In How Tos

Bedding jargon explained.

When it comes to shopping for bedding, some terms can be a bit confusing. We’ve put together a short glossary to help you grow your bedding knowledge and feel empowered to make decisions when you shop.

Base cover 

A base cover is a piece of fabric designed to cover your bed base in a shade, texture or material that coordinates with the rest of the decor in your bedroom. A bed base cover looks similar to a fitted sheet with an elasticated bottom that sits on top of your bed base under the mattress and wraps snuggly under the bottom of the base to create a neat and stylish finish. Bed base wraps are also available which are specially designed band that wraps around the base without having to remove the mattress from the bed. 

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Brushed cotton

Perfect for winter months, brushed cotton is made from 100% cotton fabric which has been brushed to give it a soft and almost fluffy look and feel while still retaining the natural lightweight breathability of cotton to prevent overheating. It is often used for duvet cover sets and sheets to create a plush warmth for an inviting sleep on chilly nights. 

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Continental size (pillow & pillowcase)

A continental pillow is a large square pillow that can be used to create an elegant pillow stack on your bed. A continental pillow is usually placed behind the standard rectangular-shaped cushions to create a lush layered look. Continental pillow cases fit continental pillow inners. 

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Cot bumper

Cot bumpers are long foam strips with removable or permanent fabric covers and ties that allow you to attach them to a baby cot. This soft layer acts as padding for the baby’s delicate head when sleeping in the cot. 

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Damask is a reversible, jacquard-patterned fabric, meaning that the pattern is woven into the fabric, instead of printed on it. Sometimes bedding items are referred to as damask even though it is a printed fabric, this is usually in reference to the pattern style and not the texture. 

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Emperor (pillow & pillowcase)

A king-size pillow is another name for an emperor pillow. When two emperor-size pillows are placed next to each other, they fill end to end of a king-size bed whereas standard pillows would leave large gaps on either side on a king-size bed. Two smaller standard-size pillows can be placed in front of the emperor pillows followed by scatter cushions to create a stylish layered look.

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Extra length

This refers to added length over and above the standard measurement of bedding. This term is often used for mattress length, which then corresponds with extra-length duvet covers, sheetings and bed bases or frames to accommodate the extra length of the mattress, subsequent duvet inner and so on. 

Mattress topper

A mattress topper is placed on top of your existing mattress to add a plush layer and extra comfort. A topper can be filled with natural or synthetic fillings depending on your preference. In addition to comfort, a mattress topper can also revitalize an old mattress or prolong the life of a new one.

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Oxford flap

If bedding, including pillow cases to duvet covers and scatters, refers to the style as ‘Oxford’ this means that the pillowcase or cover has a fabric border around the edge of the filled area. This extra ‘flap’ of fabric lends the piece a sophisticated look and feel. 


Bedding that is referred to as piped means that the cover or case has been finished with a neat slim row of turned-in fabric which can either match or be a contrasting colour. A piped finish is a classic look that lends a subtle, stylish finish to the bed. 

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When cotton bedding is referred to as being ‘cotton sateen’ this means that the cotton fibres have been woven to create a smooth and silky surface that has a satin-like sheen. Sateen cotton feels lovely on the skin and looks beautiful if you like a touch of shine on your bedding. 

Satin stitch 

Bedding with a satin stitch finish refers to a row of neat and smooth stitching around the edge of the bedding creating a frame-like effect. The stitching can either be the same colour or a contrasting colour to the bedding. A satin stitch gives the piece a traditional and elegant finish that adds a sophisticated touch to your bedroom.

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Self stripe

Bedding with a self stripe offers texture and variation through a stripe pattern created by the way the fabric is woven. This is a tasteful way to bring texture and pattern into your bedroom design without introducing bright colours or bold patterns if you prefer a minimalist and classic look. 

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Thread Count

Thread count is often indicated by a number followed by TC. TC stands for thread count. Thread count is a measure of the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric and is essentially a measure of the tightness of the weave. It is calculated by adding together the numbers of lengthwise (warp) and widthwise (weft) threads within a particular area. For example, a cotton sheet with 100 warp threads and 100 weft threads in each square inch of fabric would have a listed thread count of 200.

Thread count matters because the higher the thread count the softer and smoother the fabric feels. 

While thread count does matter, the quality of the thread used is more important. A better quality thread with a lower thread count is better than a poor quality thread with a higher count. Egyptian cotton is an example of high-quality thread, which you can learn more about here.

Don’t worry if it still feels like a lot to wrap your head around, If you’re starting to explore the world of thread count, a minimum of 200 is sufficient while anything above 400 will feel significantly more smooth and luxurious to the touch.

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