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.
WANT TO WIN A THERMADOR DISHWASHER?
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FULL CONTEST RULES & REGULATIONS
1. The « Style at Home Thermador Bosch Contest » contest is held by (Groupe TVA) Style at Home . Groupe TVA Style at home is collectively hereinafter named: the “contest organizers”. The contest runs on Styleathome.com, from August 22, 2016 to November 24, 2016 at 23h59 ET (hereinafter: the “contest period”).
2. This contest is open to all persons residing in Canada of at least 18 years old of age. The following persons are excluded; employees, agents and representatives of Québecor Média inc., of Groupe TVA inc., of Style at Home, and Thermador of their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, partners, suppliers of prizes, materials and services related to this contest, or any other party directly linked to the holding of this contest, or their brother, sister, children, mother, father, their legal or common-law spouse and individuals with whom such employees, agents and representatives are domiciled.
HOW TO ENTER
3. No purchase necessary. To participate in the contest, you simply have to enter the contest by visiting Styleathome.com. Go to the « Contest » section and click on the « Style at Home Thermador Bosch Contest » icon in order to register. After, you can fill in the electronic entry form.
i) Once you have accessed the electronic entry form make sure to indicate your exact personal information as follows: first name, last name, complete address with postal code and country. It is every participant’s responsibility to indicate a valid phone number where he can be reached between 9AM to 5PM during weekdays. Send your electronic entry form no later than November 24, 2016 at 23h59 ET. Upon reception of your registration’s confirmation message, you will be automatically entered in the contest. Cookies must be accepted in order to participate to the contest.
Entrants must respect the following limits, otherwise the contest organizers reserve the right to cancel one or several of their entries :
• One participation per person per day during the contest period;
• A person cannot register more than one e-mail address per person, in the case where a person has more than one;
• A person entering more than once a day or using multiple email addresses will be automatically removed from the ballot list;
5. The following prize is offered :
One (1) prize will be given: Thermador – Sapphire Dishwasher
The total prize value is : 3,079.00 $ CAN
The following conditions apply:
• The prize is not exchangeable and non-transferable; and
• The prize has to be accepted as it is; and
• The contest organizers will determine with the winner the date; and
• If the prize or a portion of it is not used, no compensation will be given.
6. On November 25, 2016 at 10:00 am, in Toronto, at the office of Groupe TVA inc., a random selection of entry form will be held among all eligible entry forms registered in conformity with section 3, in order to attribute the prize described above.
7. The odds of a participant’s entry form being randomly selected depend upon the number of eligible entry forms registered in conformity with the regulations and rules.
HOW TO CLAIM A PRIZE
8. In order to be declared a winner, each selected entrant must :
a) Have answered correctly the mathematical skill-testing question that appears on the release form; and
b) Be contacted by phone and/or email by the contest organizers within three (3) days following the random selection; and
c) Sign the declaration and exemption form that will be given to him and return to the contest organizers within 5 days; and
d) Abide to all conditions related to the Prize;
After the declaration and exemption form is correctly filled out and signed, the contest organizers will contact the winner to determine how the Prize will be remitted (by mail or on hand delivery)
9. Failing to comply with one of the conditions stated in the section above or any of the conditions provided in these Contest Rules, the entry of the selected entrant will be cancelled without any liability to the contest organizers whatsoever, and a new draw for that prize will be held according to these Contest Rules until an entrant is selected and declared a winner.
10. Verification. Entry forms are subject to verification by the contest organizers, and contest entrants agree to cooperate fully with contest organizers in such respect. Any entry form which is, as the case may be, incomplete, fraudulent, sent late, that does not bear the correct answer to the mathematical skill-testing question will automatically be rejected and will not give right to a prize, and contest organizers shall have no liability in such respect, or in respect of lost, misdirected of garbled communication, printing, prizing or distributor errors.
11. Non-conforming entries. The contest organizers reserve the right to disqualify any person or cancel one or many entries of any person participating in this contest or trying to participate by means contrary to these Contest Rules or in a manner which is unfair to the other entrants (e.g.: entries exceeding the permitted limit, computer hacking, etc.). Such person may be referred to the appropriate judicial authorities.
12. Acceptance of prize. Any prize must be accepted as described in the present Contest Rules and cannot be transferred to another person, substituted for another prize nor exchanged in part or in whole for a sum of money, subject to what is stated in the following section. Prize is accepted “as is” without any warranty whatsoever.
13. Substitution of prize. In the event where, for reasons not related to the winners, the contest organizers cannot award a prize (or part of a prize) as described in these Contest Rules, they reserve the right to award a prize (or part of a prize) of the same nature and of equivalent value or, at their sole discretion, the cash value of the prize (or part of the prize) as mentioned in these Contest Rules.
14. Refusal to accept a prize. The refusal of a randomly selected person to accept a prize according to the terms and conditions of these Contest Rules releases the contest organizers of any obligation related to that prize towards that person.
15. Liability – prize’s supplier. Each participant who is selected for a prize recognizes that upon reception of the confirmation of his status as the winner of the prize, the execution of the services in respect to the prize is the sole responsibility of the supplier of the prize, in this case, (Groupe TVA inc.) Style at Home. A declaration to this effect may be included in the declaration and exemption form.
16. Liability limit – use of prize. Any selected person releases Québecor Média inc., (Groupe TVA inc.), Style at Home, Thermador and their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives from any and all liability for any and all damages he/she may suffer from the acceptance or use of his/her prize. In order to be declared a winner, any selected person agrees, if required, prior to obtaining his/her prize, to sign a Declaration Form to such effect.Erreur ! Signet non défini.
17. Liability limit – running of the contest. Québecor Média inc., Groupe TVA inc., and (Groupe TVA inc.), Style at Home, Thermador and their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives are not liable for faulty computer components, software, or communication lines, relating to any transmission that is faulty, incomplete, incomprehensible or erased by any computer or network that could limit the possibility or prevent any person from participating in this contest. Québecor Média inc., (Groupe TVA inc.), Style at Home, Thermador and their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives also will not be held liable for any damages or loss that could arise, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from downloading any Internet page, any software or any form and by the transmission of any data regarding the participation in this contest.
18. Modification. The contest organizers reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend this contest, in whole or in part, in the case of the occurrence of an event, an error or any human intervention that could corrupt or affect the administration, safety, impartiality or the running of the contest as foreseen in these Contest Rules, subject to the approval of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec, if required. In any case, the contest organizers, their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, the suppliers of products or services related to this contest as well as their employees, agents and representatives cannot be held liable to award more prizes than those indicated in these Contest Rules or to award prizes otherwise than in compliance with these Contest Rules.
19. Impossibility to act – including labour dispute Québecor Média inc., (Groupe TVA inc.), Style at Home, Thermador and their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives will not assume any liability whatsoever in any case where their incapacity to act would result from a fact or a situation beyond their control or a strike, lock-out or any other labour dispute in their establishment or in establishments of organizations or enterprises which services are used for holding this contest.
20. Liability limit– participation. Any person who participates or tries to participate in this contest releases the contest organizers, their parent and affiliated companies, their advertising and/or promotional agencies, their employees, agents and representatives, from any and all liability for damages which he/she could suffer from participating or trying to participate in this contest.
21. Authorization. By entering this contest, any winner authorizes the contest organizers, their partners and their representatives to use, if required, his/her name, photograph, likeness, declaration related to the prize, place of residence and/or voice without remuneration whatsoever and that, at their discretion and without limit as for the period of use, in any media and on a worldwide scale, for publicity purposes or for any purpose that will or may be pertinent.
22. Communication with entrants. No communication or correspondence will be exchanged with entrants in the context of this contest except with those selected for a prize.
23. Decisions of the contest organizers. All decisions of the contest organizers or those of their representatives regarding this contest are final and binding, subject to any decision by the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec in relation to matters under its jurisdiction.
24. Litigation. Any litigation respecting the conduct or organisation of a publicity contest may be submitted to the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux for a ruling. Any litigation respecting the awarding of a prize may be submitted to the Régie for the purpose of helping the parties reach a settlement.
25. Identification of the entrant. For the purposes of these Contest Rules, the entrant is the person whose name appears on the entry form and it is to this person to whom the prize will be awarded if he/she is selected and declared a winner.
26. Precedence: If an article in this regulation were to be declared or deemed illegal, unenforceable or invalid by a competent authority, then this article would be considered null and non-written, but all other items would not be affected and would find application in limits and authorized by law
27. Rules contest. This is the official regulations and rules for the contest « Style at Home Thermador Bosch Contest ».
28. Personal information. The personal information collected on the participants of this contest are used only for the administration of the contest. No commercial communication or other, not linked to the contest, will be sent to the participants by the contest organizers except if the participants have authorized the contest organizers, and in the case of Style at Home, Thermador it’s affiliates, to send such communication by checking the opt-in on the electronic entry form.
9 ways to revamp your bathroom without undergoing a large-scale renovation.
According to designer Robin Siegerman, principal of Sieguzi Kitchen & Home Inc. and author of Renovation Bootcamp: Kitchens, bathroom renovations can be surprisingly expensive for the (generally) smaller size of the room, because so much of the expense is hidden in the walls, such as electrical and plumbing. But if your bathroom is in relatively good shape but uninspired from a design standpoint – often the case with condo units, for example – there’s much you can do to give it a spiffier look, with little or no professional help. Here are a few tips.
Replacing an ugly bathroom faucet with a pretty one has become a relatively simple do-it-yourself task, with many faucets now sold in kits that include all the fittings and complete instructions. Make sure you have the right type for the number of hole openings in the sink.
There are companies that will come in and reface your countertop with a ¼-inch veneer of granite, for the look of solid granite at a fraction of the cost. Alternatively, you can have a boring or worn laminate counter refaced with new laminate—there are ones on the market now that closely mimic stone, wood or other natural finishes, or go for something more fanciful if you like.
Replace a boring plate-glass mirror with a framed version you can hang like art. Scoop up an ornate frame at an antique store (or pick out a nice one at a framer’s) and have the framer make it into a mirror for you. Attractive framed mirrors in every style from Victorian to modern can also be found at thrift stores, antique markets and home stores.
If your bathtub or shower is tiled inside the enclosure but stops at the edge, and you can find matching tile, have it extended (or do it yourself, with new ceramic tile mounting kits available at box stores) the rest of the way around the bathroom to the 48” mark, like wainscoting. The advantage to doing this is more than aesthetic; it makes your bathroom much easier to clean, since you can wash the walls at the same time you do the floors.
Many bathrooms are cursed with a single light fixture directly above the mirror, which creates unflattering shadows. If you don’t want to have side sconces wired in, look for a fixture with two lights side by side, which will at least direct the light a little more to either side of your face.
If your bathroom floor is ugly, cover it with a small pure-wool area rug. Unlike synthetics, wool is moisture and mildew resistant, resists dirt (and can be cleaned relatively easily), and if you choose an Oriental or Persian style, adds a touch of class. If it gets very wet, hang it up to dry.
It’s amazing what a beautiful bathroom wall colour will do to add interest to the plainest room, and a small room takes only a day or so to paint. Be careful choosing colour, though: some blues and greens can be cold and unkind to skin tones, while too bright a colour may be overwhelming in a small room like a bath. At the very worst, if you choose a colour and don’t like the effect, it’s easy to paint over again.
Making your own shower curtain is an easy job, even if you’re not a sewer. Measure the shower opening and purchase a few yards of beautiful fabric from a fabric outlet store. Finish the edges with iron-on hemming tape and sew curtain rings along the top. Buy a plastic curtain liner from a bath shop, and hang.
Think scale with bath accessories, but don’t think you have to display only small things. One beautiful vase or piece of artwork (a sealed print is best if your bath gets very steamy) can have fabulous impact in a small space.
Get a luxe look in under $100 with these beautiful decor accessories.Looking for big impact on a small budget? We challenge some of Canada’s designers to share how they achieve a modern luxe look for less than $100.
“Splurge on a marble tile backsplash – a small area like this can come in for less than $100 if you do the labour yourself.” - Nam Dang-Mitchell, Nam Dang-Mitchell Design.
“Sheathe an obtrusive bulkhead in reclaimed barnboard to add character and interest. The wood we used here was actually found in an abandoned barn in the country.” - Nam Dang-Mitchell, Nam Dang-Mitchell Design.
“Make a sculptural centrepiece inspired by real cherry blossom branches. Strip the bark from an interestingly shaped branch and remove the buds from a silk flower or two. Glue the buds onto the branch in an organic pattern for an effect that will last for seasons.” - Ryan Martin & Amy Kent, Croma Design.
“A chic way to save money while searching for your dream dining room light fixture is to install an ultra-affordable three-foot-wide Chinese paper lantern. The white globe looks fantastic, plus it glows softly when lit to create a wonderful atmosphere for dining.” - Colleen McGill, McGill Design Group.
“Make a bland room bold by painting stripes on the walls: vertical for low ceilings, horizontal for high.” - Scott Yetman, Scott Yetman Design.
“Luxe up a room by upgrading your toss cushion inserts from fibre to decadent down. IKEA ones are cheap – they’re the best-kept secret!” - David Overholt, David Overholt Interior Design, 416-944-0358.
“When I travel, I love to buy vintage prints and fabrics. Framing the prints in inexpensive frames and creating a collage of photos is a great way to make a big impact. I also love to stretch the fabrics on frames made for canvases as they are works of art in their own right.” - Alykhan Velji, Alykhan Velji designs.
“If the word stencilling conjures images of bad 1980s sponge designs, prepare to be amazed. Royal Design Studio has amazing Moroccan and Indian-style stencils you can use on furniture, stair risers, floors and walls for an ornate, impactful look.” - Samantha Sacks, Sam Sacks Design.
“Why not test out your creative skills and try your hand at some abstract expressionist painting? Grab a canvas and some acrylic paints in your chosen colour scheme and, who knows, you could be the next Jackson Pollock!” - Jessica Kelly, Jessica Kelly Design.
“A ceiling medallion adds instant architectural appeal, formality and elegance to a space. These ones were less than $75 each!” - Trevor Ciona & Curtis Elmy, Atmosphere Interior Design.
“Make personalized art with your own Hipstamatic or Instagram snapshots – the apps have beautiful filters, and smartphones take good-quality photos. Choose an inexpensive frame and splurge on the mat for a high-end professional effect.” - Samantha Sacks, Sam Sacks Design.
"Give an instant lift to your kitchen cabinetry with new hardware. Restoration Hardware’s Duluth pulls in polished nickel make a striking style statement.” - Colleen McGill, McGill Design Group.