BLANKETS, quilts and comforters are to the bed what scarves, gloves and coats are to the wardrobe - must-haves for warmth and a style statement in winter.

Karen Davison, a trend forecaster, says warmth, comfort, caring, reassurance and thoughtfulness are terms to have in mind when buying bedding for this winter.

Davison says with the upturn in economic conditions, consumers continue to gravitate towards colour.

"Dark, inky nocturnal tones; purples and shades of grey with bright accents are just some of the many amazing palettes available for this winter."

She adds that fabrics are coated, weightless, fluid and simply impeccable. "Aspect is precise and perfect, feminine and sensual at the same time," she says.

Trends to follow:

The latest trend in bedding is to layer using new, lighter, and more eco-friendly fabrics. Not only is this layered look quite cosy, it's also hugely practical as it can be peeled back to suit changing temperatures. The best examples of "green" beddings are bamboo bed sheets. These sheets are made of 100percent bamboo fibre which feels softer than cotton but moves like silk.

Bamboo fabric easily adjusts to your body temperature because it is 3-4 times more absorbent than cotton. This means that you will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Best of all, unlike most fabrics that are chemically treated, bamboo fibres are naturally anti-microbial.

Another hot trend that fits in with this layered look is putting a fashionable throw on your bed.

A throw is basically any decorative piece of fabric, like a long scarf, that is draped across the bed. For example, you can add a nice plush black throw on your toile bedding to help create an even bigger wow factor to the look.

What you need to know:

Comforter covers: Down comforters usually require special care and cleaning; often, they must be dry cleaned. To keep your comforter clean for longer periods, buy a duvet cover for it.

If you want to decorate your bed as well as protect the down comforter, you can buy bedding sets that include coordinating pillow slips and duvet covers.

Blankets: The most important aspect of any blanket is its fabric.

Different fabrics obviously have different qualities of warmth and softness. For instance, cotton blankets tend to breathe more than those made from synthetic fabrics.

However, synthetic fleece blankets tend to be lighter and softer. Wool blankets are extra warm. It all depends on your personal preference. Pay attention to things like weave to make sure you get a blanket that will hold up after years of use.

Quilts: When it comes to quilts, you can find colours and patterns to fit any decor you have in mind. Plus, many quilts are handmade so no two will be exactly alike, giving you a unique piece of bedding. If the quilt is machine washable, and most are, it will be easier to maintain than a down comforter.

Make sure your luxury sheets last.

As most people already know, luxury sheets are expensive. Thus high-end, quality fabrics like satin or silk should be treated as investments that need to be properly taken care of.

So to make sure your luxury sheets last, here are a few key tips to keep in mind:

Always hand-wash silk bed sheets. Doing so will ensure that the fabric is kept strong.

Washing machines can be quite harsh on thinner, more delicate fabrics like silk. When washing, be sure to use lukewarm water and a gentle detergent.

After you're done hand-washing your sheet, don't forget to remove the water by gently hand-wringing it.

To ensure that it doesn't tear, wring out the water by wrapping the sheet in an absorbent towel and then hand-wring the water out of the sheets. Never use a machine dryer to dry your delicate sheets.

When done, it's best to let the sheets dry naturally by hanging them out on a clothes line. If this isn't an option, try drying them on a table.

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