Whether you’re after stripes, florals, abstract or plain bedding, our roundup has suggestions for all tastes. 

When choosing your design check the fine detail, especially when buying online as some of the shades may not appear quite as they do on a computer screen, while some patterns don’t show up background colours very well online.

Your next consideration should be fabric type. With cotton the biggest myth is that the higher the thread-count, the better the quality. In fact the opposite can be true, with a better quality fibre with a lower thread count feeling softer and standing up to washing better than a sheet of lower-quality fibre with a higher thread count.

While an “honest” 250-thread count sheet is made up of 125 vertical threads and 125 horizontal threads woven together, a “misleading” 750-thread count has exactly the same number of threads, but with manufacturers twisting the threads together then multiplying the count by three. This triple-ply thread is made with cheaper, weaker and less durable cotton woven together in a more thick, dense and less breathable thread.

The solution? Remember it’s the thread, not the thread-count that matters most. Ideally, buy single-ply yarns made of extra-long staple (or at least long-staple) cotton – and bear in mind that great quality cotton bedding is roughly between 180- and 300-thread-count.

You may also want to consider a sateen weave, which has more vertical than horizontal yarns. On the upside, this makes it softer; on the downside, it’s more prone to tearing and pilling. You can also go for intricate weaves, such as jacquards and damasks, which are just as durable but tend to be more expensive.

Another popular fabric is a cotton-polyester blend. Not only is it less expensive, but it is wrinkle-resistant and durable. But unlike pure cotton, it includes synthetic fibres which can leave you waking up feeling clammy and it is more likely to stain. Polyester can also irritate sensitive skin and attract static electricity.

Finally, remember that patterns and colours are usually applied after they are woven, which means the sheets can feel stiff until you’ve washed them a few times, although some quality weaves – including jacquard – are made of fabrics woven from coloured yarns.

All the sets – mostly just duvet covers and pillowcases, although some come with sheets – we’ve included have been slept on and washed and are available in single, double, kingsize and superking unless stated otherwise. All UK suppliers conform to the same measurements, although some overseas brands, such as IKEA, have slightly different measurements, so be sure to check with your bed and mattress. All of the ones we’ve listed are machine-washable, too.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

The Casper Sheets: from £155, Casper

You may have heard of the Casper’s pioneering foam-core, vacuum-packed mattresses. Well, now it’s doing innovative bedding too. This set – which comes in white or white and grey, and is made from premium, extra-long staple supima cotton that doesn’t wear thin over time – is soft and airy. The duvet cover zips up so there’s no need for time-consuming poppers, buttons or ties. Sheets are also available with this one.

Buy now

John Lewis cactus print: from £40, John Lewis 

This statement, cactus-themed bedding set is flamboyant and fun, without sacrificing style. And unlike many of the cheaper sets on the market, it won’t trap heat and cause you to sweat, thanks to the breathable, soft 200-thread count pure cotton – particularly welcome at this time of year. It’s machine-washable.

Buy now


Dunelm Mill Liana ochre quilt cover set: from £18, Dunelm

This elegant, florally inspired set looks a lot more expensive than it is and we love the stylish mustard, white and grey floral design. Comprising a polyester and cotton combo, which is wrinkle-free and still soft to the touch, it’s not one for those who are prone to getting clammy at night, but if that doesn’t pose a problem, this bold set is a worthwhile investment. Also in the range is bed linen, as well as matching curtains.

Buy now

Bohzaar Nomads Panthera Ikat fusion set: from £60, Bohzaar  

This tribal-themed, British-made set is eye-catching enough to be left unadorned or accessorised with any number of cushions and throws (available in the same range) for a more bohemian look. And if you get fed up with the pattern, you can always flip it over to reveal the even simpler Nordic cross design. We found the 200-thread-count cotton percale soft against the skin, but only when washed first.

Buy now

Tielle Classic Hotel 300 thread-count bed linen set: from £84, Tielle

For those who love the crisp white freshness of five-star hotel linen, look no further than this soft white set that is used in The Pigs, Limewood and Firmdale hotels. With ties at the end – and a choice of pillowcase styles and sizes – it has great potential for combining with bright colours or other textures. It’s made from single ply and long staple yarns and the price includes either a fitted or flat bottom sheet.

Buy now

Catherine Lansfield Duvet Day duvet cover set: £20, Argos

Why bother opening your mouth to tell your parents you want a lie-in when you can just have your intentions printed in bold on your bed? Adding some wit to any bedroom, this set from the bedware specialist is also on trend in terms of colouring and there’s a striped design on the back. Made from a cotton and polyester mix, there’s no need to iron it and it’s comfortable but it’s not as breathable as pure cotton and it only comes in double size.

Buy now

Very Watercolour Ida Watercolour Floral duvet set: from £25, Very

If you want to brighten up your bedroom with a fresh and pretty look, this delightful white duvet features wild flowers at the bottom and also on the pillows. It washes well and we found you can get away without ironing it, but the polyester and cotton combination might not suit those who get hot at night. Only available in double and kingsize.

Buy now 

Orla Kiely Early Bird: from £100, John Lewis

Irish design brand Orla Kiely has a great eye for mixing retro style patterns and colours in creative and bold ways and this new design throws in a bit of nature too – in fact, the Early Bird design can be found on a number of the brand’s products, from pencil cases to bags. Made from 200-thread-count pure cotton, it’s both soft and breathable, allowing you to maintain your body temperature throughout the night with no irritation to the skin. 

Buy now

LinenMe stone wash set: £180, Linen Me

We love this supremely soft, 100 per cent linen bedding set, which is available in a range of tones and patterns, all of which are made using traditional looms and top-drawer linen flax fibres. It’s not for those that like a neat ironed look (as they crinkle up as soon as you touch them), but striking if you don’t mind the lived-in look – and they last much longer than most bed linen due to the quality of the raw materials. 

Buy now

Ikea Kustruta: £35, Ikea

This 152-thread-count cotton bedding, made from single-ply yarns, is smooth against the skin and features a classy check print whose colours stay bright no matter how much you wash them because the yarn is dyed before weaving. Buttons – rather than poppers – keep the quality feel and look, although frustratingly, it’s only available in double (and bear in mind that the sizing differs slightly from standard UK measurements, so be sure to check everything still fits).

Buy now

Gant Ash Paisley duvet set: £100, Amara 

Available in grey or blue, this set will add a touch of class to any bedroom. Combining traditional paisley with a fresh minimalist look, it’s made from high-quality 210-thread=count cotton sateen that means it’s both soft and long-lasting. We are big fans of the zip closure, which saves a lot of time when making up your bed. But it’s only available in double and the sateen is more likely to pill than other cottons. Only available in double.

Buy now

George at Home Classic Grey trailing floral: from £9, Asda 

This combines a summery trailing floral print with on-trend greys and comes in at a fantastic price too. Although it’s not clear from the picture, there is a splash of bright yellow among the bumble bees, but we think this adds a nice colourful touch. It washes well, although the polyester and cotton combo isn’t very breathable. 

Buy now

Christy Harlow duvet set: from £100, Amara

Big, bold florals can make a real statement of a bed – and this one, with its pink and brown tones, does just that. It comes from Christy, the homeware brand which has over 160 years’ experience in the business. It’s a shame the single-ply yarn isn’t long or extra-long, but it is finely spun, giving the fabric a lovely drape and the 200-thread-count cotton percale is soft and comfortable. Not available in single.

Buy now

Very Emoji duvet cover set: from £19, Very

Another great option for teens and younger adults, this fun, reversible emoji-themed set features all the digital icons you can think of – from heart eyes to thumbs up (and, appropriately, “Zzz”) – on one side, and a polka-dot on the reverse. The polyester and cotton mix makes it easy to care for (never shrinking in the tumble dryer, for example), although it can make you hot and it’s only available in single or double. 

Buy now

The Verdict: Best bedding sets

If there’s one brand that’s out to dispel the thread-count myth, it’s Casper. Its bedding is fabulously soft and only gets softer still with each wash. It’s also very breathable and is well designed. Prefer a pattern? Go for Dunelm Liana Ochre – great if you’re on a budget – or Orla Kiely Early Bird if you’ve got a bit more cash to splash and like a retro look.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.