The bedroom is considered the most important part of the house, and for good reason. A large portion of one’s day is spent in bed, and after a strenuous day at work, the bed welcomes you home. It is definitely not a great idea to compromise when it comes to buying beds or bedding accessories. If you are buying cheap bed linen, there are a few things for you to keep in mind.
You will need to know what size of sheet to purchase as well, depending on the size of your mattress. Some common ones are stated below.
Twin Bed: The smallest mattress option there is. Usually meant for one person.
Twin Extra-Long Bed: Longer than the usual twin size, and is used mostly in college dorms.
Full-Sized: Also called double, and is meant for two people.
Queen Size: One of the most popular once, it is meant for two people, and is both wider and longer than the full size mattress.
King-Size: Also referred to as Eastern King, it is the largest option available.
California King: Another variant, it is narrower but longer than the King-Sized.
The material of your bed sheet is a personal choice, but there are still some ground rules. Cotton is a light, breathable and soft material that stays warm in winter and is cool during summer, and has endeared itself to several homemakers. If you are looking for an even lighter material, try cotton-poplin. Wrinkle free material like cotton-polyester looks good and saves you a lot of hassle too. If you live in a warm or humid area, linen is a great idea due to its natural cooling effect.
However, cheaper linens tend to be rough and poorly manufactured; the good ones can be quite pricy, and all linen sheets wrinkle very easily. Egyptian cotton might sound enticing as well, but several manufacturers use short-cut methods to grow and produce the fibre, and these are poor in quality, but still expensive. Be cautious.
Most cotton sheets are described and classified according to thread count which is quite literally the number of threads in the fabric. The general rule is the higher the thread count, the more durable, comfortable and soft the fabric is. The thread count can be tested by holding the sheet up to a light source. High-thread count sheets will not allow light through them, while lower ones will be translucent. However, too many people get swayed by the 1000 thread count sheets. While these seem to be best under the aforementioned rule, they might actually end up being stiffer and not breathable as they don’t allow air to pass through. 200-up thread counts are good enough while 300-400 are fairly great. Beyond 800 is quite expensive and rather impractical.
Weave and Finish
The look and feel of a sheet and also the price and durability are determined by the weave. The least expensive of the lot are plain weaves with equal horizontal and vertical yarn. Sateen weave implies there are more vertical yarns, which imply that it will be a much softer fabric, but one which is more prone to pill or tear. There are more intricate weaves like damasks and jacquards which are textured and can be satiny or coarse too. They are woven on special looms and are much more expensive.
Almost all commercial sheets are treated with formaldehyde, chlorine, silicon and other chemicals to increase durability and prevent shrinking, wrinkling or loss of shape. Some alkalis may also be used to induce sheen. If this is something you want to avoid, you will need to look for pure-finish sheets, which are rather hard to find. This implies that no chemicals are used in the process, or that all traces of use of any chemicals have been removed from the fabric. These are hard to find, and hard to maintain, but are worth considering if you have allergies. Organic, untreated sheets woven from pure non-pesticide grown cotton are also an option.
Most sheets are dyed or coloured after they have been woven. Low quality printing or dying could mean that the sheets will feel stiff till they are washed a few times. A number of sheets are, however being woven from coloured yarns like jacquard weaves and coloured yarns.