What's The Difference Between Fitted and Flat Bed Sheets?

Are you confused about what type of sheet is best for your bedding needs? It doesn’t matter if you are looking for bed sheets for your hospitality business, hotel chain, or your home. The age-old confusion of choosing between fitted and flat bed sheets is something that may be tripping you up. What is the difference between a flat and a fitted bed sheet? Can you use only one of them or both? 

Choosing bed sheets, especially if you are making a bulk buy of wholesale bed sheets, can get overwhelming at times. You want a cosy, comfortable and stylish bed that is welcoming to all guests, so you cannot afford to go wrong with it. In this article, we’ll focus on both fitted and flat bed sheets to understand the differences between the two.

Read on to find out which bed sheet bests suit your bedding requirements.


Fitted Bed Sheets

White polycotton fitted bed sheet

Fitted bed sheets are a snug fit over your mattress to give a neat and comfortable layer. A fitted sheet has stretchy elastic bands sewed into the seam of the sheet material in each of its four corners. This will keep the bed sheet from moving or coming off during slumber. But, unlike flat sheets, they don’t lie flat and, thus, can be difficult to fold for storage.

Also known as bottom sheets, you’ll traditionally find a fitted sheet covering a mattress and you’ll lie on top of it. Sometimes a mattress protector is underneath one too. But it’s more common that it’s the final layer before you reach the mattress.

Some of the benefits of the fitted bed sheet are:

1. Can be easily changed/removed.

It’s quick and convenient to remove fitted bed sheets. All you have to do is hold one of the corners, loosen and remove it. Easy removal makes laundry day a smoother process.

2. Protects the mattress.

Fitted sheets help protect your mattress from stains, tears or rips. The mattress is the most expensive part of your bed and it needs to be treated and protected properly if it is to last at least 10-12 years.

3. Fits closely to give a smooth sleeping surface.

Providing you’re using the right size, fitted bed sheets are a snug fit the mattress without any wrinkles. It gives a smooth, neat, and flat sleeping surface.


Flat Bed Sheets

Flat bed sheets are large pieces of cloth that spread over the mattress. Drop them loose or tuck them under the mattress. It will have stitched seams or selvedges to prevent the material from unravelling while in use. A flat bed sheet is also called a top sheet as they are traditionally placed on top of a fitted sheet and sit under the duvet.

The idea is to combine flat and fitted sheets to create the ideal bedspread. But it’s also common to only have a fitted sheet on a bed, ignoring the flat sheet altogether. Hotels tend to have both. But while it creates an additional layer of comfort and protection, it does require more folding and manual work when making up a bed.

Some of the benefits of flat sheets are:

1. Protects duvets and fitted sheets.

As flat sheets rest underneath the duvet, it helps prevent the duvet and duvet cover from stains and dirt. If you are using a fitted sheet, a flat sheet also offers protection to the fitted sheet. In this case, just place it over your fitted sheet and underneath the duvet.

2. Acts as a barrier against skin ailments and irritants.

A flat sheet can act as a barrier for your skin. This helps protect it from common irritants like dust, bacteria/parasites, mites etc. If you get night sweats, sensitive skin or skin problems, a good linen flat bed sheet can keep your skin cool. This is due to its natural moisture-resistant properties. It also aids in protecting you from dry air and dust, which could lead to skin problems.

3. Helps maintain a comfortable temperature.

One of the advantages of a flat sheet is that it allows temperature control. During warmer months it helps your body adjust the core temperature to a cooler state. In hot countries, it’s common for people to dispense with the duvet altogether and simply lie underneath a thin flat sheet.


How to buy fitted sheets and flat sheets

For fitted sheets you need to know the size of the bed it’s for, as you don’t want to end up with a sheet that’s too small or too slack. So if you only have a single bed then you’ll only need a single sheet. Don’t forget the height of the mattress too, and whether you’re using a mattress topper. In these cases you’ll need to buy a deeper sheet to ensure it fits the mattress.

With flat sheets, the size doesn’t matter as much. So if you want to buy a king-size flat sheet for a double bed then you can, just tuck the excess away. It’s also worth considering a larger size for your bed if you have a particularly thick mattress.

When it comes to the material the choice is yours. Synthetic materials such as polyester are cheaper. But organic materials like 100% cotton are softer the skin, breathable and as easy to wash and care for as synthetics.

With colour, it’s hard to go wrong with the traditional white as it matches with pretty much any colour scheme. Even cream can work. Choose other colours carefully. But, with the huge variety available, you’ll likely be able to find a colour that blends well with your room’s colour scheme somewhere.

Vision Linens offers a wide range of fitted and flat sheets. To see what we offer, click here for fitted sheets and click here for flat sheets.