In the last decade, direct-to-consumer brands (which means the manufacturer sells directly to you, instead of through a retailer) have revolutionized the way we shop for everything from cookware to eye glasses to mattresses. But it can feel like a gamble to make a major purchase without actually seeing—or touching—the goods beforehand, especially when it comes to something as up-close-and-personal as bedsheets.
It all comes down to knowing what you like, says Vancouver-based interior designer Cathy Radcliffe. She suggests thinking about the following before you buy.
1. Thread count
Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of a cotton fabric—typically, the higher the thread count, the more expensive the sheet. That said, Radcliffe notes that “the quality of the cotton is equally important.” She recommends looking for Egyptian or American pima cotton.
“You don’t have to overspend on sheets,” says Radcliffe. Start by exploring your 200-thread-count options, then aim higher if you can’t find anything you like.
Think about how you want your sheets to feel on your skin. “Do you prefer something crisp, like cotton, or something that’s a little bit silkier, like a sateen or linen?” asks Radcliffe.
Also consider the type of vibe you’d like your bedding to evoke—for instance, if your bedroom is formal, the casual, lived-in look of linen might not be the right fit.
We slept on six popular Canadian online-only brands to get a sense of how they truly feel. Here’s how they stacked up.
This Montreal brand’s linen and cotton bedding are produced by a family-owned manufacturer in Portugal and sold individually in gorgeous seasonal and neutral hues to encourage a mix-and-match approach. Of the cotton blends we tried (there are four), we liked the percale best—it’s crisp and cool, and maintains an effortlessly crinkled look. Overwhelmed by options? Swatches are available for $1 a pop. From $65, maisontess.com.
Linen takes less water and energy to produce than cotton; it’s also moisture absorbing and a good heat conductor, which means it’s great for those who run hot. Vancouver-based Flax Home produces its 100 percent French linen sheets—available in a chic array of colours—at a family-run facility in China. It took a few washes for these to soften up, but, luckily, the crinkled-from-the-dryer look is the desired aesthetic right now. From $270, shopflaxhome.com.
Vancouver-based Takasa (meaning “to purify, cleanse or make bright” in Swahili) uses organic fair trade cotton as the base for its sheets, which are either finished in crisp, 300-thread-count percale or warm and cozy sateen. We tried the percale, which felt like hotel sheets in the best way—they’re sturdy and oversized, and always look freshly made. Takasa ethically manufactures its sheets in India, where its founders hail from. From $239, takasa.co.
Best known for its popular mattresses, Endy has now expanded into sheets. Made from 100 percent organic cotton and with a thread count of 300, they’re extremely soft, cozy and cool at the same time. At the most affordable price point of the bunch, these sheets—designed in Canada and manufactured in China and Cambodia—promise a bang for your buck. From $100, ca.endy.com.
Most of Kotn’s products, including its sheets, are designed in Toronto and made from Egyptian and Portuguese cotton. The brand, which is a certified B Corporation (meaning it meets stringent social and environmental standards), also invests part of its proceeds back into its farmers’ communities. This set is 400 thread count and extremely buttery. One note: top sheet not included. From $105, kotn.com.
Toronto-based Tuck uses sustainably sourced organic cotton and Tencel Lyocell, a blend of botanical-origin fibres that is made via a low-environmental- impact process in China. The sheets are 300 thread count and prewashed, and the brand promises a degree of softness akin to that of a well-worn T-shirt—a claim that perfectly describes how amazing these sheets feel. From $169, tuckbedding.ca.