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What Is a Sheet Set?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A sheet set is a package of coordinating sheets which includes a lower fitted sheet, a top flat sheet, and two pillowcases. Sheet sets are packaged for convenience, allowing people to purchase basic bedding in a single package, rather than buying everything individually, and it is sometimes less expensive to buy a sheet set than to buy each item separately. Most department stores carry an array of sheet sets, and they can also be ordered directly through companies which specialize in bedding.

Typically, sheet sets are classified by size, with twin, full, queen, king, and California king being common size options. Some include features like extra-deep fitted sheets for padded mattresses, or unusually large flat sheets to make the sheets lie more securely on the bed. Usually, the outside of the sheet set includes a label which specifies the measurements of the sheets inside, allowing people to determine whether or not the sheets will fit the bed for which they are being purchased.

Along with basic sizing information, the package also specifies the material used to make the sheets, such as cotton, flannel, silk, satin, linen, or a polyester blend. Lightweight cotton and silk are often ideal choices for warm climates, while flannel is desirable in the winter because it is warm and insulating. The mixture of fibers is often an important consideration for people who do not like certain fibers or textures.

Thread count is also a common detail included on the packaging for a sheet set. The thread count refers to the number of threads in a random sampling of a specific size. The higher the thread count, the better the sheet quality, with high thread counts indicating a very dense weave which will last through years of use, while low thread counts suggest that the weave is much wider, making the sheets scratchy and more prone to tearing.

The sheets and pillowcases in a sheet set can come in a range of patterns and colors, which are designed to coordinate. It is also common for sheet sets to coordinate with duvet covers, quilts, dust ruffles, and other bedding accessories sold by the same store, so that people can buy matching bedding. When selecting a sheet set, people may want to think about the décor in the room where the sheet set will be used, the colors and patterns of other bedding which will be used on the bed, and personal preferences in terms of texture, color, and fiber.

What Is in a Sheet Set?

What you'll find inside a sheet set can vary greatly depending on what you buy and where you shop for it. Most standard sheet sets include a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and at least one pillowcase. Typically, a twin or extra-long twin set will come with just one pillowcase, while a full, queen, or king sheet set will come with two pillowcases. However, some sheet sets may not come with all of these pieces. It's important to check the label or product description carefully so you can make sure it includes everything you're looking for.

If you're like many people, you may have more than one individual or one set of pillows on your bed. In these situations, you'll need to buy extra pillowcases. Many companies that make sheet sets also make separate coordinating pillowcases for purchase. However, this can also be an opportunity to accessorize and add some interest to your room's design by choosing accent colors or patterns.

Keep in mind that a standard sheet set does not include blankets, covers, comforters, or shams for your pillows. You may be able to find a complete bedding set, such as a "bed-in-a-bag" package that includes every linen you will require from start to finish. Otherwise, you will need to purchase these items separately to completely outfit your bed. In general, you'll want to pick your comforter, duvet cover, or bedspread first because these will be more visible, especially when your bed is made. Then, you can choose a sheet set to match.

How Many Sheet Sets Should You Have?

It's a good idea to have a minimum of two sheet sets for every bed in your home. This ensures that you'll have a clean set to use while the other is being washed. However, some people prefer to have more so they can rotate the colors and designs they use for their beds. It can also be beneficial to have some extra sets to use in case of overnight guests.

Keep in mind that the more sheet sets you have, the longer they will last you. The wear and tear that comes from use and washing will be more evenly divided amongst each set. While you may spend less up from buying only one or two sets, you will have to replace them sooner.

How Much Does a New Set of Sheets Cost?

The cost of a set of sheets can vary greatly depending on numerous factors, including:

  • Manufacturer
  • Brand
  • Size
  • Thread count
  • Materials used
  • Point of sale

Some bargain brands can be purchased for less than $10, while luxury options can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars per set. How much you spend on sheets is entirely up to you and your preferences and budget.

For the most part, you'll get what you pay for when you buy a new sheet set. Cheap versions may not last long and can be uncomfortable. At the same time, anything beyond $200 will likely be more about brand loyalty than overall comfort and quality. On average, somewhere between $30 and $100 is a reasonable estimate for good quality sheets.

If you're going to purchase a new sheet set without seeing or feeling the material in person, be sure to check the return policy. This is especially true when investing in pricier sheets while shopping online. Otherwise, you may be stuck with a product you do not like or that does not suit your tastes.

How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?

Believe it or not, your sheets can be a breeding ground for bacteria and odors and are some of the dirtiest linens in your home. Most experts recommend washing sheets at least once a week. However, you should also wash them anytime something is spilled on them or if you sweat excessively during the night.

Leaving the bacteria and dead skin cells on your sheets can cause unwanted odors in your home. These smells can also penetrate into the fabrics of your mattress covers and mattresses themselves. When this happens, it's much more difficult to treat. In addition, dirty sheets can contribute to skin irritation and even acne. If you have frequent problems with breakouts or pimples, washing your sheets more often can help.

Cleaning your sheets on a regular basis not only keeps your home healthy and neat but can also help make your bed more comfortable. After a few washes, sheets tend to get softer, making it even more relaxing to crawl into bed at the end of a long day.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon256628 — On Mar 22, 2012

Why do they only include a single pillow case in a twin sheet set? No one sleeps with one pillow.

By Mor — On Jul 06, 2011

You might not think that thread count can make a difference, but it really does. The feel of the sheets are much smoother, the further up in count you go.

Cotton sheet sets are better in general, but if you get ones with a low thread count they also don't last very long. My sister had a cheap set when she was a student that she didn't bother to throw out for years. In the end it was pilled and so scratchy it was irritating to touch it.

It sounds kind of snobbish and normally I don't put much stock into this kind of thing but it really is so luxurious to sleep in a bed with high count sheets.

By pastanaga — On Jul 05, 2011

I've found that often they only include one pillowcase with a sheet set, which can be really annoying.

So, over the years I've built up a little collection of plain colored pillow cases that can be put in with sheet sets without clashing.

If you go with a few classic colors like black, white and red, as well as a few others, like simple stripes or spots, it works well. In fact, in some ways I prefer it, because I think it looks more stylish than a completely matching bed sheet set.

Of course, if you have a bed that can take more than two pillows, you'll need to do this kind of co-ordination anyway.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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