Looking for the best duvet covers or best bedding sets? Perhaps you’ve just spent a night in the soft embrace of a boutique hotel’s crisp white bed linen and want to recreate that hotel luxury feel at home, or you are done with grabbing a duvet set from the shelf of the supermarket as you whizz through on the weekly food shop and are ready to invest in something a little more indulgent.
Investing in good quality bed linen is a rite of passage of sorts, and - thankfully - that doesn't have to mean expensive. There are good value duvet covers for all budgets if you know where to look.
Plus, with a good night's sleep at the top of most of our wishlists, once you’ve secured the best mattress for some good quality rest, then upgrading your bedding is the next practical step to improving your bed's comfort levels.
As one of the largest pieces of furniture in your bedroom, the way you style up your bed will also have a huge impact on the way your room looks, so choosing bed linen that suits your decor is a must.
The best duvet covers and bedding sets: the real homes edit
At Real Homes we understand that every purchase you make for your home needs to both look good and work hard, which in duvet cover terms means we think it needs to look super stylish, be comfortable to sleep in, easy to take care of - meaning it should wash well and preferably dry fast - and not cost the earth (either financially or environmentally).
As such, we've tried and tested everything on this list to ensure we're bringing you the very best recommendations.
For more information on the best thread count to look for in a duvet cover, which material to choose, and what colour bedding will best recreate that boutique hotel feel, just scroll to the end of this article. But first, on with our edit of the best duvet covers available.
The best duvet covers and bedding sets: tried and tested
Best duvet covers for winter
Sadly we may not actually be able to hibernate over winter, but as soon as autumn arrives and temperatures cool, most of us want to ensure our bedrooms become a cosy place to snuggle down and get toasty.
Here are our top picks of the softest brushed cotton bedding sets and heavyweight hemp and linen duvet covers for winter warmth.
NB. Prices shown are for a double duvet cover or double bedding set for easy price comparison. Other size options are listed in the specifications for each product.
Considering we spend an average of eight hours a night in our beds, it makes sense to invest in making it the most comfortable place it can be, and Beddable aims to make that process as simple as possible by providing everything you need for a good night's sleep in one of its fuss-free bedding sets.
It offers Core Bedding Sets, which include your duvet cover, two pillowcases, and a fitted sheet, the Move-In Set which adds in a down duvet and two pillows on top of the covers, and a Luxe Set which includes an extra two pillows and pillowcases, plus a bedspread and scatter cushions.
All bedding is available in either 'Soft & Snug' washed cotton or 'Crisp & Fresh' cotton percale, along with a whole host of colour options, from white to softest cloud grey and deep autumnal acorn and caramel tans.
We tested the 'Soft & Snug' washed cotton Core Bedding Set in Cloud Grey, and on unpacking, the bedding set immediately raced to the top of this list as the softest bedding we've tested.
The set is woven in Portugal with 100% premium long-staple cotton and a 400 thread count, but it's the lightly brushed finish that really makes it stand out from the crowd.
The subtle brushing gives the fabric a matte finish and a super-soft buttery touch that makes it perfect for winter, whilst the lightweight material means that, unlike a thicker 'classic' brushed cotton, this set works just as well in warmer weather too as a year-round duvet cover.
The Cloud Grey colour is also that hard-to-find shade of palest grey with a hint of stone; the perfect neutral alternative to the harshness of true white.
For softness, choice of colour options, hassle-free shopping, and year-round versatility, this is definitely one of the best duvet covers we've come across in our search.
If you want the ultimate in snuggle-factor this winter, then brushed cotton bedding is where it's at.
Woven in a similar way to normal cotton, brushed cotton fabric has an added process whereby the fabric is gently rubbed with fine-toothed metal brushes to raise the fibres and create a tactile, fluffy surface, similar to soft fleece. This eliminates the unwelcome chill factor that comes from getting into a crisp cotton bed on a cold night and makes for a super cosy place to bed down.
The Secret Linen store may be best known for its linen bedding, but having tried and tested a roster of brushed cotton bedding to arrive at a winner, we can confirm the brand's range of brushed cotton duvets, pillowcases and sheets are the softest of the lot.
Some brushed cotton or flannelette bedding can be thick and a little bulky, but this is pliable, drapes well, and is super-soft to the touch. It also washes well and dries easily, with none of the linting that can sometimes plague brushed cotton bedding.
We tested the Stanley Stripe duvet cover and pillowcases in a neutral stripe and the Henry white brushed cotton bedding which features a subtle herringbone pattern, both of which are made in Portugal with OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification meaning the bedding has been tested to an environmental standard that confirms no harmful chemicals are present in any component of the finished product; sadly not a given, and certainly something we prefer in a fabric that's next to your skin for eight hours each night.
The best duvet cover for winter? If you want as much warmth and softness as a duvet cover can muster, we think this is it.
Not having encountered hemp bedding before, we were interested to try La Redoute's Helm hemp duvet cover to see how it measured up to other bedding fabrics.
We tested the Helm washed hemp duvet cover in the colour Sand, which is an on-trend stone-coloured neutral with a texture similar to linen.
Like linen, hemp uses far less water to grow than cotton and requires less reliance on pesticides, making it a gentler and more sustainable option for the planet. It's also a strong fabric - historically used in both clothing, ropes, and sails - which should make for bedding that lasts well - which it would want to as this bedding is definitely an investment.
We were pleasantly surprised by both the slubby texture (rougher than cotton, but not at all scratchy like linens can occasionally be) which worked brilliantly with the subtle earthy colours available in the range, and also the weight, which means this fabric drapes beautifully on the bed and provides a warmer alternative to the average linen bedding.
Unlike some of La Redoute's duvet covers the Helm bedding has a button duvet closure, and we found the double duvet true to size, although some reviewers have found sizing can be hit and miss. We would also have preferred the bedding without the visible seam over stitching, but that could be said to add to the laidback look.
Would we invest? For the texture and beautiful colour options, yes, but we'd definitely wait until one of La Redoute's excellent sales to do so!
Love the look and feel of brushed cotton bedding but need a more affordable option? We've tested a bunch, and La Redoute's Scenario Flannel duvet cover is the best brushed cotton bedding we've found for the lowest price.
The range is also available in a fantastic selection of colour options, with twelve shades ranging from white to neutral grey and beige marls, deep ochre and vibrant teal, plus a good selection of sizes and matching sheets and pillows.
We tested the Scenario Flannel duvet cover in Grey Marl and the Scenario fitted sheet in White, both of which washed and dried easily - with this option being able to withstand a 60° machine wash, so making it a good option for a children's bed - and unlike other cheaper brushed cotton bedding sets, there was no lint shedding.
The one caveat is that La Redoute's own-brand duvet covers may not be for everyone. The brand's designs tend to do away with the need for button closures by adding a long 'tail' to the bottom of the duvet cover that tucks under your mattress to keep things in place. It's an ingenious solution that eliminates the faff of doing up buttons and makes the end of your bed look far neater, but, it does make inserting the duvet through the narrow gap (about half the width of the duvet cover itself) a bit more of a wrestling match.
In our minds at least, linen bedding is more synonymous with summer, when the breathable fabric is perfect for balmy summer nights.
However, Piglet in Bed's linen bedding aims to have us think again, and when we tested the brand's linen duvet cover and bedding sets, the heavyweight fabric certainly had us change our minds.
Available in fifteen dreamy shades, it's the colours that might first draw you to Piglet in Bed's bedding range; from the beautiful Raspberry Pink to chlorophyll-packed Forest Green and the smart-yet-laidback Midnight Stripe, it's a well-curated collection of hues that are hard to find elsewhere, and all of which look great mixed and matched together.
And the good news is the bedding is a dream to sleep under too. The stonewashed linen is heavyweight yet smooth, with none of the scratchy fibres we've encountered in other heavier linen sets, and the subtle slubby texture adds depth to bedroom decor, making it perfect for layering.
This range is an investment, but seeing as your bed is likely to be one of the biggest expanses of colour in the room, elevating it with beautiful bed linen is a great way to upgrade your boudoir's appeal.
Best duvet covers for summer
Summer bedding needs to be lightweight and breathable. We've rounded up our favourite lightweight linens and fine cotton percales for sleeping soundly in the heat.
Although certainly not cheap, Soak & Sleep's French linen bedding is reasonably priced compared to other retailers, perhaps in part because the packaging and marketing is a little on the basic side - no pretty ribbons and hand-wrapping here - but, the lack of visual fanfare when your delivery arrives has, in our experience, always been well made up for by the quality of the bedding itself.
Although this linen bedding might not feel overwhelmingly soft when first unpackaged, a wash and a blow about on the line outside, or a gentle tumble in the machine, soon makes the fabric a lot more pliable, and after the first night's sleep, we found the fabric to soften up considerably, becoming one of the softest linen's we tested and offering much more drape after losing its initial pre-wash starchiness.
On the bed, we loved the fresh look of the white linen, and this duvet cover has some really nice details, from the linen closure ties which thread easily through loops to secure the duvet neatly in place (the best duvet closure solution we've come across) to the Oxford detail on either side of the duvet which means it hangs nicely on the bed.
The linen is on the thinner side compared to some we've tested, but this is a definite bonus for hot weather sleeping and for those prone to overheating, as the breathability of the looser weave fabric allows warmth to dissipate through the fabric. This helps to regulate body temperature throughout the night, preventing heat from getting trapped inside the bed as it can with a more closely woven fabric, which is what leads to us waking up feeling hot and sticky on balmy nights. In fact, we tested this bedding during two summer heatwaves, and it definitely gave the best night's sleep of all the duvet covers we've tested, so much so this is now our go-to bedding for summer, and the best duvet cover for hot sleepers we've found.
The slubby texture of linen compared to smooth cotton does mean it doesn't have that refreshingly cool surface the moment you get into bed, but that's always a very fleeting delight in summer as your body heat soon warms the bed, and on cool nights the lack of initial chill-factor when you climb into bed is a definite bonus.
The bedding also conforms to OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification, meaning it's been tested to an environmental standard that confirms no harmful chemicals are present in any component of the finished product; sadly not a given, and certainly something we prefer in a fabric that's next to your skin for eight hours each night.
The downsides? Other than the plastic packaging, the colour range is a little limited. We love the fresh look of white for the summer, but it would be nice to see some more versatile and on-trend shades on offer.
You'll also need to buy the pillowcases and sheets separately to make up your own set, but this does give you more flexibility over the options you choose - with fitted and flat sheets, and Standard or Oxford pillowcases on offer.
A cotton that's woven with one thread over and one thread under, cotton percale has a crisp texture and a matt appearance. It's the bedding most similar to that luxury hotel feel and the flat fabric surface gives it a welcome coolness as you slip under the sheets on a hot summer's night.
In our testing experience, the best cotton percale bedding starts at a thread count of 200TC and goes up to around 400TC. Thread counts above this tend to feel quite heavy and can be difficult to care for, plus the higher the thread count the more tightly woven the texture which results in a less breathable fabric that can lead to nighttime overheating.
Bedfolk's 'Relaxed' cotton duvet cover is one of the best summer cotton duvet's we've come across if you're looking for a lightweight and cool option with the classic crisp cotton touch.
Made in Portugal, the 'Relaxed' bedding is garment-washed for softness, woven from single-ply cotton for breathability, and is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified to ensure the end product is entirely free of harmful chemicals and synthetics.
If you're a hot sleeper or getting prepared for the summer weather, it's definitely bedding to have on your radar.
A textured duvet cover is always a winner as it means you can launder and throw it on the bed without worrying about ironing, but for those who prefer the smarter look of starched hotel bedlinen, then this crisp white textured waffle duvet cover still offers a very luxe look for minimal effort.
The waffle design is created from an intricate pattern of woven threads, with an interplay of long weft and tighter woven threads crafting the grid-like pattern, and no elastane, which makes for a soft texture that feels lovely to the touch. (Although, if you're a cat owner, then those longer threads are potentially going to get pulled quite easily).
The reverse of the duvet - so the side you'll sleep next to - is made from 200TC (thread count) cotton percale making for a crisp contrast to the textured upper. This side does look better with a quick iron as cotton percale creases quite easily in the wash, but as you'll be the only one who sees this side visitors will be none the wiser (we won't tell if you don't), and on the recommended low setting we found creases ironed out fairly easily.
DUSK doesn't do bedding sets, so this duvet cover is sold with the coordinating pair of pillowcases available separately. We weren't too sure about having a waffle texture under our heads at night, but the waffle is soft enough that we never woke up with a face imprint! Although, if you don't want to invest in the pillows then the duvet cover still looks just as good with a plain white pillowcase.
The 200TC cotton also makes this duvet cover brilliantly breathable on summer nights, so if you're a hot sleeper, you'll be glad to hear this is one of the coolest cotton duvet covers we've tested.
The downside is that because of the waffle upper, this duvet cover can't be tumble-dried, which isn't ideal for those without outdoor drying space or when it's raining (which let's face it, it quite often is). Its lightweight feel and breathability do make it perfect for summer though, so if you're happy to switch out your bedding for an alternative when autumn comes around, then this set will make a great - and affordable - addition to your luxe bedding collection.
How to choose the best bedding sets, duvet covers and pillowcases
What's the best duvet cover material?
It will perhaps be no surprise if you've read our review of the Soak & Sleep French Linen bedding that we're going to suggest linen could well be the best duvet cover material. But, in the making of this guide we've tried and tested linen bedding from quite a few well-known brands and found some to be heavy, scratchy and itchy, so it's definitely not a blanket rule.
Plus, we know not everyone vibes with that crumpled look, so to help you find the best bedding material for you we've rounded up a few pros and cons of each material below.
Linen: A particularly good option for hot sleepers, linen has loose weave that makes it highly breathable, allowing heat and moisture to easily dissipate away from your body as you sleep. The slubby texture also means it never feels cold to the touch so is a pleasant texture to sleep on during the winter months.
Linen can also be a more environmentally friendly option than cotton, as linen flax grows quickly and robustly, without the intensive watering and pesticide use that is common with most mass-produced cottons, however, it still comes down to the manufacturing process of the individual maker to determine whether your linen duvet cover is actually sustainable.
The nature of the linen means it doesn't need ironing and only looks and feels better the more crumpled it gets, so it's also very easy to care for. As opposed to cotton, which stays looking fresher if you don't toss and turn and crease it up, the woven structure of linen becomes softer the more it's moved around - so screwing it up and manipulating it makes it softer than ironing it and trying it keep it flat.
As such, drying it outside on a still and very sunny day will make it feel especially crispy, so it's better to dry linen outside in the shade on a breezy day, or tumble dry it on a low heat to soften it back up (just like with bathroom towels).
If you like a relaxed look with plenty of organic textures, then linen is a great option for adding a laidback vibe to your bedroom.
Cotton percale: A cotton that's woven with one thread over and one thread under, percale has a crisp texture that's smoother than linen but not as smooth as cotton sateen or bamboo, and a matt appearance. It's the bedding most similar to that luxury hotel feel and (should) stand up well to repeated washing.
In our testing experience, the best cotton percale bedding starts at a thread count of 200TC and goes up to around 400TC. Thread counts above this tend to feel heavy and a bit too noisy in our opinion. And the tightly woven texture becomes less breathable so tends to reflect heat back and lead to overheating. The higher the thread count and more closed the weave the longer bedding can take to try and the harder it is to iron too.
If you want that boutique-hotel feel then we think this could be the best bedding option for you.
Cotton sateen: A sateen weave generally has a one thread under, three or four threads over structure that allows more threads to 'float' on the fabric surface (although you won't really be able to see this as it's still very tightly woven) which results in a much smoother and silkier feel compared to cotton percale and a lustre that catches the light so has more sheen in comparison.
That super smooth texture means it can feel pleasantly cool when you first get into bed (or too cold in the winter), and tends to mean wrinkles iron out much easier.
Sateens can come in up to 800TC options (and even up to 1000TC and above, although often these fibres have been double-wrapped to massage the numbers a little), however, we found that 400TC to 600TC bedding had the best balance between softness and a density that wasn't too thick, hard to care for or lacked breathability.
Because of its sheen, a cotton sateen bedding set will suit a luxe-styled room best.
Bamboo: At one point heralded as an eco-friendly alternative to cotton due to the plant's fast-growing habit that requires little to no water or pesticide use, the manufacturing processes required to turn the raw bamboo into fabric (most commonly bamboo viscose) - and the large amounts of chemicals this tends to require - have taken a little of the shine off it as a totally environmentally friendly option. However this likely doesn't mean it's any worse than cotton on this front.
Bamboo bedding's defining characteristics are its super smooth and very silky texture - as silky as, well... silk, yet not as heavy - and it's cool to the touch surface that has a high sheen and high drapability (it will meld itself around any contours unlike cotton or linen that tend to have more structure to them).
Its cool surface often means it's recommended for hot sleepers, although we actually found it didn't feel that breathable, tending to reflect heat backwards towards the sleeper rather than letting warmth dissipate like linen does.
Bamboo bed linen is definitely highly soft and silky though, so if you're looking for a super luxurious feeling texture, we think it's well worth a try to see if suits you.
What's the best colour duvet cover to choose?
Obviously, the best duvet cover colour for your bedroom is in large part down to personal preference, but there is a reason that you'll find most options on our best duvet covers shopping guide are white!
Hotels tend to use white bedding as when we're staying away from home we all want to know that what we're sleeping on and in is clean. White bedding leaves dirty marks no room to hide, so psychologically it tends to feel fresher and cleaner.
As the surface of your bed is likely to be one of the largest surface areas in your bedroom, a white duvet cover can also make a room feel much more spacious, bouncing light around the room rather than absorbing it like a darker colour will.
Visually speaking, patterns, prints and colour can also be quite stimulating for the mind, so a blank white canvas or a neutral colour palette can help to create a calming and restful environment to slumber in.
And lastly, if you like to switch up your decor quite regularly, then opting for white bedding will mean you always have a neutral base to work with, one that can be transformed easily by changing the colour of throws, blankets and cushions if you want to switch up the look. This can be especially important when you're investing in some of the best quality duvet covers or bedding sets, as you don't want to spend a good amount of money on bedding, only to change your wall colour and find it doesn't match.
How to put a duvet cover on
The bigger the duvet, the more putting a clean duvet cover on tends to turn into the kind of stress-inducing workout that requires a lay down afterwards.
Our top tip is to turn the duvet cover inside out before you try to put it on. Then put your hands inside the duvet cover and take hold of the two far corners of the duvet cover, the corners that will be next to your pillows when the duvet is on the bed. Still holding these corners of the duvet cover, grab the top two corners of your duvet, and keep hold of both the duvet cover corners and duvet corners and stand up on the bed so you can shake the duvet cover down over the duvet so it ends up the right way around.
Once most of the duvet is covered by the duvet cover you can put the duvet down and sort out the bottom duvet corners, tucking them into the cover and fastening the duvet cover closures. You might need to adjust the corners and sides of the duvet cover a bit to get them perfectly lined up all the way around - paying particular attention to the top part that will be by your head to ensure you're not left with any areas of empty cover.
This method tends to stop you from ending up inside the duvet cover with your duvet!
How to source a good night's sleep
Finding the best duvet cover or bedding set for your boudoir isn't the only thing that will turn your sleep experience from humdrum to luxe of course. What goes inside your duvet cover and pillowcases also contributes to a good night's sleep, as well as what goes under your sheets.
You'll find our guides to all your bedding essentials below:
- Read our best pillows buying guide
- Read our best duvet buying guide
- Read our best mattress topper buying guide
- Read our best mattress protector buying guide
- Read our best weighted blankets buying guide
If you want a round-up of all the best places to shop for sleep products then our guide to the best bedding brands will point you in the right direction.