By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com
It's hard to beat curling up in bed on a cold winter day -- assuming you don't have old, shrunken, pilling sheets. If that describes your bedding, it's time to get a new set of sheets. You'll be using them every night, so it's worth spending a little money to make your bed inviting. Still, you don't need a stash of cash under your mattress to afford a decent set of sheets. Holiday sales often bring discounts on household linens, and Cheapism has found two queen sheet sets that retail for $50 or less -- no seasonal markdown necessary.Snuggle up with these affordable alternatives to expensive bed sheets.
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- Royal Velvet Pure Perfection sheets (starting at $50 for a queen set) have a thread count of 325 and come in a variety of colors. Reviewers note that the color and fabric hold up well, even after several washes. These sheets are made with Egyptian cotton, which is known for its high quality. The sateen weave adds softness. Another desirable feature is the elastic around the entire fitted sheet, not just the corners, to keep it snugly in place.
- Elite Home cotton sheets (starting at $40 for a queen set) can feel a bit stiff at first, according to online reviews, but soften up after washing. These sheets are available in a variety of styles, from paisley or leopard print to solid colors. Reviewers deem the 300-thread-count cotton sateen sheets comfortable and resistant to wrinkling.
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Cotton sheets come in several different weaves: percale, sateen, jersey, and flannel. Percale sheets are popular because they tend to feel crisp and breathe well. Sateen sheets are similarly lightweight but have a soft, almost slippery feel to them. Jersey knit is also used for clothing, so you can expect a texture similar to that of a T-shirt. Flannel sheets are fuzzier and ideal for winter. All these types of sheets can be found at different price points. The two inexpensive sets listed above are sateen.
Consumers frequently assume that thread count translates directly to quality, but that isn't always the case. In fact, plenty of sheets with extremely high thread counts prove inferior to sheets made with lower thread counts but higher quality cotton. In some cases, a high thread count can simply render a sheet stiff and heavy. No matter the number of threads squeezed into a square inch, the more important thing to consider is the quality of the material. Types of cotton that stand out as good choices for bedding include Pima (or the trademark Supima) and Egyptian. Both have long fibers, or staples, which tend to produce smoother, more durable sheets.
A final few words of advice: Be sure to measure your mattress before shopping for sheets -- especially if you have a mattress topper -- to make sure a flat sheet will fit. The sheets listed above have deep pockets suitable for a height of up to 17 inches. To help your sheets last longer, refrain from washing them in hot water and dry them on a low or medium setting. Excessive heat can fade the color and weaken the fibers.
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