If you love silky soft sheets, but don’t want the fuss of actual silk sheets, you should consider sateen. Not to be confused with satin, sateen isn’t a fabric but rather a type of weave that’s typically employed for cotton sheets. It features a three- or four-over-one weave that imparts a slight sheen on the top layer and seals in warmth, making it an ideal pick for cooler environments and sleepers.
Stylists prefer sateen because it “offers a sleek look that’s a bit more rich and velvety than percale,” says interior stylist Colin King, but it’s also easy to care for. “It’s luxe but durable,” he adds. If you’re on the hunt for something extra cozy, shop our picks for the best sateen sheets on the market.
- Best overall: Parachute Sateen Sheet Set
- Best organic: Coyuchi 300 Thread Count Organic Sateen Sheet Set
- Best value: CGK Unlimited 400 Thread Count Cotton Sheet Set
- Best splurge: Matouk Grace Collection
- Best colors: Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set
- Best hotel-inspired: Hill House Home Saville Sheet Set
- Best washed sateen: Matteo Washed Sateen Sheet Set
- Best details: Serena & Lily Scallop Sheet Set
- Best lightweight: Morrow Organic Matte Sateen Sheet Set
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Thread Count: Thread count is the number of threads in a square inch of fabric, and it’s one of the determining factors for quality and feel in cotton sheets. The ideal thread count for sateen is 300 to 600, says Logan Foley, managing editor for Sleep Foundation. Unlike percale, which has a one-over-one weave and an ideal thread count of 180 to 300, sateen’s three- or four-over-one weave allows for more threads to be fit into a square inch, making it a denser and generally softer sheet.
You can absolutely find higher thread counts, especially from luxury brands that use super fine Egyptian cotton threads, but beware of marketing gimmicks. Just because something has a high thread count does not mean that it’s high quality. Craftsmanship and the type of raw materials used are equally important—for example, Upland cotton versus Egyptian, with the latter being rarer, more expensive, and undeniably softer. A lot of times, manufacturers will use cheap raw materials or double, even triple, fold threads to inflate thread count in order to charge you more.
Softness & Feel: Unlike percale, the other popular weave for cotton sheets, sateen is undeniably smoother and can feel almost like silk. It’s also heavier, so if you tend to sleep hot or live in a very warm environment, this might not be the best pick for you.
Easy Care: It’s always important to read the care instructions for textiles. In general, however, sateen sheets should be cared for similarly to all cotton sheets: Wash in cold water and line or tumble dry on a low heat setting. High heats are unnecessary to clean sheets unless you’re solving for bed bugs or a virus, as it’ll shorten the lifespan of your bedding by affecting the integrity of the threads. You should also invest in four to eight dryer balls, and ditch the fabric softener and dryer sheets as these only coat your bedding in false softening agents that can irritate skin.
Our Top Picks
Best overall: Parachute Sateen Sheet Set
Crafted from Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Egyptian cotton and sewn in Portugal at a family-owned mill, Parachute’s sateen sheet set is one the softest we’ve ever tested in the mid-price range. Featuring a pearlescent sheen and pillowcases that come with a back envelope closure so your pillows don’t poke through, crawling into bed every night on these sheets was a dream. Available in five neutral colors—including newly added blush and fawn—with the option to purchase with or without a flat sheet, they drape richly over a bed and layer well within a natural palette (think: rattan headboard, bone linen bolsters, and a textural marle wool throw).
Best organic: Coyuchi 300 Thread Count Organic Sateen Sheet Set
Buttery soft with a slight sheen, these sheets made our tester feel toasty but never overheated. Packaged in a cute, reusable cloth bag—no plastic here—this bedding is GOTS certified (a step above Oeko-Tex where every step of production is verified organic and socially responsible), Fair Trade certified (workers are fairly compensated) and “made safe” (no harmful toxins, such as carcinogens, flame retardants or endocrine disruptors). The brand even has a recycling program called “2nd Home,” where you can return used products for 15% off your next set to ensure that your bedding never ends up in a landfill.
Best value: CGK Unlimited 400 Thread Count Cotton Sheet Set
With an extra deep fitted sheet that fits mattresses up to 16 inches—perfect if you favor a mattress topper—these supremely soft and breathable sateen sheets are crafted from long-staple cotton, which is more durable and pills less than its short-staple counterpart. Available in nine colorways including indigo and sage, these 100 percent cotton sheets prove that great bedding doesn’t need to be expensive.
Best splurge: Matouk Grace Collection
If you are looking to invest a bit in your bedding, consider the Grace Collection by Matouk, a Massachusetts brand whose commitment to expert-level artistry and high-caliber materials is nearly unparalleled. Crafted from Giza Egyptian cotton—an even more luxurious form of typical Egyptian cotton that creates longer and thinner yarns—and trimmed with Swiss lace, these 615-thread-count sheets live up to their luxe reputation. The fabric feels as plush and decadent as velvet but because the threads are so fine, it is also supremely breathable and light. Available in four light colors, including the prettiest forget-me-not blue and bone, a soulful warm white, you won’t be disappointed in this pick.
Best colors: Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set
It’s hard to find quality, sateen sheets in a good assortment of colors, but Brooklinen’s luxe core sheet set is an exception. This 480-thread-count offering is available in seven “essential” colorways from graphite to blush, and an additional seven limited edition shades (when ordered directly via their website), including lemon and white stripe and toasted almond, a mellow blush.
Best hotel-inspired: Hill House Home Saville Sheet Set
While you might be familiar with Hill House Home for its viral pandemic-era Nap dress, the brand also offers wonderful textiles and their sateen Saville sheet set instantly set our hearts aflutter. First of all, it’s made from brushed cotton, a technique that literally brushes cotton fibers for a plush and cozy feel. The cotton is then sewn into a sateen weave, creating the perfect mix of soft and glossy for an indulgent sleeping experience that was not only supple but also comforting. Second, it has a handsome piping trim around the edges, available in black, emerald, or white, which instantly dresses it up. Plus, you can monogram this set with your initials. When we brought this set home to test out, it made the room look like a polished-but-cool London hotel suite.
Best washed sateen: Matteo Washed Sateen Sheet Set
If you love percale sheets and are a little skeptical about switching to denser sateen, Matteo’s washed sateen sheet set should be your first stop. This 300-thread-count pick had a slight gloss and pliable feel, but also a little bit of crispness. Unlike other picks on this list, it didn’t hug our bodies quite as closely or snuggly, and was noticeably lighter than the brand’s “Sei” sateen line (Domino’s best overall sheet pick) that’s 600 thread count. Yet still, as it’s pre-washed, it was extremely soft.
As with all of the brand’s bedding, it’s batch dyed when you order it to avoid slight color variations in the final set you recieve. It’s also hand cut and sewn in their Southern California factory to ensure quality. We like to pair the white colorway of this collection with the brand’s twill striped tick shams in oat (a lovely tan) for a little variation and visual interest.
Best details: Serena & Lily Scallop Sheet Set
If you’re the kind of person who loves subtle design details, you’re going to love this scallop sheet set. The 300-thread-count offering features a delicate curved edge that’s embroidered in white, navy, sky (think baby blue), or pink sand (a nude-ish blush)—and will instantly play up a whimsical bedroom without being too fussy. Not only do these sheets look good, they also feel really, really good and are Oeko-Tex certified. So if you’re on the hunt for something that’ll push you out of your classic white sheets comfort zone without veering into block color territory, this option from the Sausalito, California-based brand should be at the top of your list.
Best lightweight: Morrow Organic Matte Sateen Sheet Set
Some people shy away from sateen because they prefer a more matte look or find the weave a bit too dense and heavy. But Morrow’s organic matte set solves both of these concerns.
Available in three desert colorways including rich terracotta, this modern take on sateen is lightweight and breathable due to the brand’s proprietary weaving techniques. Similarly, its shine-free finish is achieved after three years of experimenting with various dyeing methods. Plus, there’s a slight hem on the pillowcase which sports a side envelope enclosure so your pillows never slip out. Sometimes, it’s the little details that count.
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