Fall is the perfect time to refresh and update your supply of sheets and towels. As the temperature drops, nothing feels better than cozying up in a new set of soft, warm flannel sheets. Wrap yourself in an absorbant, oversized bath towel after bathing to keep away nasty autumn chills. After a casual, breezy summer full of soft colors and sheer fabrics, every home could use bursts of harvest hues and rich textures in the bed and bath.
However, shopping for new sheets and towels can be a confusing experience. The dizzying array of fabric choices, thread counts and styles can be confusing for shoppers looking for bedding and bathroom accessories that suit their taste and budget. Knowledge of sheet and towel terminology and facts will make the process much easier.
Towels aren’t merely a bathroom necessity used for drying hands and bodies-they can also be fun and versatile decorative accessories. If you have neutral or multicolored fixtures, floors and walls in your bath, a new set of towels can dramatically change the color scheme of the room. Consider purchasing mulitple sets in different colors so you can change the look of the bathroom whenever the mood strikes you. Monogrammed towels add a personal touch to the space, and embroidered decorative towels or a mix of themed colors can bring the feeling of any season or holiday into the bathroom.
When shopping, make sure you feel the towels for thickness and softness, and then buy according to your personal preference. Choose looped terry towels that are thick and absorbant or, for a more formal look, choose sheared terry towels, often called velour, that are soft and velvety to the touch. There are basically three types of towel materials available on the market:
Egyptian Cotton: Grown exclusively in Egypt, this cotton is the longest fiber staple in the world, meaning there is less linting, more durability and luster, and a soft feel.
Pima Cotton: This high-quality cotton is grown in the southwest United States. The fiber staple rivals Egyptian cotton for length, durability, luster and softness.
Standard: Standard cotton towels or cotton blend may not be as soft or durable as the first two types, but the affordability of these often less-expensive towels means that you can buy multiple sets and colors for less money.
Display your towels in a variety of ways to show off the colors and styles you have chosen. For example, hang a rack with a number of pegs on the wall and mix and match the towels hanging on it. You could even assign a peg to each member of the family where he or she can drape a favorite bath towel. On a standard towel rack, hang towels at a variety of lengths for an interesting display, or hang them in tiered fashion, with the largest towel on the bottom. Place a wicker basket or wire container on the countertop and roll towels up inside. If you have a glass-fronted cabinet, fold towels neatly inside, alternating colors for a rainbow-like presentation. Towels patterned with stripes, polka dots or animal prints can add a funky note to the decor. Have fun and change the colors any time you want an quick style change.
Comfortable sheets can be the difference between a good night’s sleep and hours of tossing and turning. Make sure you’re using sheets that are appropriate for the season’s temperatures and match your own comfort level. Thread count, the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch of cloth, is the basic measure of sheet quality and can run anywhere from 120 up to 600. Sheets with a higher thread count are more durable and are generally softer to the touch. Sheets are made from a variety of materials and are available in several different weaves:
Linen: Technically, linen is made from flax, but the term is often now used to describe a particular look and texture of fabric. Linen sheets are best for warm-weather use. The naturally wrinkled texture makes linen an interesting alternative to cotton.
Flannel: Flannel is made from 100 percent cotton, brushed on one side for softness and warmth, meaning that these sheets are great for cold nights.
Cotton: Cotton sheets tend to be softer, but more expensive, than sheets made of blended cotton and polyester. They do tend to wrinkle more than blends and are therefore require more care.
Sateen: This woven fabric, typically 100 percent cotton, features a smooth and lustrous surface that resembles satin.
Jersey: Jersey sheets, sometimes called “t-shirt” sheets, are made of knit fabric that resembles a t-shirt. They are soft, but can cling to your body, making them less than ideal for summer use.
Like towels in the bathroom, sheets can give your bedroom a new look instantly. For rooms decorated with a neutral overall color palette, a bright sheet folded over the top of a white bedcover can add a refreshing splash of color. Mix different patterns-like stripes and dots or florals and plaids-for an interesting look.