Sleeping Beauty: Shopping for Dreamy Sheets

By  March 01, 2010

Shopping for sheets can be daunting. It’s not like browsing for shoes where fashion frequently trumps function. It’s about so much more than what meets the eye. You want to find a set that looks beautiful, fits perfectly, and feels amazing to the touch. As a leader in luxury bedding, Sferra offers splendid sheets and linens at various price points. We spoke to the company’s creative director Aaron Stewart about what qualities to look for in sheets and how to build a deluxe and dream-worthy bed…

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Tell me about Sferra’s new Lose Count campaign. What’s the message behind it?
The idea came about when we were thinking about people buying their first set of sheets. There’s a lot of confusion, and not everyone really knows what to look for. It’s not just about thread count. It’s also about the fiber, weight, finish, and feel. There are so many other factors to consider other than the thread count. It’s not just a number.

Sferra’s sheets are offered at different price points, and each one is great in its own way. There are many different rooms in a home, and there are many different uses for sheets in those different rooms. One may be a guest room, a kid’s room, or the parent’s bedroom. So you’re not going to walk into a store and buy the exact same sheets for every room in the home. And we wanted to show people in a really concise way how to pick your sheets. We’re really trying to demystify the whole process of buying sheets.

We want someone to be able to walk into a store and say “I just got a year-end bonus and I want to buy myself a really great pair of sheets, what do I need?” And instead of having a salesperson tell the customer what he or she should get, the salesperson can show Sferra’s new chart and it can help consumers feel good about what they’re buying.

So what are the basic criteria people should look for when buying sheets?
The biggest thing I tell people is that no matter what store you’re going into, consider these three things: Do you like the pattern? Is it within your price range? And then, open up the package, and feel it. It should feel great in the store. Do you think it feels nice and soft, and would you sleep on the sheets right then and there? If it fits those three criteria, it’s great.

There are great sheets made everywhere at all different price points. The biggest mistake people make is that they’ll see 800 thread count sheets that cost $79.99, and think “If I wash these three times they’ll really soften up and they’ll be amazing to sleep on.” They’ll open up that bargain price point sheet set in the store and they’ll feel hard as a rock. They’ll wash it two or three times, and sometimes it’ll feel worse after being washed because some companies will put a finish on the sheets to make them feel softer in the store.

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What do you think are the essentials for a cozy inviting bed? What do you have on your bed?
I think the absolute essentials on a bed are a great set of sheets, a blanket, and a really soft down comforter. I have our Celeste sheets on my bed right now. They’re our 400 thread count. It’s our bestselling sheet.

What are your top tips for caring for your sheets and linens?
The most important thing to remember is to only wash sheets with sheets. Don’t wash sheets with bath towels or don’t throw in a pair of jeans. When they’re going around in the washing machine, abrasion is happening and that will shorten the life of the sheets.

The second thing is, don’t over dry your sheets. We have a tendency of putting sheets in the dryer and putting it on extra dry. When you take the sheets out they are hot to the touch. You’re basically overcooking the fiber and you’re causing it to break. That really lessens the life of the sheets. This will cause your sheets to pill. Those fibers are breaking when they are over-dried and then when you lay on them and roll around at night, abrasion is happening again. That’s another thing that can cause them to pill. You should take the sheets out of the dryer when they are still a little bit damp.

As far as design, what new trends are you seeing?
One of the biggest things everyone is asking us for is gray. For the past decade it’s really been about beige. And everyone wanted beige, beige, and beige. Everyone was looking for taupe and tan and beige and cream, all mixed together. It’s really shifting toward grays. Now everyone is looking for beautiful shades of gray.

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What about mixing and matching patterns and materials? Is that a yes or a no? And what advice do you have for people who are trying to add a little personality to their bedroom décor?
I love when a bed has percale and sateen because you get sheen and a matte. Mixing different patterns is a definite. When you walk into a store, you don’t have to buy every single thing that’s on the bed. You can buy part and pieces. If you buy from a department store – let’s say it’s a Calvin Klein or Sferra  or DKNY pattern – usually those items will stay in the store for a couple of years. So you don’t necessarily have to buy everything all at once. If you’re going to a Pottery Barn or a West Elm, then that product is going to be more seasonal. So if you see an entire bed and you love it, I’d say buy it. But I think it’s more interesting to not buy a bed exactly as it’s shown on the floor at the store. If you see a duvet you like, buy it. Then find a decorative pillow or a quilt in another store.

Where do you find inspiration both personally and for Sferra?
I look everywhere. I look at museums and any sort of art exhibitions. I look at home books. When I go Europe, I’ll buy a whole bunch of European magazines. They always have a little bit of a different take on design. Being in the stores and looking at fashion magazines inspire me. We’re always compiling images and swatches and photos we’ve taken while traveling around the world, and making trend boards.

As far as bedroom or home furnishings and décor is considered, is there anything you really want right now? What’s on your ultimate home wish list?
I have a terrace in my apartment. And I’m dreaming about what I’m going to do with it this summer. I just moved in last year. So I have big plans to make it an outdoor space. I’m looking at lanterns and outdoor rugs so it can really be like another room.

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****Want to win a set of Sferra’s luxurious Grande Hotel sheets (above)? Leave a comment on this post telling us what’s on your ultimate home wish list! A winner will be picked at random.****

Rules: Enter to win by posting a comment on this GlamNest post by 12 PM EST, Monday, March 8. One comment per person. A winner will be picked at random. You must include a valid email address when commenting. To be eligible to win, you must be aged 16 or older, a resident of the US. A winner will be drawn from commentors’/entrants’ names at random on Monday, March 8. Chances of winning depend on number of entrants. Winners will be notified via email, at which point Glam Editors will request winner’s mailing address to send the prize.