Updated on July 25, 2022 by Sarina
There may be many adjectives that come to your mind when you think about your ideal bed sheet – soft, luxurious, warm, lightweight, crisp, fitted, embroidered, sheer etc. Choosing a bed sheet is a big deal for at least some of us. There are people who cannot have a care as to the type of bed sheet they sleep on, but for the rest of us, there is a lot to consider.
Choosing My ideal Bed sheet
Choosing the fabric for the bed sheet depends on a lot of factors. For a hotel room, you need a bedsheet that will withstand the heavy laundry and bleaching it undergoes on a daily basis. In a child’s bedroom, you would not dare to choose a pristine white bed sheet. When you have a newborn baby you need the softest and the most breathable bed sheet. In your guest room, you care only of how it will impress your guests.
(Checkout the post on bed sheet sizes for more details on the dimensions of beds like the king, queen, full and twin beds, and the different types of covers we use on the beds including duvet covers, bed spread, flat bed sheets , fitted sheets and quilts, as well as baby blanket and quilt sizes) .
I am quite clear about what I want in my bedsheets – I want sheets which are easy to care for, which can be laundered and ironed easily enough, and which will last for a long time (has a high thread count) and be enough of the value I have paid and at the same time feel smooth and soft and comfortable against my skin. I also love it when the label says anti-allergic. Is it too much to ask!!
You may have different ideas. Maybe it is simply the looks that you care about or the fact that your bed sheet will make you warmer (or cooler depending on the weather in your place).
One of the most important considerations when choosing a bed sheet fabric is its thread count. Other considerations are the ply of the fabric and the type of weave of its fibers; thread count is one of the most visible factors though.
What is thread count of fabric in bed sheets?
Thread count refers to the number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch in a woven fabric. When you buy a bed sheet you look for the highest thread count which (mostly) means a smoother fabric. A higher thread count also means it is a more durable fabric. A thread count upwards of 200 is needed for a good quality bed sheet fabric.
Thread count of 250-300 is what you see in your average top quality bed sheet . A 400- 600 thread count is common in premium best sheets. It can go up to 900 and even up to 1500, which I would say is overrated.
A label saying higher thread count is not to be read without a pinch of salt. Some merchants do inflate thread counts for more sales; do not be fooled by their sales tactics. At times yarn quality maybe poor even though the thread count is high. So thread count is not the only consideration. Fabric quality and weight also matter. You can read more about thread count here.
Other considerations like the climate of the place where you live, and affordability to have a dryer to dry the bed sheets or at least a space to hang them to dry properly without mildew, and last but not the least your own preference matters. If you like satin bed sheets best, do not read ahead. Go and buy them.
Learn more about 18 types of fabric weave here.
How many bed sheets do you buy ?
3 of everything is a good rule that most experts recommend – I have read this on too many places to quote. This rule ensures that every time you have one on the bed, one as a spare, and one in the wash.
Best fabric for your bed sheet
Most bed sheet sets come with a top sheet, fitted sheet and two pillow cases. Other bed covers like duvet covers, quilts, bed spreads and blankets, all should follow the same consideration that you give when buying bed sheets, depending on many other factors, of course.
Ideally I would suggest that for all of these you should choose to buy a natural woven material for your bed sheets – I would, because they are softer and more comfortable. But that does not mean you limit yourself. Because you maynot like the way a natural fabric wrinkles.
Look at the choices of fabric for bed sheets available for you.
Satin bed sheets
When you go to buy sheets the first thing that strikes you is the word satin. Satin is synonymous with soft. Satin is not a fabric when you talk about bed sheets. It is a feel, a weave.
When buying satin bed sheets look for fabric which is woven; this is very comfortable to sleep on. Satin sheets are available in very rich deep colors and those who prefer this will have a great collection to choose from.
1.Silk Satin sheets
Silk bed sheet is the ultimate in luxury. The sheen of silk is legendary (not shiny but lustrous which is different) and it is soft and silky against your skin. It is a natural fiber which is very fine. Ofcourse, it is expensive but what more do you expect of quality.
The lustrous appearance of silk makes it the most preferred fabric for bed sheets, but only if you can afford it. Silk is expensive with a capital E. Maintaining silk is also expensive as most sheets are dry clean only. You cannot toss it into a machine and dry it likewise. Hand washing or dry cleaning is required with silk sheets. Checkout more info on silk, and the post on caring for silk for more details
2. Polyester satin sheets
This is the most preferred satin fabric for bed sheets after silk. Polyester is an easy to care for, synthetic fiber that is somewhat wrinkle resistant. Major advantages of polyester are that it is really strong and very easy to maintain. One more plus is that it is inexpensive.
You can machine wash it easily and it dries very quickly. Quite the satin sheet for busy people. Though it sometimes bunches up crushed on the bed as it is quite thin ( which is an annoyance) and removing stain from this sheet is a pain. More on polyester care here.
3. Acetate satin sheets
These are made from wood fibers and are very soft and satiny. But it is very difficult to maintain acetate satin sheets as the fibers are very weak; they have to be dry cleaned to retain the soft touch. Hand washing with a delicate washing liquid is also possible but dry cleaning is best. Because of the weak fibers, though it is soft, this is the least preferred type of fabric for bed sheets, in my opinion.
4. Nylon satin sheets
This is a very strong and durable fabric, suitably soft and satiny for bed sheets. The problem with nylon bed sheets appears after some washing. They may start pilling on the surface. Too much heat is also another cause of concern; you have to be careful when you leave it too long in the sunlight or when ironing. The advantage of the nylon bed sheet is that it does not wrinkle. Learn more about Nylon here.
5. Linen sheets
Linen is a very durable fabric with a crispness which looks very elegant. The problem with Linen is that it can wrinkle easily (agreed that linen looks good even wrinkled). Linen softens with age and repeated washing. After many washes linen sheets soften and drapes beautifully. They are very expensive, but worth the price. Learn more about Linen here.
100% Cotton bedsheet – everywhere you go to buy this is heard. But one 100% cotton bedsheet differs from another one in so many aspects. One looks cheap and scratchy but another one looks and feels very soft; one is colour fast, the other bleeds in the first wash itself.
When choosing cotton sheets you should ensure that you choose them in their natural state. If you find wrinkle resistant or water proof cotton, you can be sure that they are treated with harmful chemicals. If you are unmindful of the consequences go ahead.
6. Cotton Sateen Fabric
Cotton sateen is a very soft lightweight 100% cotton fabric that makes the best sheets. It is a tightly woven fabric ( with a satin weave) with a subtle sheen which is very attractive. The best thing that endears me about it is that it is easy to wash. It is also durable. You can wash it in hot water as well.
7. Percale fabric
This is another favourite fabric for bed sheets. It is a closely woven plain weave cotton fabric. This soft fabric has a cool crisp texture with a thread count of 180 or above. A Percale bed sheet with a 280 thread count is considered a very superior buy.
8. Batiste / voile sheets
These are soft sheer cotton fabrics which are best used in warm weather. They are machine washable. Because they are lightweight and crisp they wrinkle really bad. You will have to iron the sheets for them to look good. This is great sheet for doing embroidery work
9. Egyptian cotton bed sheets
This is a special soft bedsheet fabric made from cotton harvested from cotton plants grown along the Nile river. Long fibers of this cotton are fine but very strong. Other cotton fabrics like Pima cotton, Turkish cotton are similar, as they are based on the geographical area where the cotton plants are grown. The long fibers of these fabrics ensure that there is less pilling on the surface of the fabric.
10. Cotton Seersucker sheets
This fabric has a slightly puckered look on its surface . It is lightweight and very comfortable against the skin. This is a very suitable fabric for making bed sheets in warm climates because heat evaporates through dissipation and air circulates making you feel cooler.
11. Cotton jersey
This is a very smooth knit fabric which can adapt to the temperature in the place – be it warm or cool. Think about how your t-shirt feels against your body.
12. Combed cotton
These are cotton that undergoes special processes. Combed cotton is a very very soft cotton fabric. All the short fibers in this fabric are removed from this fabric during its manufacturing leaving a very smooth surface.
13. Cotton Flannel
This is a slightly heavy fabric with a napped surface pile, that makes it very soft. It is very suitable for cooler weather as the pile on its surface traps the warmth inside .
Cotton flannel fabric has the advantage of not creasing too much, because of its thickness and fluffy texture. Obviously, you would not want a flannel bedsheet in your bed with warm weather. A disadvantage is that it takes a long time to dry after washing.
14. Bamboo sheets
Bamboo fabric is made from the natural fibers of bamboo. It is considered very eco-friendly. Bamboo fibers are supposed to have antibacterial properties that make the fabric ideal for making bedsheets. The fabric is very soft and breathable. Learn more about bamboo fabric here.
This is a fabric with a fluffy fabric (because of the way it is made with many fibers twisted around a core fiber and cut; Checkout the post on what is chenille for more details on this fascinating fabric). The thick pile of the fabric makes it very fluffy. Blankets and bedspread made in this fabric are very popular.
16. Acrylic sheets
Acrylic is a synthetic fabric so sheets made with this fabric is not as comfortable against the skin as other fabric like cotton sateen. But the fabric is wrinkle-resistant and has very bright colors. Even with sun exposure, you don’t have to fear the bright colors fading in acrylic bed sheets, unlike cotton sheets. Usually, comforters are made in this fabric, not the actual sheets. One problem with acrylic sheets is pilling; just be careful in the wash.
Brocade is a fabric with a raised pattern with gold and silk threads woven in beautiful designs. With its vivid colours and brilliant designs, the royal looking fabric is used to make bedspreads that are stunning. Learn more about brocade fabric here.
18. Blended cotton
Cotton is blended with polyester and other synthetic fibers to create a fabric that is soft and breathable like cotton as well as easy to maintain and wrinkle resistant like synthetic fibers. Polycotton is a frequently used blended cotton fabric for bed sheets.
19. Tencel/ Modal
Tencel and modal fabrics are considered as alternatives to cotton for making soft bedsheets. They are made of cellulose fibers and considered a more environment-friendly fabric. Bedsheets made from these fabrics are soft and have a smooth texture. They are expensive than most cotton sheets though.
20. Fleece sheets
Fleece is used to make warm blankets. It has a soft pile that looks almost like wool.
A Bedsheet is as intimate as a lover. It knows a lot of secrets about you that many of your closest’s do not. Do you not think that choosing bed sheets deserves a lot more consideration than you give it now?.