When you’re buying bedding, it’s important to understand the differences between the most popular types of sheets, so you can enjoy the optimum sleeping environment.
In this article, we’ve explained the differences between flat sheets and fitted sheets, the benefits of each, and offered guidance to help you decide which is best for you.
What is a flat sheet?
Flat bed sheets are large pieces off material that spread over your mattress to provide you with a more comfortable night’s sleep. A flat sheet isn’t elasticated, so the sides simply hang over your mattress (and can be tidily tucked in), rather than hugging the corners.
You may also know that this type of bed sheet is sometimes referred to as a top sheet, because it can also be used as an additional layer between your body and duvet (as a second sheet).
What is a fitted sheet?
A fitted sheet, which is sometimes referred to as a bottom sheet, is designed to comfortably sit on top of your mattress to provide comfort and a soft sleeping solution.
However, unlike flat sheets, fitted bed sheets typically have corners sewn into them to fit snugly over your mattress and are often elasticated to guarantee a secure fit that doesn’t budge in the night.
Here's a handy guide if you want to know what order to put on your bed sheets.
What are the benefits of flat bed sheets?
Now you know what flat sheets, why should you consider purchasing them? We’ve outlined the benefits of flat sheets, and the key things to know.
1. A luxury look
One of the main reasons people choose flat bedding sheets is for the luxurious look you can effortlessly achieve, breathing chic style into your bedroom and giving it the feel of a five star hotel.
Flat sheets might be a subtle addition, but it’s important to consider the ways you can give your bedroom rich character that reflects your personality and design choices – with one way being through your bedding.
2. Simple folding and storage
Often, you may find that large bedding can be difficult to fold neatly, which can make it more difficult to store tidily in your wardrobe or cupboard when not in use. However, this isn’t a problem you’ll encounter with flat sheets, with each corner effortlessly folded to its opposite with no creases nor wrinkling edges.
Not only this, but ironing flat bedding sheets is a remarkably straightforward task, largely thanks to it essentially being a big sheet of fabric with no irregularities to work around.
3. Maintain duvet freshness
As touched upon above, in addition to their use as traditional bed linings, flat sheets are also commonly used as an extra layer between you and your duvet.
Not only can this provide you with improved warmth and comfort, but it also ensures your duvet remains fresher for longer. This is because your flat sheet protects your bedding from your body, meaning you don’t have to wash your duvet cover as frequently.
4. The perfect summer sleeping solution
Weather in the UK is far from consistent, with some weeks bookended by chills and scorching sun, so it’s useful to have a variety of sleeping options that ensure you’re always comfortable no matter the temperature.
Just as you can use your flat sheet as an extra layer to keep you warm on colder nights, it can also be utilised in place of your duvet when the temperature cranks up. Sleeping with a light fabric cover can help to improve overall comfort, and saves you having to kick off the heavy duvet in the night!
5. A versatile sleeping option
One of the attractions of buying flat sheets is that the same one can be an equally effective addition across varying sizes of bed. For instance, you can use your king size bed sheets on your double or queen size mattress, either letting the sides hang over the edges or neatly tucking them in.
Similarly, rather than buying dedicated double and single bed sheets for yours and your child’s respective mattresses, for instance, you only need to buy large sheets that can be used interchangeably between the two. This practicality and versatility is what makes flat bed sheets such a popular pick.
What are the benefits of fitted bed sheets?
We’ve explained what a fitted sheet is, but why might you benefit from buying a set? Explore the main reasons to purchase fitted bed sheets.
1. The practical pick
Thanks to the often-elasticated edges, dressing your mattress with a fitted sheet is practical and straightforward. The corners neatly hook over your mattress ends and you’ll not need to worry about tucking in the sides.
You’ll especially appreciate being able to speedily dress your bed if you have a busy weekend of house chores (including making children’s beds as well as your own!), or ready to jump straight under the covers after a long day at work.
2. A snug fit
Because a fitted sheet hooks snugly over your mattress’ corners and edges, you’re guaranteed a comfortably smooth sleeping surface without the wrinkles and crinkles you might experience with a standard flat sheet. This tight fit over your mattress means your bedding sheets are always flat and crease free, often making it easier to enjoy a rejuvenating sleep.
If you’re struggling with sleep, for whatever reason, it can be useful to opt for fitted bedding that lets you drift off into a comfortable slumber without the risk of folds or other physical disturbances.
3. Aesthetically pleasing
An additional benefit of fitted sheets offering a smooth sleeping surface is their appearance. The absence of folds and creases can help to give your bedroom a luxury aesthetic, and complement a minimalistic design scheme centred around chic feature points.
4. Stays in place
Just as your fitted bed sheets stay in place as you sleep, no matter how much you fidget, toss, or turn, they also keep their shape each night until the time comes to wash them. This practical benefit means there’s no need to reposition or even refit your bed linings each time you wake up, allowing you to come and go without a second thought.
5. Easily removed for cleaning
While fitted bed sheets may stay firmly in place as you sleep, without the need to refit each morning, they’re easy enough to remove when the time does come to wash them. With a simple tug, you can unhook the elasticated corners from your mattress with effortless simplicity, to loosen and remove in one motion. This makes laundry day that little bit easier!
Flat sheet vs Fitted Sheet: Summary
To give you a quick overview of both flat and fitted sheets, we’ve picked out the five key benefits of each in a handy comparison table.
Provide a luxury look - breathe style into your bedroom and give your space the feel of a five star hotel.
Are a practical pick - elasticated corners hook over your mattress edges with ease.
Make folding and storage simple - fold your sheets without creases or wrinkled edges.
Provide a snug fit - your fitted sheet hooks snugly over your mattress for a smooth sleeping surface.
Allow you to maintain duvet freshness - flat sheets can be used as an additional layer between your body and duvet.
Help enhance your bedroom aesthetic - the absence of folds and creases complements a chic bedroom finish.
Provide the perfect summer sleeping solution - ditch the duvet and sleep with just a flat sheet to keep you cool in the summer months.
Stay in place - your fitted sheet keeps its form night after night, so you don't need to reposition your bedding each morning.
Are a versatile sleeping option - use the same size bed sheets across different size mattresses.
Can be easily removed for cleaning - tug at the corner of your mattress to pull away your bedding in one clean motion.
Can you use a flat sheet as a fitted sheet?
When you think of bed sheets, the chances are you’re picturing linings that protect your mattress and provide a soft and pleasant night’s sleep.
With this in mind, while a flat sheets’ function is sometimes to add an extra layer of warmth and comfort between your body and duvet, you can quite easily hang it over your mattress and tuck the corners in just as you would a fitted sheet.
How do you know which sheet is best for you?
In short, choosing between a flat sheet vs fitted sheet is down to personal preference. Both styles look great when they’re fit over your mattress, but each comes with its own unique set of benefits. Before buying your bed sheets, consider what your priorities are and whether flat or fitted bed linings suit your situation best.
Flat sheet vs fitted sheet specs
When choosing bedding, size really does matter. It’s important to pick out bed sheets that fit comfortably around your mattress, or you’re likely to either suffer from creases around excess areas or a struggle to keep the corners from peeling away.
We’ve put together an estimated bed size comparison chart, to give you an idea of the type of bed sheet size you should be buying for the perfect night’s sleep.
TYPE OF BED
FLAT SHEET SIZE
FITTED SHEET SIZE
3'0" x 6'3"
5'6" x 8'0"
3'3" x 6'3"
4'6" x 6'3"
8'0" x 8'6"
4'6" x 6'3"
5'0" x 6'6"
8'0" x 8'6"
5'0" x 6'6"
6'0" x 6'6"
8'6" x 9'4"
6'0" x 6'6"
What to consider when choosing bed sheets
Whether you choose flat sheets or fitted sheets, there are a few important factors to consider: size, material, and colour. We’ve outlined each and explained why:
As highlighted in the table earlier in the article, it’s important to choose the right sheet size for your bedding to ensure a good fit and a comfortable night’s sleep. This applies to both flat and fitted sheets, for varying reasons:
- Flat sheets that are too small won’t be able to ‘hang’ over the side of your mattress, meaning they’ll not tuck in sufficiently.
- Fitted sheets that are too small or too large won’t hook snugly over your mattress corners, losing their practical advantage.
The material of your bedding is perhaps the most important thing to consider, whether you choose a flat sheet or fitted sheet, because it will directly impact your night time comfort.
Of course, the colour of your bedding is completely down to personal taste, but it’s important to consider the shades you’re incorporating across your bedroom.
Ideally, your bed sheet colours should complement your duvet and pillows, as well as the overall design scheme of your space. Typically, white or cream sheets are the favoured pick, for a classic finish that works alongside almost any style.
Hopefully, we’ve helped you understand the key contrasts between the different types of bed sheets. And if you’re inspired, take the time to explore our complete collection of natural and environmentally-friendly eucalyptus bedding bundles, mattress protectors and sheets, designed to offer soft comfort that guarantees a luxurious night’s sleep. Or for even more bedding advice from our experts, check out the latest over on our blog.