How to Layer Bedding Like a Pro - A Detailed Guide

How to Layer Bedding Like a Pro - A Detailed Guide

We’ve been doing it all our lives without realizing that making the bed is actually an art that takes time and guidance to master. With the right layering technique, you can transform your bed into an ultra-comfortable and visually appealing zone to sink into to rest and reset.

With multiple bedding components such as mattress toppers, sheets, duvets, quilts, shams, and pillows, layering the bed can get confusing. That’s why we’ve created this detailed guide to take you through the ins and outs of making a bed that looks as comfy as it feels.

Table of Contents

How to Layer and Style a Bed - Things You’ll Need

Mattress Protector

Your mattress is one of the most valuable bedding components, sometimes costing you more than the bed frame. As a water-proof or water-resistant layer, a mattress protector’s primary job is to stop leaks and spills from making their way into your precious mattress. It also helps prevent the build-up of dust mites and other allergens that are known to make mattresses their home.

Mattress Topper

Think your mattress is too thin, too firm, or too soft for your liking? You need a mattress topper. By adding an extra 2 to 10 cm on top of the mattress, a topper creates a cushioned layer of support and comfort. Depending on how much you want to spend and your preference, you can choose anything from down to wool to a memory foam as your mattress topper.

Bed Sheet

Sheets are the bedding component you come most in contact with while sleeping. So, make sure you invest in good, high-quality ones. You can either go for fitted sheets for a smooth, professional look or opt for classic flat sheets. However, when it comes to layering, we use both (more on that later).

Fabric-wise, you can choose anything from crisp percale cotton to buttery soft sateen sheets. The fabric you pick should also be in sync with your sleeping preference. Hot sleepers tend to pick breathable and cool percale cotton, linen, or hemp sheets. However, if you’re looking for something warmer, we recommend opting for sateen or flannel cotton sheets.


With so many types of bedding elements floating around, it’s easy to get confused between comforters, duvets, and quilts. A comforter does what its name suggests: it elevates comfort. It’s soft and lightweight bedding made of two pieces of fabric with a fill insert between them. How warm a comforter will keep you typically depends on the fill material. The higher the fill power, the more insulation it offers.

While Down is a popular choice of fill material, animal welfare concerns have pushed brands to offer gentler options. You’ll find plenty of comforter options that use cotton blends or polyester to mimic the warmth of down feathers.

Comforters don’t usually need a cover since the filling is uniformly distributed. However, you can always slip a comforter inside a duvet cover for the sake of aesthetics.


A duvet almost always requires a cover, making it perfect for those who like to match their bedding with mood and decor. Duvet covers come in a wide range of fabrics, colors, and patterns, making it easy to switch styles depending on the season or occasion. Duvet inserts tend to do better than comforters during colder months. They are warmer, thicker, and softer, not to mention incredibly easy to remove and wash.

Pillows and Shams

Pillows are essential bedding elements for two reasons. First off, they help you sleep better by supporting your neck and upper back. They also offer incredible decorative value, adding volume and style to your bed. Like duvets, pillow fills come in a vast range of materials, including down, feathers, memory foam, and latex. Meanwhile, cotton and polyester typically dominate the world of pillowcases.

Layering involves stacking pillows, so you’ll need more than your regular sleeping pillows. This is where Euro Shams come into the picture. These square-shaped sham pillows work wonders in accessorizing the bed and giving it a stylish and cohesive look.


Nothing can add texture and style to a bedding ensemble as brilliantly as a quilt. Sure, these blankets aren’t the warmest element on the bed, but they sure are the most attention-grabbing. As far as construction goes, quilts are made up of multiple fabric layers handstitched or sewn together. There’s a filling layer in between made up of materials like cotton, light wool, or polyester.

Throws, on the other hand, are small and lightweight blankets that can be moved from room to room or taken along on outdoor adventures. If you’re looking to add texture, warmth, and a pop of color, this organic cotton waffle weave throw is just the thing you need.

How to Layer Bedding - Step-by-Step Guide

1. Pick a Theme

Don’t you just love sinking into a beautifully made hotel bed? A large part of that wonderful comfort is thanks to the layering and styling techniques they use. Notice how their bedding ensemble complements their decor theme. To make sure you are satisfied with your layering efforts, you need to stick to a theme. Your theme could be based on your home decor, the season, or your mood. Here are some suggestions to help you get started.

Classic White: An all-white theme never disappoints. It’ll look good regardless of your home’s color palette. If you’re choosing this theme, we recommend using a crisp white organic cotton percale sheet and teaming it with textured blankets or silk quilts for that extra dose of hotel chic.

Sophisticated Monochromatic: Choose a color and experiment with tonal variations for a monochromatic look. Add textures via sham pillows or by teaming up crisp percale cotton sheets with velvet duvets that belong to the same color family.

Patterned: The simplest way to add patterns is through quilts or duvet covers. Throw pillows and shams are also quite effective. If you’re going for this look, make sure you balance out the patterned quilts with solid white or neutral-hued sheets.

2. Cover Your Mattress with a Mattress Protector and Topper

After you’ve narrowed down the theme and picked the bedding elements, begin layering by covering the mattress with the protector. Make sure it fits snugly, and tuck extra fabric under the mattress to create a smooth base for additional layers. Remember to place the mattress topper for extra cushioning.

3. Spread the Sheets

Both fitted and flat sheets work well in creating the base layer.  However, we recommend using both for a crisp, tailored look. Start by spreading the fitted sheets and stretching them flat on the mattress using the elasticized corners. These corners prevent the sheet from shifting or bunching up, ensuring a secure, tight fit.

Next, drape the flat sheet and align the top end with the top edge of the mattress. Make sure the sides and bottom end hang evenly. Now, tuck the excess fabric under the mattress to prevent the sheet from shifting to the bottom of the bed. Smooth out any wrinkles with your hand. And voila! Your base layer is ready!

4. Use Blanket As An Inner Layer

Using a blanket as an inner layer can keep you toasty when the temperature drops. Remember to place it over the bedsheet and under the quilt to keep the heat from escaping. Our beautifully textured herringbone cotton blankets offer lightweight warmth, making them perfect as the inner layer as well as the top layer.

5. Place the Duvet or Comforter

Layer the top sheet or the inner blanket layer with a fluffy duvet to create a plush look. For more fluffiness and warmth, consider slipping two duvet inserts instead of one inside the cover. Choose a comforter over a duvet during the hotter months, as they’re known to add warmth without the extra weight. Thanks to their evenly distributed fill, comforters also give a seamless and well-finished look. However, if you’re aiming for a monochromatic or patterned look, don’t hesitate to stuff the comforter in a duvet cover.

6. Stack the Shams and Pillows

Next on the list is stacking the pillows. Place the Euro shams against the headboard and then stack your regular sleeping pillows in front of them. The large sham pillows will add height, pattern, and texture to the bed. Finish the pillow stack by layering an assortment of throw pillows in front of the standard ones.

If you want to take the decorative game up a notch, go ahead and try out different shapes and styles of sham pillows. Here are some popular options you can use: long bolster, boudoir, and quilted shams.

7. Finish Layering with a Throw Blanket or a Quilt

Complete the look with throws and quilts. Quilting traditions across the globe have ensured a wide range of quilts, including patchwork quilts, story quilts, block-printed quilts, and much more. Pick the one that reflects your taste and use it as the topmost bedding layer of your bedding. You can also opt for a colorful and textured throw on top of a neutral-hued duvet cover. Simply fold the throw in half and lay it across the bottom third of your bed.

Final Thoughts

Making a bed may feel like a fairly straightforward process, but layering it for enhanced comfort takes patience and practice. We hope with our insider tips and comprehensive guide, we have simplified this process for you.

If you’re looking for sustainably made, non-toxic, and high-quality bedding components, our extensive catalog of organic cotton bed linen would be the perfect place to head to.

Author: Karen Lamar

Karen is the Chief Content Officer at Organic Cotton Mart. She has a Master's Degree in Environmental Science from NC State with a special focus in Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy. Since her High School days, she has been an Environmentalist and was the President of her High School's Environmental Club for 3 years before starting her freshman year at NC State. She has a deep knowledge and understanding of various environment-friendly movements like zero waste, minimalistic living, recycling, and upcycling.

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