When we think about buying bedding or bed linen, cotton bed sheets are the most common things on our list. They also used to be one of the simplest options, being only available in white and the standard sizes. However, this is hardly the case anymore.
There are now several bed and mattress shapes and sizes. There are some sizes like Californian King, which are not always available for every material or pattern. Circular beds are also preferred by some people, and the same standard sizes won’t always go well with them. Still, when it comes to cotton bed sheets, there is usually something for everyone.
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How you find the best cotton bedding for your style
When you go to the market for your essential cotton bed sheets, though, you may feel overwhelmed by all the options and possibilities available to you. There are so many prints, prices, thread counts, and colors available that it may be difficult to decide what to buy. You may adore funky patterns and bright colors, for instance, but that doesn’t mean they would go well with the Victorian theme of your bedroom.
In order to help you keep a straight head and an organized linen closet, we’ve discussed several aspects of cotton bed sheets below. Hopefully, the points below will help get you on the right track toward shopping for bed linen and not going overboard. This information may also help you avoid buying decisions that you’d regret later. Most importantly, it would prevent you from freezing with indecision while taking in all that the market has to offer, online and offline.
1. Bed Measurements
Before going online to check out the latest offerings or stepping out to an actual market, get your tape measure. Even if you know what your official bed size is, it’s always best to double check. You may have the following size:
- King size: 76 x 80 inches
- California King size: 72 x 84 inches
- California Queen size: 60 x 84 inches
- Twin or Twin XL size: 39 x 75/80 inches
- Full (or Double) size: 54 x 75 inches
- Queen size: 60 x 80 inches
- Toddler size: 27 x 52 inches
- Olympic Queen size: 66 x 80 inches
These names may have a traditional size, but this doesn’t mean that your bed will necessarily reflect these categories. Hence, measure each side of your bed and be sure to note it down somewhere safe.
Sheet sizes are very important since sheets are useless if they don’t fit your mattress. Keep the following precautions in mind so that you don’t make any hasty decisions:
- If you buy stretchable cotton bed sheets, they may be able to cover a slightly larger size. However, they are likely to be more expensive than the regular kind.
- Be especially careful when buying fitted cotton bed sheets. You would need to have an almost exact measurement so that your sheet is not too loose, which would result in unsightly wrinkles.
- A fitted sheet that is too small would probably not fit your mattress at all.
- Be aware that some sizes may not be available in all patterns, especially the rarer ones. California King and Queen, Full, and Toddler sizes are among this group.
- For rare sizes, you may not be able to find pretty patterns or unique shades unless you get them specially made.
- The measurements of cotton bed sheets vary from one manufacturer and brand to another. Hence, be sure to check the tag/label before purchasing any sheet or sheet set.
Finally, when you do measure your bed or mattress, ensure that you don’t miss any part. Measure and write down the dimensions of the following separately:
- All four sides
- The thickness of the mattress
- The additional thickness of the mattress topper, if any
- The combined thickness of the mattress and its topper. Some toppers may sink into the mattress itself, thus reducing the overall depth
When you have your measurements down, add two inches to them when buying sheets. You need space to tuck in the sheets on the side of the bed unless they’re fitted sheets. Plus, cotton sheets often have shrinkage of up to 7% if they’re pure.
2. Decide on the Store
Along with the material options available for cotton bed sheets, there are also several places to get what you need. You may choose to shop online, get your sheets made, or visit a departmental store. Smaller stores or high-end specialty stores are also part of the options open to you. You would have to consider the following points before you decide just where you’re going to shop:
• Decide on a budget range. This is better than a fixed amount since you can leave a little leeway to purchase some high-quality sheets if you come across them.
• See if you can find a place where you can feel the material between your fingers and stoke it with your hands. It’s even better if the store has a setup for you to lie down on a sheet to check its texture.
• Online shopping may be very convenient, but there are risks in terms of colors, sizes, and textures. Returning the wrong item is a hassle and not always an option. If you do decide to go down this route, make sure to shop from trusted online vendors only.
• Whether you’re online or physical shopping, don’t always head for the most famous brands. Trust yourself and stick to what you have chalked out for your bedding plan. Branded and high-end stores do not always offer the best aftersales customer service. If you’re concerned about returning a wrong size or color, make sure to visit a place with accommodating policies.
• If you’re not decently well-versed in bedding materials, take a friend along. It is essential that you get what you’re looking for in terms of softness, texture, and thread count.
• If you’re looking for a wide range of colors, sizes, patterns, and thread counts, head for a large departmental store. There would be a variety of choices there, including different price ranges and quality levels.
• For luxurious, customized, embroidered or decorated bedding, head for specialty stores. There may also be several local home businesses specializing in bed linen, so be sure to check them out.
• For bargains, head to the discount stores. You may find a treasure of a sheet set that can give you luxury with economy.
It is good if you decide on a few stores to shop for bed sheets before you start your actual shopping. This would save a lot of time that would otherwise be spent wondering just where to go. Start asking around and making a list of online pages, websites, and physical stores that you can visit. Shortlist them as much as possible and don’t get confused. Honest customer reviews are worth much more than the advertisements a store places online or in magazines. It’s, hence, best to go where the customers are satisfied with the quality of the product as well as the services provided.
3. Educate Yourself on Thread Count
For a soft, silky, smooth and luxurious feel when you lie down on cotton sheets, go for a higher thread count. There’s even a saying that goes, “Life is too short to sleep on low thread count sheets.” If you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing a high thread count, you would wholeheartedly agree with this.
The thread count of sheets is not too hard to determine or find. Take a look at the points below to make sure you know what you need to do about this aspect of sheet buying:
• At the bare minimum, the thread count of your cotton bed sheets should be 200.
• If you’re looking at a cotton/polyester blend, go for 220. This standard would ensure that you don’t have try and sleep on scratchy sheets every night. Needless to say, sleeping on a smooth surface is essential to get a good rest.
• The thread count of the sheets you’re considering should be right on the front label.
• The thread count represents the number of threads in the weave of your sheet per inch. The more the threads in one inch, the higher the thread count would be.
• A higher thread counter would be softer, smoother, and less scratchy than a lower one.
• A higher thread count would also be more expensive than a lower one.
• The ideal thread count should be between three hundred to four hundred per inch.
• Be aware that bed sheets with higher thread counts would also have thinner threads. This would make them less durable and more liable to wear out.
Along with a high thread count, make sure that your high-quality sheets have a long staple as well. If your sheets are truly of a luxurious make, they would get softer with each wash.
4. Buying a Set
There are several sheet sets on the market. Along with regular and fitted sheets, they also contain duvet covers, pillowcases, and sometimes even cushion covers. There are several benefits and downsides to purchasing such a set. Looking at them both would probably help you decide whether to get your sheets in a set or not:
• You would get several bedding items of the same quality, size, color, and material. With this, there wouldn’t be any effort spent looking for matching pillowcases or duvet covers.
• Sets are often cheaper than the prices of the included items combined.
• A few identical sets in neural shades would be a great bargain since you can just replace a soiled or stain item with another one right away.
• Sets often come in their own packaging and zippered bags, so storing them would be a cinch.
• You may be stuck with a color you’ve gotten tired of but be unable to get rid of all the items at once.
• If you just have one set due to budget issues, you stand the risk of ruining it if even one item gets lost or ruined.
• The set’s material could turn out to be faulty. If you can’t return it, you’d be stuck with a lot of useless pieces.
As mentioned above, the more you wash high-quality cotton sheets, the softer they’d become. However, low-quality sheets would become stiffer the more you spin them in the washing machine.
The softness of the sheets also pertains to their weave. The three most common weaves are:
• Percale: This could be pure cotton or a blend. It has a tight weave and a typically higher thread count, making it soft and light.
• Sateen: This has gone through mercerization, making the threads shiny. It’s not very durable but very soft and smooth.
• Jersey: A knit fabric that provides warmth and fits snugly on your mattress.
While cotton bed sheets are among the bedding essentials, they can give a very luxurious feel to your bed. Of course, these sheets would usually not be on display, but they should be pretty and soft enough to make you happy. Plus, you would need some nice sheets for your guest room if you have one.
Hence, you should strive to get the cotton bed sheets that go with your preferences and general bedroom décor. They don’t have to match exactly, but they should be close enough to provide a pleasing view when you turn down the covers at night. If you live in a warm climate, these sheets might very well be the only thing on your mattress.
The perfect cotton bed sheet would be cool, comfortable, soft and silky to touch. The moment you lie down on it, the tension, stress, and strain of the day should start melting away. At the end of the day, it’s better to splurge a little on quality sheets with a high thread count than lie tossing and turning on cheap, scratchy material. Once you’ve done your research and shopping, you want to be able to thank yourself for a wonderful rest whenever you need it.