A lot of my subscribers ask me what bed sheets to use in vacation rentals and home exchanges, and so I decided to write a post about it and share two of my recent favorite discoveries with you today.
You see, I am obsessed with bed linens; in fact I would venture to say that I am on a continual quest to find perfect bed sheets.
White bed sheets.
I always recommend white sheets for vacation rentals and home exchanges.
Why white? Well, there are four main reasons.
1. Guest Psychology
White has traditionally been the color used in hotels. The hospitality industry funds studies on guest psychology; they know there is a primal association between the color white and cleanliness. I guess it makes sense if you think about it. If you are presented with a crisp set of white sheets, you see they are clean, right? On the other hand, if they are maroon, or blue or any other color, they could be clean, but who would know? Most colors, besides white, camouflage dirt.
And subconsciously guests know this. Bright, freshly laundered white sheets look cleaner and therefore seem more sanitary. They can relax. It’s one of those primal things.
2. Easy to Maintain
Not all vacation guests treat your sheets with respect. With white, you can bleach stains away. You can also wash white bed sheets in very hot water and they come out looking new.
3. Easy to Replace
When it comes time to replace some of your white sheets, you will always find the perfect color match every time – white! And who gets sick of bright, crisp white?
4. Enhance other design elements
Lastly, white sheets contrast nicely with the bedspread or blanket, as well as the shams and decorative pillows. Your guest’s eyes will really notice their patterns or colors when you set them against white.
Two Great White Sheet Options I’ve Personally Bought and Slept On
1. The Distinguished Guest
I was introduced to The Distinguished Guest by way of Matt Landau of Vacation Rental Marketing Blog , who featured owner Alanna Shroeder on a blog post last year. Her company concept sounded so brilliant – hotel quality linens made for the vacation rental industry – that I had to try some out.
Buying sheets on the website was seamless – something that really matters to me – and the shipment was pretty quick. Taking the sheets out of the box for the first time, they felt a little stiff (as most new sheets do) so I added a cup of baking soda to the wash, an old trick my grandmother taught me to soften new sheets. Then I tumble dried them with a lacrosse ball, to pound in even more softness. The difference was immediately noticeable. They felt a little fuzzier. For good measure, I decided to wash them three more times before trying them out, for a more realistic assessment. In fact, I always recommend washing new sheets at least a few times before trying them out on guests.
One of the first things I noticed when I made up the bed is how unwrinkled Alanna’s sheets remain, even after a night’s sleep. I know this is important in the vacation rental and home exchange business; most owners want a crisp, smooth bed linen look, and so these sheets deliver with their 60/40 pima cotton-polyester blend. The great thing is that you would never guess there’s any polyester! They feel like 100% pima cotton. However, polyester is the secret ingredient to a no-iron bed sheet and most of you would rather skip ironing, right?
I rate the comfort level a dependable 8 on a scale from 1 to 10, which is pretty darn commendable considering the price! A queen set is only $45. I have spent twice that on bed sheets not delivering half the softness.
My husband especially loves these sheets saying they remind him of the crisp, comforting bed linens of his grandmother’s Long Island beach house of his childhood. She apparently sprayed a bit of lavender water on them before making up the guest bed. The first weekend we tried the sheets out, he stayed in bed an extra long time, even bringing his coffee in to read the paper.
So a thumbs up to The Distinguished Guest bed sheets; they definitely live up to Alanna’s vision. They are competitively priced and deliver a high quality, dependable product.
(Update as of March 13th – Since this article went live, Alanna contacted me with the gracious invitation. Until June 30, 2014, she will give a 20% discount on all her sheet sets to One Chic Retreat subscribers. Just put in code 1chicretreat20 at checkout and enjoy some savings. Thank you Alanna!)
Now to my second recommendation…..
2. Exceptional Sheets
Years ago, I had the opportunity to buy some 800-count Italian sheets for an amazing price because an upscale bed linen boutique was going out of business. I had never slept on high-thread count sheets before and as soon as I slipped between those lovelies, I had an Aha moment wherein I realized, “Ok, I get why people spend a fortune on thread-count.” Thread-count, simply put, is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric and it’s based on the threads woven horizonatally (“weft”) and vertically (“warp”).
Unfortunatley, you can’t really trust most thread-count claims because it’s easy for manufacturers to cheat. Extra threads can be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread-count and then these added threads, called “picks” are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands.
The Italian mills are by far the most reliable sources of truly high-thread count bedding, but their prices are exorbitant. De Medici, for example, asks $340 for one queen flat 640-thread count sheet! Wow! Unless you have a vacation rental that receives the 1% crowd, it doesn’t make sense for the average vacation home.
So, bearing all this in mind, I thought it too good to be true when I saw a queen set of 1000-thread count sheets selling on Amazon for $143 from Exceptional Sheets! I was skeptical of course, but the reviews were phenomenal and I was intrigued by the company founder, Paul Sanders, whose goal is simple – provide the best bedding, using the best materials, for the best price. The prices on Amazon are lower than those on the Exceptional Sheets website but they won’t always have the size you need at any given time on Amazon either.
The website states
Our bed sheets range anywhere from a 300-thread count all the way up to 1500. Our Egyptian Cotton Sheets are made with cotton grown and harvested in the Egyptian Nile Delta. The sheets are single ply, long-staple fiber, and are milled on Italian Cotton Looms. These characteristics of the Egyptian cotton combined with its milling process ensure the strength and long-term comfort of the high thread count sheets they become. We feel so strongly about this – We 125% guarantee you will love these sheets!
What the heck! They will actually pay me if I don’t like them? It’s a no brainer. I clicked Buy.
The sheets arrived about a week later. I took some photos when I unpackaged them.
The first thing I noticed was how thick they are. I would estimate they are at least double the weight of most bed sheets.
They have a nice sheen too.
Unlike fancy topstitching common in more expensive sheets, like Anachini or Frette, the top sheet decorative seam detail is fairly simple. This is probably one reason why the cost is lower than comparable thread-count sheets.
Making the bed was quite straightforward. My mattress is only 7 1/2 inches thick so the fitted sheet was a bit loose. You could add a couple of inches and the bottom sheet would probably fit a bit better. I’m fine with it though.
As for comfort, I am stunned by how soft and heavenly these sheets are. I actually look forward to going to bed at night since buying them, and if it’s a weekend, I love to lounge in bed late into the morning with my coffee and a book. My only concern is the thickness will only be appropriate for the winter months; I’m afraid come summer, these will have to be packed away. The top sheet almost feels like an extremely light blanket.
The only not so great aspect of these sheets is that they wrinkle really easily. Look at them on my bed for a realistic assessment. Personally, I don’t mind a rumpled look, but if that’s going to bug you, then you’ll have to either iron these or steam them. I’m not full of laundry tricks, so perhaps I’m just not using the right technique or product, but even when I take these straight out of the dryer, they aren’t smooth.
All in all, I love these sheets and if you don’t mind the labor of steaming or ironing, then these are a guaranteed guest pleaser. I predict that you’ll get guests commenting right away, even leaving glowing reviews on how heavenly the bed is.
3. And the Third Option
“A third suggestion? I thought you only had two recommendations,” you ask. Well, that’s true but I just couldn’t help from showing off my latest score from an estate sale in Santa Barbara curated by The Attic SB. The entire contents of a luxury vacation rental went on sale, early on a Saturday morning a couple of weekends ago, and I was able to pick up complete Frette bedding for a queen bed – top and bottom sheets, duvet cover with duvet inside, four pillow cases along with four pillows (sheathed in pillow protectors)! All almost new! The price?
$95! Ninety. Five. Dollars.
So option three is to go to local estate sales in upscale neighborhoods and see if you can score upscale bedding. Even if you don’t find bed linens, there is always something to be found at an estate sale, especially for vacation rentals. And if you get there early, you find the best stuff.
Just because I posted this article, does not mean I have finished my quest for the perfect white sheet. I am always on the look out, always looking for great options for my subscribers. If anyone knows of another perfect white sheet, please let me know right down there in the comment box. I am anxious to hear more! You see, I firmly believe there are a few more perfect white sheets out there that I still have not been lucky enough to cross paths with.
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Here’s to many happy bookings ahead!