What is a flat sheet and a fitted sheet? What are the differences? Flat and fitted sheets may look exactly the same at a first glance. But if you fold them out, you’ll be able to identify the main gaps right on the dot.
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The flat sheet (a.k.a. top sheet) is a basic bedroom essential that usually blends with a duvet; it’s a plain, simple, and rectangular bed sheet that just lays flat on the bed and can also be tucked in for a more precise fit. Fitted sheet, on the other hand, is elasticized on four corners highlighting the edges of the mattress with a snug fit.
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Top Sheet vs Fitted Sheet Comparison Table
|Flat Sheet||Fitted Sheet|
|Appearance||Flat, rectangular, and plain||Has elastic corners; stretchable|
|Versatility||Known as a top sheet
Covers the fitted sheet and duvet
Can be used as a blanket and cover of the bed
Provides additional warmth
|Solely designed to cover the mattress
Gives off a smooth and silky surface
Keeps the mattress protected from dust and dirt
|Fit||Drapes on the bed beautifully
Lays flat on the bed
|Elasticized corners that highlight the edges of the mattress
Gives the mattress a snug fit
|Storage||Easy to fold and put away for storage
Folds flat and not bulky
|Easy to put away for storage
Does not fold flat and can be a bit bulky
|Cost||Has affordable and expensive options||Has affordable and expensive options|
What is a Flat Sheet?
As the namesake implies, flat sheets are flat, simple, plain, and just like any typical bed sheet that covers the bed. This piece of cloth lies completely flat and drapes beautifully on the mattress.
A flat sheet is usually right under the duvet or combined with the blankets. While it embraces the body with extra warmth, the duvet or blanket is less likely to pick up dirt.
What is a Fitted Sheet?
Contrary to a top sheet, a fitted sheet has elasticized corners that provide a snug and precise fit on the mattress.
Because it is tucked in on each corner, the sheet stays firm and fit even when you move. It can also provide warmth but its primary goal is to fully cover the mattress for a smooth and soft surface.
Differences Between Flat Sheet and Fitted Sheet
The major gap between fitted and flat sheets is the fit. If you put up two mattresses side by side, the first one covered with a flat sheet and the other one with a fitted sheet, you can already tell the contrasting features.
While a fitted sheet has stretchable sides that wrap the mattress with a snug fit, a flat sheet is a plain rectangular cloth that lays flat on the bed.
When I shop for bed sheets, there’s always a vast array of bed sets that comprise of a fitted sheet and a flat sheet. This just indicates they’re designed for two different purposes: the fitted sheet covers the mattress and the flat sheet goes right on top of the fitted sheet but typically under a duvet or blanket. Others just tuck it right under the mattress to cover the bed.
However, some consumers just find it a waste of time and money to buy a flat sheet. They think it’s just another sheet to fold and an addition to laundry.
As a flat sheet protects the fitted sheet, duvet, and blanket to keep the dirt off, a fitted sheet does the same for the mattress.
That’s why flat sheets are more prone to dirt and hence, need to be washed regularly. But one thing’s for sure: they both provide extra warmth to keep you cozy when you sleep.
Difference Between Flat Sheet and Fitted Sheet
If you’re still wondering how you can benefit from these popular types of bed sheets, I’ve come up with a detailed breakdown of their features: appearance, fit, versatility, storage, and cost.
Such comparison provides a clearer view of their differences and similarities which will define what type of sheet really suits your personal needs and preferences.
The name itself suggests how it looks like. A flat sheet is flat, rectangular, and plain. It looks like any basic blanket or sheet that just lies flat on the bed. It comes in different colors, designs, material, and sizes.
A fitted sheet has four stretchable corners that give the mattress a snug fit. The elasticized corners highlight the edges of the mattress that lends a sleeker and neater look.
Whether you have a single, twin, queen, or king-sized bed, there is always an available flat sheet according to your preference. No elasticized corners.
And if by chance, you end up with a wrong length and width, it doesn’t usually matter as it just lays flat on the bed and drapes beautifully along the trails of the duvet and blanket.
Getting the right size is inevitably vital when buying a fitted sheet. If you need to dress up your mattress for a queen-sized bed or whatever size you have at home, make sure to read the labels for the dimensions.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to use it on your mattress and you may need to purchase a new one or have it replaced.
If you have a thick mattress at home, you can go for deep fitted sheets for better folding and tucking in.
As the name itself suggests, fitted sheets provide a precise fit. It tucks right under the mattress that lends a smoother and seamless surface.
Although it doesn’t drape like how flat sheets do, a fitted sheet gives the mattress a neat and smooth appearance. Even when you move around the bed, it won’t easily fall off.
Flat sheets are more versatile compared to fitted sheets. It is usually layered on top of the fitted sheet and in between the duvet and blanket.
But you can also use it as a blanket to warm yourself up against the frigid temperatures or you can just layer it along with your other blanket for extra warmth.
Also known as a top sheet, you’re less likely to wash more frequently as it protects the duvet and the fitted sheet from the dirt and dust.
The sole purpose of a fitted sheet is to cover the mattress and nothing more. It isn’t as versatile as flat sheets but it does provide extra warmth on your bed.
It can also protect the mattress from the dirt and dust. And because it gives off a smooth and soft surface on your bed, you get to enjoy a comfy sleep all day.
With just a few folds, you can easily keep the flat sheet away for storage. It folds flat and does not take up so much space in your cabinet.
Since it isn’t bulky, it does not bulge out of your other folded sheets and rather keeps your storage neat and organized.
There isn’t much of a hassle putting a fitted sheet away for storage. You can go for a few folds and leave it along with your pile of sheets.
However, you’ve got to be a bit careful folding it in due to its elasticized corners. Unlike flat sheets, a fitted sheet may not lay very flat and can come out a little bulky.
There are a few factors that can affect the price of the flat sheet. This includes the type of material, the length or size, the brand, and the design.
Hence, there isn’t a constant price range. The prices can go higher or cheaper than usual. Some options can also be affordable.
For those who prefer other options, there are tons of available bed sheet sets that include flat sheets.
Deals such as this become a more practical option for those who don’t have much time to hunt for fitted sheets and pillowcases with compatible sizes and complementary designs.
Just like flat sheets, fitted sheets also vary in price. You may come across expensive and affordable choices based on the material, design, brand, and size.
What Are the Best Flat and Fitted Sheets in 2023?
BAMPURE 100% Organic Bamboo Sheets
Bamboo is known to be super soft, breathable and even great for people with allergies.
Flat and fitted sheets made of bamboo fabric are even softer than Egyptian cotton.
They are a bit on the expensive side though. So, if you’re on a tight budget, check out our second pick.
Read real reviews on Amazon
Utopia Bedding Fitted Sheet Review
With its smooth and soft surface, you can take delight in a comfortable sleep all day and night.
Tailored to perfection, it features a wide range of sizes that can fit in any bed size whether it is king, queen, twin, or full.
And because it tucks right under the mattress perfectly, it won’t easily fall off even when you roll over the bed or move around.
Made of breathable brushed fiber, this fitted sheet is something you can use all year-round. It doesn’t leave a sticky or hot feeling when you lie on it.
It lends a soft, smooth, and silky surface that furnishes your mattress with a better and more lavish appearance. With its elasticized corners, it provides a firmer grip that tucks in the mattress perfectly.
Read real reviews on Amazon
Pros and Cons of Flat and Fitted Sheets
- Provides a smooth and soft surface.
- Lays flat on the bed.
- Easy to put away for storage.
- Easy folding and tucking in.
- Provides extra warmth.
- Protects the fitted sheet and the duvet from dirt and dust.
- Can be used as a top sheet, a blanket, or another layer of blanket for added warmth.
- Has affordable options.
- Drapes beautifully on the bed.
- It isn’t designed with a snug fit. When you move around or roll over the bed, it may just fall off easily.
See flat sheets available on Amazon
- Covers the mattress and protects it from dirt and dust.
- Has deep pockets and elasticized corners for a snug fit.
- Provides a smooth, silky, and soft surface.
- Easy to wash and clean.
- Provides additional warmth against cold temperatures.
- Easy to put away for storage.
- Has affordable options.
- Does not easily fall off even when you move around.
- Getting the right size is extremely vital. Otherwise, it won’t provide a snug fit in the mattress.
- May look a bit bulky when folded for storage.
Flat sheet vs fitted sheet: And the winner is…
It seems as if there’s always a competition between fitted sheets and flat sheets. With all the debate and comparison reviews between the two, some consumers find it a bit difficult which to choose.
There are distinct differences but both fitted sheets and flat sheets are solely designed for specific purposes. The bottom line is: if you want to cover your mattress with a snug fit, go for fitted sheets. But if you need something to cover the fitted sheet or duvet, go for flat sheets. Easy as that.
There are pointers to keep in mind when purchasing either of these sheets, though.
Always consider the size or length, and material to fully benefit from their insulation properties and comfort.
Particularly with fitted sheets, you should never go wrong with the size or else you won’t be able to use it. Go for the ones with deep pockets if you have a thick mattress.