As we throw open the curtain of summer, your bed should be high priority on your list of seasonal switch-outs. The down and flannels should be laundered and safely tucked away, cheerfully replaced with natural linens and crisp whites. However, bedding and all its many layers can be tricky. What makes a comfortable (and chic) summer sleep? Here’s what the experts say—and where to find the goods.
Step away from the down. “You’ll want something lighter weight for the warmer months, especially if you’re a hot sleeper,” says Catherine Nicholson of Peacock Alley, a 45-year-old, Dallas-based company whose ADAC showroom is open to the public. “I encourage layers.” If you find it hard to part with the look of your duvet, says Nicholson, go for a comforter labeled “all-season” or with a fill power of 500 or below.
Matelasse is also a popular choice. “A light stonewashed matelasse that’s almost like a blanket is ideal,” says Nicole Wicking from Bovi Fine Linens, a family-owned company with a new showroom in AmericasMart and stocked at Gramercy Fine Linens & Furnishings. Bovi has been producing fine organic linens at a Portuguese mill since 1960, and Atlanta-based Wicking, the U.S. sales manager, is helping spread the line across the country. “Matelasse is lightweight but still comfy—also, washable! Kids and dogs can sleep on it, and you can launder daily if you need to.” Frances Lacefield, founder of local company Room 422, which designs upscale dorm-room bedding, favors matelasse coverlets year-round in the South. “They add pattern and texture to your bed while remaining light.” Lacefield’s suggestion for a totally streamlined bed? “We see lots of customers ditching duvets altogether in the summer and opting for a throw,” says Lacefield. “They’re easier to fold at the end of your bed.”
Silks, flannels, and synthetic blends are only going to trap heat when the humidity hits. Sateen, too, is best for a warmer sleep. When the temps climb, opt for cotton, bamboo, and linen. “Percales rule the summer months,” says Wicking of the closely woven cotton that epitomizes the classic, white sheet. “People love a crisp, cool sleep.” (Bovi’s 400 thread-count sheet sets run around $330.)
But there’s no question that linen, with its luxurious, unfussy vibe, is having a moment. Though linen bedding can cost around 30 percent more than cotton, its relaxed look and soft, earthy feel may suit some best. “If your Saturday morning is the kids jumping in your bed, coffee, your favorite pet by your feet . . . it’s probably not realistic to keep that perfectly starched percale bed,” says Nicholson.
Atlanta-based online retailer Dear Keaton is launching new linen coverlets and shams this summer, including the Logan Collection by Pom Pom at Home (from $103), which features frayed edges and a heathered look. “It’s the season to indulge in linen bedding,” says cofounder Christie Shepard. “It’s highly breathable, and it becomes even softer with each wash.”
Here’s where you want to add a layer. “We release so much perspiration in the summer, so I recommend laying the foundation with a mattress cover that doesn’t absorb any moisture,” says Nicholson. But don’t stop there: Your pillows need attention, too. Start by preventing dust mites with a pillow cover ($25 at Peacock Alley). When storing down comforters for the season, choose breathable cotton over plastic storage bags (or even stash them in pillowcases), as mildew can grow in the feathers over time. While you’re at it, this is a great time to rotate your mattress and launder your pillow top and bedskirt, too.
Cool and cheerful
“I see a drive in the market for bedding that is simple but still has something to it,” says Wicking. “All-white bedding is ideal for summer, but we do a seersucker bedding that’s really popular.” Summer is the best time to lean into color. Coastal hues and playful prints are attractive options when the sun is shining. “I love layers of colorful prints,” says Joelle Klein, bedding designer for Roberta Roller Rabbit, a resort-inspired line with a shop on the Westside. “They look great under the bright light of summer mornings.” The only place in the Southeast to find the joyful scrolling patterns of D. Porthault, the French luxury linens beloved by Jackie O. and the Duchess of Windsor, is Gramercy Fine Linens & Furnishings. The Peachtree Battle shop offers an assortment of high-end bedding lines, including Matouk, Sferra, and Yves Delorme.
A word on washing
Wash sheets weekly—but gently. “Don’t wash on high heat, with bleach or harsh detergent, as it will shrink your sheets and break down the fibers,” says Nicholson. A cold wash is best, and the team at Gramercy recommends a linen soap, like Le Blanc Linen Wash ($28).
Dry on low, and remove promptly to prevent wrinkles. (Tip: Invest in two sets to make swapping easy week-to-week.) Wash pillow covers every three weeks, and clean the pillow itself every three months. Clueless about how to launder a pillow? “A fabulous way is to throw them in your dryer—it fluffs your pillows and rids them of mites,” says Nicholson.
This article appears in our Summer 2019 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.