How to choose the best bed linen: House of March founder shares her tips
Many of us have experienced the matchless feeling of sliding between cool, crisp and incredibly-smooth hotel sheets.
A similar experience was so impactful, Kiwi Lisa Knowler was inspired to start a business from it.
Knowler is the founder of House of March, that offers luxurious, organic-certified bedlinen with clean, classic lines.
A stay at the Savoy Hotel in London while studying fashion there. introduced her to the standard of linen she says she hadn’t experienced elsewhere. An idea was sparked that night and put into action when she returned home to New Zealand, with the launch of her brand in November 2022.
“To me, a bed should be somewhere that you feel comfy and cocooned,” Knowler explains, saying she had stayed in some of the world’s best hotels, but none of the bed linen lived up to what she was expecting, or what she experienced at the Savoy.
“I tried to replicate that Savoy feeling at home, by buying high end bed linens, but when I couldn’t, I decided to create it myself,” she says.
She says the perfect bed linen should be organic, smooth and should become softer with each wash. It’s something she has achieved with House of March, in a collection she believes feels even better than the Savoy’s: “But I am probably biased.”
We asked Knowler a bit more about what makes linen great and what to look out for.
What elements should the average person consider when looking for linen for their home?
The first element would be organic. If I could offer a piece of advice to anyone, it is to buy Organic Certified bed linens. So many bed linens are treated with harmful chemicals, and you have to spend a lot of time in bed with your largest organ (your skin) against your bed sheets, so I encourage people to try and purchase the ‘cleanest’ possible bed linens. GOTS certified organic bed linens are some of the cleanest you can buy, as the cotton has been grown and produced without the use of pesticides or any harmful chemicals in the dyeing and finishing process
The second element to note is to opt for high-quality bed linens. A long-staple cotton is smoother and more durable than most cotton on the global market. It will therefore feel better and look better after lots of washes.
Lastly, look for ethical and sustainable sourcing. Ensure that the linen aligns with your values by looking into where and how it’s produced. House of March is a Fairtrade certified company and everyone in our supply chain is also Fairtrade certified. We are proof that you can have the very best in terms of luxury, whilst also upholding the highest ethical values.
What is a long staple cotton material?
Cotton can come in different lengths – short and long. The longer the length the better the cotton is in terms of softness, strength and durability.
So if you purchase a long-staple cotton product you are getting a premium product, one that will not pill or wrinkle or fade as much as short staple cotton. It will essentially feel better and will look better for longer.
Most of the cotton in the world is short staple, so by using certified organic, long-staple cotton we really set ourselves apart and offer a point of difference.
What do we really need to know about thread count?
Higher is actually often worse. Thread count is just a measure of how many threads are in one square inch. Both the vertical and horizontal weave of the fabric are counted.
Traditionally high thread count was associated with quality, but very high thread counts, say 1000, is most certainly a marketing trap. It is likely that the manufacturer of 1000TC has taken a lot of inferior cotton threads and twisted them together to create a multi-ply. This will likely feel worse than a high quality 300TC and will likely be an inferior product.
What are some common mistakes we make caring for our linen?
Over-drying in the dryer, which can lead to excessive wrinkling and shrinkage. If you like a wrinkle-free approach you can always put it in the dryer until it is almost dry (remains a little damp) and then pop on the bed and smooth out the wrinkles with your hands or a steamer and it will give a smoother look.
Not rotating your bed linens, just like us bed linens need a decent rest. I recommend that you rotate your bed linens each week. Not only does it mean you are washing your bed linens regularly, it is a great way to make them last longer by preventing premature wear and tear on the most used parts of your sheets.
Using bleach, which can weaken fibers and fade colors. I like to use a small sodium percarbonate to get out stains instead of bleach – it is a sustainable product, is inexpensive, and I think it can work better than bleach.
What are some more practical touches you like?
For pillowcases, look for envelope closures to keep in place, deep pockets on fitted sheets for a better mattress fit, and ask if it is pre-washed or pre-shrunk in order to minimize post-purchase shrinking.
What are some quick ways to make linen or your bedroom and bed look fresh?
Soften your headboard with some white Euros where needed, and my top tip is a quick scoot over your duvet cover and pillowcases with a steamer, while they are on the bed. This will take out any wrinkles should you prefer a less lived in look and is also a great way to ensure no dust mites.
I also love to add a textured quilt cover, folded, towards the lower third of my bed to finish the look and adding 1 or 2 cushions is a great way of freshening up a duvet set.
I also think the current trend of mixing colours is a great way of freshening up a room. Just add a pair of contrasting pillowcases to your duvet cover for a modern and fresh look. Our banded pillowcases are ideal for this.