7 Types of Bed Sheets for Max Comfort, Warmth, & Breathing

Updated: | Categories: Bedroom
types of bed sheets

On average, we spend about a third of our life in the bed. And unless you are deeply troubled (and even then sometimes troubled) the types of bed sheets you are lying on has the power to make or destroy your mood.

Typically, that makes a ton of difference when you are going to bed looking for a good night’s sleep and waking up in the morning looking to start a bright new day. And when something is that important, you’d want to make sure you get the right product.

Now, when it comes to buying bed sheets, you need to ask yourself a few basic questions that will help you figure out what you are looking for. There are two ways of approaching the subject. Start by perusing the fabric, fitting, and size.

Types of Bed Sheets Based on Materials

The first thing to pay attention to, after size, is the fabric of the bed sheet. This is perhaps the most important aspect of picking bed sheets. Here is a look at 7 of the most commonly used fabrics.

Cotton

cotton bed sheets
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This is the most commonly found fabric for bed sheets. Cotton is very popular for bed sheets and it has earned the love.

A cotton bed sheet is cool in the summer. It's easy to wash and take care of. Cotton gets softer over time and is a breathable fabric.

It is also durable and doesn't need too many precautions when being thrown into a washing machine. It's also very kind to stains.

Linen

linen types of bed sheets
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Here is a fun fact—the very first bed sheets were made of linen. The fabric comes from the flax plant and is popular for more reasons than just because it has been around for a long time.

A linen bed sheet is anti-allergic. It's easy on the skin which is preferred by those with sensitive skin or dermatological problems. It's great for infants and even slightly older children.

It allows for a lot of air flow and stops you from being overheated in the summer. Washing them is easy and actually makes them softer and shinier.

That can’t be a problem for anyone, right? That's also what makes them durable. The only problem really is that they wrinkle quite a bit, if you care about presentation.

Silk

silk bed sheets
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These are the fancy ones. Silk sheets are cool and luxurious. Mostly, people love the way they feel against the skin.

A decent part of the population are people with allergies and hence the positive response to this type of bed sheet. These are expensive when compared with one made of the other listed materials because the material coming from the silkworm needs to be handled delicately.

These sheets can get a bit "slippery" or slick to the touch, so please consider that if it's something that might bother you. They really help enhance your bedroom feng shui, though, if you're into that.

Polyester

polyester bed sheets
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Polyester sheets are not made with 100% polyester, despite what the name may suggest. They are usually combined with other fabrics like cotton which makes them affordable and increase durability.

These are for folks on a budget or those that don't care that much or enjoy the rougher feel of polyester.

If you choose to buy polyester sheets, you must remember that they are likely to feel scratchy and are not the most comfortable material for bed sheets, in my opinion. It seems most women are more sensitive to this type of thing, so definitely think about it if you're a lady.

Microfiber

microfiber bed sheets
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This is like a very finely woven polyester. Microfiber sheets are softer than polyester but not as soft as cotton, but perhaps provide a smoother feel.

They are not as breathable which makes it tricky to get a good night’s sleep on them, especially when it's warm in the summer or you're prone to sleeping hot.

They're pretty resistant to stains which is excellent when looking for bed sheets for children. You likely won't have stains in any area that's visible, though, but if you do you may need to seek out a laundry detergent substitute for some heavy duty cleaning.

Bamboo

bamboo bed sheets
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Here’s the kicker with bamboo sheets. They're often made of rayon. That’s right. It is the reason these sheets are not stiff like bamboo.

They undergo treatment which turns them into pulp and then spun into a thread using many harmful chemicals, depending on who you ask. If you're health and eco-conscious then that's something to consider.

Now, the final product of your bed sheet does not have any traces of these chemicals but the making of bamboo sheets is not environment friendly. So what you get is a nice silky, durable and breathable bed sheet which is not as expensive as silk.

Flannel

flannel bed sheets
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Flannel bed sheets are great if you live in a cold place or parts of the world with extended winters. These bed sheets are really made of slightly fluffed cotton. This fluffing makes them softer and more voluminous.

They have a deeper pile which helps trap body heat. If you start looking at thread counts to compare different types of bed sheets, you will notice that flannel sheets are in ounces.

You might be able to buy flannel sheets all year long but it is better to buy them from local stores as winter approaches, or right after winter if you're looking for a discount.

I don't recommend these without a ceiling fan or one of the ceiling fan alternatives, because your option ends up being either having them on or taking them entirely off since they don't really breathe at all.

Types of Bed Sheets Based on Fitting

There's really only two types of fits for bed sheets. The one that covers you is a flat sheet, and the one that envelops the mattress is the fitted sheet.

Flat Sheets

The flat sheet is the cover that you slide under beneath the comforter. It's called "flat" because if you lay it out fully you'll find that it's simply a rectangular piece of cloth.

There's not much to say about these other than the breathability of the material really makes a difference in your body temperature as you sleep, so choose based on your personal needs and preferences.

Fitted Sheets

fitted sheets for bed mattress

This is the layer that goes right over the mattress. It has pockets on all corners which are held tight with an elastic. You are supposed to place them around the mattress like clothes. You can use them around the box spring as bed skirt alternatives, too.

They're meant to keep the sheet on the bed without it slipping off or bunching up. Some of these also have pockets. Now, getting the fitted sheet of the right size is crucial.

If they are too small, they won’t stretch the length and fit the mattress. If they are too big, they flop around and that defeats the purpose. But once you get the right size, it will change the way you sleep in a positive way.

Drying these with a clothes wringer alternative or anything other than a heated drying machine is a good choice to avoid additional shrinkage. If they get too small, they tend to slip off more easily due to the tension.

Types of Bed Sheets Based on Size

The size of the bed sheet depends on the size of the mattress, of course. There are a bunch of these and you want to know the difference between them all before you buy the right size and try to fold and fit it on your bed.

Buying a bigger sized set of bed sheets is not what you want to do. You want to get the exact right size, largely due to how the fitted sheet snugly wraps the mattress, and for presentation purposes once you've made your bed.

bed size comparison for choosing the types of bed sheets

They'll work even with most of the 11 bed alternatives we talked about before, because they largely follow the same sizing conventions. If you're using box spring alternatives, think about whether or not that will change bed sheet needs, too.

Twin

Twin sheets are usually 39 x 75 inches (99 x 190 cm). As you can guess this for children’s beds. In most cases, XL sheets are preferred because you want your children to have a little warmth in the legroom that they have on their bed. So the extra length of twin bed sheets helps.

Double

This is larger than twin bed sheets but it is smaller than the next size which is queen. This is great for a double bed if you make sure you’ve got the length right.

Otherwise, fitted sheet or not, you will be spending a long time making your bed in the morning. These sheets are 54 x 75 inches (130 x 200 cm). There is enough room for two people.

The flat sheet can vary a little in size, so it’s important to make sure you find one that will fit with your mattress and provide you with enough overhead, so you can make the bed easily. Some manufacturers will refer to these sheets as “full” instead of calling them “double”.

Queen

This is a universally popular bed sheet size. It is a little bigger than a double bed sheet but it is actually quite easy to work with. Typically, it is 59 x 79 inches (150 x 201 cm) but it’s like double beds.

So the gap between both in terms of size really isn’t that much. But that also means you need to look at the specifications carefully or you will end up with the wrong bed sheets.

You can use queen bed sheets on a double bed but they will be loose. Having a fitted sheet underneath also does little to help.

King

At 80 x 80 inches or 203 cm sq, this is the biggest size. It's for beds that are enormous and more expensive than the previous sizes.

It's also a fit only with king size beds because anything smaller than that and the sheet threatens to roll off the bed. It is also significantly bigger than queen sheets so you cannot use them on queen beds like you can with queen sheets and double beds.

Get the Right Types of Bed Sheets

There are a few different things about bed sheets that makes shopping for them (not necessarily reading about them, but thanks for sticking till the end) an interesting activity.

And following the last thought, if you do end up looking at the thread count at a store, you must probably have heard that Egyptian cotton is one of the best and hence very expensive.

You must remember that flannel sheets and microfiber have a relatively bad satisfaction rating for the large majority of people. On the contrary, polyester and cotton are in the same price zone, and are better loved.

Your bed ranks among the top 5 of your favorite places in the house. A little homework on the types of bed sheets can make it the best.

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Rick Worst Headshot Rick is a home design consultant and enthusiast, who's life is consumed by all things home and garden. Starting as a hobby, Worst Room has grown into an information and inspiration wheelhouse for professionals and home owners alike. Rick serves as owner and editor for our many content contributors. Learn more about operation here.