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If you get a good eight hours of sleep every night, you’re unknowingly spending a third of your day in bed. While a blissful sleep may seem like the simplest of luxuries, choosing the right bedding and its linens will make a world of a difference along the way. For us, bed sheets are the most underrated elements of décor in the bedroom. While it visually lends its aesthetic to the style of the room, sinking into a set of plush sheets creates a haven of comfort within the room.
To discover the perfect bed sheets for your room, you’ll need to work out your personal style preferences, daily lifestyle choices and a few sizing details along the way. If you’re unsure about where to start, here’s a handy guide breaking down all the rules in the bed sheet game.
Everything from the fabrics that feel comfortable on your skin to the climate you live in (and even the care you take while laundering your bed sheets) are important factors to consider while choosing a bedsheet. Image courtesy, Kam Idris/ Unsplash
At the end of the day, do you love sinking into warm fuzzy layers? Or, do you live in the tropics and prefer something more airy and cooling? Do you get the sweats often at night (don’t we all?), and how often do you wash your bed linens? Everything from the fabrics that feel comfortable on your skin to the climate you live in (and even the care you take while laundering your bed sheets) are important factors to consider.
The first fabrics that come to mind when we think about bed sheets is probably cotton or linen. While these are the most popular choices, there is a range of materials to choose from with distinct qualities that set each apart from the other:
As the most popular for all bedding materials, even mattresses, 100% cotton sheets work best in almost all Indian homes. The quality of a cotton sheet, however, is determined by its staple size (or length of the cotton fibres). The longer the staple size, the
stronger and smoother the yarn, which weaves a softer sheet with less pilling and more durability. Extra long staples are found in pima and supima cotton, while Egyptian cotton is made from handpicked fibres that weave an extra-fine softer yarn.
The finer details: Available in a range of qualities, blends and price points, you can’t go wrong with a basic cotton bed sheet. While it takes a few washes to break-in and become soft and cosy, be wary of poor quality cotton sheets that are available at extremely low price points. These are usually made of leftover fibres, which thin and begin to tear soon enough.
As a breathable and natural fabric, linen works magically in Indian climate—staying cool in summer and providing gentle warmth in winter. With thicker fibres than cotton, linen has a subtle texture and an overall softer, fuzzier finish. Derived from the flax plant, this material is also moisture-wicking, making it feel cooler than cotton.
The finer details: Unlike cotton, you’ll usually hear of linen being pre-washed, stone-washed or enzyme-washed. This means the material has already gone through multiple washes and broken-in, making it buttery soft from first use. However, if you like your home to look crisp, neat and perfectly in place, you may get frazzled with the natural creases and crumples linen is prone to. You may also begin to notice a bit of linen dust or fibres this material tends to release on the rest of your furniture.
If you can’t decide a style or colour palette that works for your bed’s linens, start with your favourite colour or pick a lighter more neutral hue. Image courtesy, Nathan Oakley/ Unsplash
From socks and jackets to throws—flannel and fleece are cosy materials we love wrapping ourselves up in to feel toasty in the winter. This makes it a perfectly comfortable material for bed sheets, as well, in the colder months of the year. Flannel sheets can be crafted from wool, cotton, or a blend of natural fibres or synthetics.
Made from the cocoons of silkworms, silk is a high-quality natural fibre that’s an extremely breathable and luxurious option for bed sheets. Strong yet lightweight with a natural sheen and silky texture, silk is also a low conductor of heat making it a cool fabric for warmer nights. A firm favourite among actresses for generations for its low-static cling and smooth surface, silk pillowcases and sheets are said to cause lesser hair fall and reduce the appearance of blemishes and wrinkles over time.
Style tip: The luxury and glamour of silk comes at a high cost, and the material can be hard to maintain over time. You could still indulge in this fabric by using it only on your pillowcases and pairing it with a set of cotton or linen sheets for a blissful night’s sleep.
Considered as semi-synthetics, several fabrics have been invented over time for a cleaner and greener fabric-manufacturing process. These also work as breathable options for bedsheets that are affordable, as well. Some options include lyocell (a cellulose fibre derived from crushed wood pulp, bamboo or eucalyptus); modal (crafted from the wood pulp of beech, birch or oak trees); and tencel (a brand name for lyocell and modal).
Microfibres from polyester, rayon, viscose and other comparable materials are used to make bed sheets that are warm and affordable, but not very breathable. These aren’t healthy fabrics for the skin, as well.
While this wouldn’t be our first choice for bed sheets, they may work as an affordable yet stylish option for covering beds when not in use.
To determine which bed sheet is right for you, notice the weave of the fabric. We often hear terms such as extra crisp and ultra-soft used for cotton bed sheets. These are percale sheets, which are typically made from organic cotton threads woven in a tight pattern characterised by a standard one-over-one-under weave. Sateen weave feels more delicate with a three-over-one-under weave, making it soft and smooth with a slight sheen. A jersey knit is known to be stretchier and softer due to its smaller, tighter, single-knit composition. Warmer materials such as flannel are available either in a plain or twill weave, and can be napped or raised, which is a brushing technique that gives a slightly textured and velvet-like feel.
The thread count of a sheet is measured by the number of vertical (warp) and horizontal (weft) threads in one square inch of fabric. While you might think a higher thread count equals more quality, this is actually just a marketing ploy. Although a higher thread count makes a softer bed sheet, a normal range to look out for is anywhere between 200 to 500.
Anywhere lower than 180 and you’ll be able to see tiny holes when you view the sheet in front of a light. But never, ever fall for a sheet that’s marketed with a 1000+ thread count—this is achieved by twisting low-quality threads around each other or using multi-ply fabrics. Your bed sheet will end up feeling course or rough!
As a rule of thumb, look for threads made of long-staple fibres and thin, single ply threads. For materials like linen, the thread count will always be much lower, as flax fibres are thicker, creating a distinctly visible weave.
All-white, minimal and bright or a riot of vibrant prints and colour? The sheets you choose for your bed visually contribute to the rest of the room’s décor. If you can’t decide a style or colour palette that works for your bed’s linens, start with your favourite colour. Or, pick a lighter more neutral hue like ecru or off-white as a clear canvas to pair prints or other colours with your pillows, duvet or cushions.
This rule also works for the materials you choose. You could pair linen bedsheets with pair cotton or silk pillowcases for a smoother material against your face. This will also bring in a play of textures on the bed.
There’s nothing more frustrating than picking the perfect bed sheet in the smoothest fabric and gorgeous colour, only to realise it doesn’t fit correctly on your bed. When buying a sheet, or any other bed linens, check the size to make sure it fits perfectly around and under your mattress. While beds and mattresses come in standard sizes, it’s always safer to measure your mattress’s length, breath and depth to ensure a sheet will fit snuggly in place. This is even more important if you’re buying fitted sheets that have to curl tightly around the ends of your mattress. Chalking up your bed’s size to conventional measures such as queen, king, double and single doesn’t always do the trick. Sizing in some countries and brands run larger or even smaller than usual.
On an average, you should be washing your sheets once a week, so alternating between two or more sets is always a good idea to increase the fabric’s longevity. Image courtesy, Nathan Oakley/ Unsplash
Without a debate, bed sheets need to be washed regularly to keep your bed fresh and hygienic. On an average, you should be washing your sheets once a week, so alternating between two or more sets is always a good idea to increase the fabric’s longevity. However, before you buy a bed sheet, you should consider how much wear and tear it will receive with each use. If you apply a lot of product on your face and hair, or tend to sweat a lot at night, this will stain your sheet regularly. If this requires heavy-duty stain removal or bleaching, you might have to consider a stronger material with a tighter weave such as supima cotton for your sheets. Before investing in delicate fabrics such as silk, read the laundering instructions first. If the material requires hand washing each time or dry cleaning, make sure you have the time or budget for it before facing buyer’s remorse.
Looking for the right bed sheets and pillowcases for your room? Here’s a round up of a few we have our eye on.
Monogram silk pillowcase
Kohl linen flat sheet
Linen-blend single duvet cover set
Natural Bamboo Silk Sheets and Pillow Cases
Organic cotton percale stripe sheet
Cotton print bedsheets
Blue Bed Cover
Chambray Bedsheet Set
Melange Premium Flat Bedsheet
Haus & Kinder
Everyday flannel bed sheet
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