Home bedding and décor expert Jennifer Adams is back again, ready to help answer your questions! Today’s question comes from a rising college student, and it’s a good one:
I just got back from Europe on a summer exchange. It was so fun! My host sister shared her room with me, it had two twin beds. But I was surprised to learn the beds weren’t covered the way I had grown up knowing; there was just a bottom sheet, a comforter thing with a cover, and matching pillow cases – that’s it! Oh, and the pillows were one bigger square one and then a regular-sized one.
It was all so simple, and it really worked great. My mom always yells at me to make my bed, and this way it’s so easy! It seems like this would be perfect for my dorm room when I go to college next year.
So, my question is this: Is this a thing in the United States? And how would you clean it – do you have to wash the whole comforter and everything every time, or can you just wash just the cover?
Blown Away By A Duvet
What an opportunity to see Europe, I’m glad you had a great time! Traveling is beyond rewarding to me, especially when I need a little inspiration. I learn so much simply by being in another culture, no matter where it is. I love absorbing the sounds, the sights, the smells, the tastes, and the entire experience!
Now, to your question. That “comforter thing” you’re describing is a duvet, and yes, just a duvet and bottom sheet is a thing! In fact, it’s a thing that’s becoming more popular in the States. And as you discovered, it truly is a simple way to make your bed in the morning. Just pull up the duvet and smooth it out, and you’re done!
About Those Big Square Pillows
The big, square pillows you encountered in Europe are in fact referred to as “Euro” pillows – fitting name, isn’t it? You can find decorative covers (we call them shams) for these, and the idea is to remove those when you’re ready to go to sleep. A simpler idea is just to buy Euro-sized pillow cases in your favorite color to match your duvet. They’re easier to wash than shams, they’re softer, and they don’t need to be removed for sleeping.
How To Keep Your Bedding Clean
You also asked about cleaning. Since your pillow cases, bottom sheet and duvet cover are in direct contact with your skin every night, you SHOULD wash them once a week. And as long as you keep a clean cover on the duvet, the duvet itself only needs washing every two or three months or so. It’s also a good idea to keep an extra set or two of pillow cases, sheets, and duvet covers on hand, maybe in a different color.
This gives you the ability to change up the look of your bed whenever you want, and it also makes laundry day easier. All you have to do is find a place to store the clean bedding you’re not currently using. It’s also smart to purchase duvet inserts in a couple of different thicknesses, so you can switch them out according to the season.
Pro Tip For Changing The Duvet Cover
The only problem with using a duvet is that changing the cover on the duvet can be a little awkward at first. However, the smaller the duvet, the easier it is to manage, and most college dorm beds come with twin mattresses. A twin-size duvet isn’t too hard to handle on your own, and any size duvet is manageable with this trick: Start by simply laying out the duvet covers inside-out, and place the insert on top of it.
Reach inside the opening, grab a far corner of both the insert and the cover with one hand, grab the other far corner with your other hand, then just hold on and shake it out! You can see this technique demonstrated on my YouTube channel here.
Make Your Dorm Feel Like Home
Dorm rooms aren’t usually very big, and the bed is usually the central feature. It’s important that you make your bed as comfortable and cozy as possible, and you also want to choose a style that best expresses your tastes. A duvet with cover, bottom sheet, and matching pillows is a great way to go. Have fun, and let me know what you end up going with!