How to Buy the Right Bed Sheets
There’s a wise adage that says because we spend a third of our lives in bed, we should invest in a great mattress. However, you should not stop with the mattress. There’s another old saying about spoiling a great recipe with cheap ingredients, and the same holds true for your bed. Why buy a great mattress only to cover it with low quality bedding?
At Acanthus Interiors we carry beautiful bed linens from three Canadian suppliers – Dolce and Bianca – Montreal, Revelle Home Fashions – Toronto and St. Genève – Vancouver.
With so many options on the market, buying new bed sheets can be a confusing process. Our suppliers are among those companies who have countered the crush of cheap, crunchy, mass-produced bed clothes by producing supple, luxurious sheets using high-quality fabrics, that are manufactured in Portugal and Canada. All use the highest quality long staple cotton because it is the most resistant and is know worldwide for its excellent quality and incomparable softness. As well, they use single ply yarn … it is light, soft, durable and this ensures your sheets are breathable.
Here are some things you need to know to help you purchase bed sheets:
- Despite the amount of eye-catching thread counts available at curiously low prices online and at big box stores, experts agree that a higher thread count does not necessarily translate to a softer, or better quality, sheet.
- Thread count refers to the amount of woven threads that make up one square inch of sheet fabric, combining horizontal threads (or “weft”) and vertical ones (“warp”). This number ranges from about 150 (often found in inexpensive children’s bedding) up to 1,000 or more in fabrics like satin and silk. But when it comes to cotton, don’t be fooled.
- Realistically, only so many threads can fit on a loom. Most experts consider 300 to 500 threads per inch to be ideal — but as a marketing ploy, extra threads are often twisted into the weft, adding to the thread count without actually doing anything to make the fabric softer or stronger. Fact is, as thread count rises, most cotton sheets become more fragile and prone to rips, pills, and snags.
- Instead, focus on the fabric. Look for sheets made of extra-long staple Egyptian Giza or Pima (or American-made Supima) cotton. These extra-long cotton fibers are 50 percent longer than those of standard cotton, resulting in a sheet that is softer, stronger, and longer-lasting than standard cotton sheets.
Sateen vs. Percale vs. Linen
While thread count can be misleading gauge of sheets, there’s no question that when it comes to softness and quality the best cotton sheets are either Percale or Sateen.
A traditional one-yarn-over and one-yarn-under weave, Percale typically features a matte finish and a crisp, cool feel that improves with every wash. Its superior durability means it won’t pill over time. It’s lightweight and breathable, which means it’s perfect for warmer sleepers.
Sateen is the closest thing you can get to satin — without the extra cost and fragile nature of that expensive fabric. The one-yarn-under and three-yarn-over weave exposes more thread surface, giving Sateen a silky feel and luxurious sheen. Naturally wrinkle-resistant, Sateen is more tightly woven and therefore typically heavier in weight than Percale, making it ideal for year-round comfort.
More casual and laid back than either Percale or Sateen, strong and breathable Linen — made from the flax stem — is the way to go if you value softness and durability but want a less formal look for your bed. It’s fine for all seasons and for all types of sleepers.