How to Choose the Right Bed Sheets

Written by
Emily Carver

How to Choose the Right Bed Sheets

Typically during the span of your lifetime, you will spend one-third of your life in bed, so making the choice to invest in quality bedding could have a bigger impact than you may realise. 

There are many factors to consider when purchasing new linens like thread count, fabric, price, colour and durability so there’s no one way to say how to choose the right bed sheets for you. Middletons has broken down the key factors with our bed sheet buying guide to help you to find the right sheets for your perfect night's sleep. 

Select your fabric

Choosing the best material for bed sheets is very personal to you and your preferences. For example, do you prefer a silky-smooth sheet or that hotel-crisp linens feeling?

Middletons has a quick sheet guide to help you get to know the key qualities of the most popular bed sheet materials. 

Material

Cost

Feel

Temperature

Practicality

Summary

Cotton

Mild

Suitable for all-year-round use, affordable

Egyptian Cotton

Cool

Luxurious and ideal for sensitive skin

Silk

Cool

Luxurious and cooling

Bamboo

Mild

Sustainable, soft, breathable and easy to care for

Tencel

Mild

Sustainable, soft and durable

Polyester

Warm

Easy to care for, can be scratchy

Linen

Cool

Anti-allergenic and ventilating

Percale

Cool

Smooth and durable

Sateen

Warm

Glossy and warm


What is the best thread count?

A term that you may have seen in your search for new bedding is thread count, but it may not be answering your question of ‘what is the best thread count for bedsheets’? Much like the other factors, it depends. To simplify, thread count is the number of warp (length) and weft (width) threads per square inch and as a rule, the higher the thread count the softer the fabric. Thread count will also alter depending on the thickness of the yarn used for the fabric. However, thread count isn’t the be-all and end-all factor for sheets, it will vary from fabric to fabric and there are other key qualities to look out for.

As a rule, aim to find sheets that have a thread count of 200 and higher, anything below this will begin to feel stiff and scratchy - but not in all cases. For example, if you’re opting for a linen sheet, you’ll want to opt for a lower thread count. 

Material

Thread Count

Cotton

200 to 500

Egyptian Cotton

300 to 500

Silk

400+

Bamboo

300 to 500

Tencel

270 to 300

Polyester

400–600

Linen

80 to 150

Percale

200 to 400

Sateen

300 to 600

Percale or Sateen?

Egyptian cotton and silk are two of the most luxurious options available and tend to be the most expensive options. However, there are some great more affordable alternatives that provide much of the same qualities. 

In your search for the best material for bed sheets, two of the most popular choices are Percale and Sateen - but which is right for you?

Sateen Sheets

Sateen sheets are popular for their subtle shine and wrinkle-resistant qualities and their thread count usually ranges from 300 to 600. They are heavier than percale sheets, which contributes to their cosy and luxurious feel. If you run cold at night - sateen sheets could be a great option for you. Alternatively, if you run warm or struggle to keep cool during the hot UK summer nights then you may not find these sheets breathable enough. Whilst these sheets are easier to care for than silk alternatives, they can pill and snag with wear over time. .

Percale Sheets

Percale sheets are known for their smooth and crisp feel and thread count typically ranges from 200 to 400. Percale sheets are ideal for people who run hot at night time due to the light and breathable fabric. 

Much like a fine wine, percale sheets can improve with time, becoming even softer as they go through more washes. They’re durable and low maintenance to clean, however, they are prone to wrinkling and will need ironing to maintain their crisp and smooth look. 

Check that the sheets fit your bed

There’s nothing more frustrating than when you’re trying to make the bed and go to tuck in one corner, only to find another corner of the sheet has popped up. When purchasing new sheets for your bed, it’s best to check the standard recommended sizes for your mattress type in addition to the pocket size. The pocket size denotes the depth of the sheet, the typical size is 30 centimetres but this can vary from mattress to mattress. Remember to subtract about 5 centimetres from the pocket depth to your mattress measurement to allow for sheet fit.  

Fitted Sheet

Flat Sheet

Single

90 x 190 x 30cm

35 x 75 x 12"

180 x 275cm

71 x 108"

Double

140 x 190 x 30cm

55 x 75 x 12"

230 x 275cm

91 x 108"

King

150 x 200 x 30cm

59 x 79 x 12"

275 x 275cm

108 x 108"

Superking

180 x 200 x 30cm

71 x 79 x 12"

305 x 275cm

120 x 108"

Emporer

200 x 200 x 30cm

79 x 79 x 12"

320 x 290cm

126 x 114"

 

Fitted sheet

Coordinate your bedding

Buying sheets for your bedroom isn’t just about about the technical aspects of the fabric. Your bedroom should be a safe and tranquil space that supports your comfort and relaxation to help you get the best rest possible. By selecting colours that put you at ease you’ll create a space that you truly love to spend time in. With so many options out there, choosing something that will fit in with your existing decor and tastes will be a breeze. 

If you’re not sure where to start, think about the overall effect you would like your bedroom to have. Would you like it to feel cosy and warm? Then perhaps consider a warmer palette with dusky sunset or sand tones. If you would like something fresh and clean, then white and a palette of soft greys or blues could work for you. You could even select a couple of different styles so you can try a new look on laundry days. 

Choose bed sheets for different seasons

Just like you have a different wardrobe for the different seasons, consider having a couple of sets of sheets for the change in weather. This will help you to avoid over-heating in the summer and feeling too chilly during the winter months.

Cotton is a great all-year-round option, but in the winter months, you may want to look at brushed cotton sheets. These are particularly soft and cosy against the chilly night air.

Or, you could keep a set of percale sheets for the summer and sateen for the winter.

If you’re wondering what to look for in bed sheets all year round - you can always refer to our handy sheet guide further up the page. 

Average cost of bed sheets

Buying good sheets is an investment, but how much should they cost? The average cost of bed sheets will vary from product and supplier so it can be difficult to definitively say. To help, we’ve put together a chart that states the average cost of bed sheets from a couple of the UK’s leading stores, based on prices for a double bed set. 

Material

Price

Cotton

£12 - £18

Egyptian Cotton

£30 - £50

Silk

£100 - £500

Bamboo

£18 - £40

Tencel

£35 - £55

Polyester

£9 - £30

Linen

£65 - £85

Percale

£18 - £30

Sateen

£50 - £120

Return Policy

We’re sure that now you’d done your bed sheet research you’ll be confident with your new purchase. However, sometimes for whatever reason, you may feel differently about your sheets once you have tried them out at home. 

Before purchasing your new sheets you can check with your retailer about their returns policy online. Please be aware that bed sheets, along with items like earrings, underwear or face masks are not covered by most goodwill return policies. This will differ from store to store, but it’s best to check. 

Taking care of your new bed sheets

There is nothing like the thought of hopping into bed with fresh sheets after a long day to encourage you to get that early night you promised yourself. To enjoy that hotel-fresh-sheet-feeling throughout your week we have a few handy tips to help you look after your new linens. 

crumpled bed sheets

Plan a regular wash cycle

By getting into a regular cleaning routine you’ll be able to get that fresh sheet feeling more regularly. You should change your sheets once a week to keep your bed feeling fresh. Although beware of over-washing which can shorten the lifespan of your bed sheets. To help you avoid over-washing, you could invest in a few sets of bedding to have in rotation. 

Move quickly & dry thoroughly

Once your sheets have been for a spin in the washing machine remove them as quickly as possible to avoid picking up any odours. In the UK drying your sheets in a tumble drier or outside in the sunshine isn’t an option for every home. Where possible, give your sheets as much space to air as possible on a clothes horse or drying rack. Also, try to avoid folding away any freshly washed sheets too quickly, ensure that they’re completely dry before stashing them in the cupboard. This will help you avoid any damp smells from stirring in your linens cupboard. 

Give your bed some air

While you’re changing your sheets, if possible, give your mattress some time to air without being covered. If you strip your bed first thing in the morning and make up your bed just before going to sleep, this should give your mattress some time to breathe. This will help to prevent bad odours from forming in your mattress and keep your bedroom fresh as a daisy. 

 

Looking to find your perfect night's sleep? Start each day feeling revitalised and refreshed and explore Middletons range of adjustable beds...

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