The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

White bed linen


Photo: Inca on my bed

Photo: Inca on my bed

Do you remember the film Orlando (1992) when Tilda Swinton wakes in a bed of pure white linen? Well that movie changed my taste in bed linen forever. I walked out of the cinema and from that moment on I only bought white.

White sheets with Min Pins on the bed! Well they do have to be changed quite often. Changing the sheets is a palaver but there’s nothing I like more than curling up in clean fresh sheets. Our favourites are some Jasper Conran ones that we bought in the Debenhams sale. They are such good quality that we can get away with not ironing them. In the summer we dry the bed linen in the garden and they smell so fresh and summery. In the winter they dry on the line beside the wood burning stove and have a gentle wood smoke scent.

I started off with percale sets from John Lewis but they lost their bloom quite quickly. Then I discovered that the feel of pure cotton was so much better and started to look out for sets in the sales. Laura Ashley have some very pretty ones on their website – roll on her sale. Amazon which sells nearly everything that you could ever want has some amazing deals here. They even have good discounts on Jasper Conran ones. I always find it so strange that people don’t want to buy last seasons sheets – especially when they are classic styles. So gradually over the years we have fed our white bed linen habit. They are very soothing to sleep in and a good investment.

I inherited wonderful goose down pillows and bolsters from my Aunt Pickles and my grandmother. A few years ago I invested in goose down duvets – light and so snug. And then we discovered the joy of continental pillows . These are square and wonderful for reading and lolling in bed – just like being in a cosy armchair. Ours are microfiber filled so don’t need to be plumped up. Much much better than the v shaped pillows that we used to use.

Staying in bed for so much of the day I doubly appreciate these luxuries. It’s nearly five months now.

  Leave a reply


  1. White bedlinen is definitely the best – althoughsaying that I recently bought a (very cheap!) duvet cover with pillowcases which were white with a light blue stripe, which still looks cool and fresh.

    Luxuriating in freshly-laundered bedlinen is one of the greatest joys in life!

    I hope you’ll soon be well and strong enough to venture out more often, though. Five months is very hard on you all.

  2. I too adore white cotton bed linen. Never use anything else now. It is so clean and crisp and always looks so tempting. Wouldn’t want to put guests in anything else either.

    So sorry to hear you are still poorly. It has been a such a long time now! Do they know what the problem is yet?

  3. Patricia

    I LOVE white bed linens… this comes from a mother who always had printed bed linens when my daughter was younger (she is now 39) – babies mess up white linens on your bed, young children creep and crawl and drop and mess on white linens, teenagers – well enough said… but as I’m now older, white linens are what I love… my duvets are solid colors so if I can find beautiful pillowcases that go with the duvet and the white linens, I find they brighten up the bedroom and they are so much less expensive than whole sets…


  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Lib572

    The goose down duvets are worth investing in. Ours have two duvets that button together for the arctic months but we actually only use one and it’s fabulously warm and strangely cool in the summer. I bough ours on offer from a newspaper – amazon has some good discounts too.

    Great that you are enjoying the blog. Writing it is keeping me sane.

    Hi S.o.L.

    Great news about your house! Wish you the very best of luck – hope that it sells quickly for lots of cash. When I saw the photos of your bathroom I had to eat my words about brown – it looked wonderful.

    Hi Steel

    White is so soothing and I reckon that it looks timeless and chic. A decent duvet should last you out. Our goose down pillows and bolsters must be ancient.

    Hi Kate (UK)

    When I was younger I liked patterned covers but they dated so quickly. Now I don’t like them at all.

    Hello Jean

    Yes I like a damask weave too. I’m impressed that you made your quilt yourself!
    Thanks for your good wishes.

    Hello Willo

    I saw a silk filled duna at a clients house once – it was out of this world. They are very expensive in the UK and make the goose down ones look cheap. That comforter is bed linen porn!

    Of course the cats want to keep your toes warm and decorate the bed linen with their feet 🙂

  5. I do understand Fiona. If I have a real weakness it is for all things to do with beds. I do spend a lot of my life in one but I would have this proclivity anyway. I splurged on the best latex ensemble as this means a partner can come and go with out disturbing the other and it is supportive of bodies while soft. It sits in a brass bed frame. I am also an all white girl.
    I have collected sets of lovely white cotton sheets and linen for summer and thick velvety white flannelette for the colder months. I use over the year a combination of aircell woollen blankets, mohair blankets of differing weights, a silk filled doona and my latest beauty a Biancalorenne comforter. Then there are the white coverlets and quilts. My pillows are goose down. I use huge back pillows for support when sitting up. And all of this poses a real problem… 3 Burmese cats who pad around the farm getting sticky red ochre dirt between their toes and wanting to go under the covers to lie on my feet.
    Oh dear! I am growing used to soft orange splotches on white as a colourway. And it is dear husband who does all the ironing.

  6. Jean Damgaard

    I too adore white bed linen. I buy (Egyptian) cotton covers, mostly with a damask weave so there is a “pattern” on them. I can’t resist a bargain, and buy on sale too, I have enough linen to last a lifetime, so I’ve started avoiding the sales. I have goose down duvets, but in summer I have a thinsulate quilt, I quilted my self, this keeps body tempature, and is wonderful when those heat waves hit. Hope you get well soon

  7. kate (uk)

    Bed linen just has to be white. And cotton. Any colour just doesn’t feel right,especially dark ones, nor does pattern. Odd I know, but white it has to be…

  8. When your bed is your nest for a few months you need to feather it with a few luxuries to make yourself feel better.

    I’m starting to come around to the idea of white bedlinen. As SOL said above, at least you can bleach it.

    And the goose feather duvet is also something I’ve been toying with. I recently went to stay with friends and slept under a gorgeous goose feather duvet and it was wonderful. My fingers are crossed for a sumptuous bargain for me to snaffle in the January sales!

  9. we have white (egyptian) bed linen. we used to move so often that it was essentual as it went with what ever room decoration there was. And in a pinch can always be used as a large table cloth! LMAO

    We have a navy duvet cover in the little bed room from ikea. Which is a bit of a shock. But no one sleeps in there it is to sell the house. which I am pleased to confirm is on the market next week and has been appraised for more than we thought. Although I think they (estate agents x 4) are shooting high.

    so the forever house, might end up being, in the not so distant future. hooray. oh an FN, the 2 ladies came and they loved the bath room! worth me keeping on about the chocolate coloured walls…

    But there is also the plus side that if anything is dropped on white linen, it can be lightly bleached out and then left on the washing line for a few days and the sunlight does the rest.

  10. just the topics i wanted discussed having popped my summer and winter duvets togther and now not liking it – AT ALL – as too heavy! so mulling on goose down!! Mmm thanks. I have a micro fibre pad which lies on mattress and under sheet and also helps make snug nest. its such a haven to get into at the end of a difficult ,, well any day!!
    so sorry you still laid up. all best wishes and love the blog

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