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.
Beautiful blue laundry room.
We've created a laundry room you could spend all day in – on both a royal budget and a baby one.
1 CANISTER, KSP glass Pasabahce with glass loop handle, Kitchen Stuff Plus, $12. 2 LAUNDRY DETERGENT, The Laundress Delicate Wash in Lady, Soap and Water Everyday, $20. 3 BATH/HAND TOWELS, WestPoint Home cotton Lasting colour in White, Bed Bath & Beyond, $22. 4 WASHING MACHINE, LG 4.6 cu ft. Ultra Large Capacity SteamWasher in Graphite Steel, The Home Depot, $1,048. 5 FAUCET, Powder-coated brass single-lever single-hole Ringskår, IKEA, $99. 6 WALLPAPER, Blue Pattern Tile, artistichomeowner.com, US $90 per roll. 7 CONTAINER, Tin, HomeSense, $8. 8 CANISTER, Anchor Hocking glass Montana with stainless steel lid, Kitchen Stuff Plus, $10. 9 BASKETS, Woven wicker, HomeSense, $17 each. 10 NESTING BASKETS, Seagrass, Canadian Tire, $15 for 3. 11 TURKISH BATH TOWEL, Plain and Simple Home, $74. 12 LAUNDRY BAG, Cotton in Hammam Stripe, West Elm Market, $34. 13 HAMPER, Rattan Sedona, Crate and Barrel, $100. 14 RUNNERS, Blue diamond woven 4' x 2.25', HomeSense, $20 each.
1 CANISTER, Extra Large Glass, Crate and Barrel, $30. 2 LAUNDRY DETERGENT, The Laundress Le Labo in Rose, Soap and Water Everyday, $56. 3 BATH TOWELS, PB Classic Turkish cotton, $29 each; HAND TOWELS, PB Classic Turkish cotton, $19 each, Pottery Barn. 4 WASHING MACHINE, LG 6 cu. ft. Mega Capacity SteamWasher in Graphite Steel, The Home Depot, $1,698. 5 FAUCET, Powder-coated brass Solna Single-Handle Single-Hole Pull-Down Smart Touch, Brizo, $811. 6 TILES, Hand-painted porcelain indoor/outdoor Talavera Poblana Classic C14, Mexican Traditions, $540. 7 CONTAINER, Enamelled metal Clothes Pegs, Soap and Water Everyday, $22. 8 CANISTER, Glass with polished silver lid, Ginger's, $45. 9 BASKETS, Handwoven rattan Jacquelyne Rope-Handled, Pottery Barn, $59 each. 10 BASKETS, Small woven rattan Tamiko, Ginger's, $252. 11 TURKISH BATH TOWEL, Khadi and Co. hand-loomed cotton, Plain and Simple Home, $88. 12 LAUNDRY BAG, Izola canvas Launder With Care, Ginger's, $56. 13 HAMPER, Small woven rattan Tamiko, Ginger's, $286. 14 RUNNER, Polypropylene indoor/outdoor Diamond in Denim & White, Dash & Albert Rug Company, $158.
Spray, scrub, spin dry, starch and start all over again next week – let’s face it, laundry is seldom a labour of love. But luxe products like these make it less of a chore, so soap up! 1 PEGS, Wooden Dolly, Soap and Water Everyday, $20 per pack of 50. 2 LINEN WATER, Compagnie de Provence in Luberon, Keep Me Posted, $19. 3 LINEN WATER, ElizabethW in Lavender, Ginger's, $28. 4 LINEN WATER, Lothantique in Lavender, Ginger's, $23. 5 DRYER BALL, Handmade felted wool, Lynn's Lids, $25 per pack of 3. 6 DRYER BALL, Rubber Hedgehog, West Elm Market, $9 per pack of 2. 7 DRYER SACHETS, Pi'lo lavender-filled, Soap and Water Everyday, $20. 8 DRYER SACHETS, Lavender-filled linen, Keep Me Posted, $10 per pack of 2. 9 SPOON, Wooden, Plain and Simple Home, $18. 10 LAUNDRY DETERGENT, The Laundress Delicate Wash in Lady, Soap and Water Everyday, $20. 11 DRYER BALL, Get Sorted, Home Outfitters, $10 per pack of 2. 12 DRYER BALL, Variations, Home Outfitters, $10 per pack of 8. 13 STARCH, The Laundress Stiffen Up, Soap and Water Everyday, $18. 14 SCOOP, Wooden, Plain and Simple Home, $18. 15 DRYER SHEETS, Caldrea in Black Coriander Lime, Soap and Water Everyday, $15 per pack of 80.
We love the bold yet lighthearted patterns of Talavera Poblana pottery, a tradition that dates back to 16th-century Mexico. It’s such a time-honoured practice that its production is heavily regulated in order to be called authentic. But we’re fans of the inauthentic versions, too. And the tile-look wallpaper? Muy bueno. 1 TILE, Hand-painted porcelain Talavera Poblana Classic C14, Mexican Traditions, $5 per tile. 2 TILE, Hand-painted clay Talavera Poblana Classic C5C, Mexican Traditions, $3 per tile. 3 TILE, Hand-painted clay Talavera Poblana Classic C10C, Mexican Traditions, $3 per tile. 4 TILE, Target Unica glazed porcelain stoneware Bonton in Black and White, Ciot, $22 per sq. foot. 5 TILE, Target Unica glazed percelain stoneware Bonton in Light Blue on White, Ciot, $22 per sq. foot. 6 WALLPAPER, Blue Pattern Tile, artistichomeowner.com, US $90 per roll.
Get to know your hangers before you trust them with your wardrobe! 1 Painted wood Sturdy; shape protects clothes; bottom bar allows suits and matching sets to be stored together. 2 Coated plastic with rubber shoulders Thinner than the average hanger, so you can fit more clothes in your closet; rubber grip on shoulders and bottom bar keeps everything in place. 3 Plastic attachable Another great way to get more into your closet, these hangers can hook onto each other. 4 Maple Sturdy; wide frame helps items like blazers maintain their shape; notched shoulders keep strappy shirts from slipping. 5 Cedar Natural and unvarnished wood absorbs moisture and odours, leaving clothing with a fresh cedar scent. 6 Nylon-coated plastic Super slim and perfect for space-saving; nylon coating prevents slippery fabricsand wide-necked shirts from sliding off. 7 Fabric-padded Perfect for lingerie and lightweight camisoles; smooth material helps prevent snags in silk and satin. Hangers 1 Get Sorted maple Wood Suite in White, Home Outfitters, $10 per set. 2 Coated plastic Slim Grips, Bed Bath & Beyond, $20 per set of 16. 3 Plastic Attachable in white, Bed Bath & Beyond, $6 per set of 10. 4 Maple, HomeSense, $6 per set of 5. 5 Get Sorted cedar, Home Outfitters, $14 per set of 3. 6 Nylon-coated plastic ultra-slim non-slip flocked blue, HomeSense, $17 per set of 25. 7 Fabric-padded, HomeSense, $7 per set of 5.
Might as well face it. We're addicted to plus pure white bath towels. Does anything feel better after a long, hot shower? So fresh, so clean and so pristine -- they're the quintessential start to a successful day. And at the mid-range price point of the Style at Home collection, they're also simply irresistible. BATH TOWELS, Style at Home Solid Colour Cotton in Bright White, Sears, $23.
A condo design featuring traditional details and sculptural furnishings
When Kim Calabrigo moved from a large family home to a condo, she quickly learned that bigger isn't always better.
A peaceful sanctuary in the heart of a downtown core: That doesn’t sound like too tall an order, does it? That’s what Kim Calabrigo sought when she sold her traditional Craftsman-style home in suburbia and moved to a condo in metropolitan Vancouver. Bringing no furniture with her, she was truly starting anew.
Kim’s first-ever solo home purchase offered her the opportunity to decorate exactly as she pleased. “I wanted a tone-on-tone look, mixing classic and modern elements with an edge,” she says.
Coming from a big traditional 4,200-square-foot home and moving to a smaller builder-basic 1,100-square-foot two-bedroom condo, Kim found space planning challenging. She wanted to maintain the most floor space possible while maximizing seating so she could entertain friends and family as easily as she used to.
Homeowner Kim Calabrigo's decorating wish list included sculptural furnishings, soft pink accents and traditional details.
To maximize seating in her new condo, Kim had a nine-foot-long sofa designed to run the length of the living room wall.
Opting to put a chaise against the living room's floor-to-ceiling windows keeps sightlines open and offers Kim a comfy place to take in the picturesque view with her morning cup of tea.
Though the space is open, the dining area is easily delineated by its standard banquette and oversized pendant light featuring white and peach beads and a rope-wrapped frame. "At night, the diamond motif casts beautiful shadows on the walls and ceiling," says Kim.
"I've embraced the less-is-more aesthetic and added interest by mixing old and new, shiny and matte, smooth and textured, organic and clean lined," says Kim. "I don't depend on bold colours and patterns."
Femininity reigns in the master bedroom, from the tall tufted headboard and layered wrinkled linens to the mirrored nightstands and petite vase of flouncy pink peonies. Massive windows mean that Kim can watch the sun set from the comfort of bed. Does it get any better than that?
In the master bedroom's built-in office nook, sparkly silver wallpaper subtly offsets the layers of cream, white and gold on the shelves. The palette is echoed in the frameless print of an 18th-century Venetian palazzo ballroom, resulting in a vignette that's the perfect mix of new world and old.
Celeb home tour: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's Bel Air mansion
Take a look inside celebrity couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's Bel Air estate in LA., California.
It would have been Bel Air living for Kim Kardashian and husband Kanye West, but after multiple unsuccessful renovation projects it seems they've finally listed their 9,000 square-feet unfinished home.
When the couple purchased their first home together in 2013 for $9 million, plans of completely renovating the property - like adding 4,000 square-feet, taking entire walls down, and changing the Mediterranean-style home into an Italian-villa - were in the works. Proving to be too difficult to complete, the pair then bought a second move-in ready French country-style home in Hidden Hills, L.A., tailored to their liking.
Although the interior is a blank canvas now, the original modern-meets-traditional layout was designed by architect Ron Firestone and included a library, hallway balcony, elevator, gourmet kitchen, master bath with a massage area, and large backyard with tons of outdoor space and patio. This 3/4-acre gated property could be your next project for a listed price of $11 million.
- Two-storey living room
- 5 bedrooms
- Massage room
- Gourmet kitchen
- Spa tub
Find out more and check out the listing here.
Welcome to Kimye's Bel Air estate, where curb appeal speaks for itself at this Mediterranean-style home.
The house is in a gated Bel Air neighbourhood, known as Bel Air Crest. It seems like the gated front door was the inspiration for the Georgian-style design of the interior, and candelabra chandelier, making a bold statement in this first sneak peak of the home.
Dark walnut flooring is added throughout the main floor of the two-storey house, as well as on the stairs and of course white interior columns, for a grand entryway.
Although the couple may not have kept the interior the same, this neutral design with a touch of colour brings out the Tuscan stone fireplace as the focal point of the room. Above it, a snippet of a Romeo-style balcony, fit for rap mogul, Kanye.
The dining room may be small, but the tray ceiling design and deep peach colour helps the room appear broader, and gives an eclectic feel.
Outlined by dark wood beams, windowsills and flooring, this eating nook has a great colour contrast and warm feel, perfect for breakfast and brunch.
With an opening to the backyard, new traditional interior and rich wood flooring, this gourmet kitchen can fit any large family, even the Kardashians.
Full of mahogany and chevron flooring, this warm home library is customized with French doors, making it easy to access the outdoor patio. While you're there, enjoy reading a good book in privacy, made possible by the contemporary style arched doorway.
Need a lift? Let this customized elevator give you a hand, with its rich combination of texturized wood interior.
We all know how fashion conscious the West duo is, so this large walk-in closet was exactly what they needed. Rows of built-in storage, wooden shelves and racks perfectly line the walls, as several can spotlights shine down, accentuating the trendy fashion labels the couple wears.
A fireplace in the master suite, seating area, and a spot to change, would give the couple plenty of room to lounge, along with tons of natural to brighten up the space.
For a night out on the town, the Wests need some extra time getting ready, and this lavish master bath delivers. Equipped with an impressive steam shower, spa tub and massage area, the Wests could have been pampered all day.
This spa tub is definitely soothing, with a cultured marble deck, steps and even an arched window for a view to the luscious outdoors.
To escape their busy lives and paparazzi, Kim and Kanye most certainly need a personal retreat. This balcony, off the master suite, offers tranquility with a seating area perfect for two.
No Mediterranean-style home would be complete without a grand pergola. This elegant pergola is elongated for outdoor dining under massive canopy pillars, and is situated in the grassy area at the back of the property, next to the swimming pool.