Thread count is an oft-referenced quality measurement for cotton bedding, but there are other things that are more important for the overall feel of the bed linen that you should consider even before looking at the thread count! Material, finish and quality certification all come into play, and can really impact the quality of the product.
Just because cotton bed linen has a high thread-count, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily good quality; similarly, ‘low’ thread-count cotton sheets aren’t necessarily ‘sub-par’. In fact, many wrongly believe that ‘high thread-count’ is synonymous with ‘high-quality’, but this is definitely not the case. Consider the following: would you prefer to have high thread-count sheets made with brittle, chemically-treated cotton, or sheets made with thick, soft, pure and untreated cotton but with a comparatively low thread-count? It’s obvious which one is preferable.
Of course, the thread-count metric is a valuable measurement, but only when some basic requirements are fulfilled; namely, that the cotton used to make both the duvet covers and the pillowcases is thick, durable, and not treated with harmful chemicals. But note that a particular TC doesn’t mean that the bedding is of a certain quality. Rather, it can be a good indication as to the silkiness and smoothness of the overall fabric, and the texture of the final bed linen.
High thread-count bedding
The characteristics of high thread-count cotton, then, is more an indication of the smoothness and silkiness of the fabric. In fact, the characteristics of the cotton change enough as the thread-count gets higher to warrant a different name. Cotton that has a thread count of less than 200 is referred to simply as ‘plain weave cotton’, but 200 TC or higher and it’s referred to as ‘cotton percale’.
Anything above 350 TC is considered luxury linen, and because there are more threads per square centimetre, it’s sure to last a long time and still feel beautiful after many washes.
Fabric density measure for bedding
When you’re shopping for duvet cover sets that’s made from linen or cotton flannel, thread count isn’t used as a measurement. Instead, fabric density is used. Similar to how a high thread-count doesn’t necessarily mean high-quality, so too is this the case with fabric density.
High fabric density is actually the measurement of thickness of the fabric. The higher the number, the thicker the fabric will be. If you’re looking at cotton flannel bed linen, for example, then a high fabric density will mean a flannel material that is warmer and particularly good for cold winter nights. Heavy linen fabric will provide slightly more warmth than a fine, more sheer linen fabric, but because of linen’s incredible heat regulating properties it will still keep you cool and comfortable in summer.
What about other bedding fabric?
When shopping for silk bed linen, you will find that the weight (and, by extension, the thickness of the fabric) is measured by the momme. The maximum momme is 30, but this is generally considered too high for bedding because it’s too thick: for duvet covers and pillow cases is best when the silk fabric is between 12 and 20 momme.
Bed linen made from cotton
Cotton bedding is by far the world's most popular choice in bedding. It's suitable for use all year round, it's easy to care for, is agreeable to the touch and has a fairly neutral texture, as far as finishes go. Cotton's also extremely versatile though, and the world of cotton bed linen extends far beyond the middle-range thread count, standard plain weave designs. From cotton percale (which has a thread count of over 200) to supima cotton (which has an especially long fibre, making the end fabric particuylarly strong, soft and consistent in colour) and cotton sateen bed linen (which is specially woven to create a slight sheen, but which is much less shiny that satin), there really is a cotton style to suit all preferences and needs.
Summer bed linen
The same way you change your clothes for the seasons, so too should you change your bed clothes. Doing so will help you sleep comfortably throughout the night, no matter what the temperature. Particularly in the warmer months, switching to linen or cotton might be the best gift you’ve ever given yourself. Linen bed linen, as well as silk, are both renowned for their heat regulating properties and are very effective when it comes to helping you find (and keep) the right temperature. Both are really absorbent, too, and will keep you dry and comfortable when you perspire during the night, and will actually help to reduce the amount you perspire because they are natural fabrics and so naturally breathable. This, coupled with the fact that they air out better than synthetic fibres, making it hard for mites and odours to get trapped in the sheets, will contribute greatly to the overall freshness of your bed. Ever important for hot summer nights.
Winter bed linen
Because linen and silk are good insulators, they’re appropriate for use during the winter, too. But because they’re smooth fabrics, they won’t actively warm you up. Cotton flannel, on the other hand, has a slightly fuzzy finish thanks to its raised nappe. This short layer of fuzz actually traps heat around your body, making you incredibly warm and providing you with a really cosy, don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed sleeping environment.
One benefit of 100% cotton flannel bed linen is that it’s warm, but still breathable, meaning you’re less likely to overheat and perspire while you sleep.
100% pure and natural bedding for deep sleep
For deep, uninterrupted sleep, the difference that natural fibre bedding can make is truly remarkable. For a start, high-quality bedding feels simply delightful to sleep in. It’s soft and smooth, has a neutral smell, and is breathable so that you’re more likely to stay at your optimal temperature without overheating (but can still be insulating enough to keep you warm). For deep, uninterrupted sleep, the difference that natural fibre bedding can make is truly remarkable. For a start, high-quality bedding feels simply delightful to sleep in. It’s soft and smooth, has a neutral smell, and is breathable so that you’re more likely to stay at your optimal temperature without overheating (but can still be insulating enough to keep you warm).
A second advantage of 100% natural fibre linens is that, providing that quality fibres have been used, they will last much, much longer than non-natural materials. Rayon, polyester and other synthetic fabrics are very likely to pill after minimal wear and few washes. Linen and silk bedding in particular are practically immune to pilling, and will stay smooth and soft for years and years. Linen, in fact, will get softer and suppler with wear, and both linen and silk are incredibly strong fibres, able to resist huge amounts of love and use.
Third, natural fibres are breathable, so don’t harbour odours or create an environment for mites and allergens to prosper. They’re anti-static, too, so they don’t attract dust. What this means is that natural fibre linens are far healthier to have in the home, and will provide much needed repertory respite for people who suffer from allergies and respiratory problems. What’s more, surrounding yourself (and especially children who are still growing and developing) with unhealthy fabrics can actually cause you to develop allergies and problems later on, aside from indirectly placing stress on your body by not providing you with the opportunity to sleep soundly.
In essence; the more ‘natural’ the better. While organic linens are obviously favourable, your bedding needn’t be organic to be pure, high-quality, and also made in a safe and environmentally-friendly manner. You just need to make sure that no harmful chemicals have been used during the farming of manufacturing of your bedding.
Buy affordable bed linen online in the UK
So many of you might be thinking at this point: ‘natural bedding sounds far superior to acrylic or synthetic linens… but how much is this going to cost me?’ The (very) good news is that choosing 100% pure bedding doesn’t need to cost the Earth. And in fact, at URBANARA, affordable quality is our policy.
We believe that everyone has a right to enjoy quality, and enjoy the feeling and benefits of fabrics exactly the way that Mother Nature intended. In order to achieve this, we travel to all corners of the world to find the best possible suppliers to make our collections. Our bedding made in Portugal, for example, comes from a small family-owned textile mill in Guimarães. They have been making bed linen for generations, and only the finest, highest quality fabrics pass through their hands and machines.
We keep our costs down by finding these experts – these passionate producers who care about their trade and the things that they make – by ourselves. We cut out the middleman, who jack up the prices of their wares to take a cut, and so procure all our bedding at the real price… then pass these savings onto you.
The second way we help to keep the cost of quality – and even luxury bed linen – affordable is by focusing on online retail. Shops on the high-street are expensive to maintain and come with a host of enormous overheads that are slapped onto the final cost of the product that the customer ends up paying for.
When you shop from URBANARA, you can be sure that you’re paying the real price of the product, and not for additional subsidiary costs or inflated marketing budgets.
Buy bedding online & get free UK delivery & returns
Buying bedding online is as easy as 1, 2, 3 – and is completely hassle free from the moment you order on our site, to the moment it lands on your doorstep. We know that, no matter whether you want classic cotton bed linen, luxury bed linen, cosy flannel bedding or any other home and décor accessories, feeling the materials and seeing how the colours and designs work in your home is really important. That’s why URBANARA provides free delivery on all orders over £50 to the mainland UK, as well as free, 100 day returns. If you receive your bedding and find that the colour or the feel isn’t quite right, you just need to put it back in the box and send it back, no questions asked. It’s called our Love at First Touch guarantee, and is based on the belief and our strong desire that all our homewares are made with love, and should end up in happy homes.
So you can shop confidently, always.
How to style bed linen, cushions and bedspreads in your bedroom
You should think of your duvet cover sets the same way you would about a winter coat and cold-weather accessories: they’re practical, of course, and are definitely there so serve a purpose… but they’re infinitely better when they’re stylish and you love the way they make you look and feel!
Well, exactly the same applies for bed linen, bedspreads, cushions, and finishing blankets & throws: each piece will help you to sleep well, but should also compliment your style, the rest of your room, and be a personal expression of your décor.
Coloured bedding – neutral or bold?
New and fresh bedding can in fact work absolute wonders to refresh your bedroom and give your interior a bit of an overhaul. Consider the following bedroom scenario: your bedroom has white walls, a light grey cotton rug or carpet runner, and pale or neutral coloured accessories, like a white shade reading lamp or floor lamp.
A grey duvet cover and pillowcase set would perfectly complete a minimalist theme. Swap this out for a bright red duvet set, however, and you’ve just created a bold, contemporary bedroom statement. Layer with a geometric bedspread, sham cushions in different colours and sizes, and a sumptuous alpaca blanket or throw and voilà: you’ve just given your sleep haven a completely new refresh!
Obviously red is a fairly strong example – other colours or patterns can also give the room an energy injection, and won’t work to ‘warm up’ the room, which you might want to avoid. This could be because your bedroom experiences full afternoon sun, or because it’s a small space, and warm colours move towards the eye, so tend to make a space look smaller.
It’s also a good idea to consider the other decorative elements in your room, but don’t be afraid to experiment and go out on a limb with your bed linen choice! It’s a really nice way to add a pop of colour to the focal point of the space. To bring it back a little, you can always choose to keep the duvet covers neutral, and inject colour with contrasting pillowcases. Alternatively, layer a bold colour with a bed throw in a gentler colour, or break up the colour by pattern blocking with a load of cushions (which we really think you can never have enough of).
Besides – you have to use your bed every single day, so looking at it and being in it should make you happy and content. Unlike your living room, dining room, kitchen or bathroom, the bedroom is the one room in the home that really is just for you (and yours). It’s unlikely to be visited by others and while we fully condone decorating according to one’s personality, you can really let loose in the bedroom, and you should decorate with the thought that ‘it’s really just for you’ in mind.
There’s one interior decorating rule that has really stuck throughout the decades and despite the trends, and that is the following:
When in doubt, choose crisp, white bed linen. There is an elegance and appeal that comes with pure white linens, especially when they are clean and fresh. While white linens will not conceal unavoidable grime and traces of perspiration marks that occur naturally while you sleep, if you wash them regularly, take proper care of them, and naturally bleach them from time to time by air drying them in bright sunlight, high-quality, white bedding is an investment you will simply never regret.
The trick to keeping white bedding beautiful actually happens in the first few seconds of you even buying it: you simply must choose linens that are natural and of a high quality. Thin, synthetic bedding, linen with an abnormally low thread count, or fabric that has not used the highest grade natural fibres available simply won’t pass the test of time. Stronger fabrics can take more wear and tear for starters, but will also withstand heavy and multiple washes. And because white linen just never, ever goes out of style, you’ll have to choose ones that will withstand a lifetime of washing machine cycles!
Geometric pattern bedding
Another way to introduce colour and pattern is through cushions or a blanket or throw. A two-toned geometric style, or even one with a textural finish and trimming, can really give a room a contemporary lift… and make your bed the place that you want to fall into each night.
For more Scandinavian appeal, it is wise to steer clear of the geometric floral patterns, or ones that are too ornate and fine. Scandi style is characterised by simple lines and shouldn’t appear too busy or colourful. With this in mind, try going for bed linen that is at most two-toned, and features a single pattern or shape. A tessellated tile look, for example, is a solid option. A herringbone or chevron pattern will hit the nail right on the head.
Floral print bedding
While some might turn up their nose at the thought of ‘floral print’ bedding, a geometric, abstract floral print can be something else entirely. It’s also very versatile: geometric floral print bed linen looks as at home in a traditional or shabby chic interior as it could in a contemporary or modern style bedroom; it all depends on the things that the linen is paired with. In addition, this style design works a treat in eclectic and Mediterranean themed rooms; again, it all depends on the other accessories and bedding that you pair with it to complete the look.
Striped and checked bed linen
There is something comforting and homely about classic pattern linen – and stripes and cheques have a place in every home. Depending on the colour you choose, the look can vary greatly.
Striped bedding – rather with a thicker stripe than a pinstripe – immediately calls to mind a nautical theme, especially when it’s in blue and white, or greys, or any other neutral, nautical colours. A pin stripe can be both modern and classic, and works particularly well in white and black or grey.
For a country house style, you simply can’t go past chequered bedding. No matter the colour or type of cheque, this pattern simply screams farm house… in a very good way!
Choosing the right sized duvet covers and pillowcases
Selecting the right bedding size is important for comfort and the overall look of your bedroom – you’ll need a different size bedspread depending on the size of your mattress, and your duvet cover and pillow cases should of course fit your duvets & pillows. URBANARA provides bedding collections in a range of sizes. From kids’ bedding and bed sheets to adult sizes, all our bed linen is available to buy individually, so you can truly create your perfect, bespoke bed.
Once your bed linen is sorted out, you can now turn to your bedspread: you’ll need to buy a different size depending on whether you’ve got a single, double, queen or king-size. Many of our collections are also available in super-king size too; in fact, many of our bestsellers are big enough for an emperor mattress.
What many overlook is that a single or double bed doesn’t necessarily require a single or double quilt: it actually depends on how much overhang you want at the side and the foot.
By choosing the right bedding size, you can define how much drape you have and what kind of look you create. Bedspreads always come in at least three sizes, being single, which is 180 x 230 cm, double which is 240 x 265 cm, and king size, which is 275 x 265 cm. Knowing these measurements is important when you’re choosing which one to buy.
While all of the sizes are designed to give you both side and foot overhang, if you have a sleigh bed or one with a piece at the end, you can simply fold the top so that there’s no excess left at the foot, which can look untidy.
Below is a comprehensive guide of which bed linen size you will need.
Single sized bed linen
A single size mattress measures 90 x 200 cm, so a single quilt will give you a 45 cm overhang on the sides, and 30 cm at the foot. A double quilt gives a 75 cm overhang on the sides and a 65 cm overhang at the foot, and a king-size quilt will provide a 92.5 cm overhang on the sides and 65 cm at the foot.
Double size bed linen
For a double mattress (140 x 200), a single quilt will give you a 20 cm (sides) and 30 cm (foot) overhang, a double quilt will give you a 50 cm (sides) and 65 cm (foot) overhang, and a king-size quilt will give you a 67.5 cm (sides) and 65 cm (foot) overhang.
King-sized bed linen
For a king-size mattress (180 x 200), a single quilt will give you a 10 cm (sides) and 30 cm (foot) overhang, a double quilt will give you a 40 cm (sides) and 65 cm (foot) overhang, and a king-size quilt will give you a 47.5 cm (sides) and 65 cm (foot) overhang.
Personalising your bed linen for gifts
Bedding makes an excellent gift, no matter what the occasion. For newlyweds, a new graduate, a moving in gift, or a special celebration, Egyptian cotton bed linen and matching sheets, or a stylish bedspread or throw (with matching cushions if you want to go the extra mile) are thoughtful, useful, and something that everyone will appreciate. If you’re buying your bedding as a gift, why not personalise it further by having it embroidered with a special date, initials, or an emblem or logo?
At URBANARA, we provide a fully customisable embroidery and personalisation service which allows you to stitch your message onto all of our textiles. The same applies for towel sets, blankets and throws, quilts and bedspreads and even bathrobes – so you can mix and match your gift and make it truly theirs. For a free quote for all embroidery services, simply call our customer service on 0800 77 97 527 between business hours from Monday to Friday and tell us the type of embroidery you’d like, and on which product.
They are also available to give advice and tell you more about each of our bedroom, living, kitchen and bathroom collections, so if you need any ideas on how to style your bedding, find matching pieces, or make it work with your existing accessories, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
URBANARA GmbH: Gipsstr. 10, 10119 Berlin, Germany | Registered at Berlin Charlottenburg under registration number HRB 136641.
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