Crawling into bed after a long day is one of life’s simplest pleasures, and adding fine bed linens makes the experience that much more luxurious. Swapping out your old linens for a crisp percale or classic sateen of the highest quality elevates the mood of any bedroom and enhances the joy that is resting.
Luxury linens are an investment, so it’s important to select high-quality linens that will perform and look beautiful for years to come. The right luxury bed linens should fit your lifestyle, reflect the ambiance you hope to create in the bedroom and support your best nights of sleep. Read on to learn how to select the best fine linens for you and care for them so they last a lifetime.
How to Choose Quality Bed Linens
Luxury bed linens can include everything from sheets, shams, duvet covers, quilted coverlets, pillows, comforters, mattress pads, and bed skirts. Your combination of linens and bedding accessories should reflect your unique personality – not only in style, but also in terms of preferences for quality, feel, thread count, and material.
Step 1 – Look at the Fabric
Choosing high-quality bed linens begins with selecting the best quality fabrics. Luxury linens are often made of high-quality, long-staple cotton, though some may be made from linen. In addition to these two most preferred materials, fine bed linens may also consist of silk, cotton/poly blends, or modal.
Cotton is the most popular for its comfort and natural moisture-wicking properties. Linen also wicks moisture and offers a cool touch to the skin. Silk can be a commitment to care for, but is incredibly soft, like butter, but does not breathe as well as the former two options. A cotton/polyester blend is similar to pure cotton, but, while a blend may wrinkle less, it may not breathe as well as cotton. Finally, modal has a similar feel to silk, yet washes and wicks like cotton.
Step 2 – Look at the Thread Count
Luxury linens have a premium quality to them, which comes not only from the thread count but also the quality of the threads used and their source. Thread count reflects how many threads per square inch; warm sleepers often prefer a lower thread count sateen or percale sheeting for a more breathable sleep, while a higher thread count creates a cozier, warmer experience.
While a high thread count is often purported to be the top indicator of sheeting quality, it is not the only consideration. That being said, the widely accepted thought is that the higher the thread count the finer the fabric will be.
Look for a minimum of 300 thread count sheets woven in Italy using Egyptian or Supima cotton.
Step 3 – Look at the Weave
The fabric weave plays an important role in determining the feel of fine linens. Flannel-woven fabric feels plush and fuzzy thanks to a unique brushed weaving technique. Percale is a simple weaving method that creates a smooth and crisp finish that lends itself well to a cool sleep. Sateen uses more vertical threads, called the warp, than horizontal threads, called the weft, which creates a subtle sheen and a silky finish.
Step 4 – Look at the Brand/Source
Choose a brand with a solid reputation as a fine linens supplier that uses quality fibers sourced from regions known for their excellent materials. The best sheeting is bedding woven in Italy using the finest yarns available. The best fine linen fabric traditionally and typically comes from Italy and Belgium.
Step 5 – Put Your Bedding Look Together
Create a full-picture design for your bed by finding photos of beds that look inviting to you. This will help you to bring it all together. A complete bed set is more than just sheets and shams (pillowcases), it’s also the comforters, pillows, throws, and other accessories. All of which should come together flawlessly to curate the distinctive, authentic experience that best represents you and brings beauty and comfort to everyday living.
One of the current trends commonly recognized is the “hotel look” used by many luxury hotels
around the world. The look and feel of the hotel’s bed linen are heralded by guests because of
the feel of the sheeting achieved by repeated daily laundering and its simple, yet luxurious, look created by the simple embroidered line design in each guest room. The hotel look usually
encompasses simple white bedding with one or two thin lines of embroidery. This is easily
achieved and gives a finished look to the bed.
Types of Luxury Bedding Linens
- Sheet – Term used to describe a fitted sheet or flat sheet.
- Pillow Shams – Pillow covers that fit the pillow and give a finished look to the bed.
- Pillow Case – An American bag-style pillow cover with an opening on one end.
- Duvet Cover – A functional and, often, decorative cover that goes over your duvet or comforter to protect the insert from dirt and stains.
- Blanket – A layer woven of cotton, silk, or wool to provide warmth.
- Blanket Cover/Coverlet – A layer placed over the blanket and used to protect the blanket and create warmth.
- Quilt – A thicker, quilted blanket cover that is stitched to secure the filling in place and covered in a luxe or decorative fabric.
- Duvet/Comforter & Pillow –Soft filling made from either high-quality goose down, wool, silk, Tencel, maize, Outlast, cashmere, or a synthetic alternative and covered in a high-quality protective cover.
- Throw – An additional layer that can be placed at the end of the bed or on a nearby chair to be used for a finishing touch, extra warmth, or when a nap is needed!
- Bed Skirt – A decorative covering placed between the mattress and box spring to conceal the area below the mattress.
The Best Fine Bed Linens According to Fine Linen Experts
The best way to find the right luxury bed linens is to listen to insider experts. Fine linen stylists and experts dedicate their entire careers to curating the perfect ambiance and experience for the rooms in which they work, including bedrooms, bathrooms, and dining rooms. They can tell the good from the better and can pinpoint which materials and styles will elevate your experience in these rooms.
Liz Barbatelli is the principal of E. Braun & Co of Beverly Hills, Inc. with 30+ years of experience in fine linen design. Liz understands what makes bed linens top-tier quality and has mastered form meeting function. Her love and dedication to linens extend beyond aesthetics. To Liz, unique fine linen experiences elevate life’s simplest moments with beauty, craftsmanship, and acute attention to detail.
- E. Braun & Co. – The classic American linen house has been designing and curating ideal collections of the world’s finest linens for over 75 years. Crafted of the finest fabrics at the best workrooms around the world, their discerning clientele looks to E. Braun & Co. for creative styling, expert finishing, and lasting quality.
- Matouk – Matouk bases its operation in Fall River, Massachusetts factory where dedicated craftsmen create the highest-quality linens for the home. For almost 100 years, Matouk has given Americans ready access to some of the best-loved linens.
- Frette – An Italian company known for its linen quality, Frette works with the finest fibers and skilled artisans to craft home linens that embody luxury, comfort, and creativity.
- D Porthault – D Porthault is an established luxury retailer of French linens featuring whimsical nature-inspired prints, embroidered details, and lush colors.
- Home Treasures – Home Treasures is a respected manufacturer of custom luxury Italian linens in the U.S., Home Treasures uses only the finest textiles mostly from Italy, and expert seamstresses to craft pieces based on individual needs right in Houston, TX.
What Are the Best Places to Buy Bed Linens?
Looking to make a bedding purchase soon? Working directly with a fine linen store that has a well-curated collection with a wide variety is the best choice. They usually have an experienced team who can guide you to help you make your best selections. Follow them on Instagram, get ideas, learn, and, finally, browse these retailers both in-store and online to find the luxe linens you deserve.
Here are a few recommendations for some of the best independently-owned fine linen and home accessory shopping with lasting style and quality, according to Liz Barbatelli and other design experts.
- E. Braun & Co. in Beverly Hills, CA
- E. Braun & Co. in New York City, NY
- Sue Fisher King in San Francisco, CA
- Thread Count in Miami. FL
- Lin Marche in San Antonio, TX
- Jan de Luz Linens in Carmel, CA
- Linens Limited in Lexington, KY
- Loro Lino in Dallas, TX
- The Picket Fence in Sun Valley, ID
- Gattles in Naples, FL
- The Brass Bed in Denver, CO
Here are a few larger brands to watch and look for. Many may be offered at the aforementioned retail locations.
Caring for Your Luxury Bed Linens
All bed linens are worth taking care of properly regardless of the quality. Luxury linens are a little more of an investment. Both are something used and enjoyed daily, after all, we spend a third of our lives in bed. With proper care, they can provide an elevated and captivating bedroom experience for a lifetime. Here are some easy-to-follow washing tips:
Here are some easy-to-follow washing tips:
- Sort the articles by color.
- Don’t overload your washer! Wash one set of sheets per load.
- Use warm water with a cold rinse. If particularly soiled or oily and sheets are not a dark color, use hot water with a cold rinse.
- If the sheeting is colored, wash the entire set together in cold water to ensure the color stays the same.
- Use detergents without additives like bleaching agents, harsh chemicals, whiteners, or fabric softeners.
- Do not use chlorine bleach or bleach alternatives.
- Do use Oxy-Clean, Zout, or Spray n’Wash as needed on stains or make-up.
- For best results, use a specially formulated laundry detergent. The Laundry’s Finest Laundry Powder, from The Laundry at Linens Limited, is free of synthetic chemicals, additives, bleaches, brighteners, or phosphorus and made with 100% organic surfactants. The Laundry’s laundry powder has produced unmatched results in maintaining fine linens for over 50 years.
- If hand washing, follow the washing suggestions above. After laundering, wrap articles in a large terrycloth towel and gently wring the water into the towel. Avoid excessive twisting. Never strangle your wet linens!
- Dry one set at a time for superior and faster results.
- Reshaping or shaking the items apart before throwing them in the dryer is recommended for best results.
- Use medium to high heat. Your dyer probably has a setting for bedding or sheets.
- Unnecessary exposure to heat is destructive to the cotton fibers.
- Do not use dryer sheets. While it may smell lovely, it adds a coating or film on top of the fabric.
- When the dryer stops, pull items from the dryer and fold them or lay them open over a drying rack or on the bed to cool. This will avoid excessive wrinkles.
- When using a drying rack, reshape and smooth the fabric and hang it neatly over the bar or on a hanger for best results.
- Hand-press sheets as you fold them to help smooth out the wrinkles.
- For the perfect look, press linens while slightly damp with a hot iron (no steam) to remove wrinkles. If the items have dried, use a spray bottle to wet them and iron with a hot iron (no steam).
- Check labels for specialty items like quilts and decorative pillows for washing instructions or take them to a professional laundry/dry cleaner for cleaning.
- Embroidered linens should be washed separately. Most embroideries are colorfast. Just in case the thread is reactive, the first time wash should be in cold water using a detergent without additives or optical brighteners. White vinegar may be added to the wash to set the color, prevent fading, or color transfer.
- After the first wash, wash in warm water with a cold rinse.
- Do not dry linens in direct sunlight. This can cause fading or yellowing.
- To dry outside, find a shady spot with a fresh breeze.
- The finest linens are best preserved with specialty laundering services to prolong their life with the utmost care. Not everyone can have a laundress at home, so Liz recommends you choose a trusted and knowledgeable cleaner to take care of your bedding. The Laundry at Linens Limited uses old-world laundering and finishing techniques, where each order is washed separately and each item is stretched, hand-ironed, and packaged to maintain and restore linens to pristine condition.
Bed Linens FAQ: How to Enhance Your Sleeping Experience
Finding, using, and caring for fine bed linens requires more research and knowledge. But the extra effort is rewarded with a picturesque aesthetic and an extravagantly plush sleeping experience every night. Find a knowledgeable salesperson at your local department store or specialty linen store who can help to guide you to make the best selections.
What bed linens can I use to layer on my bed?
For a luxurious, layered look for your bed, use this strategy incorporating various linens and textures:
- Fitted sheet
- Top or flat sheet
- Blanket and/or quilted blanket cover or quilt
- Duvet insert and duvet cover
- Layer in pillows with pillow covers – shams or cases of varying sizes
- Fold the duvet and duvet cover on the lower third of the bed
- Add decorative pillows if desired
What if I want a simpler approach to my bed?
For a simpler look and process, try a European approach to your bed:
- Fitted sheet
- Duvet and duvet cover
- Pillows and pillow covers – shams or cases
Or, as another simple alternative, try a Modern or Classic approach to your bed:
- Fitted Sheet
- Flat Sheet
- Pillows and pillow covers – shams or cases
- Blanket cover, coverlet, or quilt
How can I keep my bed linens smelling fresh?
Keeping your linens smelling fresh is just as much about cleaning as it is about storage.
- Wash your sheets weekly.
- Ensure linens are completely dried before storing them.
- Line the storage shelves with scented paper or use small bags of potpourri to keep the air in the linen closet fresh.
How do I buy bed linens?
- Explore Instagram or Pinterest to identify the look and feel that you want to create.
- Visit a department or specialty store to see what appeals to you and find a good salesperson to help you.
- Know your bed size and mattress depth.
- Know your pillow sizes.
- Identify the fabric, feel, and color that you like.
- When buying bed linens, first identify the size, fabric, and feel you want. Then, filter options by these qualifications. If possible, feel the linens in person before purchasing to ensure they have the texture you want. Then, buy the linens that feel like the best fit for you.
- If possible, shopping in person is best to ensure that you get the best fit for you.
- If ordering online, select the look that appeals to you most. Once they arrive, read the return policy carefully before opening and unfolding the items.
- Have fun! It will look great and give you a sense of joy in your bedroom.
Your Source for the Best Fine Bed Linens
When sourcing the finest bed linens, rely on experts such as fine linen salespeople and stylists to recommend the best brands and products that will create a lavish yet livable environment. Start there and explore the options, leaning into what feels most true to you.
Get direct inspiration from Liz Barbatelli’s lifetime experience and expertise, browse samples of her curated linen collections at E. Braun & Co., learn about the importance of a carefully calibrated laundry powder like her Laundry’s Finest Laundry Powder, and discover insights from the linen maven herself on her website to begin your search on the right foot.