Today’s post fills me with so much joy because it’s another one of those posts that really speaks to the ethos of this little blog. Love when we get right to the heart, ya know? Like we always say, the cottage lifestyle we love so much is as much about enjoying a lived in, comfortable and fuss-free life in and around your home as it is about the aesthetics of cottage style. For me and my family that has always meant marrying the kind of functionality that allows the pieces you bring into your home to be used and loved for a lifetime, with the kind of form that’s fun, character-packed, warm, cozy and perfect for snuggling up. Which is why we thought it would be so much fun to do a little summer series here on the blog that we’re lovingly calling “Lived In” where we’re featuring some of our favorite cottage style decor pieces, home essentials and design elements from around our home that we love and have lived with for a minute that have not only given us form, but exceptional function as well. The stuff we loved when it was shiny and pretty and new and had so much promise, and that we love just as much now for how hard it’s worked for us and how well it’s held up.
Though we often share pretty new things here on the blog and think that can be so much fun and offer a lot of variety and ongoing inspiration for all of you cottage style lovers out there, it’s also our mission here to share all that the cottage lifestyle encompasses. And we believe that a pillar of the cottage lifestyle is collecting and investing in pieces that you can use and love for a lifetime. Pieces that you can make memories around and that can stand up to wear and tear that comes with, ya know, life. And that’s almost impossible to evaluate at first glance or even upon first use. We have to really live with something and use it regularly to see if it’s appeal, it’s sparkle and shine, on all fronts, holds up over time.
So to kick off our Lived In series, we’re talking about a topic that you know we just love in our household – white linens. Specifically all of the white bedding and towels that have been tried, tested and loved in our household over the years, in every budget. Because trust us when we say we feel like we’ve tried them all. High end, low end and everything in between. And now that we feel like we’ve found a pretty awesome arsenal of white linens that are not only snuggly and beautiful, but that wear really, really well. And white linens can get a bad wrap – they’re not exactly known for being extremely practical, so today we’re breaking down all of the details for you guys on the white linens that have served us so well, so all you white linen lovers out there can skip the trial and error and get right to the good stuff, no matter what budget you’re workin’ with.
Over time we’ve realized that we have three basic requirements that determine whether we fall in or out of love with our white linens. If anything falls short on one or more of these fronts, they won’t make the cut. Those requirements are:
Softness (Are they soft? Are they snuggly? Do they get softer & more snuggly over time?)
Durability/Wear (Do they wear and wash well, and do they look and feel as awesome a year in as they did they day we bought them… or even better.)
Value (What’s the max amount of quality we can get for our dollars spent?)
Best White Bedding
DUVETS & QUILTS
We’ve tried, tested and lived with many a white duvet and so many just didn’t hold up. Either they weren’t very soft, or they weren’t durable at all and completely crumbled after a year of wear and wash. Then we found not one but two duvets that we’re absolutely in love with and that thrive in the face of wear (from us sleeping in them & that crazy pup of ours) and weekly washes, plus two quilts that round out our perfect bedding picture.
This is a 2023 addition to this post that I absolutely had to put in here because I’ve been searching and searching for an affordable Amazon option for what feels like an eternity, and after so much trial and error, found the holy grail of cozy white Amazon bed linens. Not only is this duvet and sham set so soft and cozy, but it looks beautiful, washes and dries like a dream, has ties inside the duvet for a secure fit and has the perfect waffle weave texture. I’m obsessed. Period. There’s just so much value in this set, so if you’re looking for gorgeous, cozy white bed linens on a budget, this is it! We use these Oaken-Cat Down Comforters from Amazon as inserts for all of the duvet covers in our bedrooms and LOVE them, too.
I HAD to update this post with the KicKee Pants Woven Duvet Cover and Sheet Set because after becoming acquainted with KicKee Pants super, super soft onesies and baby clothes when we had Emmet, I saw that they made adult bedding and immediately knew I had to try it. Spoiler: I was NOT disappointed. This duvet and the accompanying sheet set is so insanely silky soft, it’s like nothing I’ve ever slept on before. They’ve somehow managed to create something so silky soft, cozy and buttery, while maintaining breathability and having zero hints of that overly-crisp hotel bedding feeling that I just don’t love. I know I know, that’s an unpopular opinion since I hear so many “influencers” out there using the phrase “hotel bedding” to promote bedding they “love”, but I often find that hotel bedding or “crisp” white bedding in general can, in fact, have a slightly rough feel to the weave that I do not love. See, my bar for white linen greatness is high! The feel of these sheets is seriously unlike anything I’ve ever felt before – think a cross between the softest cotton and silk. It’s wild! The sheets also sleep nice and cool, which is a huge check mark in the pro category for me.
Favorite favorite favorite snuggly white duvet we’ve ever owned, and it’s still in pristine condition after 2 years of wear and tear which includes weekly (sometimes more) washes in the washing machine, us sleeping in it and Hamlet rubbing his dirty beard and paws all over it. The top side of this duvet is comprised of the coziest classic waffle weave cotton that I can’t get enough of (there are few things I love more in the home decor/bath world than a good waffle weave), but more importantly the underside is made of the softest, most heavenly cotton percale weave that feels like you’re sleeping under a bunny and gets softer and softer with every wash, without feeling like the fibers are giving way. This, dear friends, is what all of our form-meets-function dreams are made of.
If Pottery Barn ever does away with their Pick-Stitch bedding line, I’m going to curl up into a ball and cry my eyes out because to me, they’re the ultimate cottage-cozy bedding pieces. If you don’t know the pick-stitch line at Pottery Barn yet, I’m 100% Ok telling you that you need it in your life and your home, even if you only grab one single sham just to lay your own pretty little head on and enjoy every night. We love to have a great layer around for chilly nights, and just love the extra weight when we sleep in general (hello, deep sleep!), and this quilt is the absolute perfect weight and style for that purpose. It’s also extremely durable because of the hand quilting and pick-stitching method they use to make these, and it’s very low maintenance because the style is meant to look lived in, so the more wear it gets, the better it looks in my opinion. It also washes really well in our plain old washing machine, even in all its quilted bulkiness.
Pottery Barn’s traditional pick-stitch pieces are the best of the best, but in true PB fashion they reworked everyone’s favorite pick-stitch quilt to include a fun, reversible version in an adorable, cottage cozy stripe in a few different colors. Now I know that the khaki and grey versions aren’t technically white, but they do reverse so a white side so I feel like that 100% counts for this post’s purposes. Is it weird that I now feel like I need this reversible, striped version of their pick-stitch quilt, too? The more quilts the better, I say!
PILLOWCASES & SHAMS
These are one of my favorite things on the planet. Love the pick-stitch style as mentioned above, and I love how they fit and close around a pillow insert. And don’t even get me started on those adorable ties. The entire pick-stitch line is the softest, coziest, most delightful thing to happen to bedding pretty much ever, in my opinion. The quilted style is so snuggly so even though these are shams that a lot of people may use for purely decorative purposes, we sleep on these every night and love them, and again, they’re extremely durable because of the hand quilting and pick-stitching method they use to make these. As mentioned above when talking about the pick-stitch quilt, they’re very low maintenance because the style is meant to look lived in, so the more wear they get, the better they look.
As mentioned above, these are the adorable, reversible, striped version of their traditional pick-stitch shams that are striped on one side, but white when reversed. Adding these shams to our bedding mix ASAP because they’re beyond cute and oh so soft and snuggly!
Listen, we’ve tried a LOT of pillowcases in our day and consider pillows to be the most important part of the bedding equation in general. And the more pillowcases/sheets we’ve tried, the more we come back to the simple Target Threshold Ultra Soft white pillowcases. They completely live up to their name, get softer and more awesome with every wash, and they fit beautifully around a pillow insert. These beat all of our more expensive white pillowcases on the softness and durability front, so in our opinion, there’s just really no reason to waste your money on anything more expensive. #RealTalk
As mentioned above about the KicKee Pants Solid Woven Duvet, as far as solid white pillowcases go, these are IT. They’re breathable, sleep slightly cool and in no way hot, and have that clean, fresh look we all love in a white pillowcase set. I also love that they’re kind to the skin on my face and hair when I sleep on them – not scratchy in any way shape or form, they don’t leave major indents or lines on my face or kinks in my hair, and feel really durable/wash friendly which I think is an often overlooked quality in pillowcases (I find that a lot of white, woven pillowcases can be a little lackluster on the durability front). I’m hopelessly devoted to these now.
Again, the Target Threshold Ultra Soft Sheets (Fitted Sheet & Flat Sheet) win this one for us by a landslide! Like we mentioned above, they’re the softest, coziest white sheets we’ve ever used, get softer with every wash, and they’re as durable as can be. And huge BONUS in our minds – the fitted sheet excels when it comes to fitting around a mattress. We’ve never ever had a fitted sheet that was so easy to slip onto our mattress after washing and that held its elasticity for so long. It’s incredible! So again, in our opinion, if it’s white sheets you’re after, we don’t see any reason so waste your money on anything more expensive.
As previously mentioned twice above about the KicKee Pants Solid Woven Duvet, Pilloewcase Set and Sheet Set, these sheets are crazy soft, breathable and just all around snuggly sleep perfection. I’m not even close to exaggerating. They’re just the perfect balance between fresh, crisp and breathable and oh-so-cozy soft, which is really all I’m asking for when it comes to a white sheet set. Get this set now, thank me later.
Best White Towels
BEST BUDGET BUY
If throwing down tons of cash on towels isn’t high on the priority list, we couldn’t recommend the Casaluna waffle towels at Target more highly! We use and love these in our house, and not only are they extremely budget-friendly, they’re very soft and absorbent, and only get softer with each wash and use. I’m not going to lie and say that they feel quite as ultra-absorbent as the other higher end towels in our house, but they do feel extremely high-end for the price and do a great job of absorbing water. Value, people. Value. They also just look so good!
If you’re looking for the softest of the soft that won’t lose that softness over time with washes and wear, these are the the jam! Seriously – they’re so insanely soft and so durable, the price tag feels completely worth it. We received these as a gift for our wedding and now have them in our guest bathroom, and sometimes I just steal one to use myself because the snuggle is real. Hands down the softest towels we’ve ever used, and they haven’t lost an ounce of that softness or fiber integrity over all of the years we’ve used and loved them.
ABSORPTION & DURABILITY
After so much trial and error with towels that just didn’t hold up over time and had sub-par absorption powers, we feel like we’ve finally found the holy grail of white towels that are pure luxury! These are ultra thick and absorbent, wash and wear like they’re made of Teflon and they’re super soft, too. If you want to invest your towel dollars in something that will last for years and years, stand up to daily use and still look as new and fluffy as the day you bought them many moons down the line, you need these in your life. Also… organic cotton! It’s a win all around.
*Bonus: Pottery Barn also has a slightly lighter, fluffier version of these called the PB Aerospin Luxe Organic Towels that are a little bit pricier, but claim to be even softer and dry faster. We haven’t tested these, but consider us intrigued!