How to choose the best bed sheets: Price, fabric, and color

Shopping for bedding can be a tricky endeavor, especially online. There are so many confusing options, loads of unfamiliar jargon, and the competition can get quite fierce. Over the last few years, many players have entered the online bedding realm, hoping to earn their share of a projected multibillion-dollar industry. And a select few brands like Parachute, Boll and Branch, Tuft & Needle, Saatva, Riley, West Elm, CloudTen, and Brooklinen are finally beginning to approach household name status.

We understand how challenging it can be to determine which are the best with so many impressive-looking choices. To help you choose the bed sheets for your price range, aesthetic, and sleeping position preference, we’ll take you through the most essential features you’ll need to look for as well as the distinguishing components of today’s best online bedding retailers. To

Type of bed sheets

While thread count is often the first thing people bring up when shopping for bed sheets, a higher thread count doesn’t necessarily equal better quality bedding. Instead, your focus should be on the materials the sheets are made of which is why it’s important to understand which specifications matter in a quality set of sheets. Specific sheet material is what will keep you cool at night if you’re a hot sleeper.

Most sheet sets come in one of two fabrics — cotton or linen — and each offer qualities that appeal to different kinds of sleepers. The more common (and less expensive) is cotton. When looking at cotton sheets, consider choosing a set made of either sateen or percale, both of which are favored by luxury bedding companies like Brooklinen and Boll and Branch. Both sateen and percale comprise high-quality, long-staple cotton, which results in more luxurious, softer, and more durable sheets than those made of short-staple cotton.

Sateen vs. percale sheets

The difference between percale and sateen comes down to how the fabric is woven. Percale sheets are typified by their tight weave, which results in a crisp, matte, and firm fabric, not unlike that of a dress shirt. It makes sense that they need to be ironed like a dress shirt, too; the fabric wrinkles very easily. These sheets are excellent for sleepers who like to stay cool at night and would make an excellent summer set.

Sateen is woven to create a slick, smooth surface with a distinctive sheen, similar to satin. Warmer and heavier than percale sheets, sateen has the added benefit of being wrinkle-resistant, making it lower maintenance than its cotton counterpart. Most online retailers will have a sateen sheet set in their portfolio. For example, CloudTen uses 100-percent hyper-combed long-staple in its sateen sheets, which they describe as “buttery smooth” and “silky soft.”

Recommendations

Cotton vs. linen sheets

If you’re really looking to invest in a high-quality sheet set, linen is the way to go. Made from flax stem weave, linen sheets are more difficult to make than cotton sets and as a result, are more expensive. Like percale, linen is durable, breathable, and lightweight. It also absorbs moisture, helping sleepers stay dry and comfortable during the night. While it is not wrinkle-free, linen is less formal than sateen or percale and doesn’t need to be pressed to look good on your bed.

Recommendations

Color selection

Color is often what draws us in when we choose new bedding. Most online brands offer linen, percale, and sateen sheets in a variety of colors and shades, so you won’t have to compromise on the material when choosing a color that fits with your bedroom’s aesthetic.

While your sheets will most often be covered by a quilt or duvet, the color still matters. Neutral tones like white and beige are popular because they blend well with almost any design. While they might only work with certain color palettes, sheets in blue and gray can promote calm; they’re also dark enough to allay fears about staining or discoloration.

Recommendations

  • Parachute offers six shades, spanning blues, grays, black, and white for all cotton bedsheets. Their linen bed sheets are available in two additional colors: beige and blush.
  • Boll and Branch signature cotton sheets come in eight colors, with a set of unique new earthy neutrals, though their percale sheets only come in white, pinstripe, or ivory.
  • Brooklinen boasts the most options, with 17 different color and pattern combinations.
  • CloudTen has five colors for its sateen sheets and only two options for its percale sets signature cotton sheets.
  • Saatva plays it safe with three subtle hues for both its linen and its organic cotton sheet sets.
  • Riley has at least five and up to nine colors, depending upon which style of sheet selected — all in cool, tasteful tones.
  • Tuft & Needle has five colors in their jersey and percale sheet sets, and six in their linen set.
  • West Elm has a vast assortment of colors and patterns, depending upon which type of sheet sets you prefer. (They offer numerous, including crib sheets).

Price and shipping

Most of us aren’t in the market for a $419 luxury set like Parachute’s Linen Venice Set, Queen (though if you are, all the power to you). The good news is you can find comfortable, durable sheets ranging from $100 to $200 with nearly all of these retailers:

  • Brooklinen is able to bypass costs like wholesaling, designer licensing fees, and storefronts, which allows them to sell both the three-piece Classic percale set at an affordable $90 and the Luxe sateen set at $100. The linen bedding is a little pricier, at $249 for a four-piece set.
  • Parachute offers brushed cotton fitted sheets for $150. The percale and sateen sets start at $109 and $129, respectively, for a full-size bed; linen sets are $149.
  • CloudTen sheets are the same price regardless of size; pick up any percale sheets for $120 or sateen sheets for $180. Their product offerings are fairly limited and only available in bundles and sets.
  • Boll and Branch bedding is slightly more expensive. Full-size cotton sheets (including percale) will cost $220-230 depending on the style, while single fitted sheets will run you $100. All four brands offer free domestic ground shipping in the U.S. across all 50 states.
  • Saatva sheets are also a bit on the pricey side at $225- 325 for their linen sets, and $125-225 for the organic cotton sets.
  • Riley sheets start at $99 for their percale sets, $50 for their sateen, and $110 for their linen — note that for some sheets, they sell each element separately, (i.e. flat sheet, fitted sheet, etc.) and not in sets.
  • Tuft & Needle‘s linen sets start at $175, jersey sets start at $70,  and percale sets start at $75.
  • West Elm sheet sets vary in price widely, starting at $50 for the Design Crew Basics organic cotton set, leading up to $380 for the Belgian linen ladder stripe embroidery set.

Whichever brand and fabric type you decide to go with, there’s no wrong choice. The best bedding is the one that suits your lifestyle, price range, and personal preference — so shop happy and sleep easy.

Editors' Recommendations