Cotton-percale? Sateen? Silk? “Bedsheets are the most important thing in the world,” muses Bunny Williams, who has been decorating Upper East Side apartments and Connecticut country homes for over 30 years. Because if you’re going to spend one-third of your life between the sheets, shouldn’t they feel fabulous? Here, Williams, along with some other very particular New York tastemakers and interior designers — Sheila Bridges, Kai Avent-deLeon, and Aelfie Oudghiri — tells us the best bedsheets to buy, from classic, white Egyptian cotton to eco-friendly linen with raw edges. (We also went and found the best-reviewed bedsheets on Amazon, if you’re interested.)
“My favorite sheets are Matouk, mostly because everything’s customizable, from the color of the threading to the monogram and the ruffles,” says Sasha Bikoff, founder of Sasha Bikoff New York. But she keeps coming back to one specific style: “It’s this very Hollywood Regency scallop-shell pattern that’s kind of Miami-influenced too. It’s very 1940s, 1950s glam with the seashells and the scalloped edge, and I love it.”
Designer Vicente Wolf also recommends Matouk, calling their Meridian sheets the “go-to sheets I choose for the majority of my projects. Clients love them for their comfort and accessibility, while I love their simple designs. There’s something uniquely versatile about them — they’re sophisticated enough for city life, but even in a country home they works perfectly against a more rustic backdrop. I never second-guess these sheets; more often than not, they work for the interior I’m working on.”
“My absolute favorite sheets are the hotel classic from Frette, which are kind of like the fantasy version of Upper East Side hotel-bed linens,” says Michael Shome, director of photography at Architectural Digest. “They’re Italian-made in this Egyptian cotton that’s just the softest and butteriest fabric to laze around in. I love the chic and simple double-line embroidery, too.”
For another Egyptian cotton option, Homepolish designer Becky Shea recommends these embroidered sheets from Italian linens company Sferra. “It’s not the world’s highest thread count,” Shea admits, “but the Egyptian cotton on these sheets has this really tight weave that makes such a difference on your skin. The sheets have this handsome pair of satin borders you can get in different colors, too. It’s a brand built on practical creativity and affordable luxury.”
According to designer Amanda Ross, these sheets from Aerin offer “the ultimate crispness. For me, the perfect bed is a heavy duvet, a cashmere blanket, lots of pillows, and these cotton-percale white sheets.” From a design perspective, “I think the scalloped edges have such a lovely shape to them and are so luxurious.” Unfortunately, the 500 thread-count sheets that Ross first recommended to us from Aerin are no longer available, but these scalloped sheets from Aerin’s collaboration with Williams-Sonoma are an equally stylish (and slightly more affordable) option.
If you want cotton-percale sheets that feel a little more downtown, designer Patrick Mele likes Pratesi “for the breadth of their pattern options.” He adds, “There’s a certain level of craftsmanship and luxury to the brand. You can feel how breathable the cotton-percale is, and the embroidered patterns add just the chicest unexpected touch. I think Andy Warhol’s favorite sheets were Pratesi, too. I get a huge kick out of that.” It’s unfortunately difficult to find these sheets for purchase online, but there are some pillowcases and duvet covers available at Bloomingdale’s and Amara.
Note: The Pratesi Orbite standard pillowcases Mele likes are now sold out, but the very similar Pratesi Oribite Hotel standard sham is still available.
A more affordable but still high-quality set of cotton-percale sheets comes from Snowe, recommended by Kai Avent-deLeon, owner of Sincerely, Tommy. “I really liked Snowe’s dinnerware, so I started using their sheets, too, and I’ve found that they’re really good-quality and decently priced,” he says. “They’re cotton, which is the only material I buy now, and they’re really soft, kind of plush. They’re breathable and low-maintenance, so I don’t have to constantly clean them even though I buy an off-white color.”
Sheila Bridges, founder of Sheila Bridges Design, has a set of these modal sateen sheets on her bed, “and they are my softest sheets by far. They almost feel like flannel, but very lightweight, so they’re not as warm — just really soft and comfortable to the touch. Even though I have 20 other pairs of sheets folded in my laundry closet, I’ll take these off the bed, wash them, and put them back on.” And since a queen-size sheet set is just $100, you can definitely stock up.
“I recently used bamboo linens for a large project and I will definitely be using them more going forward,” says Anishka Clarke, co-owner of Ishka Designs. “Bamboo is one of the strongest and hardest natural materials, and yet when you feel the fibers on these sheets, it’s just incredibly soft. Softer than you’d imagine. Super-soft. Like, baby-soft on your skin.” But since it is made of this strong bamboo, she adds, the sheets are “extremely durable — it generally lasts about two times longer than cotton sheets — and it’s easy to clean. It’s usually more expensive, but overall quality and durability makes this the hands-down winner.”
If you’re looking for silk bedding, Ariel Ashe, principal and co-founder of Ashe and Leandro, calls this Leizu collection from Elizabeth Few her favorite bedding. “It feels unbelievable to sleep on,” she says, while also noting the material’s overwhelming health and beauty benefits. “Silk allows your skin to retain its natural emollients. Your skin and hair will glide across the surface of your Leizu,” Ashe explains. “As if you needed more reasons to love silk, it should be noted that it helps regulate your body temperature and has hypoallergenic properties.” Plus these delicate floral sheets are botanically dyed, using flowers instead of chemicals.
For a less expensive way to get your hands on silk bedding, consider a silk pillowcase. “You don’t end up with as many pillow creases, it’s gentler on your skin, and your hair isn’t as frizzy when you wake up,” notes Zoe Mac, founder of Zoe Mac Design. And though she finds most of the silk pillowcases on the market “really tacky,” Mac recommends the ones from Kumi Kookoon. “They have this range of incredible colors. I use a really deep indigo-navy and it’s a dream to sleep on. They’re so soft and I really notice the difference when I wake up. My hair is not as crazy-bedhead in the morning and my skin feels better.” Kumi Kokoon also makes flat silk sheets for less than $500, so you can sleep fully encased in silk if you want.
For simple, linen bedding that’s still eco-friendly — but has a bit of an edge — Jon Call, founder of Mr. Call Designs, recommended Rough Linen. “The hand of the fabric is substantial and lends itself to a lived-in softness my clients crave,” he says. “The finishing is [unparalleled], with exquisite detailing, thoughtful touches, and conscious resourcing. By far, these are my favorite linens on the market today.”
Aelfie Oudghiri, founder of the home goods label Aelfie, prefers Indian cotton to Egyptian. “India is famous for its cotton because it’s been exporting cotton for, like, millennia, and creates the most cotton in the world. Sure, people talk about Egyptian cotton, but Indian cotton is better.” Plus, these sheets are a little more environmentally friendly than some of the other cotton options out there. “When you get a lot of the really soft bedding like jersey, it’s because they’re going through these chemical processes where it’s washed a million times so it’s really fucking wasteful,” she explains. “I like my bedding to soften over time and grow with me.”
Though they don’t sell their sheets online, it seems worthwhile to mention E. Braun and Co., since it was the most-recommended brand for bedsheets among the 17 designers we spoke to for this story. E. Braun is now located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side but its roots in fine linens can be traced back to Vienna, Austria, in 1893, and part of what makes them a favorite among interior designers is their ability to customize most of their offerings. Plus, as Jennifer Post, founder of Jennifer Post Design, raves, “They have amazing thread counts,” often coming in at 1,000. Julie Hillman, founder of Julie Hillman Design, adds, “Many of my clients have said they are the best sheets they have ever slept on.”
In terms of style, Jamie Drake, co-founder of Drake/Anderson, recommends E. Braun & Co.’s Shanghai sheets, which he uses on his own bed. “These custom lovelies are embroidered [with] a modern pattern reminiscent of a game of pick-up sticks. Seemingly random but actually not, they are playful yet reserved,” he explains. “Mine are embroidered in three shades of gray against a sumptuous white cotton sateen ground. Crisp, silky, and cool to the touch.”
Another bespoke designer of bedsheets recommended by two of our experts is Julia B., though both spoke of these sheets as an investment and a luxury. “You spend a third of your life in bed, so good sheets should be like buying a couture dress — they’re worth the investment,” says Bunny Williams, founder of Bunny Williams Home. “I happen to love Julia B. linens. [They’re] really high-end 800-count cotton-percale. She does couture linens with beautiful monograms and embroidery, all done by hand. It’s absolutely beautiful.” Young Huh, founder of Young Huh Interior, agrees: “The beautiful detail on her bedding will make you feel like a princess every time you get into bed.” And although part of the appeal is that these sheets are customizable, Huh particularly likes the Calais, “because it’s unique and there’s nothing like it in the marketplace. It’s so pretty and joyful.”
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