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Is it time to put on the summer duvet yet?

running a bed and breakfast starting up a bed and breakfast Jun 21, 2022

You would think that the answer to what seems like a very simple question “Is it time to put on the summer duvet yet?” would be simple yes or no.

But this is the UK and we’re B&B owners. So whenever this gets posted in the Facebook Group for my past course attendees - which it does EVERY year - it ends up being a long discussion.

And actually it's an important topic. A good night's sleep is one of the basics for any bed and breakfast. Get that wrong and you'll lose potential repeat guests and risk negative reviews.

You can read more about buying beds for your B&B here >> How to buy the best beds for your B&B

Personally, it’s a question that never gets asked in our house because we have the summer duvet on all year.

When the temperature starts to drop in the autumn, my husband will tentatively ask if we can put the winter duvet on and maybe shut the windows. My response is to pile a load of blankets on top of him whilst I stick to the 4.5 tog side of the bed, usually with at least one leg sticking out from under it.

I’m one of those people who has to sleep in a cold room.

When Rob had covid, I slept in our spare room, and was able to fling all the windows open. He had to come and shut the windows in the middle of the night as the room had got so cold, it had set off the frost setting on the central heating. And there I was still with a leg sticking out from under the duvet.

When we were welcoming B&B guests, the “What tog duvet?” question was more of an issue.

As I say time and again, you can’t please everyone when you’re running a bed and breakfast. You just have to try and please as many of your ideal guests as possible.

But catering to every single person's bedding and temperature individual needs would be expensive and time consuming.

A surprisingly common answer when I ask the question “What would you do differently if you were setting up a B&B from scratch again?” is “We’d put in more storage space for all of the bedding”

So the first thing to do, before you make the duvet decision, is to take into account how much storage you have.

With the storage question answered, how do you decide What is the best duvet for a bed and breakfast bed?


What tog duvet should you put on the bed?

When this question is posed in the Facebook group, the answer varies from 13.5 tog all year to 4.5 tog in the summer and 13.5 tog in the winter.

And the answer will depend on several factors such as where you are in the country and how warm your rooms are.

Our B&B rooms had heating that the guests could control at any time via a HIVE thermostat. They were also well insulated - a blessing in a heatwave and cheaper for us in the winter!

Because of this, I used to put 10.5 duvets on in the winter, autumn, spring and then just the 4.5 tog duvets in the summer, which kept most guests happy.

Of course, it’s never that simple in the UK. One August guests complained they’d been too cold. We did have an unseasonably cold night, nearly a frost. And an October heatwave resulted in complaints about being too hot.

My solution for dealing with different guests temperature requirements was to put a flat sheet and a blanket in the wardrobe in a zipped bag. Guests could add a blanket if they were too cold or use the flat sheet with or without the blanket if they were too hot.

I also provided fans and a fan heater.

What type of duvets should you offer?

You only need to go onto a website like Soak and Sleep to see that there are an awful lot of duvet options; duck feather, goose feather, goose down, wool, silk, linen, microfibre, recycled down…and I've seen all the different options in B&Bs and hotels over the years.

Though I have yet to meet a B&B owner who has chosen the super king size eiderdown duvet with a RRP of £9,500...

What duvets you buy for the B&B is going to depend on the amount of storage you have, the quality of your B&B, how much you charge and your budget.

You'll also need how you're going to clean them, if they're machine washable and if so, are your washing machines big enough to handle them.

Our 9KG machine can cope with a 4.5 super king size duvet but nothing heavier.

I used to have feather duvets with a cotton cover, with microfibre duvets as a backup for anyone who had allergies. And there were a few people over the years who did request microfibre but not many.

It’s worth noting that it’s not just allergy sufferers that will request no feathers or wool, but some vegans will require bedding not derived from animal products.

If you don’t have the space or the budget to buy feather and microfibre, I’d suggest just having microfibre duvets, but buying the best quality possible.


What size of duvet do you need?

This may seem an obvious question that doesn’t need any more blog space and I’d always thought it was fairly straightforward too - e.g. king size bed has a king size duvet.

But several of our group members provide different sizing of bedding to provide enhanced comfort for their guests e.g. double duvets on single beds and super king size duvets on king size bed.

In fact this was a bit of lightbulb moment for me and I started using a super king size duvet on our own king size bed.

Having only one size of duvet is an advantage if you have a mix of king and super king size beds. Just buy super king size duvets and bedding and it could reduce the amount of bed linen and bedding you need to buy or rent. ( though if you send your linen out to be laundered it will probably cost a bit more for a super king size duvet )

What about 2 duvets per bed?

Zip and link beds - 2 x 3ft beds that zip together - can be a flexible option if you get a lot of guests booking who want twin beds - though read my blog post on the Top 8 Mistakes I made Setting up my B&B rooms for my opinion of them…

One of the problems with zip and link beds is that you need to buy at least 2 sets of duvets in different sizes - more if you’re offering a choice of microfibre and feather and different weights in summer and winter.
A solution for this, offered by a few course attendees in the Facebook Group, is to put 2 duvets on a bed, one per person, either single or double. You'll see this done quite often done in hotels on the continent.


Should you offer sheets and blankets?

Over the years, I’ve had several requests for the guest beds to be made up with sheets and blankets. They were few and far between so I wouldn’t suggest going out and buying blankets just for 1 or 2 requests.
But if you do, it is useful to have a blanket in the wardrobe for people who need extra warmth or are too hot!

It is quite difficult to source good everyday washable blankets these days - especially the larger size ones. Try John Lewis if you're having problems finding them.

I personally prefer to sleep under a cotton blanket and sheet in the summer, but we’ve already established that I have a dodgy internal thermostat…

Where to buy your duvets

Here are some recommendations from past course attendees about the best places to source your bedding if you're in the UK:

Soak and Sleep


John Lewis

Out of Eden


Richard Haworth

Final words

So the answer to my original question...

Is it time to put the summer duvet on yet?

Well it’s the day of the summer solstice as I write this, with a forecast of 25 degrees celsius this afternoon, so YES, but it’s also due to go down into single figures overnight so maybe not….

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