For something so seemingly simple, it may surprise you that a set of bed sheets can cost anywhere between $50 and $2,500. Terms like "luxurious" and "heavenly" are appealing until you're presented with a four digit number at the bottom of your online shopping cart. It can be confusing reading all the different information there is about bed sheets and having to decipher what it all actually means.
There's no denying that finding that perfect set of bed sheets plays a major role in your quality of sleep, comfort, and your bedroom's aesthetics. But getting that perfect set doesn't have to break the bank.
Being equipped with all the information and knowing the variables that make up a good set of sheets is your key to saving time and money while finding the perfect set for you.
There are 4 things to look for when buying bedding that will tell you about its quality, how it may affect your sleep, and how it will need to be cared for. We know that everyone is different and there is no "one size fits all" for what people will consider to be the best set of sheets. "Luxury" simply means a state of great comfort and extravagant living. Use this information to discover what luxury means for you and your next set of sheets.
The 5 elements to know about bedding are material, thread count, ply, weave, and hygiene.
Most bed set sheets will have something to say about these 5 elements in the product description. It's easy for a company's marketing team to play around with fancy words and make important information difficult to understand for the everyday consumer - we're not all Martha Stewart. Understanding the contribution of each of these 5 variables will be your key to determining the quality of your bed sheet set.
Different materials affect softness, air circulation, and the longevity of your set of sheets.
The most standard sheets are made from 100% American cotton. Cotton has historically been the best material for bedding because it's soft, breathable, durable, and easy on your wallet. However, within the world of cotton, there are a few different makes that have notable differences. In regards to fabric, fiber length is the indicator used to measure the quality of cotton. Longer fibers indicate softness and strength.
Supima is one of the highest quality cottons in the world. Supima cotton is exclusively grown in the USA and therefore goes through higher tier testing in order to meet higher quality standards. Supima cotton has extra long fibers. These extra long fibers are what creates a smooth surface that is soft to the touch. These long fibers also give the sheet strength and the ability to resist stretching; this means that Supmia sheets are less likely to shrink or stretch in the wash and will wear down less easily. This extra strength also deters rips and threads from coming loose.
Another element of Supima cotton is that their threads are extremely fine. The thin fibers are highly absorbent and retain color dye better than standard cotton fibers. This indicates that Supima sheets will hold onto their original color in its brightest, most vibrant state for longer. The other benefit of thin fibers is that thinner fibers create a lighter weave which allows the sheet to be more permeable. Supima cotton sheets will undoubtedly give you luxurious, smooth, and silky feeling sheets.
A sheet higher in permeability may help you stay cooler during the night because it will allow more of your body heat to escape.
Egyptian cotton is another high-end make of cotton. Genuine Egyptian cotton has long and fine fibres. The fibres are handpicked, meaning that they are gently handled which allows them to be straighter. These straight, long, and fine fibres create an ideal fabric for bedding. Just like Supima cotton, this cotton is also highly absorbent for color dyes, highly porous, and highly durable. Unfortunately, some companies will produce their sheets with regular cotton in Egypt and then try to market them as Egyptian cotton - this is deceiving and is a sneaky way to slap a higher price on an average set of sheets.
Thread count is the number of threads that are woven into every square inch of fabric. For example, if a sheet has 50 threads going lengthwise and 50 threads going widthwise, the thread count is 100. In the bedding industry, thread count is commonly used as an indicator of quality, but it isn't that simple.
Thread count affects the weight, permeability, and softness of a sheet.
A higher thread count is usually created with finer threads, which indicates a soft and smooth finish for the sheet. A higher thread count means that the sheet will be denser since it is made with more fabric. The higher thread count sheets are heavier as well as less porous, meaning they will keep you warmer.
Some companies will artificially inflate their thread count by using "creative math." This usually just means that they use multi-ply threads (more than one yarn twisted together but considered a single thread). (We'll explain everything you need to know about ply next).
A thread count below 300 will likely feel rough and scratchy. A thread count above 700 will be much softer. A thread count above 700 usually comes with a much higher price that doesn't accurately reflect the added value.
Ply refers to how many yarns are twisted together to create a single thread. Similar to paper towel and toilet paper companies advertising double or triple ply, the ply of a sheet indicates thickness, softness, and absorbency.
Single ply means that a single thread is exactly that; just one thread. Multi-ply is a thread that is made from multiple yarns that are twisted together to create a thicker thread. While multi-ply may seem like it would be the better choice, it's often the case that the material used in multi-ply is lower-grade than used in single-ply. When lower grade threads are woven together it creates a false sense of quality and strength and produces a sheet that feels scratchy.
If you've already selected a sheet made from quality material, like Supmia or Egyptian cotton, single ply is all you need.
There are two styles of weave: percale and sateen. Percale uses a one-over one-under technique whereas Sateen uses a one-over three-under technique.
Percale is a tight and flat weave. It produces a crisp, cool feeling that will have a matte looking finish. A percale weave sheet is lightweight and breathable, making it favorable for people who tend to feel hot during the night.
Sateen weave has more thread exposed (because of the three-under instead of one-under technique) which creates an extra soft and smooth feeling. Sateen weave also has a "glossier" finish compared to percale which can give it a more luxurious look. Sateen weave is created more tightly which makes it heavier in weight and less porous. For those who feel colder during the night, a sateen weave will trap more of your body heat and help keep you warm between the sheets.
Hygiene hasn't traditionally been something that is incorporated into sheets - until now. Standard fabric is prone to bacterial growth, which leads to odor, stains, and can irritate your skin. Have you ever heard of natural silver bedding?
Some sheets are made with silver ions woven into the fabric that can fight bacteria. The silver ions attach to bacteria like a magnet and prevent bacterial growth from the inside out. This natural process, called ionization, means that your sheets stay fresh for longer and you can wash them less frequently. If sheets that keep themselves clean don't sound like extravagant living, we're not sure what does.
Live in Luxury
And by "live in luxury" we mean "sleep in between luxurious sheets."
In order to determine the quality of your bed sheets, it's important to understand all the factors that go into making them. Keep these 5 elements in mind next time you're trying to figure out just how luxurious a set of sheets really is.