For some time I’ve been toying with whether or not to write this column on bed sheets. You can see I’ve made my decision. Here’s a little backstory to explain my conflict.

When it comes to bedding, I am particular. It’s not a matter of decor or brand. It’s the way the sheets feel. They have to be smooth and wrinkle-free. The sheets have to breathe and not stick to me. But they can’t be slick, slippery, crunchy or noisy, either. The weave has to be tight and they can’t feel like sandpaper.

Seriously, if the sheets are not right, I don’t sleep well. And by well I mean sound asleep—not tossing, turning and constantly waking up.

For me, sheets have to fit well, too. The fitted sheet cannot pop off the corners of the mattress; but it can’t be too big, so as to become baggy and then prone to bunching up. Above all, my sheets must be 100% cotton. Not linen, not microfiber or polyester or any other type of fiber or blend thereof.

There was a time when decent sheets were common and affordable. I don’t know what’s happened there, but I  blame it on synthetic fibers—microfiber, polyester and their related manmade fiber-cousins that are cheap to manufacture.

We used to depend on the word “percale” to be the sign of a great sheet, but truth be told percale has nothing to do with fiber content. Percale refers to a type of tight weave. I’ve been fooled by percale sheets that turn out to be polyester percale or microfiber percale—not the fine cotton percale we remember from childhood.

For months now, I’ve been testing, hoping to discover sheets that would guarantee a good night’s sleep every night—both for me and my less picky husband—at an inexpensive price, but without much success.

In desperation, I decided that a luxury brand might be the way to go. I justified the idea because for me quality sleep is priceless.

BOLL AND BRANCH. Having heard the radio commercials, I bit the bullet and ordered a basic set (fitted, flat and two pillowcases) in size Cal King from this luxury online bed linen company. Price: $260. Given that price, I assumed that surely, Boll and Branch would be the secret to a consistent good night’s sleep.

After several months of use here’s my review: The fabric weave and “hand” (the way it feels to the touch) are excellent. The sheets come out of the dryer semi-wrinkled, and I have an iron. Yes, I do iron sheets.

What I do not like is that they are cut too generously. The fitted sheet is too large to create a nice, tight fit. It’s baggy. And the flat sheet is oversized, which means it must be tucked in all the way around for the bed to look well-made during the day. And that price!

RED LAND COTTON. Another company with high marks, Red Land Cotton, grows and manufactures its luxury cotton bed linens right here in the U.S.A., a feature I like a lot. Red Land Cotton offers sheets in sets, but also individual fitted and flat sheets. The fitted sheets come in a choice of two depths: 14-inches and 16-inches. So many great features!

I was hopeful enough to order a sheet set from Red Land Cotton—14-inch depth, Cal King, in white. Price: $260, again. As usual, I laundered the sheets before the first use. They came out of the dryer quite wrinkled so out came the ironing board.

After several weeks of use and multiple washes and ironings, both my husband and I found the Red Land Classic sheets to have a stiff, heavy and almost rough hand. They feel to us as if they’ve been starched. Unlike so many folks who have reviewed these sheets with glowing reports at the Red Land Cotton site, I’m not thrilled. These sheets keep me awake. So does the price.

JCPENNEY. I’ll cut to the chase to tell you that finally, I have found the perfect sheets at a fair price—at JCPenney. And in two options—what I have identified as luxury and excellence.

Best Inexpensive™ Luxury Bed SheetsJCPenney’s Royal Velvet 400-tc, WrinkleGuard Sheet Set is my pick for the Best Inexpensive luxury, 100% cotton bed sheets. These sheets have a velvety, soft hand and are very well cut to fit (up to 18-inch depth without being baggy). These are the cotton percale sheets I  remember. Available in a variety of colors, although I must admit that for me when it comes to bed and bath linens, the only color is white.

These sheets are smooth, luxurious; not noisy, rough or any other negative thing on my list of cannot-tolerates. They launder beautifully in hot water and come out of the dryer nearly wrinkle-free. I touch them up with the iron, but honestly, I may stop doing that.

One set of these sheets in Cal King is priced $200 at the JCPenney website. But wait. The site regularly offers discount coupons (I’ve been watching this like a hawk), plus these specific sheets are frequently on sale. With my first order, I didn’t have to search or inquire. At checkout, I simply clicked on “Coupons” which was right next to the checkout button. Immediately, I landed a 65% discount.

I have checked many times since to see how that discount holds up and have yet to find a time that I would have had to pay full price. I can’t represent the exact discount you’ll get, but know that these sheets are frequently on sale and discount coupons and codes are readily available.

Best Inexpensive™ Excellent Bed Sheets.An excellent lower-priced option is JCPenney Home 300-tc Cotton Sheet Set. These 100% cotton sheets are lovely, fit up to 15-inch depth mattress and get softer every time they are laundered. They’re smooth and not noisy. The differences that I noted between this option and the Royal Velvet luxury option: Not as velvety to the touch, slightly lighter weight and the sheets come out of the dryer wrinkled. Make sure you are aware of this—wrinkled. Even so, these sheets are a great value and do not violate anything on my picky list.

As this post goes live, both of these Best Inexpensive™ options (above) are on sale. Add a coupon or two and prepare to get a fabulous deal.

It’s been a long journey, but finally, I’m happy to say that I am one happy camper. I mean sleeper.

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