Satin and Sateen Bed Linen

First of all, let’s try and uncover the mystery of the difference between satin and sateen. I’ve been using both terms equally and have always wondered whether there is actually a difference.

They are not that different really. Both have the same weaving process that enables them to have a very silky, smooth and shiny surface. The difference is that satin as a term can only be used when long staple fibres, like silk or the much cheaper polyester, are used for the weaving process.

Cotton on the other hand has short staple fibres. So when the satin weaving technique is used with cotton then the term is sateen. Sometimes the term “Cotton Satin” is used as well and then when it gets shortened to satin, it’s when the confusion starts.

So anyway, the end result is a wonderfully smooth, glossy and shiny duvet cover.

There is not a lot of proper satin around these days. People prefer natural materials, so the polyester option is out. However, silk is so expensive that this is not an option either. Therefore mostly cotton is used today and the satin weaving is applied and therefore it should be called sateen by rights.

Take a look at Northern Nights Sateen Plain Dye for a lovely example of a sateen duvet cover. With a 400 thread count it’s fantastic quality and you can see yourself slide into the cool sheets on a hot summers night. It is very smooth and glossy and soft on the skin and feels very luxurious.

However, sateen is quite an acquired taste. I don’t really like it when the whole bedlinen is made from sateen. There are some great other options available though. Lots of bedding manufacturers use sateen as a feature rather than for the whole duvet cover. So sateen stripes, stitches, pleats or similar are applied to bedding made from other material. This creates some really lovely bedlinen.

Because of the reflections and the light those duvet covers give your bedroom an instant lift. Whereas bedlinen made completely from sateen might be a bit overpowering (it feels like that for me), those features are really subtle and yet brighten up the room.

Even a satin feature the same colour as the rest of the bedlinen can create amazing effects without being too much in your face. Take the John Lewis Marlow Cotton Sateen Duvet Cover, White for example. The main part of the duvet cover is made from great quality 300 thread count cotton but there are some small sateen details that make the whole linen look so special and their gloss really brightens it all up.

So whether you like the full effect sateen linen or the sateen features, we have searched everywhere to find you the best choice of available duvet covers. As always we have only included the products from reliable retailers and we constantly update our choice of great bedding.

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