a gathered style or a more contemporary tailored style.