Bed Linen Buyers' Guide
What's the difference between 200, 400, 600, 800 and 1000 thread-count? Here's what you need to know about choosing bed linen.
Thread count (TC) is measured by counting the number of threads woven together in one square inch of fabric, so the higher the number the denser the cotton.
Types of bed linen
A higher thread count cotton is more expensive as it contains more cotton but not necessarily better. Here are the characteristics of each of our thread counts. The one you choose depends on personal preference:
- Our Genuisa 1000 thread count: Genuisa is a trademarked blend of top-quality cottons, producing a yarn that is long and durable with a shine like silk. These cotton sateen sheets are beautifully smooth and thick, with a satiny texture that improves with washing. At 1000 thread count they're among the thickest sheets on the market. That gives you a crisper finish on the bed - with a bit more ironing required!
- 600 thread count: Our house favourite and the one available in most colours! It has a luxurious, almost silky feel with the perfect mix of thickness and softness. Ironing takes a bit of effort, but it’s so worth it.
- 400 thread count: The majority of our patterned bed linen sets are in the 400 thread count as it is the perfect amount of cotton to best show off designs. Easy to iron (we recommend it to our trade customers as they have to launder lots of linen on a regular basis) and yet it still has a luxurious, silky feel.
- 200 thread count : Surprisingly our cheapest 100% cotton bed linen range and the lowest thread count that we do is actually the highest you will find in most UK department stores. You get less cotton but still plenty of luxury. Soft, cosy and easy to iron. We also do some patterned ranges in this thread count.
- Mulberry Silk: Mulberry is one of the most prestigious types of silk you can buy. It's a very fine grade of silk with a long yarn that gives it a softer feel and silkier drape. It feels wonderful against your skin, and it looks luxurious on the bed.
- Pure French Linen: Linen is a non-allergenic fabric made from natural flax. Its texture is characteristically crumpled, which means ironing is optional! However you treat it, linen loves to be used - and washing makes it softer and softer. Choose linen for its relaxed, uncomplicated appeal.
- Easycare: 50% cotton and 50% polyester - is a high-quality fabric that doesn't cost a bundle. The addition of polyester makes these 180TC sheets extremely wash-friendly. No ironing necessary.
Oxford Edge – This has a fabric border or flange all around the pillowcase.
Housewife - The pillow fills up all the fabric – there is no extra decorative fabric.Sheet options
Flat sheet – Just as it sounds, it is one rectangular piece of material that fits over the mattress and is secured in place by tucking the excess material under the mattress. This can also be used as a top sheet if you prefer using blankets.
A fitted sheet has elastic running round the outside which keeps it attached to the mattress. Much easier than a flat sheet to use as a bottom sheet.Valance
The bed ‘skirt’ that hangs over the bottom of your bed. Only really used on divan bed bases.Duvet cover
Just choose your size. Ours all (apart from our silk range) feature tie fastening and an inner flap to secure your duvet in place.
Cotton bed linen
Our 1000 Thread count range is made from Genuisa cotton.
Is it right for you? Genuisa is a trademarked blend of top-quality cottons, producing a yarn that is long and durable with a shine like silk. The growing season for Genuisa cotton is 60-100 days longer than other cottons which produced a fibre that is longer and finer. The Sunvin fibres that go into the Genuisa yarns are 30% finer than the best Egyptian cotton available. These cotton sateen sheets are beautifully smooth and thick, with a satiny texture that improves with washing. At 1000 TC they're among the thickest sheets on the market.
What are your options? White only (at the moment!)
Ironing time: 1000TC takes some ironing to get that crisp, folded finish.
Our 200, 400 and 600 thread count ranges are made from the same cotton yarns so you can choose the one that suits your style and budget, knowing that they’re all the very best they can be.
600 thread count has been our house favourite for years.
Is it right for you? With a luxurious drape and sateen finish, it’s the perfect mix of thickness and softness.
What are your options? We love it so much, we may have gone a little overboard with the colours… there’s white, cream, stone, seaspray, pink, blue, and ivory. Take your pick!
Ironing time: 600TC is a bit more time-consuming to iron but worth it!
400 thread count is our choice for our patterned bed linens.
Is it right for you? It’s quite quick to iron and has a luxurious, silky feel.
What are your options? We use this material to show off our tuxedo stripe, satin stripe, damask, and coloured cord ranges in different colours.
Ironing time: Not bad at all – in fact our trade customers, who launder more than anyone else, tell us they love 400TC!
200 thread count range is the lowest we go to in our 100% cotton ranges, but it’s actually the highest you will find in most UK department stores.
Is it right for you? At the lower price point, you get less thickness but still plenty of luxury. It’s soft, cosy, and durable.
What are your options? Easy to use anywhere: white and cream.
Ironing time: Not much. You’ll have these smooth in moments!
Easycare bed linen range - we used a polycotton blend to make this range – it’s 50% cotton and 50% polyester with a 180 thread count.
Is it right for you? The polyester is a man-made fibre – it creases less and is fast to dry. We added a generous amount of cotton so it’s great quality but doesn’t cost a bundle.
What are your options? White and cream.
Ironing time? The polyester content makes ironing easy peasy!
Linen bed linen
Famously luxurious, linen is a non-allergenic fabric made from natural flax. We get our natural linen flax from Nieppe in France, where the peaceful conditions are perfect for farming.
Is it right for you? Linen is soft as butter, fresh, absorbent and cool. Most of all, it loves to be used - and washing makes it softer and softer.
What are your options? Linen looks best, we think, in classic shades so we have white and grey. Want to make more of a statement? There’s plain white with a sea blue border and plain white with a dove grey border.
Ironing time? Because its texture is characteristically crumpled, ironing is optional!
Linen fabric has been used for centuries for dressing the bed (among other uses). Linen is considerably more expensive to manufacture than cotton because flax threads lack elasticity, making it difficult to weave without breaking the threads. The plant itself also requires a great deal of attention. Despite its difficulties, linen flax is very ecological as it requires no irrigation and very little chemical treatment…. it’s biodegradable and can even be recycled. No other fibre can offer this unique blend of natural product with elegance and amazing comfort.
Silk bed linen
Ask any expert and they’ll tell you that Mulberry Silk is the absolutely best silk. Mulberry silkworms are reared indoors, fed on leaves from the Mulberry plant. Their diet means that they produce a pure silk yarn with long, ivory-coloured fibres. We use 17 momme Charmeuse weave - among the finest you can get.
Is it right for you? The fine grade of silk produced by the treasured Mulberry silkworms creates bed linen with a softer feel and silkier drape. It feels wonderful against your skin, and it looks luxurious on the bed.
What are your options? After some pleasurable deliberation we settled on three colours: ivory, glacier grey, and pink.
Clean, fresh sheets are brilliant. But first-class, clean, fresh sheets are STUPENDOUS! How do you like yours – thick and folded, or silky and raunchy? If you want to find your perfect bed linen, start here!
Here’s all you need to know about choosing bed linens. You’ll be all tucked up in fresh sheets before you know it…Let’s start with the thread count….
Woven fabric is made up of threads running horizontally (weft) and threads running vertically (warp). Thread count (TC) = the number of threads woven together in one square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count, the denser the cotton.
So: higher TC = better bed linen. Right? Wrong. It’s an indication, but there are other factors affecting your bed linen. Raw cotton yarn varies hugely in quality and durability. It’s really important to use a reputable supplier.
How do you know what the cotton’s like? Tricky – and without visiting the factory, the only way is to find a retailer that you like and trust. We use the same top-quality cotton for all of our ranges: it’s a tried and tested favourite. Working closely with our enthusiastic partners in India, we introduced the innovative Supima Cotton 1000TC range in 2013.
Bed linen terminology
Percale is a plain-weave fabric that is tightly woven to create a soft and smooth finish. The warp threads (running vertically) and the weft threads (running horizontally) cross over and under each other one at a time. We use this weave for our Easycare, 200 thread count, and ladder stitch ranges.
Sateen weave has more warp (vertical threads) floated over the weft (horizontal threads). This is typically four over to one under. The extra threads on the surface produce a smooth, silky sheen and a very soft fabric. A sateen weave is more susceptible to wear than other weaves. We use this weave for our 600 thread count, 1000 thread count, and 400 thread count single row cord ranges.
Jaquard weaving is the programmed raising of warp (vertical threads) independently of the others. The raised threads have a sateen finish which when contrasted against the other matt threads can create pattern on the fabric. We use this weave on our satin stripe, tuxedo stripe, and damask ranges.
Seersusker is made by slackening tension during weaving, causing some threads to bunch together. This is what gives it a bumpy, wrinkled texture, and prevents the need for ironing.Details
Marrow Stitching (a decorative stitch)
Ties (fabric ties instead of buttons or poppers, that can pop off!)
Inner flap (to keep your duvet or pillow in place)
Oxford Border (a border of fabric all around the pillowcase)
Bed linen sizes
In the UK, bedding and bed linen are all standard sizes. Here is our guide to bed sizes to check if you need a single, queen, king or super king, though do remember that there are often some minor differences between manufacturers:
- Single bed is typically W91cm x L190cm
- Double bed is typically W140cm x L190cm
- Kingsize bed is typically W150cm x L200cm
- Super kingsize bed is typically W180cm x L200cm
- Emperor bed is typically W200cm x L200cm
Hooray for standardised sizes! In Britain, bedding and bed linen are almost exactly the same sizes at every retailer. That means you can buy bed linen wherever you like (choose us, choose us!).
If you’ve forgotten what you’re currently using, just measure up:
|Single||135cm x 200cm||4ft 5" x 6ft 7"|
|Double||200cm x 200cm||6ft 7" x 6ft 7"|
|King||230cm x 220cm||7ft 7" x 7ft 3"|
|Superking||260cm x 220cm|
|Single||90cm x 190cm||3ft 0" x 6ft 3"|
|Double||135cm x 190cm||4ft 6" x 6ft 3"|
|King||150cm x 200cm||5ft 0" x 6ft 6"|
|Superking||180cm x 200cm||6ft 0" x 6ft 6"|
|Single||180cm x 275cm||5ft 11" x 9ft 0"|
|Double||230cm x 275cm||7ft 7" x 9ft 0"|
|King||270cm x 290cm||8ft 10" x 9ft 6"|
|Superking||285cm x 290cm|
|Standard||50cm x 75cm||20" x 29.5"|
|Superking||50cm x 90cm||20" x 35"|
|Square||65cm x 65cm||26" x 26"|