With global demand for luxury bed linens at an all-time high, it’s clear – sleep comfort is serious business. The old days of “standard issue” cotton sheets are long gone – replaced by a plethora of new fabrics developed from unique raw materials, in a variety of weaves, thread-counts, and finishes.
If now’s the time you’re getting serious about a good night’s sleep we’ve got you covered. Our ultimate guide to buying the best quality bed sheets you ever dreamed of is here to help demystify.
Luxury Linens 101
First, let’s start with the vocabulary of bedding. You’ll see these terms often, so here’s what they mean:
- Sheet material – the fiber source sheeting fabric originates from.
- Thread count – how many threads contained within a square inch/cm of fabric.
- Weave – weave type used to create the fabric, including percale, twill, and sateen.
- Plied yarn – two (or more) fiber strands twisted together to create a longer, stronger strand.
- Combed cotton – a softer version of cotton created by aligning cotton fibers that results in longer, stronger fibers.
- Finishes – treatments, dyes, and embellishments.
Sheet Sets for Any Size Bed
At their most basic, a set of sheets for any bed size should consist of one fitted sheet, one top sheet, and up to four pillow cases, including:
This oft ballyhooed quality quantifier is mostly hype. We’ll dispel the “more is better” myth with facts about what makes a bed sheet – a better sheet.
The best luxury linens start with the finest natural materials made from a plethora of natural fibers chosen for their distinctive qualities and characteristics. Quite simply, a lower thread count sheet made from a higher quality raw material, will consistently outperform higher thread count sheets made from inferior raw materials.
Synonymous with luxury, Egyptian cotton is renowned for its durable, breathable and feel. However, beware of deceptively vague product descriptions and origins when investing in luxury bedding. Egyptian cotton sheets at a bargain price are best left on the shelf.
Pima and Supima Cotton
Pima, and Supima cotton are Egyptian cotton’s American-born first cousins, and share its characteristic extra-long, fine fibers. Thread count becomes less important as these premium cottons produce exceedingly dense, soft, and durable fabrics for bedding. Read labels carefully – and expect to pay a premium for 100% Supima.
One of mankind’s earliest textiles, linen is legendary for its strength, breathability, and superior wicking capabilities – making it the perfect choice for hot climates. Linens made from Belgian or French flax – in Italian factories – are considered the benchmark, however, unscrupulous manufacturers use deceptive descriptions to inflate their product’s quality, quantity, and origins. Caveat emptor – if the price is too good to be true, trust your instincts.
Lastly, regardless of the fabric you choose, look for the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® mark on labels for assurance of the highest standards in luxury linen production.
“Weave” Got You Covered
The most common weaves used to produce luxury linens with distinctive characteristics.
- Sateen – sateen weave is a single weft yarn that passes over one (or more) warp yarns. Sateen sheets have an exceedingly silky hand and luxurious feel.
- Percale – the most common of the weaving techniques, percale is created by a one over, one under warp and weft. When ironed, percale provides a crisp, yet cool feel on your skin.
- Twill – a diagonal or “herringbone” patterned weave with a rib-like, tactile touch.
The Finishing Touch
Natural or dyed? Plain or embellished? How your sheets look (and perform) is a matter of personal preference. Take the added time to properly care for your luxury bedding, regardless of the fabric, and your return on investment will become apparent when you awake refreshed after a luxurious night’s rest.