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Beyond the Thread Count

Posted January 31, 2023
Written By: Greendown Shepherd Huts

Beyond the Thread Count

“Does thread count matter?” is a question we often get asked by our customers when starting to furnish their huts, and you may be surprised by the answer.

Not so long ago department stores and hotels alike became fixated on what is known as ‘thread count’. If you aren’t familiar with the term, thread count refers to the amount of threads or strands per square inch of fabric, counting horizontal and vertical threads. It indicates how tightly woven the fabric is. It was generally thought that a higher thread count meant better quality, but this is simply not the case anymore.

When considering bed linen, its thread count is a good place to start. There are however other factors, such as fibre, weave, finish and dye, that should form part of your decision.

In this blog post, we take a closer look at the factors that should be considered when selecting the bed linen that will form part of your wider hut interior, share our top product picks, and reveal the tips that every hut owner should know.

How important is your fibre choice?

Knowing what your bed linen is made of is always my personal starting point. I would always opt for the highest content of natural fibre.

It may be tempting to pick polyester blends, which are almost always cheaper than cotton, but you might find yourself replacing them more often as they are prone to splitting and are less stain resistant than cotton. This is due in part to how cotton fibres release dirt when wet versus polyester fibres.

When selecting your bed linen, look for phrases such as Egyptian cotton, natural linen, pima and supima for a soft and luxurious feel.

What about weave?

The weave of your chosen bed linen will determine how the sheet feels, how it looks, how long it lasts, and its price.

Basic plain weaves are woven from an equal number of vertical and horizontal threads. They tend to be the least expensive. Percale is an upscale plain weave with a thread count of 180 or higher and is known for its longevity and crisp feel, making it a popular choice.

Sateen weaves have more vertical than horizontal yarns. This makes the fabric really soft but more likely to pill and tear than a plain weave. More complex weaves like jacquards will alternate between feeling textured or soft in parts. They are more expensive as they are made on special looms. Nevertheless, complex weaves are prone to snagging damage from jewellery, zips or Velcro, which might be unavoidable in the short-term let business.

Why is finish a crucial factor?

A lot of people might be surprised to learn that those beautiful and often expensive sheets they have just bought are often treated with chemicals, such as chlorine and silicon. Manufacturers add these extras to prevent the fabric from shrinking and becoming misshapen, and it’s a widespread industry practice. You can buy fabric that hasn’t been treated and it’s likely to be certified as ‘organic’.

As with any type of organic produce, you can be sure to pay a premium for it. It is worth noting that untreated fabric will crease more and be harder to keep wrinkle-free. For short term holiday lets, this isn’t usually an issue due to the short duration of stays. But it’s worth keeping in mind when it comes to turnover as ironing times will increase.

Should I go dyed or undyed?

It’s not unheard of for darker dyes to transfer onto other bedding and clothing, particularly if it’s a dark dye on a brushed cotton finish. Most hosts tend to pick bedding that is light and bright as it’s easier to care for and complements all furnishing colours.

If you do want to be brave and have coloured linen, look for fabrics that are yarn-dyed. Yarn-dyed linens tend to be softer as fabrics that are dyed can feel stiff for the first few washes. They’re also less likely to transfer.

What do I need to know about thread count?

If you are used to picking your bed linen based on thread count, you will be aware that the higher the thread count, the higher the cost.

Thread count can range anywhere from 200 to 1,600 threads per square inch. The higher the thread count, the smoother the fabric will feel. Egyptian cotton is generally 200 thread count, and its long fibres will help wick away moisture when sleeping to keep your guests cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

With this in mind, Egyptian cotton is a popular choice. If you can however, aim for somewhere between 400 and 1,000 threads per square inch when selecting your bed linen. Anything over 1,000 is usually a waste of money as to cram more than 1,000 threads into a square inch is only possible by using thinner fibres, which don’t last very long.

Our top bed linen picks for shepherd huts

We’ve picked a few of our favourite brands of bed linen, each of which makes the perfect choice for a shepherd hut:

John Lewis 400 Thread Count Crisp and Fresh Egyptian Cotton

Fairly priced, long lasting and easy to order, these sheets wash and iron well, and can be replaced fairly quickly via next day delivery or click and collect if you have any disasters.

The White Company Soames Cupro Cotton Bed Linen Collection

A blend of 60% supima cotton and 40% cupro sateen, this bed linen has a really luxurious feel. It’s supremely soft with lovely details, like mitred corners, for that luxury boutique hotel feel.

Secret Linen Store 100% Organic Hemp Bedlinen

Hemp yarns are biodegradable, and grown with less water and without chemicals. This bed linen option is a great choice for locations that are seeking to minimise their environmental impact or tailor to customers that hold this sentiment close to their heart. Soft and durable, your guests will sleep soundly under these sheets.

Marks and Spencer Pure Linen Bedding

A popular choice due to its natural anti-allergenic properties, pure linen will feel cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It’s also anti-static and twice as durable as cotton.

Our top tips for picking the perfect linen

Test it out: Before you take the plunge on multiple sets of bed linen, buy a set and try it yourself. What does it feel like? Are you comfortable? Does it wash well? Does it iron easily?

Always follow the washing guide: Keep the packaging and put it near your washing machine as a reference. Follow the guidelines diligently to ensure your linen lasts.

Buy what you can afford: Try and buy a minimum 400 thread count but don’t be fixated on the higher numbers. Instead look for natural fibre content and finish.

Stay on top of your linen: Try and wash your linen as soon as you can. Any stains or damage will be picked up quicker and you can act on them faster. Whether it is retaining some of the deposit from the previous guest or being able to accommodate a lucrative, last-minute booking that fills a nice gap in your availability calendar, freshening up your sheets faster is a great habit to get into.

If you would like more guidance on bed linen, get in touch today for advice. We can also advise on quantities you might require and thoughtful extras that are worth purchasing, such as additional pillows tucked away in the under-bed storage or machine-washable blankets for chilly nights outside stargazing.

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Posted January 31, 2023

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