How to Choose Your Sheets

How to choose sheets

If you’ve filled a closet with linens that looked good in the store, but disappointed at home, we’ve got some tips for you.  There are several factors to consider the next time you’re buying sheets, at least if you want to enjoy a great night's sleep.

Size Matters
Practical matters come first. As with any type of design, function must be met before you even consider form. In other words, you need sheets that fit your bed. There's nothing worse than a fitted sheet that rolls up at the corners and comes undone when you lay on your bed or a flat sheet that's too short and pulls out, leaving your feet to freeze. Luckily, you can pick the right fit every time when you know the dimensions of your mattress.

It's not enough these days to know whether you have a queen, a king, or a Cal king mattress. With pillow top mattresses and other features, the dimensions of your bed could end up being far from standard size. You might need deep-pocket fitted sheets to ensure that the corners don't pop off or you might want to go up a size with your flat sheets to get extra length or width for tucking. Some brands sell sheets separately so, if you can't find what you're looking for in a set, don't despair. Just make sure to have measurements in hand when you go shopping or start perusing sheets online. And don't forget to measure pillows, as well.

Material, too
There are a couple of reasons why the materials you choose matter. You will want them to feel nice, particularly if they’ll be next to your skin. You may not realize it, but your sheets play a role in maintaining your sleeping temperature.  For example, lightweight cotton may be nice in the summer, but you might want to switch to something warmer like flannel in the winter. And linen sheets, while pricy, seem to provide benefits year-round, keeping you cool when the weather is hot and warm when the temperature drops. There are also silk sheets, which are purported to keep sleepers cool and faces wrinkle-free, and even newer products like organic and bamboo sheets that are surprisingly soft and versatile.

You may have to experiment a bit with materials to find what you like in terms of tactile sensation, but knowing the properties of different textiles could help you select the best sheets for every season. Most stores that sell sheets have fabric swatches for you to feel, so don't hesitate to touch them. They're going to be next to your body all night, and if they feel too rough or slippery in the store, they're certainly going to rub you the wrong way. If you are buying online, make sure you can return sheets if you don’t like them once you have opened up the packaging.

Understand Thread Count
Thread count is more than a number. A higher number is generally preferable, but you should know that there are other factors. The weave, for example, can affect the feel and durability of the fabric. And products like Egyptian cotton denote a longer staple, which means you'll pay more, but you'll also get a product that is more comfortable and durable. If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of thread count, simply look for dedicated articles online that break it down for you. You'll never shop for sheets the same way again.

Sets or Individual Items?
When you turn off the lights and slip between the sheets, you're going to care more about how they feel and function than how they look. But an attractive bed can help to prepare you mentally for a good night's rest, so it's not a bad idea to consider sets or collections that include beautiful sheets, comforter covers, and pillowcases. Many department store brands sell sheet sets with a flat and fitted sheet and two standard pillowcases. Sheet collections sold as individual items take into consideration that you may be more knowledgeable about bedding and have some personal choices you’ve made that require different sizes. For instance, if you have a queen size mattress you may want a queen fitted sheet or you may want a king size flat sheet you can tuck instead. You may prefer a king flat sheet and a King comforter cover. You also might like mixing and matching patterns and colors. You might want to purchase a bunch of white sateen fitted sheets and then have more fun flat sheets. Higher end bedding manufacturers have thought of all of this and made shopping easier.