Best bed sheets: how to pick a set of bed sheets, linen or cotton, thread count, and the best sets UK

thread counts? Linen or cotton? Expensive or cheap? Choosing a bed sheet set doesn’t have to be confusing – we explain the rules for a great, durable bed sheet set that’s right for you

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A great set of bed linen is the best starting point for a good night’s sleep.

Nobody enjoys tossing and turning because flannel sheets are too hot for them, or to tame scratchy material that doesn’t fit the bed properly. So what do you need to watch out for to stay calm? And what price should you pay?

300-400 thread count is all you need if the fabric is good

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Thread count (the number of threads woven into a square inch of fabric) is worth considering, but it’s not just about big numbers, says Robert Lancaster-Gaye, co-founder of Tielle Love Luxury, which makes premium linens and cloud-like linens for Prestige hotels, including The Savoy.

“Just as a good meal depends on quality ingredients, good linen depends on the quality of the yarn, processing and finishing – not just the thread count. 300 or 400 thread count linen woven from high quality cotton provides the luxury factor you need,” says Lancaster-Gaye.

And if you tend to toss the covers over your head at night, you might prefer a lower thread count in quality cotton.

Cotton is best for comfort, linen for temperature regulation

Lancaster-Gaye recommends 100% cotton – particularly “long staple” cotton, which has longer fibers and tends to have a more luxurious feel – over polycotton or polyester. It’s more expensive, but it should last a lot longer and won’t make you sweat at night.

The two quality fabrics to look out for are percale, which is cool and crisp, and satin, which is soft and smooth to the touch.

Don’t feel like cotton? Linen is a good alternative for a relaxed, natural look and sheets that are warm in winter and cool in summer.

When selecting the best products, we looked for ease of attachment, a good, snug fit around bedding (no spills), and fabric quality – across a range of price points.

Egyptian Cotton Scooms Duo Bundle

Egyptian Cotton Scooms Duo Bundle

Don’t sleep on the Scooms’ bedding packs (or rather, do, but don’t hesitate when it comes to buying them) – they’re excellent value for money.

These sheets are an ideal set to provide comfort all year round and provide restful sleep – they are so very comfortable and manage to be warm yet light and airy at the same time (thank you 600 thread count Egyptian cotton).

With a slightly (deliberately) wrinkled look, they transform a sloppy bed into something carefree and chic. Best of all, the texture of these bed sheets is improved wash after wash, both in terms of comfort and appearance.

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Brisa Duvet Cover + 2 Pillowcases 100% Linen Double Moss Green

The Made Brisa range embodies comfort and luxury and their beautiful linen bed linens are made in Portugal. With an eco-luxe linen feel and available in a variety of colorways, we love the chic moss green set.

We also like that these 100% linen sheets are pre-washed for an extra soft touch. They’re also just the size you need when they arrive and won’t shrink after a few washes.

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Christy Satin Stripes White

Christy Satin Stripes White

A classic sheet from heritage brand Christy (best known for their luxury towels). 400 thread count and satin weave provide cool, breathable sheets with a smooth, hotel-like quality.

Our only gripe was the plastic packaging, which left the fabric with a chemical factory smell that had to be washed out before use – but all was forgotten once we were wrapped in it.

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Bedfolk relaxed cotton bundle

Stylish, comfortable, cool – these are excellent sheets and worth every penny. But what really sets them apart is the pillowcase design – with an opening in the middle, meaning your pillows can’t peek out at night.

The chemical-free 100% block-stitched cotton sheets have a natural, relaxed, linen-like look and feel.

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Rise & Fall: Crisp & Cool Organic

We love Rise & Fall’s Soft & Smooth sheets because they do exactly what they say they do (they’re super soft and smooth). But the Crisp & Cool Organic sheets also meet the strict ethical criteria for certification according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (from sustainable procurement to social responsibility).

With a percale weave, 400 thread count and 100% extra long staple cotton, they still feel like a luxurious hotel bed. And the cozy pillowcases and easy-button buttons won’t spill your linens.

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Tom & Dicks Portland Linen Set

Tom & Dicks Portland Linen Set

There’s a lot to love about Tom & Dicks. A sleep quiz on the website will help you choose the fabric that suits you best, and then there’s the plastic-free packaging (sheets come in a reusable tote bag).

We loved the cool, natural yet premium feel of the Portland linen set, which is made from 100% flax grown in Normandy. Even better is the ethos: 2 per cent of every sale goes to mental health and homeless charities in Manchester, and you can send your box, filled with old sheets and clothes, back as a donation to the homeless (free of charge).

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Habitat Washed Mustard Duvet Set

An affordable, bright option (which also comes in pink, sage green, charcoal grey, stone grey, and white).

The stonewashed 100% cotton sheets have a lived-in, relaxed look and feel that rivals the many similar and more expensive sheets on the market. Good value for money.

Soak & Sleep

While Soak & Sleep offers 1000 thread count sheets (and prices to match), we find the classic 100% Egyptian long staple 200 thread count cotton sheets in a percale weave absolutely beautiful and less pricey.

These had the same disadvantage of having to be thoroughly washed after being stored in plastic packaging, but nonetheless they undeniably gain in quality and value. They’re cool, breathable, and feel just luxurious enough.

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