Choosing the Right Bedding
Your bed sheets can make a big difference in the comfort of your bed. But there are so many options out there for bedding that you may not know how to pick sheets you’ll love.
There’s a lot that goes into a comfortable set of sheets, from thread count to fabric to weave. If you’re in the market for a new set of sheets, here’s what to look for.
The first thing most people notice about a set of sheets is the thread count. Most sheets have a count somewhere between 180 and 300. This represents the amount of threads woven into the fabric per square inch. The higher the thread count, the softer—and more expensive—the sheets will be.
Many people believe that thread count equals quality, but this isn’t always the case. If your sheets have a high thread count and an inferior fabric or weave, your sheets may not be as soft and comfortable as you expect.
The weave of the fabric can make a big difference in how it feels. It refers to how the threads are woven together to make the sheet. There are many different types of weaves, and each can have a profound effect on how your sheets feel.
A simple Percale Weave in cotton can produce a typical, plain cotton sheet; but weave four threads over and one thread under, and it becomes a sateen. Do this on silk, and you get satin bed sheets.
Sateens are less durable than percales and other more practical weaves, because more threads are exposed to wear and tear. But some luxury-lovers are willing to sacrifice durability for softness.
The fabric can make a big difference in how your sheets feel. Most bed sheets are made in cotton, silk, satin, or blends of natural and synthetic fabrics. Flannel bed sheets are popular as well. Here’s the lowdown on each:
Cotton comes in many different grades. The quality of cotton is measured by its staple, or how long a piece of cotton can be pulled into one thread. The longer the staple, the better the cotton. The highest quality cotton sheets on the market are made from Egyptian cotton.
Pima cotton is also high-quality; it is sometimes labeled as “Supima.” Muslin cotton is a lower-quality cotton often used on children’s sheets. It tends to roughen and pill with wear and washing.
Poly-cotton blends don’t breathe as well as natural cotton, but they also don’t wrinkle as easily. These blends are usually the most affordable choice on the market.
Flannel sheets are made from a blend of wool and cotton or a synthetic fabric. Wool sheets are very warm, and are usually used only during winter months. With flannel, it’s best to buy the higher thread counts; a low thread count flannel sheet can be scratchy and uncomfortable.
Silk sheets are often considered the ultimate luxury—the perfect romantic gift to go along with a diamond engagement ring. They’re very soft and luxurious. They’re also not durable, and they’re difficult to clean.
When buying silk, look for a high thread count—silk sheets can have thread counts as high as 400—and a high momme weight. The momme weight is the weight of the silk in the sheets. Good-quality silk sheets should be between 12 and 19; any lower than 12, and they’ll be too fragile.
Satin sheets are also extremely luxurious and soft. The term “satin” actually applies to the weave of the fabric, not the material. A satin weave performed on silk, polyester, or nylon are often labeled as “satin.”
When performed on cotton, the term is “sateen.” Satiee sheets tend to be more slippery than silk and not as durable as other weaves, although many love the soft, luxurious feel.
Last but not definitely not least, bed sheets made from Bamboo Viscose. Bamboo sheets are gaining in popularity. They are one of the softest and most natural bed sheets on the market. Most that try bamboo sheets never go back to cotton or other blends.
The bed sheets you choose can make a big difference in how your bed feels. From cool, crisp cotton to sensual satin and on to soft, supple jersey knit cotton bedding, there’s a wide range of thread counts, weaves, and fabrics out there to try.
If you’ve never experimented outside of the usual poly-cotton blends, go ahead and treat yourself to silk, sateen, bamboo or a high-end set of cotton sheets. Chances are, you won’t want to go back!