In them we curl, tumble, sprawl, snuggle. Though beds are purportedly designed for sleeping, there is plenty of action between the sheets – from intense moments of passion to blissful hours of languid intimacy. And because we are tactile creatures, bedclothes can affect the way we experience our time in bed.
Much has been said about thread count, and by now we expect every house-proud person to be suspicious of anything that advertises a thread count higher than 500. So just what do connoisseurs look for while picking out bed linen? “Ensuring our guests have an exceptional night’s rest is key to us. To this end, the bed linen is selected in terms of thread count, composition of fabric, types of cotton, and its weaving design, to name a few,” says Giovanni Viterale, general manager of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. The hotel, which uses 400 thread count-calibre sheets for all rooms, also subjects new bed linen to a few cycles of wash to soften the fabric and ensure a higher level of comfort.
Yet the technical specifications are important only in terms of how translate to sensation on skin. While some might not rest on anything else apart from 100 per cent organic silk charmeuse bedclothes, with hems hand-sewn by maidens in far-flung villages, others’ idea of a perfect cocoon might be fresh, crisp linen sheets smelling of sunshine. The perfect set of bedding is also determined by your sleep routine: whether you are the type who likes to be lulled to sleep by the sound of cicadas coming through your open window, or the type who likes to roll into a ball under flouncy covers, with the air-conditioner turned up to simulate winter in the tropics.
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“The perfect sheet is also that which is tastefully appropriate,” says veteran hotelier Anton Kilayko, the director of communications for Hong Kong’s luxury hotel The Murray, slated to open late next year. “I love really thick, high thread count sheets in wintery locations, but if I am on the coast of Tahiti, I would want a bed dressed with light linens. And if I were staying in a historical French chateau or a colonial hotel in Thailand – a destination where silk is traditionally used – silk sheets would add to the authenticity of the experience.”
Kilayko notes that there are small, boutique hotels that even change their sheets to suit the time of the year – just as one would switch to different wardrobes for each season. Indeed, they are called bedclothes for a reason – so dress your bed right.
WHEN LESS IS MORE
Herve Martin, CEO of luxury Italian linen brand Frette, shares tips on picking the best sheets for the right fit.
A HIGH THREAD COUNT ISN’T ALWAYS THE BEST CHOICE
“A high thread count means you have a fabric which presents a high density of fibre. Imagine a little piece of fabric with many threads sewn within it. The advantage is that it creates a protective nest to keep you warm. But it also makes the fabric less breathable. Think of it as owning a good quality cashmere sweater – it’s great for countries with winter but not so suitable for humid cities like Singapore.”
ON COTTON VERSUS SILK
“In general, people tend to consider prestigious materials as the best ones. So the tendency is to think you have an exceptional product if it’s made from silk. But sleeping comfort is a personal experience, and I find that silk, as an experience, can sometimes be quite disappointing. Silk tends to slip off your body as you toss and turn, and I like my bed to remain somewhat still and have the sheets stay on me.”
DON’T TOSS SHEETS IN DRYER
“The washing machine dryer will kill the fabric quality. Its rotation is too fast and will cause sheets to stretch and distort.” Instead, hang sheets out to dry.
“While some might not rest on anything else apart from 100 per cent organic silk charmeuse bedclothes, with hems hand-sewn by maidens in far-flung villages, others’ idea of a perfect cocoon might be fresh, crisp linen sheets smelling of sunshine.”
Top-of-the-line fabrics for that top-of-the-world feeling.
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BETWEEN THE SHEETS
What is in a name? When it comes to the top bed linen brands, quite a lot.
LA LANGERIE: SLEEP LIKE A BABY
From the French company La Langerie that started with making feather-light cotton swaddles come fine, breathable bed sheets cut and sewn from 100 per cent organic cotton fabric. We reckon if the fabric is good enough for baby-soft skin, it is good enough to have us sleeping like a baby too. www.editionlimitee.com.sg
CULTIVER: RUGGED BEAUTY
A five-year-old Australian company, Cultiver offers sheets sewn from linen with 165g of European flax fibre per square metre. The bedclothes are stonewashed with natural enzymes for optimal softness, and the slightly creased, rugged yet beautiful look just oozes a certain je ne sais quoi that makes us want to tumble into the folds. Originals Furniture, #02-03 Sime Darby Centre, 896 Dunearn Road.
FRETTE: MAGIC TOUCH
Experience is often translated to expertise. And as a company with an illustrious history of more than 150 years, Italian linen brand Frette certainly knows what makes exceptional bedding. Apart from high quality materials, Frette’s bed linen also stands out by virtue of fine craftsmanship. A regal sophistication in terms of design adds to the allure too. B1 Takashimaya, Ngee Ann City.
BROOKLINEN: SLEEP ON THIS
Long-staple Egyptian cotton. Extra-fine yarn woven into a fabric with 480 thread count. Brooklinen sheets have specifications that match, if not surpass, the most exclusive high-end bedding brands. However, the prices – at US$250 (S$355) for a sateen weave king-size duvet set – are but a fraction of its competitors’. Don’t be too quick to judge the sheets by its sticker – sleep on it. www.brooklinen.com