Bed Linen Buying Guide

Soft crisp sheets make getting into bed feel like a luxury. We spend more time within our sheets than anywhere else, so it’s worth spending some time finding the best. We’ve done our research and spoken to the experts to find out what to look for when bed linen buying.

1belledorm 540 TC Egyptian cotton bed linen

Thread count

belledorm 1200 TC bed linen

The thread count is the number of threads woven per square inch of fabric. Different fabrics will have varying thread counts depending on the thickness of the cotton used and the desired finish. As a rule, higher thread count sheets will have the softest and silkiest touch, although their durability may not be as good as other cotton or linen fabrics. Linen is not measured by thread count, but can still be considered a luxurious fabric for bedding. High quality cotton bed linen may range from around 200-1200 thread count.

Materials and cotton qualities

5Linen bedding

Pure cotton – this is the most common fibre used for bed linen. Cotton is soft, comfortable lightweight and breathable. Brushed cotton is woven from 100% cotton and brushed to give it a softer, cosier finish.

Pima cotton – also called extra-long staple cotton (ELS), Pima is a type of cotton commonly from Peru, southwestern US and Australia. A superior blend of cotton, it is very soft, light and luxurious as well as extremely durable.

Egyptian cotton – also a variety of extra-long staple cotton, Egyptian cotton is renown as one of the finest cottons with the softest touch. It is strong, lightweight and long-lasting.

Cotton/poly blend – a mix of cotton and polyester percale is the easiest fabric to care for, combining the durability and efficiency of polyester with the softness of cotton. Make sure there is sufficient cotton in the blend, as polyester is less breathable and may cause the sheets to bobble more easily over time.

Cotton/silk blend – this blend of pure materials is hypo-allergic and breathable, as well as giving the fabric the silkiest finish.

Linen - Linen sheets are breathable and temperature adaptive; they will be cool in summer and warm in winter. Linen is anti-static and if pure, is a prime anti-allergic option. It is also considerably more durable than cotton.


3Pima cotton bed linen

The type of weave will not only affect the thread count of bed linen but the pattern of the sheets too, which also affects the feel of the sheets.

Jacquard – woven on special jacquard looms, creating a pattern in the weave of raised and flattened areas.

Percale – a plain weave made with a high-quality combing technique, producing a fine, smooth and crisp finish.

Chambray – a weave of two coloured threads for a distinctive textured look.

Sateen – finer than percale and woven with a higher thread count because the threads are thinner, making for the silkiest finish, although potentially less hard-wearing.

Herringbone – also known as twill weave, the herringbone weave technique has characteristic diagonal lines and a silky finish. It is lighter in weight but just as durable as other weaves.

Print – allowing for vibrant colours, patterns and details, printed bed linens might be digitally or rotary printed.

Caring for bed linen

As seen above, some bed linens are easier to care for than others, so make sure you are treating your sheets correctly by checking the label.

Ensure that white sheets stay white and soft by washing regularly, we recommend once a week, and washing them in a whites-only wash, at about 40 degrees with a non-bio detergent.

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