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: a buyer's guide
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.
When it comes to bed linen we think there are two main camps. Those who prefer a luxe look and are willing to iron a duvet cover to achieve that, and those who think life is a little too short for that kind of thing and prefer a relaxed bed linen solution that still scores in the style stakes. Therefore we've included options for everyone in this list, including the best duvet covers for hot sleepers and those who prefer things a little more toasty.
Some options see the duvet cover sold separately, and some are duvet sets or bedding sets with the pillowcases included too. We've marked what's included with each purchase in the specifications to make it easier to compare prices.
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 right now.
The best duvet covers and bedding sets: tried and tested
Linen bedding is having a bit of a moment. A bedding solution where creases are embraced as part of the look (so no need to iron - hurrah!), a potentially less environmentally harmful material than pesticide-reliant and water-consumption heavy cotton, and a wave of brands creating linen duvet covers and pillowcases in earthy on-trend shades has seen linen's popularity soar in recent years.
Also, there are the claims that it's breathable and temperature regulating to consider; a fabric that's cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
As a serial iron-avoider, I was definitely sold on the creased look, but I'd never really understood how fabric could be cool and warm at once... until I slept under Soak & Sleep's French Linen bedding.
Soak & Sleep's packaging is fairly basic, and the price of the French Linen bedding is definitely what I'd consider an investment, so initially, I wasn't blown away by this bedding when it arrived. On removing the (plastic) packaging I was also a bit disappointed by the feel - especially as I'd just unpacked a super smooth cotton sateen! - it felt a bit scratchy as I'd worried linen might.
However, one nice surprise was discovering OEKO-TEX Standard 100 labels on the duvet cover, pillowcases, and fitted sheet - this isn't mentioned on the website but means the bedding has been tested to an environmental standard that confirms no harmful chemicals are present in any component of the finished product; certainly something you want in a fabric that's going to be next to your skin and face for 8 hours each night.
A wash and a blow about on the line outside (where it dried very quickly) soon made the fabric feel a lot more pliable though, and after the first night's sleep the fabric had softened up considerably, becoming much more drapey and losing its initial starchiness. I'm sure if I'd dried it on a low tumble dryer setting it would have been softer still from the get-go. 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. (One word of caution - drying it outside on a still and very sunny day will make it feel especially crispy, so you'll probably want to tumble dry for a few minutes or shake it around a bit to soften it back up - just like with bathroom towels).
On the bed, I 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 closure solution I've come across) to the Oxford detail on either side of the duvet which means it hangs nicely on the bed.
Looks and comfort-wise this was a winner, but what about its ability to regulate temperature? Good news here too.
Thanks to two summer heatwaves, there was plenty of opportunity to test this bedding in hot weather, and it definitely gave me best night's sleep of all the bedding I've tested. The rougher texture of linen compared to smooth cotton or bamboo means 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 I found the open weave of the linen material to have much more breathability over the duration of the night, meaning even in 29-degree heat I didn't wake up kicking the covers off as I did with all the other options I tried, so this is definitely my top recommendation as to the best bedding for hot sleepers.
On cold nights when most cotton bedding has that initial chill-factor when you climb into bed, the slubby texture of linen - as opposed to the smooth surface of cotton - meant it never felt cold and was always a pleasure to climb in. It did seem like the breathability of the fabric (presumably down to the looser weave structure) meant heat dissipated faster (rather than heat being trapped under the duvet like with a tightly woven cotton) but adding a blanket on top soon made things toasty and kept things at a comfortable even temperature through the night.
With this collection, you 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. Plus, Soak & Sleep quite often has sales on its bed linen - keep an eye on our bedding sales page to find the best deals - so if you want to invest, it's well worth holding out until prices drop slightly.
I wouldn't quite go so far as to say this is the perfect bedding, but when you weigh up all of the pros and cons, then DUSK's Portofino duvet cover is likely to tick a lot of boxes for a lot of different people. And, if you just don't love the look of linen, then this is definitely a worthy contender for best duvet cover in my opinion.
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 waffled surface is also soft. On closer inspection that 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. This means no elastane, which will likely make for a longer-lasting cover (we'll keep you updated) and a super soft texture that feels lovely to the touch.
The one caveat is that if your cat likes to sleep on your bed then those longer threads are potentially going to get pulled quite easily, so this may not be the bedding for you. You might want to consider DUSK's super smooth cotton sateen Mayfair duvet cover instead which you'll find later in this list.
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). On the recommended low setting we found creases ironed out fairly easily though.
DUSK doesn't do bedding sets, so this duvet cover is sold with the coordinating pair of pillowcases available separately. I wasn't too sure about having a waffle texture under my head at night, but that super soft waffle is lovely to sleep on - and soft enough I never woke up with a face imprint! Although, if you don't want to invest in both all at once then the duvet cover still looks just as good with a plain white pillowcase.
In terms of the thread count, you'll find a lot of conflicting advice on which thread count is the best for a luxury sleep experience. It can often be quite common that two identical thread counts don't feel the same to the touch and that personal preference plays a large part in which you'll prefer. In our tests we found that 200TC cotton percale was a good middle ground between smoothness - cotton percale has a smooth yet crisp and slightly crunchy feel when you bunch it up - and ease of care, meaning it dries quickly and is fairly easy to iron. I also found this thread count far more breathable than the more tightly woven 400TC+ count cotton percale bedding tested, and cotton sateens (which tend to see thread counts rise higher to between 400TC - 800TC). So as a hot sleeper, this was by far my favourite cotton duvet cover.
What might put you off is the fact that 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 addition to your bedding collection.
It's also one of DUSK's more affordable lines, and as the brand quite often has bedding sales on, it's well worth keeping a lookout to see if you can snap it up at a discount.
Although it doesn't feel like the case with Dusk's Portofino duvet cover above, a textured duvet cover can often be a good way to make use of lower-quality cotton, making a waffle, ruffled or tufted duvet cover a useful way to style a bed to look more expensive than its price tag. Also, lest we need to say it by this stage; no ironing.
A great example of this is Matalan's Seersucker duvet cover, one of the brand's bestsellers, which in the white or pale grey colourway looks like a billowing cloud has just landed in your bedroom.
At £35 for the duvet cover set that comes with two pillowcases included, this is one of the best value bedding sets we've come across for a stylish bedroom on a budget.
In this option, the larger waffle texture is formed by lines of elastane that run through the upper surface of the duvet which causes the fabric in between to ruffle and crumple into the cloud-like texture.
Both the duvet and the pillowcases (which are also ruffled on top) washed well at 40º and can be ironed at a low temperature, although we do wonder how well that elastane will hold up after repeated washes. At £28 for the set longevity is perhaps a bit much to ask for though.
It's fair to say you're definitely getting looks and affordability over comfort with this option, as the cotton - as is only to be expected at this price point - is a much looser weave and far rougher in comparison to the 200TC cotton percale or the linen weave. However, it's still fine to sleep next to, although I wasn't a fan of the textured pillowcases and would say they're better as a decorative pillow rather than one that's a pleasure to sleep on. Flipping over and sleeping on the plain reverse was fine though.
You're not going to get that feeling of slipping between luxury sheets with this set. But, on the flip side, that looser weave does make for good breathability, and the less smooth texture means you don't get the chill factor of more expensive, tightly woven cotton on a cold night.
Although it might not deliver that luxury feel in terms of comfort, if you're looking for an Instagram-friendly duvet set that won't break the bank, then this affordable bedding bundle could well fit the bill.
Cotton percale and cotton sateen are two terms that you're likely to come across quite often in your hunt for the best duvet cover or bedding sets, although sometimes the terms can be lost amongst all the other bedding terminology, which is unfortunate because they're integral to the way cotton bedding looks and feels.
The terms percale and sateen refer to two different methods of weaving the cotton fibre, which creates two distinct fabric structures. Cotton percale is matt and crisp - a bit like a formal white shirt - and sateen has a much smoother and silkier feel in comparison, with a lustre that catches the light to give it a more sheen.
It becomes important as both cotton sateen and percale bedding often shout loudly about their respective thread counts, and you would be forgiven for thinking any 400TC cotton bedding will feel the same. But, if you've previously bought and liked 400TC cotton sateen and have picked up a 400TC cotton percale this time around, then the resultant bedding will likely be very different from your expectations.
In our opinion, for cotton percale bedding 200TC - 400TC makes for good quality bedding that isn't too thick or tightly woven to wash, dry and iron easily. Because of its weave structure cotton sateen often has higher thread counts, of anything from 200TC to 1000TC (or more! - although often this will be fibres that have been double-wrapped to massage those thread count figures slightly), but somewhere between 400TC and 600TC is generally the sweet spot in our opinion, with the best balance between softness and a density that isn't too thick, hard to care for, or lacking in breathability.
DUSK's Mayfair duvet cover is a great example of a smooth lustre 400TC cotton sateen. Made from Egyptian cotton fibre (renowned for its longer and smoother cotton fibres) the cotton sateen structure makes for a silky smooth texture with a subtle sheen that reflects the light.
The slight lustre makes this a great option for a luxe-look bedroom with the Mayfair's choice of six colours of embroidered border making for a smart tailored look that will recreate that boutique hotel look in your own boudoir.
That super smooth texture means that the bedding feels just as luxurious against the skin, with a pleasantly cool surface when you first get into bed (although this could well feel a bit too cold in the winter).
The 400TC material is on the thinner end of the spectrum for a sateen, but as a hot sleeper, I found this had the best mix of luxe sheen with a weave that wasn't so tight and thick as to become completely unbreathable - although this bedding was still noticeably hotter to sleep in than the linen or 200TC cotton percale during hot weather. If you're a cold sleeper you may find this works in your favour though.
That thinner fabric also means this duvet cover is particularly easy to care for. It can be machine washed at 30-40º, tumble dried on medium and ironed on hot, with any creases coming out of the fabric super easily, although if you line dry we found this fabric didn't really crease too badly from the get-go, showing far less creasing than a cotton percale in comparison.
Again, DUSK's bedding is sold separately so you'll need to buy pillowcases and sheets separately, but if you want a silky smooth duvet cover that feels luxurious to slip under at nighttime, and are happy with your bedding having a sheen to it, then this could well be the hotel luxury bedding you've been searching for.
Bamboo bedding's defining characteristics are its super smooth and very silky texture. It's also widely lauded as being good for hot sleepers due to its cool feel and is often touted as a sustainable alternative to cotton.
Sustainability claims can sometimes be a little misleading as although bamboo as a plant is a super-quick growing low-maintenance source of fibre that requires very little water and can be grown organically with no pesticides, the manufacturing stage of turning the bamboo stalks into pulp to create bamboo viscose or rayon can often add in processes that are more intensive and less gentle on the planet.
However, certainly in terms of packaging, Panda's 100% Bamboo bedding set - which includes duvet cover, fitted sheet and two standard pillowcases - arrived in far more eco-friendly packaging than most of the other bedding tested, doing away with plastic (hurray!) to house its bedding in recyclable cardboard boxes and protective fabric drawstring bags that can be reused for any number of purposes.
Plus, the bedding's OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification means the duvet set has been tested to an environmental standard that ensures there are no harmful chemicals are present in the end product.
And it certainly delivered on the silky-smooth front once it was removed from the bags, with its luxurious texture and cool touch giving me high hopes it would be a good sleep solution for the heatwave on the horizon.
A little more care has to be taken with washing this fabric, with a cool delicate wash and low tumble dry recommended, but despite the fabrics surprising weight once wet I was surprised at how quickly it dried on the line, the thin material losing its moisture in no time at all.
The bedding does crease quite a lot after a wash, and because of its silky sheen I personally think this is a fabric that looks better ironed, although Panda recommends you embrace the no-ironing look. I was very pleasantly surprised at how quickly the creases vanished even at the recommended low ironing temperature though. Although, later, after a night's sleep, creases had soon reappeared... so this may not be for you if you're a crease-free purist.
On the bed - as quite a few reviewers have mentioned - the attractive bamboo (plastic-free) buttons were a very snug fit for the buttonholes. However, they did soften up quite a bit after three or so washes, but so far still remain quite stiff to do up. Doing the buttons up the first time in 29-degree heat certainly made me feel extremely warm, so the coolness of the sheets was a very welcome relief afterward!
Unfortunately, for me at least, that blast of silky cool didn't last quite as long as I'd hoped for. I found the fabric next to my skin soon warmed up, so I had to keep moving to find an area of bedding that hadn't gotten warm. Because the fabric is so thin and silky, it also meant the cover fell away from the duvet itself slightly to drape over every contour, which - when it's super hot or your skin is a bit sticky - didn't deliver the same airy feeling of breathability as the linen duvet cover and bedding did.
That silky drape also meant the duvet cover tended not to stay in place on my duvet, with corners often escaping so I was left with areas of empty duvet cover. Panda sent me its Cloud duvet to try too, which, with its loops sewn into every corner, means the 100% Bamboo duvet cover (which has fabric ties in each corner inside) can be secured into place to stop it moving about in the night. This certainly worked much better, and the fairly heavy duvet was a better fit all around for the duvet cover than my own duvet. However, this does mean you're going to be potentially making quite a hefty investment by switching up your duvet cover and duvet for optimum enjoyment of this set.
However, I can't deny how luxuriously silky this bedding feels to climb into, and on milder nights it is a joy to get into bed. Although, on cool nights that cold surface does feel a bit too cold for my liking.
I don't have eczema or psoriasis - and I can't testify to bamboo bedding's general hypoallergenic claims - but I can certainly imagine that the super-smooth fabric surface might provide bedtime relief compared to a scratchier cotton or linen texture.
As well as a bedding bundle, Panda also offers all components of the 100% Bamboo bedding set separately (although they will cost you more seperately) so you could just opt for a fitted sheet to see how it works for you. Plus, Panda's 30-night trial on 100% Bamboo bedding (as long as you buy direct from its website) means you can wash, dry, and sleep test to try it out for yourself.
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.
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.