Buying Sheets? The Truth About Thread Counts…

J Robshaw bedding

Thread Count is the number of threads per square inch in the woven fabric of your Egyptian Cotton or Pure Cotton Bedding.

Manufacturers from many countries such as Egypt, China, Portugal, India and others are standardly using 2-ply or multiple-ply threads up to 4-ply, claiming the Thread Count (TC) of their Egyptian Cotton Sheets and Duvets to be double to quadruple what we consider to be the true value in the U.S.  While this may seem trivial on the surface level, the impact is substantial in the quality of product you’re receiving. Rather than using one single-ply, Long Yarn Egyptian Cotton or Pure Cotton fiber of excellence, the cheapest fibers are instead twisted together to create a longer “thread.”

So what does this mean to you as a consumer? For starters, it means that your new set you thought was, say, “1000” TC is most likely truly only 250TC to 500TC. Worse yet, it will most likely feel and wear like lesser quality than a domestic 180TC set.

An excellent set is designed to last years, while cheaper sets are usually worn through in less than 365.

Fiber length is crucial in determining the quality and longevity of your new sheets, but a difficult factor to decipher as a consumer. These short fibers cause roughness, pilling or have surface balling, and result in extremely poor wear.

A good start point of ruling out short fiber sets is to review the package for information about ply. Any reference to the product containing a multiple ply, such as 2-ply or 4-ply, is your immediate tip-off that the item you are reviewing is usually comprised of shorter fibers. Because ply involves twisting threads together in order to create a long fiber, you’ll logically know that the necessity of fibers being twisted together to create length means that the fibers used are fairly short.

The bottom line is that you get what you pay for…. So if it seems too good to be true, it likely is.  Good sheets are more expensive, worth it, and get better as the years go by.

Tips for finding good sheets:

If you prefer a crisp sheet, choose a percale weave, which is typically just a 200 thread count to 300 thread count.

For a soft, silky sheet, choose a sateen weave, which is usually 500 to 600 in thread count.

Price counts: Price is a good indicator of whether a sheet really is the thread count you want. Remember, cheap sheets are susceptible to shrinking.

D porthault tiger bedding

While on the topic of price, you might want to take advantage of the D. Porthault sale (bedding pictured above), which ends February 4… up to 80% off.

Any design topics you would like to know more about? Let us know!


  1. excellent post, courtney!

  2. tk you! 🙂

  3. Great post, Courtney! I will pass this one on to clients. This is Slow Luxe Design at its best. Buy fewer things of better quality and they’ll last longer. TYSM!

  4. Great post! Sheets make such a huge difference! I recently replaced all of my old bedding and have been sleeping so much better ever since.

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