Top-Notch Ticking

From classic looks to AI-generated designs, today’s mattress fabrics encompass a range of elements, including cooling, sustainability and home interior styles.

cool green mattress ticking

Just like the fashion industry moves in trends and now micro-trends (thanks to fast fashion), so goes mattress ticking, which is basically the “outfit” for beds, from the border to the top panel.

A trend can be defined as a certain style that’s popular for the moment and is often influenced by current events, pop culture, politics and economics, among other factors. Then, when a certain trend stays around long enough, it can evolve into a “basic” or a “classic” item.

 Sometimes, trends will come back about every decade or so. For example, the term “athleisure” first emerged in the 2010s, and then reemerged in 2020 during Covid-19 when we all sought the comfort of home — and Nike became one of the top names in fashion.

When BedTimes last reported on ticking in 2022, certain trends were going strong: sustainable fabrics and yarns, futuristic and digital designs, and performance elements, such as cooling. Now, two years later, those same themes are still rising — with some interesting new twists.

Beat the Heat: Cool Technology in Mattress Ticking

Two years ago, bedding brand Casper teamed up with pollster Gallup to produce the Casper Gallup State of Sleep in America report. After surveying nearly 4,000 adults, they found that 57% reported sleeping hot. So, it’s no surprise that cooling fabrics are still in high demand. And today, ticking makers are talking about a new ingredient — polyethylene.

Culp Home Fashions, based in High Point, North Carolina, uses polyethylene yarns, as well as a phase-change material finish, to achieve a cooling effect in its Frost collection. For a softer feel, the company blends the polyethylene with heather yarns for the Frosted Heather line.

“It (the cooling) is inherent to the polyethylene yarn itself … and if it’s in a cover that you wash, it will remain cold,” says Hunter Morton, Culp concept designer of merchandise. “So, the effects of the PE will last the lifetime of the fabric.”

Touching on two trends, Creative, based in Gastonia, North Carolina, recently introduced a “super-cool, exclusive polyethylene,” according to Camilla Franklin, Creative director of design and merchandising. Even better, it’s a bio-polyethylene made from sugar cane, in keeping with bedding’s move toward sustainability.

At ISPA EXPO 2024, CT Nassau of America announced it’s making a cooling polyethylene yarn at its home base in Alamance, North Carolina. “Without sourcing from any foreign country, it is 100% produced in the U.S.,” said Andrea Lazzaroni, executive vice president and chief operating officer for CT Nassau.

For a double dose of cooling, Innofa USA, based in Eden, North Carolina, combined PE yarns with a dual-sided, phase-change material that not only increases its cooling capability, but also improves the texture of the material (i.e., no slippery feeling). Add a graphite layer on the back of the fabric for additional heat wicking and you get Snö, a new line of zippered covers, as well as mattress and pillow protectors.

Eco-Friendly Focus: Sustainable Materials for a Better Night’s Sleep

In the summer of 2023, the Better Sleep Council surveyed about 1,000 adult U.S. consumers and 140 U.S. retailers on how sustainability is perceived in the marketplace. About half of the consumers said that having mattresses made from sustainable materials would be a highly important factor in influencing their decision to buy from a particular retailer.

Today, most ticking suppliers offer sustainable yarns and fabrics.

Sometimes the easiest route to sustainability is to create ticking made from natural materials that are easily recycled — and sometimes, these materials can get quite interesting. 

Istanbul-based Aydin Tekstil recently introduced a mattress ticking called Collasea made from marine collagen. At ISPA EXPO, Aydin drove its sustainability ethos home with a booth made of interlocking cardboard pieces.

 Kayseri, Turkey-based Boyteks not only offers a ticking made from nettle (an herbaceous flowering plant), the company also recently debuted its Biogreen collection. “Our most striking product is the Biogreen concept, which we create from natural ingredients,” said Aydin Aydin, brand manager for Boyteks. “We have created an ideal concept for our customers who want to use a special product and demand that it be natural.

“For example, you are looking for a cool feeling on your mattress, but you want it to be natural. For this, we recommend our Biocool product. Or you want it to be waterproof, but you also want it to be natural. We provide this, too, with BioWR. … While developing these products, we also continue to maintain our more environmentally friendly and sustainable production philosophy.”

Maes Mattress Ticking, headquartered in Zwevegem, Belgium, is also continuing its sustainability focus for natural woven damask. The company creates this fabric by using Refibra and Seacell technology. Refibra comes from upcycled cotton blended with Lenzing lyocell fibers. And, as its name suggests, Seacell is an eco-friendly fiber made from harvested seaweed.

Maes’ U.S. partner, Creative, revealed that it’s upping its sustainability initiatives. “We have exciting news,” the company announced on LinkedIn. “We are now GOTS-certified. Contact us to see our new knitted GOTS collection. We can bring your GOTS fabric vision to life in a custom fabric tailored to your needs.”

To meet the increasing demand for sustainability, Culp Home Fashions unveiled a Zero line, as in zero environmental impact.

“This collection focuses on telling a natural story with specific attention to minimizing negative environmental impact,” the supplier said in a statement about the new fabrics. “The yarns and technology are focused on low impact and circularity. The designs envoke a feeling of blending with nature.”

Inspired by sustainability, Lava Textiles, with world headquarters in Wielsbeke, Belgium, launched a Rethink line within its new State of Mind collection. The new line uses bolder colors and upcycled materials to push traditional boundaries.

“Our Rethink collection is using yarns spun out of recycled materials, such as used plastic bottles, but also pre-consumer cotton waste from garment production,” said Amy Stennett, vice president for Lava.

Tranquility by Design: Colors and Patterns for a Calming Sleep

Another line in Lava’s State of Mind collection, Preserve, encompasses the ideas of stress reduction and minimalism by using muted colors and organic textures.

Given today’s turbulent economic times, the election year and the shift toward sustainability (which naturally yields styles that evoke nature), consumers are gravitating toward calmer colors, softer lines and subdued patterns, according to designers. 

Like Lava’s Preserve line, Culp’s new Protection collection prioritizes comfort and well-being. “Yarns and finishes focus on soft hand and active rest,” its fabric statement says. “Motifs ease the mind and promote a sense of calm and harmony.”

Culp achieves this sense through a palette of pastels and muted hues. Think Linen, Rosa Perlata, Guava, light blue, Sea Salt and Mist that evoke a tranquil, coastal feeling.

Lynn Pappas, director of creative collections at Creative, noted that colors are shifting away from cool tones. 

“We are seeing a warming of the color palette — rich, warm neutrals, fresh spring greens and blues, all with a warmer cast,” she said. 

As for design, contemporary patterns are becoming softer, with defused edges. “Updated traditionals are making a comeback,” Pappas added. “Classic looks are rendered with a fresh, slightly whimsical feel and more youthful color palettes.”

Bedroom Bliss: Creating a Cohesive Sleep Sanctuary

Not only can ticking be influenced by the fashion industry, home interior trends can also serve as inspiration, as seen in new collections from BekaertDeslee, Culp and Lava.

BekaertDeslee has taken the trend to a whole new level, naming its entire new collection Casa, which features the latest trends in interior design.

“The Casa collection transforms living spaces, prioritizing self-care, self-reliance and self-expression,” the company states in its Scoop publication. “In an era of increased connectivity, homes are no longer just living spaces but versatile hubs for work, relaxation, exercise, education and socializing.”

For example, the Casa Nuance collection strives to celebrate femininity through bold, saturated colors, like deep purple, and freeform motifs, such as floating floral patterns.

Modern botanicals also arise in some of Culp’s designs. “Lately I’ve been inspired by some more home fashion colors, bringing in some rich browns and earthy tones,” says Tanja Tusa, senior stylist at Culp. “I love botanicals, and I’m waiting for that to have a resurgence in ticking. It wouldn’t be the old-fashioned florals, but the new painterly florals.”

Meanwhile, Lava’s Adapt line, part of its State of Mind collection, features both botanical patterns and earth tones. “The whole design process starts 10 to 12 months ahead of time, and it’s not just about the mattress industry; it’s fashion, it’s home and it’s evolving over time,” Lava’s Stennett said. “With Adapt, we’re a little bit more botanical, with earthy tones and organic patterns. … I think the whole line is comfortable, organic and fluid.”

The Future of Ticking: AI and Digital Advancements

Perhaps the most dramatic change in the world of ticking is the rise of artificial intelligence and digital advancements.

BekaertDeslee cited in its Scoop publication that 35% of companies are already using AI, and 42% are exploring AI solutions, according to an IBM survey. BekaertDeslee’s new Casa collection embraces digitalization, featuring AI-generated images to inspire creative ideas and fresh design perspectives.

The Casa Fusion line features “AI Contrast,” which explores the intersection of technology and design, featuring colors with artificial characteristics. A contrast of digital and natural hues appeals to forward-thinking consumers interested in the fusion of technology and art, where bedrooms can convert to gaming spaces.

The design of CASA Nuance is crafted by AI and inspired by meta spaces. It also includes an allergen reduction cover for a healthy sleep environment and embraces sustainability with the integration of recycled materials into the fabric. 

Culp Home Fashions partners with to create digital 3D renderings of its fabrics, allowing customers to actually see how the fabric pairs with different borders -— and how it will look on the bed and in the retail space.

Culp’s new futuristic SoHo collection includes deep jewel tones such as Raspberry purple, Blue Fig and black. The line is for “those who enmesh with the digital world and embrace bold choices,” according to its collection statement. “Yarns and technology focus on the bleeding edge with daring and bold motifs.”

Carving a new path in design, Boyteks is now using high-resolution images on its ticking. “Our 28K mattress fabrics are produced with a special technique and a different production method, allowing us to see high resolution and detail in the fabric,” Boyteks’ Aydin says. The terminology of 8K or 16K is typically used to describe high-resolution digital photography images or televisions. 

Finally, Reidsville, North Carolina-based Global Textile Alliance, part of Love Home Fabrics, wowed ISPA EXPO 2024 attendees with its new Impress collection featuring soft natural swirls in harmonious colors and asymmetric shapes in bright hues — all achieved through patent-pending AI technology.

An AI-driven printer prints directly onto the fabric — but it’s not truly printing; it’s dyeing to ensure long-lasting color and to maintain the integrity of the fabric. “The big advantage here is that there are no design limitations,” says Love Home Fabrics CEO Remy Tack.

Another advantage: speed to market. GTA can now create new designs in a matter of days, which might otherwise have taken weeks or months, depending on the yarn availability, Tack says.

Of all the trends in ticking, perhaps sustainability and cooling have been around long enough and are viewed as so important that they will, in fact, become “basic,” or “classic,” like the little black dress.

Certainly, modern florals, themes of serenity and home interiors might be considered in the “rising” category, when trends are becoming more prominent and gaining traction.

With AI and digital advancements, only time will tell: Designers’ canvases seem to be getting ever broader and perhaps even limitless.

Want more on Ticking? Check out this video; Take 5 – Behind the Scenes at CT Nassau.

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