Buying guide: The truth about thread count
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? At the end of the day, I can't wait to stretch out under my fresh, soft covers and nestle my face into a good cotton-covered pillow. We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you get quality for your money? There's no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn't entirely true. With the help and expertise of Joanna Goodman, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, we expose the truth about thread count and what it takes to find quality bed sheets.
What is thread count, really?
Simply put, thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. This number is based on the threads woven horizontally ("weft") and vertically ("warp"). Extra threads can also be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread count. These added threads are called "picks" and are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands. This is why the idea that high counts equal better quality isn't really accurate. Consider this: Joanna says most weavers will say the maximum number of threads that can be woven into one square inch of fabric is 500 to 600. Though the number is arguable and, according to Joanna, "depends on the mill you deal with," it gives you an idea of where the line is between single-ply, unpicked weaves and ones that add threads here and there to bump up the count.
What to look for when buying sheets
Joanna lists three things to look for on the label: if it's Egyptian cotton, where it's woven and, lastly, the thread count. While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. "The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. So Egyptian cotton will be of a better quality," Joanna says. She also recommends pima cotton, which is grown in America, "though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian." When it comes to weaving, however, she swears by the Italians as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton though, otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!
What to avoid when buying sheets
Joanna's one key piece of advice is to watch out for extremely low priced, high thread count sheet sets. A complete sheet set with a high thread count for $100 or less is probably not the dream bargain you think it is. As Joanna believes, "you always get what you pay for." The price tag for bed linens will vary depending on the sheet size and what items you're buying, such as a duvet cover, sheet sets, or pillowcases. "A superior quality 200 thread count queen set (including flat, fitted, two pillowcases), made of Egyptian cotton and woven in Europe, could retail reasonably for about $150-$250," says Joanna.
What do you prefer?
After going through the quality checklist, go with what feels best for you. If you're looking for a durable linen, Joanna recommends any percale from thread count 200 to 800. Percale is any cotton woven with a 200 thread count or higher and will be more durable than a cotton satin of the same thread count. It's also less likely to pill than cotton satin because it has a denser weave. Love the feel of a cotton button down shirt? Joanna advises a crisp, dense 200 thread count percale. Prefer a silkier sheet? Go for a 300 to 600 cotton satin. If you want lighter sheets, Joanna says, a 400 thread count sheet can be soft and light, while an 800 percale would be soft and dense. The higher the thread count, the more likely multiple-ply thread is used or picks are added, making the fabric denser and heavier.
Now you know that quality is not just about the number, so don't let numbers rule your bed! Remember what to look for on the label and be wary of too-low prices for supposedly high quality items. Beyond that, go with what you prefer. Get a good feel of the sheets before buying. Whether you're unzipping the packaging or lying down on a display bed, make sure the fabric feels good against your skin and soon you'll be having sweet dreams!
Find out how to keep your new linens crisp and clean with our tips to whiter-than-white sheets.
The children on your holiday shopping list are sure to love these unique and interactive gift ideas.
Shopping for kids can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially during the holidays. To keep the little ones on your holiday shopping list happy, we've rounded up some of our favourite fun and interactive gift ideas. Perfect for children of all ages, these items are sure to bring joy and excitement over the holidays.
Colouring books will always be a popular gift. This year, gift your little Picasso with a unique spin on the classic colouring book - a puzzle they can colour themselves! Colour Your Own Puzzle, Winners, $12.99.
A toothbrush that gets kids excited about brushing is a win-win for parents and children. Featuring an interactive app you can sync to your smart device and customizable stickers - what's not to love! Philips Sonicare for Kids, Walmart, $59.99.
Perfect for the creative kid on your shopping list. This DIY marble maze allows players to design their own experience, challenge opponents and even features a fun virtual reality viewer. Seedling Marble Maze, Indigo, $74.95.
When it's just too cold to play outside, this fun caravan-style tent is the perfect for letting creativity and imagination flourish indoors. HEMMAHOS Children's tent, IKEA, $39.99.
How adorable are these wooden kitchen appliances? With realistic rotating pieces and turning clicks, your kids will enjoy hours of fun. Wooden Appliances, Pottery Bark Kids, prices vary.
This cookie cutter set is a great way to combine a young Jedi masters love for baking holiday treats and their obsession with all things Star Wars. Star Wars™ 8-Piece Cookie Cutter Set, Williams-Sonoma, $29.95.
Kids will love this fun, interactive, and imaginative way to learn math, language and shapes. Designed for use with your tablet, each subject has its own games and interactive toys. Tiggly Learner Kit, Best Buy, $99.99.
Add a new addition to family game night with a classic like Scrabble. Fun for the whole family, this vintage edition comes in a stylish, linen-wrapped book. Scrabble Vintage Bookshelf Edition, Indigo, $49.95.
Build-A-Bear Workshop's newest reindeer collection means from start to finish your children can put their own unique spin on creating the seasonal stuffed toy of their dreams. Glisten, Twinkle and Tinsel Reindeer, Build-A-Bear Workshop, prices vary.
Modern West Coast kitchen
A gutsy renovation decision affords these Vancouver homeowners a highly functional, modern kitchen.
An open floor plan; rich wood finishes; a sleek, casual look: These are the hallmarks of the West Coast modern style that Sally Parrott and Erik Berg wanted in a new home for their family of five. But given their neighbourhood of choice – Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant area – they realized they’d have to renovate top to bottom to get it. “Our options were older character-filled homes with not enough space, or poorly renovated houses,” says Sally. “We ended up buying the ugliest house on the street, literally,” she adds, dubbing the then four-apartment home the “1994 pink palace.” The solid structure had the flexibility and spaciousness the couple needed to turn it into an open-concept wonder with a welcoming, organized kitchen at its heart.
A boxed-in layout.
Take drastic measure to create an open-concept main-level floor plan. Budget breakdown Materials = $33,310 -Millwork (cabinetry) $25,000* · Countertops $6,000 -Backsplash tiles $545 -Floor tiles $1,130 -Cabinetry hardware $635 Electrical/plumbing = $10,000 Appliances = $26,755 -Refrigerator $12,300 · range $9,000 -Range hood $2,150 -Microwave $420 -Microwave trim kit $330 · Sink $1,870 -Faucet $685 Total cost = $70,065 (excludes design; *includes labour)
The hefty walnut kitchen island with room for three and a matching pantry ground the white cabinets and quartz countertops. “I wanted quartz for ease of care,” says homeowner Sally Parrott, “but I was surprised to learn it wasn’t that much cheaper than marble.” Some savings were found in the porcelain floor tile that looks like cement.
It’s one thing to gut an entire home, but it’s another to move the kitchen to the opposite side of the house, knock down a structural wall and close up a window. Yet that’s just what Jamie Deck, designer and director of Shift Interiors, advised. The couple was torn over the increased costs, but in the end couldn’t argue with spatial logic. “It allowed us to open up the whole layout,” says Jamie.
The first big choice came in the minimalistic low-sheen white cabinetry. Sally wanted a style without fussy profile edges. But Erik, whose taste runs more traditional, was concerned the kitchen would read too stark. Enter the warm-toned richly grained walnut island (topped with quartz), pantry and floating shelf. “I wanted high-quality materials that would stand a lot of wear and tear, knowing we would spend a lot of time here,” explains Sally.
“We’re thrilled with the outcome of the kitchen. It’s the happiest room in our home,” says Sally.
Adding a pop of colour with a floral arrangement is a great way to keep any space bright and cheerful.
Get creative with your counter space. There are lots of stylish ways to display counter-worthy kitchen accessories.
Image by: Zillow
Take inspiration from (or just fantasize about) these celebrity bedrooms we can't help but love.
This large master bedroom is truly a luscious hideaway, from the beautifully worn silk rug to the oversized tufted bench and headboard, to the (two!) romantic chandeliers overhead. To see the full house tour, click here.
Falling in line with the calm, relaxing feel throughout the home, the master suite's modern rustic vibe is the perfect spot to unwind in bed next to a cozy fire. To see the full house tour, click here.
Cozying up in this master bedroom is easy thanks to the luxe and plush textures throughout. To see the full house tour, click here.
In this pristine, all-white bedroom, there is no denying that the view is what makes this room the dreamiest master bedroom. To see the full house tour, click here.
Rooted in darker tones, this sophisticated master suite invites you in, but the dreamy four-poster bed enveloped in sheer drapes is why you stay. To see the full house tour, click here.
Where do we even begin? This bedroom design is nothing short of lavish. Hardwood floors, dark furnishings, and a large chandelier come together to form a beautiful master bedroom; not to mention the French doors that lead to a gorgeous rooftop patio. To see the full house tour, click here.
There's just something romantic enjoying the ultimate New York City view from bed. To see the full house tour, click here.
Where else would you find a four-poster mirrored bed? To see the full house tour, click here.
Enjoy the Hollywood Hills breeze from bed in this indoor-outdoor bedroom thanks to its retractable wall, taking the foot of the bed poolside. To see the full house tour, click here.
We may be more romanced by this bedroom's sweeping views of San Francisco from the picturesque bay window than the decor itself, but we're okay with that! To see the full house tour, click here.