Bed Linen Buying Guide
Few would deny that at the end of a long, hard day, sliding into a bed fitted with beautifully soft, smooth bed linen, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. After all, we spend nearly a third of our life in bed, so why wouldn’t we want the best?
Yet when it comes to buying new bed linen, where do you begin? From thread counts to fabric, there’s so much to consider. It is difficult to know before you buy what material is going to best suit your ideal sleep experience. When you don't know your bamboo from your cotton, it is easy to feel ovewhelmed.
So, we’ve made it easy for you with a guide to the key things you should look for when you’re in the market for new bed linen.
Cotton is the most common linen material, and is a material we frequently use in our everyday lives. However, it is not as simple as it may initially seem. There are four main points to consider when purchasing cotton sheets:
Cotton has always been a favourite for bed linen because of its softness and breathability, but it can vary greatly in quality. Always look for cotton identified as 100% long-staple cotton, because this produces the softest, smoothest and strongest weave. Sheets made with shorter staple cotton fibres lead to a coarser, weaker, fabric.
Although thread count does matter, it’s not the most important factor when considering which linen to buy. Most experts agree that a higher thread count does not necessarily translate to a softer, or better quality sheet. As long as all the other factors are good, 200–600 is considered to be ideal, but it’s down to personal preference.
Lower-end options are generally lightweight, cool, and crisp. Higher-end sheets are more tightly woven, which means they will be warmer, silkier and softer. Anything below 200 may feel rather rough. Anything above 600 should be viewed with caution. The thread count refers to the amount of woven threads that make up one square inch of sheet fabric, counting both vertical and horizontal threads and there are only so many threads that can fit in that area.
We recommend that you always choose single-ply. Single-ply produces the finest, strongest threads, which in turn produce the softest, longest-lasting sheets. Multi-ply yarns are a group of weaker yarns spun together to create a false strength. Some manufacturers will count each ply in one piece of thread to inflate thread counts. This is how high-number threads like 800 thread count are sometimes achieved. Because these super-high thread-count sheets, often made from inferior shorter, staple cotton, they tend to feel coarser and are not as durable as higher-quality cottons.
The weave of a fabric ultimately affects how it looks and feels and is a matter of personal preference. The best cotton sheets for softness and quality are either percale or sateen. Percale is a one-yarn-over and one-yarn-under weave, which results in a matte finish. The finish leaves cool, crisp feel that improves with every wash. It’s especially perfect for warmer sleepers as its lightweight and breathable. The latter, sateen, is a one-yarn-under and three-yarn-over weave. More thread surface exposed by this weave gives sateen its signature silky-soft feel and luminous sheen. Sateen is naturally wrinkle-resistant, usually more tightly woven and heavier in weight than percale, making it particularly sumptuous and slightly warmer. It’s ideal for year-round comfort and is especially cosy during the winter.
Cotton Bed Linen Brands:
Addie & Harry
Addie & Harry is a British brand that creates beautiful bedding, homewares and accessories for little ones. Encompassing classic, stylish design, Addie & Harry was founded in 2016 by Mum of three; Nicky. With a background in Textile design and retail, she has created a collection of classic, timeless prints with a modern-day appeal that will grow with your children. All their bedding is made in fine quality 100% cotton percale. Bedding and soft furnishing designs are exclusive.
Also Home’s bed linen is high quality, super soft, garment washed to help you have the most relaxed and restful night sleep. Choose between their relaxed 100% Linen for a restful nights sleep or their refined 100% Cotton 200 Count percale for a peaceful nights sleep. All their bedlinen is designed to layer and be mixed together.
Bedroommood are a team of bedroom & sleep fanatics from Lithuania. Their passion for quality sleep in an undisturbed aesthetical environment led them to create Bedroommood bedding. By digging deeper into the market they realised that luxury bedding always comes with a high price tag and they realised that they could create luxury products at a fraction of the retail price.
Coco & Wolf
Coco & Wolf’s signature, show stopping bedding is hand crafted using Liberty’s inimitable Tana Lawn™ cotton, a modern masterpiece of fabric production that Liberty has been perfecting for over 100 years. With exquisite, heirloom quality and meticulous attention to detail our duvet sets add stunning prints and joyful energy into dream-inducing bedrooms.
Coze pride themselves on using only the very best premium cotton and distinguish this by following the process from the very beginning, monitoring the seed to sheet journey from start to finish.
Hibou Home believe you shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to the style of your kid's rooms, which is why they create wallpapers and decor for stylish family homes. Featuring timeless designs with a contemporary twist, their wallpapers, bedding and cushions are perfect for bedrooms, nurseries and playrooms too. A carefully chosen palette of Scandinavian inspired colours create a chic and sophisticated look that will suit stylish children's spaces. Perfect for little ones and older kids, their wallpapers, bedding and cushions will harmonise beautifully with the rest of your home for many years to come.
House Babylon was founded by a strong belief that luxury should not be elusive or exclusive. Their mission is to simplify a confusing retail experience by offering a selective range of exceptionally crafted products, sourced ethically without the high mark-ups. Driven by their philosophy, they have sourced premium Egyptian Cotton to create the softest most durable bedding sent directly to your doorstep, all at attainable prices.
Lily & Mortimer
Jayne Harvey the founder of Lily and Mortimer had worked for more than two decades for a global beverage company, and a career journey that brought her from the UK to the other side of the world (they are currently enjoying their fifth incredible year in Thailand). She had become exhausted by the struggle of trying to balance career development and family life and knew something had to change. She decided to launch a business selling products that promote positive living, working in a way that reflects her own personal values and beliefs. This was the start point for their Sleep Well, Live Well philosophy.
The Cotton Poet
The Cotton Poet brings poetic luxury to your home with a range of beautiful bed linens, simply detailed and designed to complement your interior style. There is nothing more luxurious than high quality, white bedding. Designed in London, they have married classic all-white bedding with elegant colour tones and simple design details.
Cotton Collective make bedding from luxurious cotton fabric and design it with the modern bedroom in mind, to make seamless style simple.
Mikmax create bedding and textile collections crafted in Spain with only the best quality cotton, linen and natural fibers that inspire good quality rest. Mikmax products range from plaids to sheets, cushions, duvet covers, bedding sets and baby bed linen, all crafted with high quality fabrics. Based outside Barcelona, Mikmax embraces the mediterranean spirit: simplicity, quality materials and respect for the origins.
Sukun is a bedding boutique passionately driven to rediscover that ‘holiday feeling’ - Inspired by stays in boutique hotels across the world, the bedding aspires to evoke feelings reminiscent of holidays. Bored of the same old bed sets and expensive price tags, founder, Fatima was left uninspired by what was out there and set out to create a range of simply bold bedding – playfully sophisticated, stylish and luxurious. The designs are created in collaboration with artists from across the world to revive your bedroom and refresh your most personal space (your bed) so you can reset for the morning adventures.
White pocket is a family run business which offers bed linens with hand designed artworks.They create products that are unique and allow you to change your home space and express yourself. All designs are created in cooperation with Polish graphic artists and illustrators. Each pattern is hand-painted on paper, and then printed on the fabric using non-toxic and anti-allergic water-based inks. They make sure that the cotton sateen they use is high quality to give you the best possible comfort combined with the unique design. Their cotton is also Oeko-tex Class I certified, which guarantees that the material is free from harmful chemicals and is safe even for babies.
All products are made in Poland by small, local workshops. The company supports the Association “Beautiful Angels”, which renovates rooms for children from the poorest families.
Strawberry & Cream
Sam and Shivani have created Strawberry & Cream to provide not only luxurious bedding, but a guilt free, refreshing night's sleep that doesn't cost the earth.
A new material to the bed linen market is cotton blended with a revolutionary botanical yarn, Tencel™, which creates a lightweight textile that’s both soft and crisp. By choosing to sleep in Tencel™, you’re opting for one of the world’s most sustainable materials. This luxurious yarn is made from sustainably grown botanicals such as eucalyptus that produce a silky smooth, soft and lightweight texture.
Undercover is a new bed linen brand that unites quality, design and sustainability. Undercover was founded by Miriam Tyrangiel who was tired of the conventional bedding options on offer. Until now, good quality only seemed to come in plain white cotton while design-forward products tend to sacrifice quality. Undercover is a new approach to home textiles with a bold design philosophy and a dedication to quality and our environment.
Linen can be perfect if you want that über-chic rumpled look in the bedroom. Unlike with cotton, thread count is not a factor in linen in the same way, because a tightly woven, high thread count linen would feel far too heavy for bed linen. Linen is woven from the flax plant, which grows best in Europe’s temperate climates. Flax from Belgium, France, and Ireland is especially celebrated for its longer fibres which are key for a smoother, softer, and more durable weave. In stonewashing linen, the stones organically abrade the fabric to further loosen the weave and increase flexibility and softness.
Cotton and linen are both ideal fabrics for sleeping in the heat. They are both woven from natural fibres that breathe naturally, which is crucial for keeping cool. Whilst percale which is known for a crisp, cool feel is perfect for hot weather, linen has natural cooling properties. Linen, being more breathable, is moisture-wicking, and more absorbent than cotton. It is also a natural temperature regulator and insulator, keeping one cool in the summer and warm in winter.
All Piglet in Bed bedding is made from beautiful, soft European flax linen with natural temperature-regulating properties that will ensure you sleep comfortably, all night long, whatever the season.
True Linen manufacture a European linen range lavished in culture, tradition, pride and centuries of craftsmanship. They were fortunate enough to find a family run linen mill that produces the most natural, ecological, woven with old traditions, luxury products. Their unique characteristics sustain resulting in pieces that will stand the test of time. Its unique woven patterns keep us afresh and continually amazed. Its fabric versatility makes it a firm favourite all around the world. And it will remain a staple in our lives for centuries to come.
The Linen Works
The Linen Works has been creating beautifully crafted pure linen products for over ten years. Inspired by a visit to a rustic farmhouse overlooking the Bay of Toulon, the house was well loved, lived in and told a story with pieces to treasure. Its pared-down style and simple yet useful things is what still inspire their today's creations. Their linen has a simple and understated style in soft muted tones. They pre-wash the linen so each new piece already feels like an old friend. They endeavour to invest in European craftsmanship and quality, made to stand the test of time and fleeting trends. All of their linen is grown and made in Europe.
Scoom's linen bedding is for all seasons, combining super-soft comfort with laid-back looks. Designed to keep you cosy in the winter and cool in the summer for relaxed luxury all year round.
Bamboo is an increasingly popular fabric in the bed linen market, and there are many reasons for this. This material creates sheets that are as silky-smooth as fine cotton, but are superior in absorption moisture control. Bamboo’s moisture properties help keep excess moisture away from your skin, keeping you sweat and odour-free, even on the hottest night. The cross-section of the bamboo fibre is covered with micro-gaps for better ventilation.
In doing so, the fabric is extremely breathable and thermo-regulating, even more so than cotton. Bamboo is thus able to keep you two degrees cooler in the heat, and is noticeably warmer in the cold. And good news for those with sensitive skin – it also has a natural resistance to allergens and microbes, helping to prevent breakouts.
Bamboo is in itself a very eco-friendly, sustainable plant requiring far less water than cotton. It grows very quickly and does not need much in the way of pesticides or fertilisers. It is also biodegradable.
Bamboo Bed linen Brands:
Style meets environmental friendliness in Panda ‘ the brand that’s on a mission to bring ultra silkiness and softness from South-east Asian bamboo fibres to the forefront in a highly sustainable manner. With the Oeko-Tex’ Standard 100 stamp of approval,
Panda’s products ensure reliability, excellent quality and fashion. Panda promises luxury and cleanliness in the most guilt-free way, with a portion of the proceeds going towards the WWF foundation for the protection of wild pandas in dangerous environments.