Tips to Buy Bedsheets – 20 types of Fabrics used for bedcovers

Choosing My ideal Bedsheet

how to buy bedsheets

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.Getting your ideal bedsheet on your bed can be as simple as articulating  your preferences if you know your choices. 

Choosing the fabric for the bedsheet depends on a lot of factors. For a hotel room you need a bedsheet which will withstand the heavy laundry and bleaching it undergoes on a daily basis. On a child’s bedroom you wouldnot dare to choose a pristine white bed sheet. When you have a newborn baby you need the softest and the most breathable bedsheet . On 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 bedsheets , fitted sheets and quilts, as well as baby blanket and quilt sizes

I am quite clear about what I want in my bed sheets – 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 bedsheet  will make you warmer  ( or cooler depending on the weather in your place).

how to buy bedsheets

One of the most important considerations when choosing a bedsheet fabric is it’s thread count. Other considerations are the ply of the fabric and the type of weave of it’s fibers; thread count is one of the most visible consideration though.

What is thread count of fabric in bedsheets?

Thread count refers to the number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch in a woven fabric. When you buy a bedsheet 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 bedsheet fabric.

Thread count of 250-300 is what you see in your average top quality bedsheet . A 400- 600 thread count is common in the best sheets. It can go up to 900 and even upto 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; donot 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 also matters.

How many bedsheets do you buy ?

3 of everything is a good rule. This ensures that every time you have one on the bed, on as a spare, and one in the wash .

Best fabric for your bedsheet

best fabric types for bedsheets

Most bedsheet sets come with a top sheet,  fitted sheet and two pillow cases. Other bedcovers like duvet covers , quilts ,bed spreads and blankets , all should follow the same consideration that you give when buying bedsheets, depending on many other factors, ofcourse.

Ideally I would suggest that for all of these you should choose to buy a woven material for your bed sheets – I will because they are softer and more comfortable. But that doesnot mean you limit yourself. Look at the choices of fabric for bedsheets available for you.

Satin bedsheets

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 bedsheets. 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 vailable in very rich deep colours and those who prefer this will have a great collection to choose from.

1.Silk Satin sheets

Silk bedsheet 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 dryclean only.  You cannot toss it into a machine  and dry it likewise. Hand washing or dry cleaning is required with silk sheets. Checkout the post on caring for silk for more details

2. Polyester satin sheets

This is the most preferred satin fabric for bedsheets 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. 

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 drycleaned 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 bedsheets. 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. Advantage of nylon bedsheet is that it doesnot wrinkle

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 softens and drapes beautifully. They are very expensive, but worth the price.

Cotton sheets

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 which 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 to 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

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 sightly 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/ Brushed cotton

These are cotton that undergoes special processes. Combed cotton is a very very soft cotton fabric. All the short fibers in this fabric is removed from this fabric during it’s manufacturing leaving a very smooth surface.Brushed cotton is a cotton fabric with a special finish so as to raise the surface fibers

13 Cotton Flannel

This is a slightly heavy fabric with a  napped surface pile, which 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. Obviously you wouldnot want a flannel bedsheet in your bed with warm weather

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 which makes it ideal for making bedsheets.The fabric is very soft and breathable. Learn more about bamboo fabric here.

15. Chenille

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 bed spread 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 brigh colours. Infact even with sun exposure you don’t have to fear the bright colours fading in an 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. 

17 Brocade

Brocade is a fabric with a raised pattern with gold and silk threads woven in beautiful , designs . With it’s vivid colours and brilliant designs It is used to make bedspreads that are stunning

18 Blended cotton

Cotton is blended with polyester and other synthetic fibers to create a fabric which 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 bedsheets

19 Flannel

Flannel is usually used to make bed spreads and blankets. It is a very  soft, light, woven fabric made of wool, cotton or synthetic fibers. It is  very much preferred for their warmth

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 as a lover. It knows a lot of secrets about you that many of your closest’s donot. Do you not think that choosing bed sheets  deserves a lot more consideration than you give it now.

More reading : Toxic materials in  your bedroom.


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