What’s the difference between bed linen and fitted sheets?
When we use the term bed linen we are generally referring to the sheets used to cover the mattress so that the sleeper is comfortable and the mattress is protected. If blankets or covers are being used a second sheet needs to be used for comfort between the sleeper and the roughness of the blankets. If a continental quilt is being used the top sheet is usually omitted. These sheets are normally flat and need to be tucked around the corners of the mattress to keep them in place during sleeping.
A fitted sheet is different in that the corners are elasticated so that it is not necessary to tuck the sheet under the mattress as the elastic will serve to keep it in place. It is not possible to use a fitted sheet as a top cover because of the elasticated corners.
Both types of sheets can be bought individually or as part of a bed set. A bed set normally consists of either 2 flat sheets and matching pillowcase/s or 1 flat sheet and 1 fitted sheet, again with pillowcase/s to match.
It is possible to use flat sheets of a larger size than the actual size of the mattress as the excess can be tucked under the mattress, but when buying fitted sheets it is important to get the right size for the bed – too small and you won't be able to stretch it to fit each each corner, too large and the tautness will be lacking, which means the sheet will move and ruck as you move during your sleep.
From a practical standpoint folding and ironing flat sheets is fairly easy, however, fitted sheets are more difficult to fold neatly and iron because of the elasticated corners. Opt for modern lightweight polyester/cotton fabrics and your bed linen probably won't need ironing anyway!
Both flat and fitted sheets can come in a variety of sizes, fabrics colours and styles to suit all tastes and bedroom decorating schemes. From single beds to super king size there are bed linens designed to fit each correctly to make your life and bed making easier.