What should you look for when buying your next set of bed sheets? Here’s what you need to know.
So it’s time to go shopping for a new set of sheets. There are many options and it can be a little bit confusing.
I put together this guide on what you might want to consider when buying your next set.
Let’s talk about the fiber itself.
Table of Contents
The bottom of my list is satin.
Satin sheets are typically a hundred percent polyester. They snag, they’re hot, they are a little smooth at the beginning, they get wrinkled up and they are a little difficult to iron.
Satin, not to be confused with sateen, which is a weave, as opposed to satin which is a textile, I think should be avoided. But that’s your choice. A lot of people have this illusion that their satin sheets are great.
Silk sheets have somewhat of a persona. Silk is very soft, it’s an incredible fabric, but silk is hot. It doesn’t breathe well, just like the satin. It can snag very easily.
A good set of silk sheets is very expensive and you’re not going to get the wear and tear or life out of those silk sheets as you would with some other options.
So keep that in mind.
On the lower end of the scale, price-wise, some of the bamboo that I’ve seen starts out pretty soft. But I found it over time to get more coarse with washing.
There was a lot of claims when bamboo came out from that industry that it was eco-friendly. It’s not eco-friendly!
The FTC has come down really hard and imposed some fines against that industry for making those claims. The chemicals used to break that wood fiber, cellulose fiber, down into a weaveable fabric are very caustic.
Another cellulose fiber are modal and micro modal. It’s made from wood. Modal is very very expensive and it is soft. I have found it not to be as durable as cotton.
Like bamboo, it is not eco-friendly in any regard.
Linen has been around since the time of the pyramids. Linen is a very durable fabric. A good linen is quite expensive. It does have more wicking properties than cotton. It pulls moisture away from you, so it’s a little cooler to the touch. You’ll find linen used often in warmer climates.
Linen has got a little different feel to it. A lot of people don’t like the way that it feels next to the skin.
Linen is very durable, it does soften with time, but some people don’t care for the feel of it.
Cotton/Poly doesn’t wrinkle as much as 100 percent cotton sheet, but it doesn’t feel the same as well. Because it contains the polyester, it doesn’t wick moisture as well as a cotton product, doesn’t absorb the moisture that comes off your body.
I think it’s safe to say that cotton is probably the textile of choice when it comes to sheets. It is probably the most popular fabric that’s utilized.
The 100% cotton feels really nice next to the skin, it launders really well and it comes in all kinds of different qualities. There’s good quality cotton and there’s bad quality cotton.
Country of Origin
Another thing you might consider when buying sheets is the country of origin.
There are a lot of sheets produced in China, India, Turkey, all around the world. But sheets made in Italy are typically very finest that you’re going to find.
The Italians have a knowledge for weaving textiles that is unmatched in any other country. The best sheets in the world are produced in Italy. I think that’s undisputed.
Another consideration on selecting sheets is taking a look at the finishing details.
Little things, such as hem stitching or tape stripes or embroideries that are done very well or stitches per inch, speak to the quality and attention to detail that’s put into the construction of that product.
Oftentimes when you see that level of quality in the sheet, you can be assured that the cotton textile itself, the grades of cotton that are being used in that product, are equally as fine. Grade of cotton is quite important.
Another thing to consider is the pocket depth. Mattress makers have gotten very overzealous in the thickness of the mattresses. We see them from 9 inches to 17 inches, some as much as 24 inches.
You want to ensure that your sheets are a deep pocket, so they’re going to fit these thicker mattresses.
One thing you might want to consider if you’re ever buying a mattress, don’t go crazy with the thickness. Once you reach 14 to 15 inches in a mattress thickness, you’re not going to pick up any more comfort in that mattress.
All you’re gonna pick up is height. It’s also going to by very difficult to find and purchase the right proportions of your furniture. Your headboard and your nightstands are going to look a little skewed and not going to look in the right proportion. You might need a stepladder to get in bed. Keep that in the back of your mind.
The other thing you might want to consider is what you’re going to pay for the product.
If you look online, you can see thousand thread count sheets for $50. The reality is a good set of sheets is going to cost you several hundred dollars.
Grades of the cotton that is used in these inexpensive sheets is reflected in the way that it feels, in the quality of the product, in the longevity the product.
Most Italian sheets are going to run in a four hundred to fifteen hundred dollar price range.
You get what you pay for. And thread count is not really one of the considerations that you should consider when buying a sheet. That should not be your primary consideration.
Should You Use a Flat Sheet?
The debate continues. To use a flat sheet or not use a flat sheet?
There’s been a number of different surveys that you can express your opinion or vote for one or the other. But the reality is there are some advantages and disadvantages of using one or not using one.
The reasons why people use them and the advantages of using a flat sheet is pretty simple. It’s an extra layer of protection between you and whatever you are using on the top of your bed. Whether that be a duvet cover, a coverlet, a blanket, whatever. It provides an extra layer of protection.
You won’t need to wash those items as frequently. Washing a flat sheet is pretty simple.
Another smaller reason is the fact that higher-end sheets often have a nice embellishment on them. There are embroideries or appliques they put on the sheets. If you make that bed open, it’s just a nice finishing detail that makes the bed just look a little bit nicer. That ostensibly is the reason to use one .
Why not to use one?
Some people are very restless sleepers and may find themselves getting tangled up in an extra piece. Some people elect not to use that flat sheet.
But again the downfall is those other items that you have top of the bed will need to be cleaned with the same frequency that you clean your sheets and that should be about once a week. Those items are much more challenging to launder than a flat sheet.
If you bought higher end of bed sheets, chances are they’re sold as pieces. You can buy the flat sheet separate from the fitted sheet, separate from the pillowcase. You’re gonna save a little money by not buying that flat sheet.
If you bought it in a set, a lot of the lower end sheets come in sets, so you’re purchasing the flat sheet whether you use it or not.
You may find in Europe and in some hotels in the U.S. they don’t use flat sheets. I think for the most part it’s not because they’re concerned about you getting tangled up in their sheets. It really boils down to economics.
If the hotel is laundering their sheets after each customer and hopefully they are, including the duvet cover, the flat sheet represents an another piece that they have to purchase, they have to inventory, they have to launder and it takes a little bit more time for the housekeeping staff to strip it off the bed and put another piece down.
Alex P. Davis has a BA in Interior Design from The New York School of Interior Design and 10 years of experience expertly designing sophisticated interiors.