Stop buying new bedding every few years. Instead, learn about thread count, materials, fills, and more so you can make the most of your linens.

By Katie Bandurski
September 29, 2017
tidy up home blue and white bedroom

Shopping for bedding is a tedious task—which is why we've outlined everything you need to know about buying sheets, pillows, comforters, and more. We'll help you understand what materials, fills, weaves, and other factors work best in the bedroom. Our tips are guaranteed to prolong the life of your linens, while also adding custom style to your space. 

Thread Count Matters

bed with pillows

Don't brush aside thread count—that number is an important indicator of how long your sheets will last. By definition, thread count is the number of yarns per square inch of sheet, so the higher the thread count, the higher the quality. Thread count can also indicate comfort, as sheets with a higher number are often softer. Generally, look for sheets with a thread count between 200 and 800 for linens that are both durable and soft.

Know the Material


The material of your linens is a key indicator of its performance and longevity. When it comes to sheets and bedding sets, there are many material options.

  • Cotton is popular, as it's known for softness and breathability.
  • Egyptian cotton is a particularly luxurious option with a soft hand. 
  • Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, are budget-friendly but won't last as long. 
  • Microfleece is popular in colder climates, as these sheets are very warm and plush. 
  • Fabric blends, such as cotton-polyester mixes, are easy to care for and more durable than just polyester, but will still wear out faster than a 100 percent cotton sheet. 
  • Modal linens—which are made from the pulp of beech trees—are soft, durable, and silk-like.

Find the Right Fill

blue and pink adult bedroom

The right fill for a comforter or pillow depends on the person. Just like with materials, there are many options.

  • Down fills are made from goose feathers and can help naturally regulate temperature, but they also tend to be one of the more expensive options and are prone to allergens.
  • Polyester fills are budget-friendly, but they're not as good at regulating temperature.
  • Memory foam conforms to your body—making it perfect for pillows—but it also tends to trap heat.
  • Gel pillows, on the other hand, give your neck the same support as memory foam while offering a cooler surface. 

When deciding on the fill of your comforter or pillows, also consider the lifespan of the material. Down-filled pillows and comforters hold up better than synthetic stuffings. You'll need to replace synthetic fills every two years, while down-filled items can last up to a decade.

Consider Weave


Similar to thread count, a sheet's weave can help predict its performance.

  • Sheets with a plain or percale weave are strong and durable. 
  • Twill weaves help resist wrinkles. 
  • Sateen weaves give bedding a luxe, lustrous look but are far more fragile than a plain weave.

Size It Right

tufted headboard, farmhouse bedroom, chandelier

Most linens fall into a standard size, but it's still important to measure your bed to make sure they'll fit—especially if you have a bulky mattress topper. Measure the width, depth, and length of your mattress to determine sheet size. Common dimensions include: 

  • Twin: 39 x 75 inches
  • Twin XL: 39 x 80 inches
  • Full: 54 x 75 inches
  • Queen: 60 x 80 inches
  • King: 76 x 80 inches
  • California King: 72 x 84 inches

Custom Add-Ons


Bedrooms are very personal places. Pick patterns, colors, and pillows that speak to your individual style. Then customize your linens to increase utility.

  • Upholstery screws add decorative elegance while also keeping your linens from slipping. 
  • If you've ever dealt with a sheet that keeps coming untucked, look no further than fitted sheet straps to anchor the sheet in place.
  • To stop your comforter from shifting, consider duvet clips to keep the quilt in line.
  • Allergen slipcovers are perfect for anyone with severe allergies as they prevent dust mites from setting up shop inside your bed. 

Care Considerations

dryer with pillows and laundry basket

The best way to extend the life of your linens is to carefully follow laundry care labels. Sheets, pillowcases, comforters, blankets, and more are all equipped with standard icons to indicate instructions for drying, washing, dry-cleaning, ironing, and bleaching. Pay attention to these labels before purchasing the product to make sure you're willing to commit to the item's care needs. Frequent washing will break down material quality, while hot temperatures can shrink fibers.

  • Machine wash icons use dots to indicate water temperature. The more dots, the hotter the water. 
  • A hand wash icon is self explanatory—the item should not go in a washing machine. 
  • Do not wash icons indicate that the item can not be laundered, and likely will need to be dry cleaned. 
  • Triangles indicate whether or not the item should be bleached. A plain triangle icon means you can bleach, while triangles with an X through them are classified as do not bleach icons.
  • A non-chlorine bleach icon is a triangle with lines through it. 
  • A square represents the dry icon. Similar to the wash icon, small dots indicate which temperature to dry the item on. And if the square has a circle inside of it, the item can be tumble dried. 
  • Squares with Xs through them are do not dry icons. 
  • A small iron icon explains that the item can be ironed, while an iron with an X through it is a do not iron icon. 
  • Finally, an open circle is the dry clean icon, while a circle with an X through it is the do not dry clean icon. 


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