Flat Sheets or Fitted Sheets: What’s the Difference?

Should you use a flat sheet or just stick with a fitted sheet? This has been the subject of many an internet debate, and people just can’t seem to agree on the matter. If you’re not sure what all the fuss is about, stick with us and we’ll explain it all.

First thing’s first: What are flat sheets and fitted sheets?

As their names suggest, flat sheets are flat, simple, rectangular pieces of cloth that fold easily and lie completely flat on any surface. Fitted sheets have elasticated corners that are designed to be pulled over a mattress to ensure a snug, secure fit – they also do not lie flat and are difficult to fold.

What are flat sheets and fitted sheets used for?

Traditionally, fitted sheets – also known as bottom sheets –  are the ones used to cover and protect the mattress. These are the ones you lie directly on top of, and the only thing sometimes used beneath them is an additional mattress protector.

Flat sheets  – also known as top sheets –  are traditionally placed on top of the fitted sheet, but beneath duvets and blankets. These are there to make the bed appear more inviting, and to protect your duvet covers and blankets from getting dirty. The idea here is that you can wash the flat sheet regularly without having to wash the duvet cover as often.

So what’s the debate?

To some, the addition of a flat bed sheet is considered superfluous, creating more folding and manual work when making the bed. Others consider the flat sheet to be an essential part of the bedding set and are confused when people omit them.

So should you use one, or should you not? The answer is, it’s all down to personal taste. If you find it too much of a hassle to fold and tuck the corners of a flat sheet while making your bed, or if you find that having an extra layer of cotton in addition to your duvet is making you to warm, leave it out. If, on the other hand, you find it easier to wash and change a flat sheet rather than your duvet covers and blankets, and if you love the way a flat sheet looks with your bedding sets, then keep it in.

Flat cotton bed sheets are also useful for the summer months in place of a duvet, and many non-believers do make an exception here as this helps keep them cool during the warm nights.

How to choose flat sheets and fitted sheets

Now you know the difference between flat and fitted sheets, you need to make sure you’re choosing the right ones to suit your needs.

With fitted sheets it is very important you choose the correct size to exactly match your bed, as the fitted corners will not work properly on the wrong size mattress. If you have a double bed, for example, you will need a double fitted sheet. You also need to pay attention to the height of your mattress and whether or not you’re using a mattress topper – thicker mattresses need deep fitted sheets to ensure the sheet fits around the mattress and stays in place.

The rules with flat sheets, on the other hand, are a little more relaxed. You can choose to use a queen or king-sized flat sheet for a double bed if you like to create a bit of a border or if you have a very thick mattress.

Choosing high quality cotton bed sheets for both your bottom sheet and top sheet is very important for comfort, as your skin comes into contact with both. Cotton blend and 100% Egyptian cotton bed sheets are soft on your skin and much more breathable than 100% synthetic materials, and are still easy to wash and care for.

Colour is also important when choosing flat and fitted sheets, as they need to harmonise with the colours of the rest of your bed linen. Classic colours like white and cream are the easiest to match up with almost any colour scheme, making these the most popular. You can, however, create a variety of harmonising colour schemes with your bedding if you want to opt for something a little more exciting, and flat and fitted sheets are easy to find in a huge range of colours.

If you’re looking for new bed sheets, you’ve come to the right place. For the traditionalists we’ve got classic, cotton rich white flat sheets in a range of standard sizes from single through to superking, perfect for folding and tucking in with the rest of your bed linen. You’ll also find an extensive range of deep fitted sheets in a range of fantastic colours and standard sizes, so you can find the perfect size and style to suit your needs and colour schemes.

Do you swear by the importance of flat sheets? Or do you think a fitted sheet is enough? Let us know in the comments below.

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