Fitted Sheet vs. Flat Sheet: What’s The Difference?

Bedsheets are one of the easiest pieces to choose for, when it comes to bedding. We all know how essential they are to our bed, especially since they go through the most usage over time and keep our mattresses clean and offer us a comfortable surface to sleep on. Unlike pillowcases, quilts or duvet covers, bed sheets are easy to buy for too. 

However, there is still a dilemma on what kind of sheet you must get for your bed: flat or fitted? 

We understand you don’t have the time to sit all day researching over bed sheets. So, we have done that for you. Yes, we have scrammed through the length and breadth of the bedsheet world and detailed every information you’ll need about the two kinds so that you can make an informed decision on what would be the best purchase for you. 

Flat vs Fitted Sheets header image

Don’t want to read the whole article? Here’s is a quick summary of the debate between flat and fitted sheets.

Flat sheets (used on top) are rectangular in shape with straight edges while the fitted sheets (used on bottom) are fitted with elastic corners.

Traditionally, fitted sheets (often referred to as bottom sheets) cover the mattress and are mostly used over a mattress protector. They’re easier to put on the bed but can be challenging to fold or iron. This is the layer one typically sleeps on.

On the other hand, flat sheets (often referred to as top sheets) are traditionally placed below the comforter or quilt cover, and one typically sleeps under it. They’re used to make the bed more appealing and prevent the comforter or quilt cover from getting dirty. 

Flat sheets are also used as bottom sheets in place of fitted ones but setting them properly requires some skills and patience.

However, the millennial generation usually tends to skip this traditional whole bed-making routine and sticks to either fitted or flat sheets. Fitted sheets are a more popular choice because it’s easier to set up though washing and ironing them can be challenging. Depending on your preference, you may choose both or just stick to one, whichever is more convenient.

Anatomy of a bed
How to properly make your bed

What Is A Fitted Sheet?

Fitted sheets ensure a secure fit over the mattress. They have elastic corners that you can just pull over the mattress, maintaining a snugly tight fit. They are essentially mattress protectors that will keep your sheet unwrinkled and clean. So, when you are lying in bed, you are actually sleeping on top of the fitted sheet.

They were invented in the late 90s and have remained popular since, owing to their functionality and ease of use. Unlike flat sheets, you have to be careful to get the correct size with fitted sheets so that you can fit them over your mattress.

Fitted sheets image

What Is A Flat Sheet?

Flat sheets are large in size so that you can spread it over your mattress and tuck them in on the bottom and sides. They also have stitched seams and are also called top sheets. Flat sheets are placed between the fitted sheet and your duvet, so when you are in bed, you can just tuck yourself under this sheet.

Historically, we have been using flat sheets since the 15th century and are still serving their purpose of keeping your mattress clean. To make it stay in place, follow the fold and tuck technique. Flat sheets also protect your blanket or duvet cover, so you won’t have to wash them as often. They also add an element of design as they are folded over your blanket or duvet.

Fitted sheet vs Flat sheet - Which is better?​

Well, it may seem like that is a difficult question to answer, but it isn’t. Honestly, it is completely your choice, if you prefer a fitted or flat sheet on your bed while sleeping.

If you prefer a layer of sheet between you and the duvet cover, so that you can keep the duvet cleaner for longer, then a flat sheet is perfect for you because you can wash those frequently. This will also make sure your duvets don’t get dirty as often.

However, a lot of people now have done away with the flat sheet and just use a fitted sheet over the mattress and sleep under their duvet covers. Those who do not enjoy sheets coming off your mattress and tangling up at the bottom of the bed, prefer a flat sheet instead. Also, with flat sheets, making your bed in the morning can be quite a chore. Every morning you have to straighten and tuck them, which can be quite a bother. 

Can You Use A Flat Sheet As A Blanket?

Of course, yes. In case you need a layer of something warm and comfy, a flat bed sheet is ideal, if you aren’t feeling cold enough for a blanket. 

During summers, a cool cotton flat sheet is just the kind of breathable and cool fabric you need to cover yourself and sleep better. 

Pros And Cons Of A Fitted Sheet

Here are a few things you must consider, before buying a fitted sheet.


  • Easy To Change Or Remove: Simply hold one corner of the mattress and loosen the elastic fitted sheet to remove them. You can just throw them in the laundry and machine wash in a breeze.
  • Protects Your Mattress: Be it your body oils or food spills, fitted sheets protect your mattress from persistent dirt and stains. Mattresses are really expensive and fitted sheets help extend their lifespan.
  • Smooth Sleeping Surface: If you get the right fit and fabric, then a fitted sheet can truly offer you the perfectly neat, soft and flat sleeping surface every night.


  • Not Easy To Fold And Iron: It can be a bit difficult to fold them due to their elastic hem. While this may not seem like a big deal, it also makes them a pain to iron.

Pros And Cons Of A Flat Sheet

If you prefer to have a flat bed sheet, then we recommend that you go through this list of pros and cons.


  • Keeps your duvet or comforter clean.
  • Security: Sleeping under a flat sheet that is tucked in well under the mattress feels like having a warm hug. Being tucked into bed with a flat sheet calms and comforts and helps you fall asleep.
  • Cosiness: On extra chilly nights, being tucked in your flat sheet can really make you feel warmer and ensure a good night’s sleep.


  • Restrictive: If you are someone who tosses and turns a lot during their sleep, then being tucked in can feel very uncomfortable. It can also lead to leg cramps.
  • Overheating: If you feel hot flashes while sleeping, then being held in place by a top sheet will keep you from easily flinging your covers off when you really need to. 

Difference Between Flat And Fitted Sheets

Flat Sheets
Fitted Sheets
Keeps your duvet covers and comforter clean for longer. Shields your mattress from everyday wear and tear.
Keeps you warmer in winters as they go in between your blanket and you. They are fitted well on the mattress and do not come loose easily.
Perfect cover for you on a warm night, when it is too hot for a blanket. Making the bed in the morning is 10 times easier and less time consuming with them.
Tucks you in for a cosy and comforting night’s sleep. They are difficult to iron and fold.

How To Choose Fitted And Flat Sheets?

  • Fitted Sheet Sizes

You need to know the measurements of your mattress, so that you get the exact fitting right. Along with the length and width, you must also be sure to know how deep it should be to fit your thick mattress.

  • Flat Sheet Sizes

Flat sheets are usually larger than the mattress, so you don’t really have to go to the store with measurements. However, if you have a smaller mattress, then tucking in large sheets can be quite a pain. So, it is best to know the dimensions before buying. If you like a fitted tuck in, then get one with a similar size as that of your mattress, but if you love sleeping in on a loose sheet, then get a bigger one.

  • Sheet Quality

Quality is everything when it comes to putting together a comfy bedding set to enjoy a good night’s sleep. From silk to cotton to bamboo sheets, the market today is flooded with options of the kind of flat and fitted sheets you can get. If you are looking to buy one for regular use, it is advisable to go for a breather and durable fabric such as cotton.

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  • Sheet Colours

It is significant that your sheet goes in with the colour scheme of your bedding. White is the most popular choice, but you can also get these flat and fitted sheets in a variety of patterns and colours. 

In Conclusion

Bedsheets are a standard on all mattresses, usually non-decorative and one of the most basic items on your bedding and with so many choices in the market, it can still get quite difficult to find one of your liking. While flat versus fitted sheet is a hotly contested debate, it ultimately comes down to your preference and what you feel most comfortable with.

Fitted bed sheets are definitely more popular because they are low-maintenance and do the job of keeping your mattress clean really well. If you are the kind of person who does not like seeing crumpled sheets in the corner of your bed, then you will absolutely love fitted sheets. However, if you like having an extra layer under your duvet covering you, ensuring the perfect comfy environment for sleep, then you must definitely get yourself a flat sheet.

So, picking a bed sheet type is all up to your taste, lifestyle and whatever helps you enjoy a good night’s sleep in comfort. It is always advisable to test out your options for a week’s trial run and then make the purchase, depending on whichever one offers you the most comfort while sleeping.


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