Ask the experts: advice for getting a great sleep

Chrissie Rucker OBE The White Company tells us the secrets to building the best sleep of your life, and it's all down to your bedding.

A bedroom should be a place of retreat, rest and relaxation, and the starting point to a beautiful bedroom is beautiful-quality bed linen made from the best quality yarn. There’s so much terminology when it comes to choosing the right bedding for you so we’ve asked the experts at The White Company to explain it all.

The White Company bedding

Choosing your bed linen

Fitted sheet

The elasticised corners on a fitted sheet keep it secure and prevent it coming untucked as you move around in your sleep. Before you buy, check that they have deep enough sides to fit your mattress and topper – deep-fitted sheets are perfect for a deeper mattress.

Flat sheets

Using a flat sheet is essential if you make a bed with a bedspread. It can also be a good idea to use one with a duvet too as it will give the bed a beautifully tailored finish. When you’re making your bed, make sure that the right side of the sheet is facing down against the mattress so that when you turn it back to create a cuff at the top, any embroidery or detailing will be on show. The bottom of the sheet can be finished neatly with tailored corners.

Duvet cover

As the name suggests, this is what is used over your duvet. They come in a ‘bag’ which is an edge to edge seamed cover, or an ‘Oxford’, which has an additional border to the duvet cover, similar to the pillowcases.


Many divan bases do not necessarily match the decor of a bedroom, unless they have a matching headboard. So, using a valance over the base covers these while still allowing access to storage and, it really gives your bed a beautiful finishing touch.

If you find that you and your partner battle for possession of the duvet, choose a duvet size one size larger than your bed size, to give you those all-important extra inches!

Choosing your pillowcase

Housewife or Oxford?

A Housewife pillowcase is an edge to edge pillowcase which fits the contours of your pillow. An Oxford pillowcase has an additional border over the seamed edge which can make the pillowcase look deceptively large. What you choose is simply down to preference; however, when layering pillows, use a plain coordinating Housewife underneath.

The White Company pillows

What fabric should you choose?

Pure cotton

Pure cotton is the most widely used fibre for bed linen. Durable, easy to launder and long-lasting, it is renowned for its natural breathability and cool feeling that makes it very comfortable to sleep in.

Egyptian cotton

Grown from the cotton plant Gossypium, Egyptian cotton is one of the finest types of cotton.

Easy-care cotton/poly

In modern life, easy-care bed linen is essential, but beware of poor quality easy-care that will soon bobble, and any easy-care finishes that will wash out.

Washed linen

Made from the Flax plant, linen’s unique, thermo-insulation property works to keep you cool in summer and traps your body heat to keep you cosy in winter too. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful fabrics to sleep under and is loved for its blissful comfort and breathability. With laundering and age, linen softens to a lovely soft handle.

Washing your bed linen once a week will ensure you always have fresh-smelling sheets. Leaving it longer may cause discolouration, especially with white linens.

Contrary to popular belief, fine white linens should not be boil washed, especially since modern detergents now achieve excellent results at low temperatures.