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Flannel Bedding Do’s and Don’ts

Flannel is a type of cotton weave that’s fundamentally a warm, cozy type of fabric. Most often, you’ll hear about it when describing warm winter pajamas, but outfitting your bed with flannel sheets is an excellent choice in the winter. Flannel bedding keeps you warm and cozy on the chilliest of nights. However, there are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to shopping for and outfitting your bed with flannel sheets. We at west elm can help you decide which pieces will work for you.

Building Your Bed

It’s much healthier for you to cozy up to a set of warm flannel sheets to keep the chill away at night than it is to keep your thermostat at a high level. So, as you begin to choose your sheets, keep in mind that comfort is key. Flannel bedding creates warm “pockets” against your skin, and working with a fluffy comforter or quilt can be the perfect choice to keep you warm all winter long. There are two types of flannel to consider as you shop: cotton flannel and micro flannel. It's important to know which type of flannel you’re buying as both are slightly different and require different levels of care.


Micro flannel is a little more economical than cotton flannel. Its base is a polyester, which is not as comfortable to some. However, this construction stands up better to repeated washing and drying. If you wash your sheets often, micro flannel is a better choice, as this fabric pills less and shrinks less than cotton. It’s good to keep in mind that all flannel bedding will shrink to some degree after the first washing, and all flannel will pill slightly over time. However, this doesn’t detract from its warmth. While micro flannel has a longer life, cotton flannel is moisture-wicking, so if you have a tendency to sweat during sleep, cotton flannel is more breathable. Ultimately, there are pros and cons of both types of flannel, but both do a great job of utilizing your body heat to warm your bed.


It’s perfectly okay to mix and match different bedding materials in order to maintain maximum comfort. For example, you may want to use cotton flannel sheets, but crisp, cotton pillowcases to feel some level of coolness against your skin. Those that get excessively warm may want to opt for a flannel sheet set but skip the flannel duvet cover and choose an organic cotton quilt instead. Flannel should make you feel cozy, not sweaty. You may want to downgrade in thickness when it comes to your comforter or coverlet so that you don’t overheat at night.

Fresh Flannel Pairings

There are many color and pattern styles when it comes to flannel sheets, and as your bed is often the decorative focal point of the bedroom, do keep in mind color and style as you go. Plaid designs are an excellent seasonal choice, particularly if you have a holiday or festive theme during the winter months. Flannel does not always have to equal a plaid pattern, however, and there are many other solid colors available as well as delicate patterns. When choosing colors, darker quilts and bedding can make the bedroom seem smaller and more intimate, while whiter and brighter colors can make a small bedroom look a little larger. Match with modern and midcentury style rugs and windows to polish off your bedroom’s look.