The earliest types of sheets were made out of linens. They felt softer than cotton and they had a white color to them. The Egyptians were the first to create a woven linen fabric, and the Europeans brought this to the New World. By the end of the 19th century, cotton types of sheets were invented. Even though cotton is much easier to cultivate and easier to produce overall, linen types of sheets are still popular. Other fabric types you will find in sheets to put on your bed include silk, brocade, flannel, satin, polyester, and more.
If you’re not sure which types of sheets to use in your bedroom, we’re going to outline 22 comfortable options that you should consider the next time you shop.
There are several types of sheets you can buy to fit your bed, and getting it right will ensure that you get a good night’s sleep. White bed sheets, morning by Epicantus / CC BY 2.0
1. 250 Thread Count
The thread count refers to the number of threads that pass through a single square inch of your sheet. If the company can run 100 threads vertically and 100 threads horizontally per square inch, you’d get a 200 thread count. Any number below 250 is going to be slightly rough, but it can get a lot softer as you wash the sheets over time.
Physically touching these sheets and seeing how soft they are along with paying attention to the quality of the stitching will help you buy comfortable types of sheets at the 250 thread count level. They’ll be comfortable without breaking the bank.
2. 250 to 500 Thread Count
A lot of people discover that having a thread count that ranges between 180 and 400 is going to be the best option. They’re very soft and very comfortable to sleep on. Many people believe that a higher thread count will be more comfortable to lay and sleep on, and this is true up to a point. At some point, it will be impossible for sheet manufacturers to get the high thread counts they claim their types of sheets have.
This is why it’s extremely important to do your research on the quality of the company you want to purchase your type of sheet from. Also, make a note to pay attention to the quality of your sheets, and consider which material they used to create the sheets to help you make a good choice.
3. 500 and Up Thread Count
A lot of people search for the highest quality thread count they can find because it’s softer and more pleasing to the touch, there is a problem that appears once you hit around 500 and up for the thread count. Common sense will tell you that companies can’t get 500 vertical and 500 horizontal threads in every square inch of fabric to create types of sheets with 1,000 for the thread count, but it’s easy to purchase sheets with an even higher number.
What the company does to ensure that they have the highest thread count possible is to twist the fibers to create piles that they use to meet the thread count. Instead of counting the actual threads that run through the sheets, they count the piles they twist together. One company might call a pile made from four threads a single thread, another one will count it as four threads. This allows them to boost the thread count.
You can grow bamboo as a pretty ornamental plant both indoors and out, but there are also types of sheets made out of this material. A lot of people don’t know that what gets marketed as bamboo sheets are actually rayon. This means that instead of being as stiff and rough as bamboo would be as a fabric, it goes through a process that turns it into a pulp before turning it back into a solid and spinning it into thread.
This involves the use of very harmful chemicals, and while you won’t find traces of these chemicals in the finished type of sheet, it’s not an eco-friendly process. The fabric is soft and silky to the touch, breathes like cotton, and it’s durable to give people the best mix of cotton and silk sheets without the higher price tag that silk demands.
Bamboo sheets may not be very popular or the first choice when people go shopping, but they can be a very durable option. Bamboo sheets by Sleepline Media / CC BY 2.0
5. California King
A king-sized bed requires special types of sheets, but a California king does too as it’s bigger than a queen mattress by more narrow than a traditional king. It’s still a very long bed, but two people sleeping on it won’t have as much space to sprawl out as they would with a king. This bed and the mattresses are usually more expensive than king beds, so they’re not nearly as popular. So, it also makes the sheets much more difficult to find and purchase, and they come with a higher price tag attached.
It’s very easy to find cotton types of sheets, and this is why they’re so popular. Cotton also does a great job of staying cool if you sleep hot, even during the hotter months in certain planting zones. It’s also easy to care for and pop into the washing machine to clean, is breathable, and it’ll get softer the more you wash it. The durability factor is another reason why so many people like this type of sheet, and it’s a very forgiving fabric that you can wash stains out relatively easily. A few popular types of sheets made out of cotton include but are not limited to:
With an incredible durability factor, smooth finish, and resistance to pilling, Egyptian cotton is some of the highest quality types of sheets you can get. Typically, it features an extra-long stable, and this is the longest cotton fiber available. For the real deal, this will have a high price tag.
Imagine having your favorite stretchy t-shirt in sheet form and you’ll understand what jersey sheets feel like. This type of sheet comes out ready to be used and soft. The sheets are also easy to clean, but they pill with age and aren’t very classy due to this. They also tend to easily stretch out with use, and they’re far less durable than other types of sheets.
Pima is a close second when it comes to types of sheets that mimic Egyptian cotton. They also feature long-staple materials, and the cotton is high-quality, durable, and as luxuriously soft as you can get without the higher price tag that Egyptian cotton has.
This type of sheet comes with a lower quality attached than you’d get with Egyptian and Pima, but it’s a short-staple cotton that is the most common option you’ll find in stores. Labels that claim to be 100% cotton usually fit into this category. They’re not nearly as soft as other options, but they’re very durable.
Smaller than a queen bed but larger than a twin, a double bed can be one that is difficult to find a type of sheet for. If you don’t, it’ll be a constant frustrating battle to keep your bed looking neat because the sheets will slide off. These sheets usually measure 75-inches by 54-inches, and they give you enough room that you can easily sleep two people to the bed without fighting over the covers.
The flat sheet has different sizes, so it’s a good idea to ensure that you find one that will fit your mattress while giving you enough overhead to make the bed easily. Some companies call this type of sheet full instead of a double.
A fitted sheet is a type of sheet that gets securely put on your mattress. All four corners have pockets in it that get tightened using elastic to keep the sheet securely in place once you have it on the bed. They won’t move around easily or pop off.
Getting the correct fitted sheet size for your bed is key to this sheet doing what it’s supposed to do and staying in place. Fitted sheets that are too small can’t stretch far enough to wrap around the corners of your mattress, and ones that are too large will be loose and slide around. In turn, you won’t get a good night’s sleep if it comes off in the middle of the night.
It’s essential that your fitted sheet is the correct size for your bed because this will ensure that it fits snugly and doesn’t come off. I Still Can’t Fold Fitted Sheets by Alan Levine / CC0 1.0
Flannel is a great type of sheet to have during the winter or when you’re going to deal with colder temperatures at night. They’re made out of fluffed cotton that is softer, and they come with a deeper pile to help trap and lock in your body heat. This makes it a great option for colder nights because they can keep you warmer than other types of sheets. You might be used to looking at the thread count when you shop for sheets, but flannel gets compared using ounces to square yards. You can sometimes find flannel sheets available all year long, but it’s going to be much easier to find them in stores as the holidays and colder weather approaches.
The flat sheet is the type of sheet most people lay under, and you put it on the bed after you have your fitted sheet in place and before the rest of your blankets. Flat sheets are available in a huge range of sizes and materials. Some people may think that they don’t have to use them, but they’re great at making sure that when you sweat in the middle of the night, it doesn’t get on the rest of the blankets and make you wash them all.
If you have issues with pulling off the flat sheet, either when you toss or turn during the night or when you’re making the bed, you’ll want to get a flat sheet that comes with a pocket in the bottom just like fitted sheets have. This allows you to anchor your flat sheet more securely on the bed so it won’t fall off.
11. Flat with a Pocket
We touched on this type of sheet, but they can be very tricky to actually find. They’re worth it if you have an issue with pulling your flat sheets off the bed at night and have to remake everything in the morning. They’re nice for people who toss and turn a lot during the night and pull the sheet up and get it tangled in the process.
Unlike more traditional types of sheets that are a piece of fabric that you tuck under the mattress at the bottom of your bed, these sheets come with pockets at the corners. They’re very similar to fitted sheets. The top of the flat sheet doesn’t have these pockets so that you can use it like you would a traditional flat sheet, but the bottom has pockets that allows you to attach it securely to your mattress. This prevents people from pulling the sheet off the bed when you sleep.
King types of sheets measure 80 inches by 80 inches, and this larger sheet works well for the larger sized bed. They’re long enough that they can hang off the bed to disguise some bedroom storage ideas on smaller beds. King beds are more expensive than queens due to the size, so it’s not common for people to buy these sheets unless they have a king bed. You will have to figure out if you need a regular king or a California king sheet because there is a width difference between the two.
Linen types of sheets are made from a flax plant, and this material has been around for centuries while enjoying a high popularity. The sheets are anti-allergenic, and this helps people who have skin issues sleep better without having a reaction. They allow for a high amount of air flow through the fabric, and this prevents you from getting overheated and uncomfortable as you sleep. Every time you wash these sheets, they’ll get softer and shinier. They also hold up very well to heavy use. However, one issue is that they tend to get and stay wrinkled, but you won’t see this if you make your bed and cover them with a duvet or comforter.
This type of sheet is polyester that has an extremely fine weave on it. The sheets are a lot softer than plain polyester sheets are, but they’re not as breathable as you’d get with cotton sheets. So, this sheet can make it hard to fall asleep if you tend to run hot when you sleep or if it’s hot in the room. They are extremely durable, and they can stand up to stains very well. This makes them a great choice if you have a kid who is messy or you tend to eat in bed.
It may seem strange for you to personalize your sheets, but if you have a bigger family that is constantly having to fight over them on laundry day, this may be a decent option to consider if you’re looking at different types of sheets. This is especially helpful if you have sheets in the home that you want to make sure no one takes. As a gift, they will stand out. You can even make them a wedding gift with the couple’s initials.
Polyester generally doesn’t get used itself to create types of sheets, but it’s combined with another fabric, like cotton, to create budget-friendly sheets. When you purchase this type of sheet, you have to remember that it’s scratchy and stiff by itself, and it’s not nearly as comfortable to sleep on as other materials.
A queen bed is a very popular size because it’s a little roomier than a full or double bed, and it doesn’t take as much effort to make it or keep it looking neat as a king bed would. The sheets for this bed generally measure 79-inches by 59-inches, but just like you’d get with double types of sheets, the sizes will vary slightly. So, you have to pay close attention when you start shopping.
If you don’t have any, it’s possible to use queen sheets on a double bed. However, they’ll typically be very loose, and your fitted sheet won’t be very comfortable to sleep on. For some people, this is well worth it, because purchasing the incorrect types of sheets to use on a smaller bed can save you from having to go back to the store to return them.
Queen beds are one of the most popular sizes available because they give you enough room to move around when you sleep without taking up the whole room. Jr Suite Bed by Todd Wight / CC BY 2.0
18. Sensory Compression
These types of sheets are perfect for any adult or child that has sensory processing issues and benefits from a weighted blanket. This sheet gives you the feeling of deep pressure throughout your body without adding heat in the warmer summer months. The sheets tend to be very stretchy, and they will pull tight on your body to help calm down your nervous system and relax when you lay down.
These sheets are made out of a very breathable fabric that won’t heat up at night, and they’re light enough to use all year. They work well under heavier blankets during the winter. By tucking this type of sheet in on the sides of your bed over the fitted sheet, you can use it as a flat sheet.
It’s easy to remove any guesswork from finding types of sheets that fit your bed while ensuring that whatever you pick will look great and match by getting a sheet set. They usually come in four pieces, including two pillowcases, a flat sheet, and a fitted sheet. You can also find sets that come with four or six pillowcases included.
If you don’t buy this type of sheet, you’ll have to purchase all of the individual components that you need to make the bed. Some people may prefer this, but others like to have the sheets already packaged and picked for them. It makes it easier to make your bed with matching sheets that feel and look great together.
Silk sheets have a reputation for being the most luxurious type of sheet on the market. They’re very sensuous and cool to the touch, and people love how they feel. Because silk is naturally hypoallergenic, they’re a fantastic choice for anyone who has an issue with year-round allergies because they can make the bed more comfortable to sleep on. They tend to be a lot more expensive than other sheets because they get made using a fiber that silkworms produce, and they require very delicate care. A lot of people may love this type of sheet, but other people find them too slippery to sleep on comfortably.
21. Split King
Most beds come outfitted with a single mattress, but a split king features two mattresses. So, it makes sense that they require two fitted sheets. They do only come with a single flat sheet that is big enough to go over the whole bed. This may seem like an odd setup for a single bed, but since there are two mattresses, each person can sleep in the bed and have total control over how firm the mattress is.
So, both people will be able to get the best possible night’s sleep without any arguing about the type of mattress. However, having two fitted sheets makes it very easy to make this bed in the morning as you won’t have to try and stretch a larger fitted sheet over both mattresses.
Twin types of sheets generally measure 75-inches by 39-inches, and it’s the most common mattress size in a kid’s room. If you have a twin bed that is slightly longer than normal, you want to get an XL twin sheet to cover it without being too short. This will make it easier to make the bed while allowing the sheets to fit nicely.
Popular Sheet Weaves
Along with the different types of sheets, there are a few weaves that you have to keep in mind when you start shopping. They include:
Dobby weaves get produced on a dobby loom and they usually have small stripes or geometric patterns running through it. The weave creates more texture than other options, including diamonds, squares, or dots. They’ll give you a slightly raised feel when you touch them, and the most common option is thick stripes.
Percale sheets feature cotton, and they have a plain weave of one yarn over and one yard under to create a crisp, matte finish. The sheets will get softer each time you wash them, and they work well for warmer weather and hot sleepers. They’re not resistant to wrinkles, so you want to move them from the dryer straight away.
Sateen sheets are very similar types of sheets to satin, but you can’t confuse the two. The satin weave structure creates sateen sheets, but they use yard over filament fibers. Despite this material difference, these sheets are just as silky and elegant as satin. They are slightly less durable, but they’re nice for cooler weather and cold sleepers.
The twill weave style gets characterized by an under two, over two pattern. You get a very recognizable diagonal design that is very wrinkle-resistant due to the thickness. These sheets are prone to shrinkage than the ones with the sateen weave.
We’ve outlined 22 different types of sheets for you to consider when you shop, and you can mix and match fibers and designs to come up with the option that is best for your needs. If you get it right, you’ll get sheets that last for years.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.