Top-of-bed finishes have been going through a lot of changes over the last couple of years and there are now three different types of coverings being used in the commercial accommodation industry.
Say the word “bedspread” and it might conjure up a mental picture of something your mother had on the spare bed, shiny polyester, ruffled valance, frilly edges, not to mention the flowery pattern of course!
Bedspreads have come a long way and the new, sleek, modern version is a popular choice for those in the accommodation industry. Elegant tailored corners have replaced the frills, flounces and belled corners of yesteryear that had become a health and safety concern with guests tripping over. Housekeepers are happy with the speed at which they can achieve a neat and tidy appearance.
Not all bedspreads are created equal and whilst a bedspread designed especially for the commercial market may cost a little more at the outset, your investment will be repaid many times over with the longevity of performance of a truly commercial product.
It can be confusing when it comes to choosing a style. Commercial bedspreads now come in three basic styles
• Tailored – where the corner is split open and a flap is securely sewn behind
• Fitted – where the bottom corners are stitched together to form a “boxed” finish – very sleek, and
• Smartfit – where the bedspread is totally reversible, i.e. it has patterned fabric both sides and is cleverly made to flip inside out without exposing any raw seams – great in high usage areas.
The ideal commercial bedspread should use a high performance construction fabric in polycotton or polyester and be suitable for commercial laundering with a fire retardant wadding that has been treated to resist most known moulds and mildews. Insofar as backing fabric of tailored and fitted styles is concerned, a neutral polycotton will look good a lot longer than white.
Whilst bedspreads are the favoured option for a lot of operators, the difficulty of handling the bulky size when self-laundering or the cost of laundering them off-site, especially in remote areas, has been a major factor for some operators opting to use duvets which can be laundered regularly.
Duvet covers come in a variety of colours, patterns or white stripe or self-pattern and fabrics but the best performance will come from one that has been made specifically for commercial use and laundering. Fabrics to look out for are polycotton blend or polyester. Steer away from fabrics that are not washable and covers with embellishments that can get damaged with constant laundering. Some commercial covers are made with a flap like that on a pillowcase which allows it to be ironed in roller irons or large presses, rather than domes and buttons which can cause marks or be damaged/lost during the laundering/ironing process.
You will need a duvet inner in addition to the cover which will increase the set-up cost. There is a wide choice of fill for the inner and what you choose will be dictated by the standards expected by your target market and your budget, ie polyester for the backpacker/hostel/motel market, feather & down for more luxurious hotels, B&Bs and lodges.
Over the last couple of years a new phenomenon in top of bed has overtaken both bedspreads and duvets. Triple sheeting, also known as third sheets and top sheets started out as simply using a regular white sheet with a duvet inner on top, topped with another white sheet folded neatly on the corners and tucked in all round. As with all new things, evolution has taken place, plain white sheets have been replaced by self-stripe white sheets, creating a smart corporate look.
The advantage with the triple sheet system for the operator is that they the top sheet is easy to launder and store, while your guest can be assured that the bed is lovely and clean, just waiting for them to hop in!
Colour and texture can be introduced into the room with a throw or comforter at the end of the bed together with matching square or breakfast cushions.
But the “top sheet” doesn’t necessarily have to be white. Patterned coloured top sheets take the “top sheet look” to a whole new level – they are very easy to launder and maintain, they add a splash of colour to the room, introducing a more “homely” look as a point of difference from the “corporate” white look.
Top sheets open up a whole new world that is only limited by your imagination. For instance, an upmarket alternative would be to use a luxury waffle blanket as the “top sheet” or a lightweight feather & down blanket. In short, if it can be tucked in you can use it as a “top sheet”, all you have to be careful of is that it can be commercially laundered.
Using a top sheet means that you can easily launder the bedding each time a guest leaves to maintain its good looks and this will maintain your guests’ confidence in your cleanliness standards.
In addition to the top sheet you will need to add a warmth layer and the type will depend upon how warm your rooms are, what your budget is and how well-equipped you are to maintain it. You basically need a “duvet inner”. Larger properties with their own laundry services will probably use feather & down but you should be aware that these will need special love and attention and probably dry cleaning if you don’t have on-site laundry facilities so they can be expensive to maintain.
An excellent alternative is a microfibre boxed end quilt. The outer and fill of these have a beautiful “silky” feel, they are light but at the same time lovely and warm, and they wash up well and tumble dry in no time. The bottom corners are boxed and stitched which makes the top sheet sit nicely with its “hospital corners” and housekeeping staff just love them as they save so much time.
Finish the picture off with a throw or bed scarf at the foot of the bed, and with the addition of a co-ordinating cushion, you will now have a bed that will look modern, clean, tastefully colourful and inviting without breaking the bank.