A couple of years ago, my family rented a beach cottage in one of those idyllic and remote vacation spots you fantasize about this time of year. It had everything—except, to our surprise, bed linens. We immediately set off on a run to “town” to buy a set before it got dark, but like I mentioned, this place was out there, no big box stores, no houseware emporiums, nothing. I finally managed to track down a set on a dusty old shelf at the local True Value Hardware store. They turned out to be slightly a grade above sandpaper. Suffice it to say, nobody slept very well on that trip. We slogged our way through our days trying not to irritate each other and by the end of our stay couldn’t wait to leave.
I’d always been a bit of a comfort freak when it comes to bedding, but that trip really hit home the importance of a good set of sheets. You spend a third of your life in your bed after all. Not only do nice quality sheets look and feel better, they help you rest better. It’s true, just like keeping your bedroom clutter-free and giving your pillows a nice lavender spritz, a comfortable set of sheets can make all the difference between sleeping well and waking refreshed and sleeping poorly and feeling moody and semi-hungover for no good reason. (Oh, and poor sleep can lead to weight gain and other health issues, too! Eek!)
But sussing out the perfect set of sheets can easily give you a raging case of Goldilocks syndrome— too thick, too thin, too shiny, too rough, cool but not cool enough! So I’m going to help you out. I scoured the market for the best of what’s out there—seriously, I felt up so many sheet samples in retail establishments I thought security was going to escort me out—and came up with a list of the most supremely comfortable sheets in price points that won’t break the bank and in styles to please everyone. I even bought a set for myself. Sweet dreams!
Let’s start with Parachute, their percale bedding has a certain a je ne sais quoi that makes it stand out from the rest. This set is extraordinarily soft to the touch and yet feels substantial enough to stand up to years of washing without tearing or fraying. Made of the finest quality combed Egyptian cotton, dyed naturally and safely and stonewashed (not treated) for true softness, they have a simple matte finish that is cool to the touch and highly breathable. Crafted by textile artisans in Portugal, these sheets make you want to sink into your bed and never get out—ever. Perfection. Also: Oeko-Tex certified.
Parachute Percale Sheet Set
Not ready for the investment of Egyptian cotton? Target provides a nice back up. I’ve always been impressed by their percale sheets and this vintage-washed option is no exception. Lightweight and prewashed for softness, these sheets give you that feeling of sleeping at grandma’s house on sheets that were made to last—while still maintaining that cool, casual look of trendy high-end brands. Percale means they won’t trap heat, they come in an array of classic colors and are made of 100% cotton. Oeko-Tex certified.
Threshold Vintage-Washed Percale Sheet Set
If you’re a little more high maintenance than casual and want something with some sheen, sateen is for you. The fabric is slightly heavier than percale and has a lustrous, silky finish. This set from Pinzon is made from 100% Pima cotton, (Egyptian and then Pima are the top line cottons on the market. If the type of cotton is not specified, assume it is of lesser quality.) which means it has breathability and softness, but it will also stay crisp and drape well for your glam bedroom selfie. Oeko-Tex certified.
Pinzon 500-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Sateen Sheet Set
You’re juicing and eating clean so why not sleep on organic threads? This organic cotton bedding from Target is a thing to behold, and I can’t get over the price. These sheets come with a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification, which means not only that they are constructed from organic fiber, but that they have not been treated with bleach, formaldehyde or other toxins and have been produced in mills with strict social and environmental standards. Brushed for softness and with a 300-thread count, they’re cloudlike and come in pretty prints.
Threshold 300-Thread-Count Organic Cotton Sheet Set
Okay, not just ‘cuz I’m partial to cactus décor but the new Whim line from Martha Stewart is the bomb for anyone who loves to dress up their bed in fun, colorful fabrics. These 100% cotton percale sheets have a great smooth texture, and the fabrics are totally on trend with your Pinterest feed (pineapples! monstera plants!). Bonus: They can be coordinated with Whim line comforters and duvet covers.
Whim by Martha Stewart 200-Thread-Count Collection Novelty Print Sheet Set
Best for Kids
While we’re talking prints, let’s segue to kids for a sec. I just love Land of Nod for quality kids bedding in vibrant and fun patterns that don’t look like an advertisement for some overblown summer movie. Old school video game icons, UFOs and the solar system, butterflies, sharks and vivid jungle scenes—these sheets let kids imaginations run wild, while giving them a soft landing spot at the end of the day. Made of 100% organic cotton, these also coordinate with the brand's blankets, duvet covers and quilts.
Land of Nod Creature Comfort Sheet Set
I’ve never been a big fan of jersey bedding, which I’ve always found to be a little too stretchy and sloppy. But this jersey set from Urban Outfitters has changed my mind. Not only does it have the singular softness of 100% jersey cotton, it also features a tight weave that means it will not lose its shape. The nice assortment of modern hues this set comes in is also a big plus.
Urban Outfitters Jersey Sheet Set
Where are you gonna go for flannel other than Land’s End? I mean they’ve been in the rugged outfitting business forever. This set will keep you warm and toasty in the coldest of climes. Made of cotton that is combed to remove impurities and short fiber and then brushed for supreme softness, it has a super smooth velvety texture that Elvis would have approved of. Crafted by more of those talented Portuguese textile masters, it’s built to last. But if for some reason it doesn’t, Land’s End returns are guaranteed for life. Period. Oeko-Tex certified. Bonus: You can stock up on back-to-school backpacks while you're there!
Land’s End 5-Ounce Velvet Flannel Sheets
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