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A Buyers Guide to Bath Linen

Bed Linen


Improve precious lie-ins with luxury linens…

Lost in percale? Confused by thread count? Well fear not, our no-nonsense guide to the loveliest linens will help you make the most of your shopping experience.

Before you start

Make a nice long list…

First off, make a list of exactly what you need as well as the budget you have to spend. Things to consider are:

  • What’s your style? Are you after plain white sheets or statement prints with pretty embroidery?
  • Do you want fitted or flat sheets?
  • Are you seeking the highest quality that money can buy? If so, do you know what to look for?
  • Do you iron your sheets? If not, easy care materials might be beneficial

Join the debate


The biggest distinction between bed linen types is whether they’re made from manmade or natural fibres. Many people have surprisingly strong opinions about their preferred choice, but the truth is, both have their advantages…

Manmade fibres

The most common manmade fibres are synthetic polymers, like acrylic or polyester. On the one hand, these fabrics wash brilliantly well, retain their shape and tend to be cheaper, which makes them great value. But on the other, they’re not as breathable as natural fibres like cotton that keep your night-time temperature just-so.

Natural fibres

These are produced directly by plants or animals, and are essentially made up of cellulose obtained from plant seeds, stems or leaves. Plant fibres include flax, hemp, sisal and cotton, while animal fibres include silk, fine hairs and wool.

The downside of a natural fibre is that it wrinkles easily and can be slightly more expensive. The benefits? It’s inherently breathable, can be washed at a higher temperature and tends to be beautifully soft. If you’re after luxury, then our 500 thread count cotton sateen linen is your ultimate buy.

The middle ground

Many people love the versatility of a blended fabric like polycotton, because while it retains the coolness and lightness of cotton, it also has the strength, durability and wrinkle-resistance of polyester.

Acquaint yourself with the jargon…

The term ‘thread count’ is the most important to understand. Quite simply, it refers to the number of threads in a square inch of fabric. And the higher the thread count (you guessed it) the higher the quality of fabric. But, thread count isn’t the only determiner of quality - the weave will affect the way your bed linen feels, and the mixture of fabrics, how well it washes.

Here’s a quick low-down on fabrics and weaves at House of Fraser:

Percale – this refers to a type of weave, which makes these sheets lightweight, highly breathable, matt in texture and crisp to touch.

100% cotton sateen – also a type of weave, cotton sateen has a luxurious soft touch, gentle sheen finish and is tightly woven for durability. Our 500 thread count cotton sateen is among the most popular and luxurious of our collections.

Pima cotton – made from the highest quality cotton fibres, known as extra long staple (ELS) for a soft, luxurious feel.

Egyptian cotton - grown in Egypt, along the Nile, this linen has an extremely high quality with a crisp feel and close weaves for durability and ease of care.

Polycotton – made from a blend of cotton and polyester fibres, it carries the benefits of manmade and natural fibre. The polyester helps retains its shape and means it washes well, while the cotton gives it the softness you’d expect.

Did you know?

No part of a cotton plant need be wasted. The lint, or fibre, is used to make cotton textiles; the cottonseed provides oil and forms the base of many food products. The short fuzz left on the seed is used in making paper, plastics and other products. And even the stalks can be ploughed under to improve the soil.

Choose your pillow case…
You’ll find that our pillow cases come in multiple shapes and styles, to match the various pillow shapes…

Oxford pillowcase
Size: 50cm x 75cm (excluding frill)
Style: has a frill or flap around the edge
Fits: any standard pillow

Square Oxford pillowcase
Size: 65cm x 65cm excluding frill
Style: a square version of the Oxford pillowcase
Fits: any square pillow

Boudoir pillowcase
Size: 30cm x 40cm
Style: for boudoir pillows, commonly used for decoration
Fits: a rectangular boudoir pillow

Cuffed pillowcase
Size: 50cm x 75cm
Style: standard rectangular pillowcase with a wide cuff and occasional decorative design on one side.
Fits: any standard pillow

King size pillowcase
Size: 50cm x 90cm
Style: larger than a standard pillowcase, used for king size beds
Fits: any standard pillow

Size it all up

We know it’s a little obvious, but make sure you buy the right sized sheets with our simple sizing chart.

  • Single (90cm x 190cm)
  • Double (135cm x 190cm)
  • King size (150cm x 200cm)
  • Super king size (180cm x 200cm)

Make a statement (then have fun accessorising…)

One of the easiest ways to inject colour, personality and style into your bedroom is by throwing on a beautiful printed or embroidered bed linen set, like one from our design dye bed linen collection. If you love the style enough, then just like a pair of jeans, why not buy two? Once you’ve splashed out, add the finishing touches, with pretty cushions in a shade that complements your sheets. If sheets are plain, choose pillows in a slightly lighter or darker shade to create tone, or to complement a design, choose one of the secondary shades and use as an accent colour in your accessories. To add texture, a luxurious throw completes your overall look.

And finally…make them last

Although all bed linen will come with care instructions, here are a few handy hints to make sure you get the best from your lovely new linen:

  • Keep coloured bed linen vibrant, by washing them with a colour care detergent.
  • Always wash your bedding separately to stop it becoming discoloured from contact with clothes.
  • Follow the wash care instructions that appear on all your bedding to avoid shrinkage.

Bed Linen Pattern Sheets

Your Style