In a scene from a classic Sex and the City episode, fictional writer Carrie Bradshaw gets up from bed to fetch a blanket, commenting on that bittersweet moment when you realize summer is truly gone. Yes, it’s hard to bid adieu to beach weekends, Italian ices, and dusks that stretch late into the night. But the consolation prize is the arrival of fall bedding, with its promise to warm up those cooling nights.
“Opening boxes of fall merchandise always brings a smile to our faces,” comments Cindy Lupica, owner of Marmalade Gift Store in Chappaqua. She adds that the “warm and cozy splendor” of new autumn bedding is the perfect tool to get the “nesting instincts going.”
So what can you expect to see in the way of new pillows, comforters, and blankets this season? Those in the know point to four distinct trends, with comfort and coziness the predominant themes.
|Trend||Performance Bedding||Down-Blend Comforter|
|What Is It?||Pillows, comforters, and other items constructed to provide targeted support, wick away moisture, or help regulate body temperature. Materials include memory foam, gel, and proprietary fabrics or fibers such as Coolmax, Outlast, Tencel, or Sheex.||Bohemian-inspired designs feature colorful paisleys and foulards.|
|Key Brands||Tempur-Pedic, Hollander Sleep Products, Downlite, Sleep Innovations, Wamsutta, Sheex, Cuddledown, and Comfort Revolution are just a few of the players in this category.||Wamsutta, Downlite, Cuddledown, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Martha Stewart, to name a few. There are also plenty of private-label brands to choose from.|
|Cost||Contoured pillows start at $40 and can cost more than $100, depending on size and construction. Comforters with performance fabrics are about $150 to $300 in queen size; queen sheet sets are $70 to $300.||Down-and-synthetic blends can start as low as $35 in queen, but a higher down-to-synthetic ratio in the blend will likely bring the price to more than $100. Down-and-silk blends can run upwards of $300 in queen.|
|Trend||Microfiber Blankets||“Boho Chic”|
|What Is It?||Fleece blankets typically made with synthetic microfiber yarns, which are durable, easy to wash, and super-soft.||Comforters filled with a blend of down and other materials, such as silk, wool, or a premium synthetic, often to hit an affordable price point.|
|Key Brands||Berkshire Blanket, Vellux, and others.||Target has a nice assortment of boho-inspired bedding; for a step-up assortment, Marmalade carries styles by Pine Cone Hill.|
|Cost||Good-quality fleece blankets sell for as low as $20 in twin.||A queen-size comforter set (comforter plus two shams) can run as low as $100; an upscale queen duvet cover, as high as $300.|
Tech It Out
If you plan to spend the fall weekends cleaning up the garden, storing deck furniture, or picking apples, the newest in high-performance bedding may be exactly what you’ll need at night. “Tech is the big story for fall and winter,” says Jennifer Marks, editor-in-chief of Home & Textiles Today, a leading trade magazine. Look for memory-foam pillows engineered with waves or curves that can offer targeted support to a sore neck or aching shoulders. Many pillows also incorporate gel—either as a separate layer of the pillow or infused into the foam—which makers say can help relieve pressure points and promote a comfortable sleeping temperature. Alternatively, if your shopping list includes sheets or comforters, keep an eye out for items made with performance fabrics. Industry experts say these materials, which carry brand names like Coolmax, Downlite, Outlast, Tencel, or Sheex, can wick away moisture and help regulate your body temperature to promote better comfort while you sleep.
Blend It Up
Down is still a top choice in upscale bedcoverings, with many retailers offering premium goose-down comforters in a choice of warmth levels. “Goose-down comforters offer warmth without the weight,” says Leah Drill, spokesperson for Bed Bath & Beyond. However, the price of down, which was quite low about three years ago, has risen dramatically, according to HTT’s Marks, making this fall’s all-down assortments relatively expensive. For this reason, many manufacturers and retailers are offering hearty assortments of down blends, which also provide good warmth but hit more reasonable price points. “You’re going to see some new blends using down and silk, down and wool, down and synthetics,” Marks says.
Customers love fleece blankets, according to trade editors and retailers alike. That’s because they’re mainly constructed with polyester-based microfiber yarns, which make them cozy, rich with color, inexpensive, and easy to wash. If you’re in the market for a fleece blanket good for snuggling this fall, you might look for one that incorporates acrylic, which Marmalade’s Lupica says gives “a much softer and cozier feel to the product.” Alternatively, if you prefer blankets made with natural fibers, David Gill, senior editor at Home Furnishings News, a leading trade magazine, says alpaca is an increasingly popular blanket material. Makers say alpaca blankets are warm like wool, but also nicely lightweight.
Boho chic is back
Finally, if you’re curious about fashion trends in bedding this fall, Marmalade’s Lupica foretells a return to “boho chic.” Look for products that feature turquoises, corals, greens, and navy blues, and combine patterns such as paisleys and foulards. Then, advises Lupica, grab a scented candle, pick a good book, and you’re set for fall.