Text by Lindsey M. Roberts (c) 2018, The Washington Post
Maybe the best test of a bedsheet's quality is done at a hotel, where sheets are being put through the literal wringer daily.
'We're flipping the sheets every single day, so they need to be as soft, sturdy and pristine as they were on Day One,' says Ave Bradley, creative director and senior vice president of design for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. "We also pressure-test our linens before they're rolled out." While Kimpton uses 300-thread-count Frette linens (and sells them to guests who want to take them home), Bradley uses 100 percent organic Coyuchi crinkled percale in her guest bedroom in Los Angeles.
Which made us wonder: What do bedding experts - designers, hospitality gurus - choose for their own beds? Most of the professionals we spoke to advocate for natural materials, especially linen. Lightweight linen is nice for warmer climates, while a heavier linen is preferred for cooler climates or seasons, Bradley explains. Thread count doesn't matter as much as the material, which should be 100 percent cotton. Note that percale sheets are a bit heavier than others, with more texture, a more-relaxed feel, and a 200-thread count; sateen sheets have a slight sheen to them, with a 300-thread count. Color or no color is up to you and your bedroom's design scheme, so find what you like and sleep easy.
"When it comes to affordable options that are still good quality, Target is my go-to," says Moorea Seal, a Seattle-based retailer and author of the 52 Lists project series. "They have great prices and a great variety of patterns." She's a fan of any material that Nate Berkus designs, including the new sateen, 100-percent cotton Modern Printed Sheet Set in blue stripe by Project 62 + Nate Berkus ($45.99 for queen fitted sheet, flat sheet and two pillowcases, target.com). "They are super-soft and cozy and have held up well for being such an affordable set of sheets.
L.A. designer Vanessa Alexander uses linen in most of the bedrooms she designs. While a favourite is the local-to-her high-end Matteo brand, she also likes Parachute's Linen Sheet Set for a less-expensive linen option ($169 for queen fitted sheet and two pillowcases; $110 for an added top sheet, parachutehome.com). The neutral colours bone, fog and grey are her usual picks. Kimpton's Bradley agrees with the linen choice: "Linen to me is a symbol of true luxury - the finest hotels in Europe use linen bedding. It's a fabric that will always be chic and never go out of style."
Sheets are more widely available than they have ever been, without even requiring a trip to the department store. "I think the direct-to-consumer economy is always great for the customer, and I love how it has spread into amazing bedding companies," says Christiane Lemieux, author of "The Finer Things: Timeless Furniture, Textiles, and Details" and CEO of the new textile company the Inside in New York. Lemieux says that some of her favorite sheets are from Brooklinen. "I love that they strip out unnecessary costs and deliver real value," she says. Brooklinen's Classic Sheets in lightweight cotton percale come in a variety of bundles at different prices ($101 for queen fitted sheet and two pillowcases; $129 for queen fitted sheet, flat sheet and two pillowcases, brooklinen.com).
One of Traditional Home magazine's "New Trad" designers, Frances Merrill, likes using the Classic Percale Solid Sheet Sets from the Company Store, especially in kids' rooms, where she likes to colourblock with bedding. "It is the price and the variety of colors that keep us coming back," says Merrill, who owns Reath Design in Los Angeles and has a background in textiles. Twenty color options include grasshopper, hot pink, delft, tangerine, storm gray and classic red.
Images: Brookline; Parachute; John Stephens/Target; The Company Store;