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Flat Sheet vs. Fitted Sheet (DIFFERENCES EXPLAINED)

Flat Sheet vs. Fitted Sheet (DIFFERENCES EXPLAINED)

Do your sheets stay put the whole night? If not, you must be one of those sleepers whose sheets get loose before falling asleep. Whichever group you belong to, a flat sheet and a fitted sheet both serve different purposes, which we will discuss today.

A flat sheet or top sheet is a rectangular sheet finished at the edges with no 3-D or elastic finish. Contrarily, also called a bottom sheet, a fitted sheet has four elastic corners for a snug fit on your mattress.

The debate on the use and superiority of these two has been ongoing for years. Some sleepers use flat sheets as fitted ones, only that they tuck them under the mattress. Today, we review the differences between a flat sheet and a fitted sheet.

hand fitted sheet

What Is A Flat Sheet?

Also known as a top sheet, a flat sheet is a rectangular sheet designed to lay flat atop your bed. Most sleepers use it between their duvets or blankets to protect their duvet cover. This way, by washing it, they will not need to wash their duvet cover often.

However, some sleepers use a flat sheet instead of a fitted sheet. They tuck the flat sheet under the bottom corners of their mattress and use it as a bottom sheet. However, this often gets loose at night since there is nothing to secure its fit.

What Is A Fitted Sheet?

A fitted sheet is a bed sheet with two or four elastic corners designed to fit snugly over your mattress. It is also known as a bottom sheet because it goes above your mattress but below your duvet, blanket, or other bedding. Fitted sheets often protect your mattress.

What Is A Fitted Sheet Vs. A Flat Sheet?

Here are the differences between a fitted sheet and a flat sheet;


A fitted sheet is designed to fit securely over a mattress. It is why it has elastic corners or a 3-dimensional design to go over your mattress. This way, the fitted sheet cannot get loose even as you toss and turn at night.

Contrarily, a flat sheet is a rectangular piece of fabric with finished edges but without elasticated corners or 3-D designs. It is easy for a flat sheet to get loose at night since it has no fit to secure it.


A fitted sheet is also known as a bottom sheet since it goes below the sleeper. It covers your mattress, hence working as a protective gear for your mattress. Contrarily, a flat sheet goes above the sleeper but below your duvet cover, duvet, or blanket for protection.


The primary purpose of a fitted sheet is to protect your mattress from dirt or friction that could make it wear out faster. On the other hand, the primary purpose of the flat sheet is to protect the duvet or blanket, keeping it clean and new-looking.

What Are The Advantages Of Using A Fitted Sheet?

A fitted sheet has multiple advantages that have made it a staple in most American homes for decades.

Protects Your Mattress

A fitted sheet hugs the mattress perimeters thanks to its elasticated two or four corners and 3-D design. Such gives a snug fit to your mattress, protecting it from dirt, dust, and sometimes splashes. Whatever the material of your fitted sheet, it enhances the newness and lifespan of your mattress by reducing contact, friction, and damage.

Enhances Softness And Comfort

Some mattresses or covers often have skin-unfriendly fabrics, which could cost you comfort during sleep. However, most fitted materials made of cotton or linen enhance the softness and comfort of your mattress, leading to improved sleep quality.

Easy To Clean

Cleaning a mattress is hectic, time-consuming, and expensive, especially if you are doing a deep clean. A fitted sheet saves you the hassle of needing to clean your mattress by reducing contact. It harbors most of the dirt and dust that could have gone on the mattress.

Cleaning a fitted sheet is easy, cheaper, and faster than a mattress. All you have to do is toss it in your machine wash to clean and dry.

What Are The Advantages Of Using A Flat Sheet?

The debate on the usefulness of a flat sheet in today's world is never-ending. While older American sleepers often hold that a flat sheet is a typical bedding essential, the millennials differ. All the same, here are the things that make using a flat sheet worthwhile;

To Promote The Cleanliness Of Your Duvet

A fitted sheet goes between the sleeper and the blanket or duvet to prevent transferring dirt to the duvet. It promotes the cleanliness of the duvet since any dirt from your body or hair gets to the top sheet.

Promotes Cooling

Most top sheets are breathable and have a heat-dissipating feature to promote cooler nights, especially in warmer times. Such is ideal for night sweaters or hot sleepers, improving comfort, freshness, and restful sleep.

Added Warmth And Comfort

Some sleepers use a flat sheet as an extra layer to promote comfort and warmth in cooler months. Some duvets barely offer conformity, especially for sleepers that love a body-hugging covering. Such comes in handy if the flat sheet is soft, comfortable, and cozy.

Easy to Clean

It is easier to clean a flat sheet than a duvet or blanket since it is lighter. When your flat sheet gets dirty, toss it in your machine wash for a quick and effective wash. Such promotes the newness of your duvet since there will be minor wear and tear caused by regular washing.

How To Use A Flat Sheet As A Fitted Sheet

If you do not own a fitted sheet, you can still get quality sleep using your flat sheet. Follow the following steps to fit your flat sheet, including how to keep it from moving;

  1. Get a flat sheet that is bigger than your mattress. For instance, if your mattress measures five by six inches, get a flat sheet that measures six by six inches. The excess material will promote a secure fit.
  2. Next, spread your flat sheet on your mattress, ensuring it is evenly draping over the four corners.
  3. Make square corners and tightly tuck them to promote secure folding underneath all the corners. This will prevent the sheet from coming out at night even as you move in your sleep.

To get crisp corners that will not untuck:

  1. Start by lifting the mattress.
  2. Slide the excess fabric underneath the whole foot of your bed.
  3. Proceed to fold the untucked fabric on both sides to form triangular-shaped ends.

Tuck the lower drapes of each end under your mattress and fold the fabric left upside down. Fold it securely under your mattress and repeat for the opposite side. You now have a flat sheet with four tightly secured corners.

bed flat sheet

Which Is Better? A Flat Sheet Or A Fitted Sheet

The debate on which is better between a flat and a fitted sheet is never-ending. However, this depends on your needs and which one serves you better.

For instance, we have already established that the design of a fitted sheet allows it to fit more securely. However, make it work if you have hacked how to use a flat sheet in the place of a fitted sheet.

Some sleepers dislike folding and putting away fitted sheets because of the 3D feature. Most do not lie flat on the wardrobe and result in ugly-looking finishes. Still, this is something you can get past.

Also, if you realize the purposes that each serves, use both concurrently. But if you are a Millennial who could use a duvet protector rather than a fitted sheet, go ahead. Still, this does not negate the numerous benefits of using the latter.


A flat sheet and a fitted sheet both serve different purposes, including protection, cooling, warmth, and ease of cleaning. Consider the size of the mattress, type of material, and purpose while shopping for either.