Bedding, also known as bedclothes, refers to the materials laid above the mattress of a bed for hygiene, warmth, to protect the mattress, and for decorative effect. Bedding is the removable and washable portion of a human sleeping environment. It is more easily and economically replaced than the bed itself. Multiple sets of bedding for each bed will often be washed in rotation and/or changed seasonally to improve sleep comfort at varying room temperatures. In American English bedding generally does not include the mattress, box spring or bed frame, while in British English it does.
A set of bedding usually consists of an appropriately-sized flat or fitted sheet which covers the mattress; a flat top sheet; either a blanket, quilt, or duvet, sometimes with a duvet cover which can replace or be used in addition to the top sheet; and a number of pillows with pillowcases, also referred to as pillow shams. Additional blankets, etc. may be added to ensure the necessary insulation in cold sleeping areas. A common practice for children and some adults is to decorate a bed with plush stuffed animals, dolls, and other soft toys. These are not included under the designation of bedding, although they may provide additional warmth and reassurance to the sleeper.
Lightweight white, solid-color or printed plain weave, satin weave, or flannel cotton or cotton/polyester blends are the most commonly used fabrics for bedding. Goose or duck down and other feathers are frequently used as a warm and lightweight filling in duvets and quilts. Down is an irritant for many people with allergies, and several natural and synthetic down alternatives are marketed. Polyester batting is commonly used as a filling for quilts and duvets, and is less expensive and more easily laundered than natural down or feathers. Thick woven or knitted wool, acrylic or microfiber synthetics are most commonly used for blankets.