When we first met, I didn't have high expectations for my boyfriend's bedding. I thought masculine bedding meant flat pillows, navy sheets, and none of the plush comfort I had cultivated in my own bedroom.
I was very surprised, and more than a little chastened, to find that my boyfriend had invested in a supportive bed frame, cooling cotton sheets, and even a decorative throw pillow to tie it all together. Over the course of our relationship, I've learned to redefine masculine bedding. It can be cool and classic instead of dark and drab.
As a sleep editor, I spend my days searching the web for bedding deals and my nights testing the world's best bed sheets and best pillows. I've spent hours scrolling through the specialist sleep sites to bring you the best masculine bedding at the fairest prices.
I hope it goes without saying, but it bears repeating that bedding is not inherently gendered. It's possible to prefer a flat pillow and sleep on navy sheets without making a statement about masculinity. With that said, you can have a lot of fun with masculine bedding ideas when you combine classic colors and touchable textures.
1. Choose classic, cool neutrals
A quick Google search for 'masculine bedding' yields hundreds of thousands of nearly identical results: images of a bed freshly made with charcoal gray or navy blue sheets. Every so often, there's a white pillowcase to bring a bit of brightness.
Blue and gray are traditionally masculine colors, but they can look a little dark and dull in the bedroom. If you're keen to stick to this color scheme, there are a few easy ways to elevate it.
Keep an eye out for stonewashed sheets. Stonewashing is what happens when strips of fabric are washed together with small pieces of pumice to create a worn or faded appearance, like you might see on your favorite blue jeans. Stonewashed sheets feature tonal highs and lows to break up your dark bedding.
Experiment with softer grays and richer blues to lighten the darkness. You could always buy two sets of bedding in complementary colors and mix and match between the two to create contrast. Try layering a lighter flat sheet over a darker fitted sheet or combining different colors of pillowcases.
Naturally moisture-wicking and anti-microbial, these eucalyptus sheets should keep you fresh and dry overnight. Each sheet comes in a range of cool neutral shades to blend into any background.
This cooling cotton sheet set is brushed for buttery softness. Each piece is crafted from cotton in a plain weave construction for sleek simplicity.
2. Stick to subtle prints and patterns
Masculine bedding should be sleek and simple. This isn't the place for fuss, frills, or intricate patterns.
With that said, it's possible for patterned bedding to accentuate the clean lines of a well-made bed. When you introduce a subtle stripe to your bedding, you can add depth and dimension to otherwise plain sheets.
When it comes to masculine bedding, less is often more. Placing a patterned pillowcase against block color sheets could make a more subtle statement than investing in a whole set of striped sheets and shams.
If you'd rather steer clear of prints and patterns, but you'd like to add a bit of interest to your bedding, you could shop for sheets that showcase their natural weave. Cotton sheets can be woven into plain and simple percale for a crisp finish, while the flax you find in real linen offers touchable texture.
These linen sheets strike a careful balance between durability and breathability. You can mix and match between subtle stripes and plain white pieces to create cool contrast.
A subtle stripe allows you to play with prints and patterns without overwhelming your space. The natural, neutral tones of beige and cream should complement any color palette.
3. Plump up that pillow
There's an old stereotype that men are content to sleep with a flat pillow, while women prefer to prop themselves up with something plumper, as well as one, two, or five of the best throw pillows.
Now, don't get me wrong: a well-placed throw pillow can absolutely elevate boring bedding. But masculine bedding is all about the beauty in simplicity. Too much fuss could detract from the clean-cut aesthetic you've got going on.
I would recommend switching focus from decorative throw cushions to functional sleep pillows. As a sleep editor, I know that the best pillow offers both comfort and support to cushion your neck and shoulders and maintain the natural alignment of your spine.
The flatness of your pillow is partly a question of personal preference, but more of a matter of sleep style. Stomach sleepers need a flatter pillow to prevent neck strain, while back and side sleepers should plump for something thicker to elevate their heads.
This is a pillow inside a pillow. A firm core provides neck and shoulder support, while the cotton percale cover boosts breathability and offers plush comfort.
If you prefer to sleep on a flat pillow, you'll appreciate the range of sizes on offer at Purple. You can choose between a low, medium or tall pillow, as suits your sleep needs.
4. Cut cool shapes with timeless materials
A fresh set of sheets or a plumper pillow makes a quick and easy bedding upgrade. A brand new bed frame marks a more significant, and more expensive, transformation, but it might be the best way to showcase your masculine bedding.
There are many more varieties of bed frame on the market than you might think. Platform frames come with or without a headboard to suit your space, while panel beds offer a firmer surface to support stomach sleepers.
Ultimately, you should choose whatever bed frame type best fits your sleep and storage needs. But if you're looking to incorporate some masculine style, you should keep an eye out for these classic materials and clean silhouettes.
There's nothing like hardwood to introduce rustic charm to the bedroom: I like the look of mahogany and maple wood. If you're more of a metal man, you could opt for a cast-iron frame, instead.
Keep things clean with the Simple Bed Frame from West Elm. It comes in two heights, standard and tall, to suit all sorts of sleeper, with or without a headboard, as you like it.
Handcrafted in California from maple and walnut, this bed frame showcases the natural knots and grains you get from real wood.
5. Keep warm with a winter-weather throw
There's no shame in getting cold. As the weather turns and we settle into winter, you might appreciate a cozy throw. The best blankets work as a warming layer and as a pop of color and texture at the end of your bed.
If you've followed all the guidance in this article, and you've invested in a set of dark sheets, plain or patterned, laid on a sturdy frame with a supportive pillow, then you might hesitate to throw a fluffy blanket into the mix.
Not to worry: the right blanket should blend beautifully with the rest of your masculine bedding. You could stick to your cool neutral color palette or introduce slightly richer shades, such as olive green, to warm things up. As for texture, you can't go wrong with a classic jersey knit or waffle weave.
This dark olive blanket should complement any color palette, but it would really pop against lighter bedding. Each cotton thread is spun, combed, and dyed by hand.
This blanket is basket-woven from fine long-staple Egyptian cotton. It would look just as good draped around your sofa as spread across the end of your bed.
Masculine bedding FAQs
What makes bedding 'masculine'?
Traditionally, masculine bedding incorporates darker colors and plain weaves or subtle patterns. You're more likely to see stiffer, starchier materials, such as cotton percale, than something silky and smooth, such as cotton sateen. As for bed frames, you'll see a lot of wood and cast iron to cut a clean, cool shape.
Where can I buy masculine bedding?
If you're shopping for luxury sheets in cool neutral tones, you'll find a lot to like at Parachute. For pillows, I'd stick to the classics from Casper and Saatva. You should find cozy throws and bedspreads in most major home retailers: I like the range at West Elm. Since the best bed frames should offer just as much support as style, I'd stick to a specialist sleep store, such as Nectar or Avocado.
Maybe you're not shopping for a man's bedroom, but a boy's, and you're keen to find age-appropriate bedding to support growing sleepers. If that sounds like you, then you're in luck: we've made a list of bedroom ideas for boys to help you explore color and texture combinations on a smaller scale.
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Before she joined Homes & Gardens, Emilia studied English at the University of Oxford, where she sharpened her critical writing skills. She also worked on the other side of the aisle writing press releases for regional newspapers and crafting copy for Sky. Emilia combines her business savvy with her creative flair as our eCommerce Editor, connecting you with the products you’ll love. When she’s not in the office, Emilia is happiest when entertaining friends al fresco or out in the country.
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