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There are several things which should be considered when purchasing twin bedding, ranging from the pattern on the bedding to the thread count. As with any purchase, sitting down to think out needs before shopping can be a good idea, as a clearly delineated list of needs will make shopping quicker and easier.
The first concern is the size of the twin bed. Twin beds come in standard and extra-long sizes, with extra-long twin beds requiring bedding which is a bit longer. If you are not certain about the bed size, measure it and take the measurements to the store so that you can compare them against the measurements listed on the bedding. While purchasing extra-long bedding for a regular twin is not the end of the world, regular bedding will not fit on an extra-long. Before buying bedding for a college dormitory, boarding school, or similar facility, it can be wise to call to confirm the bed size.
After the size of the bed, another issue is what kind of bedding needs to be purchased. If the only things that are needed are sheets and pillowcases, a sheet set may be the best solution, as it provides a neat package of top and bottom sheets with matching pillowcases. If additional blankets or comforters are needed, these items can be purchased separately, but it's also possible to buy a “bed in a bag” which includes a sheet set and matching comforter. Additional bed furnishings like throws and dust ruffles may also be worthy of consideration.
The choice of textile fiber is also important with twin bedding. It is possible to find cotton, linen, silk, satin, polyester, jersey knit, and flannel bedding, each with advantages and disadvantages. Polyester sheets, for example, may become scratchy, while flannel can be very insulating in cooler climates, or suffocatingly hot in warm environments. Knowing about fiber preference ahead of time can help to rule out undesirable bedding in the store.
Some people are also concerned about thread count with woven twin bedding. Thread count refers to the number of stitches in a set area of the sheet, such as a square inch sample. The higher the thread count, the denser the stitches, resulting in a very smooth, soft, and sturdy sheet. Lower thread counts tend to be cheaper, but they are also scratchier and more prone to tearing.
Thread counts can have a variety of ranges, and sometimes the best way to judge whether a thread count is good enough is just to open the package and feel the bedding to see how soft it is. Visual inspection of twin bedding can also provide information about the thread count: if the weave can be clearly seen, the thread count is low.
Finally, the color and pattern of the twin bedding should be considered. Solid colored bedding is often a good choice because it is simple and easy to coordinate with the rest of the bedroom. Especially when purchasing bedding for someone else, it can be dangerous to pick patterned bedding, as patterns which appeal to one person may be distasteful to someone else. For example, someone might be either pleased or horrified to receive sheets printed with dinosaurs, making a whimsical purchase a dicey proposition.