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The Complete Guide to Bed Linen

When buying bed linen, you must ensure you’re buying the right linen for your practical needs and interior style. Here at Milly’s Store, we are experts at making a house a home. In this bed linen guide, expect to discover the best bed linen information you need before choosing the right linen for your home. 

We will cover key questions you may have, such as, what exactly is bed linen and what is it used for? We will also delve into what you should be looking for when choosing duvet covers, pillowcases, and decorative bedspreads. The materials used, and debunk any misinformation you may have about bedding thread count.

What is bed linen and what is it used for?

Bed linen serves more than just functional purposes, it’s also a great opportunity to decorate and express yourself through the interior. There are different layers to bed linen, each with its benefits. 

Elements of bed linen include duvet covers, pillowcases, flat sheets, fitted sheets, protective covers and toppers, and bedspreads and blanket throws. Bed linen’s main purpose is to help protect the mattress, pillows, and duvet. But why not enjoy it, get creative, and choose one that adds a bit of decorative flair to your bedroom?

What does thread count mean?

Thread count is calculated by combining the lengthwise and widthwise threads. The lengthwise and widthwise threads are also known as the weave's vertical (warp) and horizontal (weft) threads. 

Thread count is used to assess the softness and quality of fabric. However, it is crucial to note that thread count is not the only aspect that influences the feel of the fabric. For example, a thread count of 200 would be a fabric with 100 lengthwise threads and 100 widthwise in each square inch. 

Similarly, if the lengthwise threads were 100 and the widthwise were 90, the thread count would be 190.

What is the best thread count?

We must first state before delving into the ‘best’ thread count for bedding, it is ultimately down to personal preference. There are many thread counts, which have different impacts on the softness of the linen.

While a higher thread count could result in softer bed linen, it is not always the most important factor. We also need to consider the quality of the material, the type of weave, and the finishing processes.

Popular types of materials used for bed linen

Each material used to create the soft bedding we love to immerse ourselves in every evening has its characteristics and distinctive textures. 

Common materials used for bed linen are:

Cotton sateen

Cotton sateen is a fabric created from cotton strands with a sateen weave. The weaving process of sateen produces a smooth, shiny surface with a faint sheen to the final result.

Pure cotton

Pure cotton is made entirely of cotton fibres, with no synthetic materials. Cotton is frequently regarded as the best grade and most desirable form of linen due to its soft touch temperature-controlling benefits.

Pure polyester

Because of its exceptionally high strength and durability, pure polyester is a great choice for bed linen as it will sustain daily use and regular washing.

A blend of cotton and polyester

The best of both worlds, perhaps? Blending cotton and polyester allows for the benefits of both materials at a modest price.

bedroom with clean bed linen

Bed linen sizing

Of course, when choosing your perfect bedding, you’ll need it to be the right size. Bed linen (bedding to be specific) is generally available in four main sizes: single, double, king, and super-king. People often think another size available is queen-sized bedding. 

However, queen-size bedding is the American version of king-size. So, if you’re shopping in the USA, look for a queen-size; if you’re in the UK, you’ll need a king-size.

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What to look for when purchasing bed sheets

There are two types of bed sheets to purchase when completing your bed linen set. The first are fitted sheets, and the second are flat sheets. Fitted sheets are linen bedding that wraps around the top and sides of your mattress. They protect your mattress and mattress topper from dirt and sweat.

Flat sheets are another barrier between your body and bedding, extending mattress longevity. When choosing the right flat sheet type for your bedding, consider size, colour, thread count, and materials used. Similar to the above points for choosing the bedding. 

Remember, you’ll need to purchase your fitted sheets in the same size as your bedding and bed size.

Bed linen buying tip: we recommend purchasing a few neutral-coloured flat sheets and alternating between washes. Your fitted sheets may be more adventurous, but a plain flat sheet will go with everything and is easily swapped if you have several similar sheets.

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Choosing the perfect pillowcase

Choosing the right pillowcases for your bed linen is arguably the most important step in purchasing bedding. This is because your head will likely rest on this material for approximately eight hours an evening. So, naturally, you want this to be soft, supportive, and comfortable for the duration. 

We all love the cool side of the pillow, right? The best pillowcases for regulating temperature are made from cotton or silk. We also recommend regularly changing and washing your pillowcases and bed linen. As your face may be resting for hours on your pillowcase, you want to sure these are clean to reduce any possible dirt coming into contact with your skin.

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Adding bedspreads and throws

Although layering your bed linen with bedspreads and blanket throws isn’t a mandatory requirement for a set of bedding, it is very comfortable and allows you to add more character to your bedding. 

Bedspreads and throws also have lots of benefits to them, they are extremely versatile (yes, add them to your sofa or armchair!) and offer extra warmth for those colder nights. However, we think the best thing about throws is the possibility of making your bedding your own in a space. Alternate between styles and colours, depending on your mood and time of year. 

We recommend layering darker, warming colours like forest greens and deep plum tones in the winter. And light pastel colours and floral patterns in the summer.

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The best bed linen with Milly’s Store

Here at Milly’s Store, we have an abundance of bed linen styles to choose from. 

If you’re passionate about colours and patterns, we highly recommend seeing the Wedgwood by Clarke & Clarke vibrant bedding. If your style is more subdued, check out the Chrisy Bedding Collection, there are classic white linens and more lovely elegant designs. 

And finally, discover the Vantona Bedding Collection, where timeless bedding meets exciting florals and stunning designs.

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We hope you found this guide to bed linen helpful. If you find products we offer at a lower price elsewhere, we’ll price-match you! See our price-match guarantee for more details. 

Looking for more? See all the latest kitchen and home accessories news and guides in our handy blog.


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