The ultimate guide to buying the perfect bed linen

Sinking into a sumptuously plush bed is one of life’s great pleasures. There really are few things more satisfying than jumping into crisp, clean sheets and getting a great night's sleep. And with a third of your life spent in bed, picking luxurious quality linens are a must.

The best bed is all about the perfect combination. Great pillows, a comfy mattress and a fluffy duvet are all essential but dressing them with proper linens is what pulls everything together. Discover the right material, shape and styling for you with our guide, but be warned the perfect sheets may lead to excessive lie-ins and a whole lot of spooning.

Start with how you'd like your bed linen to feel

It sounds obvious but the right bedding for you really does come down to personal preference. How you like your bed linen to feel against your skin is usually the most important factor when choosing and the best place to start.

Cool and crisp

If you like crisp white sheets, then percale is the one for you. Cotton percale is one of the most popular fabrics for bed linen thanks to the perfect combination of strength and softness. The crisp texture is created by the yarns being very tightly woven together in a straight weave. There are many great qualities to percale, not only is it cooling and breathable, but it's also very easy to wash.

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Smooth and silky

If you prefer your sheets to feel light and silky against your skin then sateen is a great choice. Typically made of 100% cotton, sateen uses a weaving technique that produces a fabric with an additional sheen on one side. Sateen feels silky, softer, and has a floatier drape than percale, making it feel extra special and luxurious to sleep in. The best part is it’s very low maintenance when it comes to ironing. Try drying it as flat as possible and it will be good to pop straight onto your duvet.

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Warm and cosy

If snuggling up all cosy and warm is more your thing then brushed cotton is your go to fabric. The super soft cotton is woven and brushed into a sumptuous flannel fabric. Not only will it feel perfectly soft against your skin but it also helps to retain the heat making it ideal for keeping the chill at bay during colder times of the year.

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What does thread count mean?

Thread count is simply a way of measuring the number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch of your bed linen. The higher the thread count, the more threads there are within the fabric and the more luxe the cotton feels. The feel and quality of bed linen is based on more than thread count alone: fine, high-quality thread and different weave types create different textures.

Shapes, style and layering

So now you have chosen your duvet cover, what about the rest? From fitted sheets to the perfect pillowcases, the smaller details are just as important in creating the layers that make the best bed.

Top sheet / Flat Sheet
A top sheet (or flat sheet as it’s often known), is a thin piece of linen much like the fitted sheet, but it sits between you and your duvet cover. The purpose is to keep your blanket or duvet cover cleaner for longer.

Bottom Sheet / Fitted Sheet
A fitted sheet (sometimes called a bottom sheet) is a piece of linen with elasticated corners. It’s designed to sit on top of the mattress and underneath you. The elasticated corners allow the sheet to fit tightly around the mattress keeping it in place when you move around in bed.

Duvet Cover
A duvet cover is a protective layer that slips over the duvet. Your duvet should fit perfectly inside the cover which can be removed and washed when needed. They tend to come in two main styles; Bag is a standard cover with an edge-to-edge seamed covering, and Oxford comes with an extra border between the duvet seam and cover.

Pillowcases
Pillowcases are the linens that cover and protect your pillow. They come in a range of styles and shapes depending on the purpose. Decorative top pillows tend to be more intricate, while the pillows to sleep on are a lot more simple. Types of pillowcase include standard (also known as Housewife) which is an edge-to-edge case designed to fit the contours of your pillow. The other style is oxford which, like the duvet cover, includes a more decorative outside border.

Finishing touches

Time to get a little creative. Adding a throw or bedspread means an extra layer of warmth in the winter and a splash of colour and style in the warmer months. And who could forget the cushion mountain that everyone needs in their life. Providing comfort and character, we recommend at least four cushions to give an even, symmetrical look. Our top tip is to add bold pattern and strong colours with your accessories. That way, your bed linen remains the base staple and you can chop and change different looks when you like.