The Secret to Summer Bedding

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Summer nights are tough as we all struggle between heat and air conditioning. The secret is summer bedding and a vintage quilt.

I finally figured out how to sleep (and survive) summer nights. We struggle with the air conditioning and also the lack of summer breeze. So now, all of our beds have a summer quilt and the nights have been perfect. By replacing the heavy comforters with summer bedding, we are ready for warm summer nights.

Summer Bedding - Multicolor Homemade Quilts
Make it Pretty

Summer Bedding Tips

As you might have guessed, all of our beds now have a vintage quilt. Or quilts. They are all cotton and worn a bit, which makes them very soft! The best fabrics for sleeping in the heat are linen and cotton.  Both are woven from natural fibers and they breathe, which is why they help us stay so cool.

The Secrets to Summer Bedding

So what’s the easiest way to get your bedrooms better suited for summer sleeping? If you like down comforters, you might want to have two of them for each bed … a winter and summer version. If you like to sleep with air conditioning then a thin down comforter could easily fit in your duvet. Some of you don’t like to sleep with the air conditioner, so you might want to remove your down comforter and replace it with a light coverlet or vintage quilt. Thin, natural fabric summer bedding is perfect.

The first bedroom where I changed to summer bedding is the boy’s queen bedroom. The air conditioner barely works in this room so I knew they needed light summer bedding. I removed the down comforters and now have the cotton polka dot bedspreads and vintage quilts at the foot of the bed.

Here is a close-up of the quilts I was considering using in the boy’s bedroom. I didn’t want to use pink and these were perfect.

Summer Quilts

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Where to Find Vintage Quilts

Vintage Flea Markets

I have been collecting vintage quilts for years and I usually pay about $30 for a quilt in pretty good condition. I buy them all at vintage flea markets and have some favorite vendors at the Rose Bowl flea market.


Etsy sells a lot of Vintage Quilts but you have to make sure you a buying a quilt, and not a quilt piece of a quilt. I haven’t bought any quilts on Etsy, because I have put myself on quilt probation. What is quilt probation? It’s when you have way too many quilts and you need to stop buying them!

You can also find vintage quilts at garage sales, estate sales, resale shops, and antique stores. Whenever you are buying a quilt, make sure you open it up to look for tears or faded areas. If you don’t mind a faded, stained, or worn area that you will likely find a quilt for a less expensive price.

The Secrets to Summer Bedding

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Summer Bedding - Multi Color Antique Quilts

Summer Bedding in the Master Bedroom

Next, I added some quilts at the end of the bed in our room. My husband doesn’t like the air conditioning at night. Usually, the air cools down at night so it’s not a problem. Since both of us like different temperatures, I leave multiple quilts to make sure we can be cool or warmer as needed.

Homemade Quilt

I love these pink quilts and as a mother of all boys, I sneak them into our bedroom. Dave doesn’t seem to mind.

In case you are wondering, I have vintage quilts also at the beach house and at our Waco home. They are such a wonderful way to welcome family and guests and can handle being laundered a gazillion times.

Summer Bedding - Vintage Quilts

Summer Bedding in the Boy’s King Bedroom

Our boy’s king bedroom has its own air conditioning unit so I left the down comforter on the bed. It’s quite thin and works great in this room year-round.

Summer Bedding - Cotton Antique Quilts

I love the blue and white vintage quilt. It’s perfect summer bedding and covers this entire king-sized bed.

Summer Bedding - Farmhouse Quilts

How to Clean Vintage Quilts

Machine washing a vintage quilt should be approached with caution, as it carries the risk of damaging the delicate fabrics and construction. However, if the quilt is sturdy and in relatively good condition, you can follow these guidelines for machine washing:

  1. Assess the Quilt: Examine the quilt for any signs of weakness, loose seams, or fragile areas. If the quilt is extremely delicate or shows signs of significant wear, it may not be suitable for machine washing.
  2. Use a Front-loading Washing Machine: If possible, use a front-loading washing machine instead of a top-loading machine. Front-loading machines are generally gentler on fabrics and minimize agitation.
  3. Prepare the Quilt: Close any buttons, zippers, or fastenings on the quilt to prevent snagging. If the quilt is large, fold or roll it loosely to fit comfortably in the machine.
  4. Select a Gentle Cycle: Choose a delicate or gentle cycle on your washing machine, preferably one without an agitator. Use cool or lukewarm water and a mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics.
  5. Load the Quilt Carefully: Place the quilt in the machine, ensuring it has enough room to move freely without being overcrowded. Avoid washing the quilt with other items to prevent tangling or excessive friction.
  6. Avoid Harsh Spins: Adjust the machine settings to minimize spin cycles or select a low-speed spin option. High-speed spins can strain the fabric and put stress on the seams.
  7. Use Extra Precautions: Consider using a mesh laundry bag or a large pillowcase to enclose the quilt for an added layer of protection during washing.
  8. Drying the Quilt: After washing, remove the quilt from the machine gently, supporting its weight to avoid straining the seams. Avoid wringing or twisting the quilt. Instead, carefully lift and transfer it to a clean, dry surface or a clothesline for air drying. Ensure proper support and alignment to prevent stretching or distortion.
  9. Patience and Adequate Drying Time: Allow the quilt to air dry fully, which may take several days or longer, depending on the quilt’s thickness and humidity levels. Flip the quilt periodically to promote even drying. Avoid direct sunlight and heat sources during the drying process, as they can fade or damage the fabric.

Always exercise caution when machine washing a vintage quilt, and remember that some quilts may require professional cleaning or alternative preservation methods. When in doubt, consult a quilt conservator or textile expert for guidance on the best approach to care for your specific vintage quilt.

Shopping for Summer Bedding and Vintage Quilts

If you can’t find antique quilts, you can find a summer quilt or coverlet. I love that they aren’t very expensive. Here are a few of my favorite Amazon quilts.

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A stack of vintage summer quilts purchased at a flea market.

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  1. Loved this post about quilts. Always wondered exactly how to clean vintage used bedding that i purchased!!! Hate to throw it in washing machine as the fibers are fragile???!!! Thanks for your advice!

    1. I actually feel as though they are sturdy enough to be washed as many times as they need. I suppose it depends on how fragile the ones you have are!

      1. Put them on gentle cycle in a front loader they should be fine, cold water. I usually wash them individually.

      2. I collect vintage quilts, too, to add color and comfort to beds. My mother was a quilter. I can’t even begin to imagine how many quilts she used her magic on. She made pattern quilts and embroidered blocks for full, queen, or king quilts for us, so the quilts are all new and all handmade. If the color doesn’t go with my decor, I flip it over to the cream or white backing, which displays the intricate design of the quilting pattern. I get so many compliments on them.

  2. I also collect quilts and have for years. ( yes, quilts and dishes) I bought my quilts when they weren’t so popular, now the antique stores around here have really priced them up. Even one in not so great shape goes for close to $100. I would love to know where you have found those shown for $30.00. (although, I do not need anymore)!
    Love the blog,

  3. I love quilts also. I always enjoy looking at your decorating expertise in all your rooms. I would like to know where you found the polka dot bedspreads, if you don’t mind.


  4. Per usual, everything looks wonderful!
    The chenille bedspread brought back childhood memories! Is it vintage or “purchase-able”?

    1. I bought it about five years ago and sadly cannot remember the name of the company! I did a google photo search but nothing came up. I am sorry I can’t help you but I will keep looking.

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