Choosing linens for your home

Next time you see a "white sale" at your favorite department store, grab this handy buying guide.

Linens, including sheets, bedding, and towels, might not seem like a big deal until you try to dry off with a scratchy towel or sleep between rough sheets. However, without an understanding of what constitutes quality, it can be difficult to shop for what you need. The good news is that there is a wide variety of options, which means you can find ones that fit in your budget without sacrificing comfort and style.

Sheets

One of the most important things to look for when choosing sheets is the thread count. This refers to the number of threads in one square inch of the fabric. The higher the thread count, the softer and more supple your sheets will feel. In general, a thread count of 200 will feel soft and comfortable. Thread counts of 300 to 400 are considered luxury, and they typically cost more than lower thread counts. Before you buy sheets, run your hands over them a few times to make sure they don’t feel scratchy or itchy. Wash your sheets before use, which can soften the fabric and make them more comfortable.

Other bedding

Your sheets are the linens that will most closely rest against your skin , but your other bedding should be comfortable, too. If you choose wool blankets, go for those made from merino wool, which isn’t as rough as other types. Down comforters are warm during the winter, but it’s best to buy one that has a high fill, meaning the feathers inside are evenly distributed so you won’t end up with empty pockets. If you have allergies, choose hypoallergenic pillows or cover yours with hypoallergenic covers. For warmer months, opt for light cotton blankets rather than heavy quilts or comforters.

Organizing a small linen closet

Towels

After a warm shower, the last thing you want to do is dry off with a rough towel. Not all towels are the same, but you can find soft ones in most price ranges. A towel’s thickness is ranked by grams per square meter, or GSM. The higher this number, the more fluffy your towel will be.

Light, thin towels aren’t always low quality, but for drying off after a bath or shower, an option with a higher GSM is going to be more absorbent and softer to the touch. Most towels are made with cotton, but if you’re looking for a product that is luxurious, opt for Egyptian cotton. It does carry a higher price tag, however.

Next time you see a “white sale” at your favorite department store, grab this handy buying guide and head in armed with the tools you need to purchase the best linens for your home.