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Flat Sheet vs Fitted Sheet: What Is the Difference?

Fact Checked
Up to date
Update: May 1, 2023
5 min read

Written by

Payal Singh
Content Writer
Illustration Of Flat Vs Fitted Bedsheet

Confused about which sheet to go for? Indeed, a sheet is one of the most important accessories that impacts the quality and comfort of sleepers. Knowing the difference between a flat sheet vs fitted sheet is the key to making the right choice.

Flat sheets are simple rectangular pieces of cloth spread out flat on top of the mattress with their sides either hanging by or tucked under the edges of the mattress. On the other hand, fitted sheets come with elastic corners pulled over the mattress corners for a secure and snug fit.

Read more about the key differences between the two types of sheets and how to choose the best option.  

Flat Sheet vs Fitted Sheet: The Difference

The most common points of difference between a fitted sheet and a flat sheet are given in the table below. 

BasisFlat SheetFitted Sheet
FunctionIt helps protect both the mattress and the comforterIt is beneficial only for protecting the mattress
Ironing and foldingA flat sheet is easier to iron and foldIroning and folding fitted sheets are relatively complex
StorageFlat sheets take up less storage spaceFitted sheets tend to take up slightly more storage space
CoverFlat sheets can also be used to cover the body while sleepingFitted sheets cannot be used to cover the body while sleeping
Bed-makingMaking the bed is faster and simpler with flat sheetsMaking the bed can be somewhat tiring with fitted sheets
MovementTend to fall off at night, especially with restless sleepersStays in position irrespective of the movements of the users
PriceRs. 600/- to Rs. 1500/-Rs. 1000/- to Rs. 2500/-

What Is a Flat Sheet

As the name suggests, a flat sheet is a rectangular piece of cloth that is slightly bigger than the size of the mattress and has finished edges. The sheets are spread out and lay flat on the bed, covering the entire mattress and its sides. These bed sheets are either left hanging over the edges of the mattress or tucked underneath the mattress to keep the sheets in position.

A flat sheet, also known as a top sheet, has been an integral part of standard bedding essentials for ages. They are a much better choice for keeping mattresses and comforters dirt-free, healthy, and easy to clean and maintain.

What Is a Flat Sheet Used For?

Understanding the purpose of a flat sheet vs a fitted sheet can go a long way in helping buyers to make the right choice. Flat sheets are primarily used to protect the mattress from the accumulation of dust and staining. Unlike the fitted bed sheet, the flat sheets help to regulate the users’ body temperature better and thus enhance their comfort level. Most importantly, the flat sheets help to protect the skin of the users from bacteria, dust mites, and other allergens that might have made their home in their mattress. The moisture-resistant properties of flat sheets also help users to avoid skin damage caused by dry air.

What Is a Fitted Sheet?

Fitted sheets, also known as bottom sheets, are designed to fit snugly over the mattress and create a smooth sleeping surface. The sheets often feature elasticised corners or edges that enable the sheets to hug the mattress. Unlike the flat sheets, the fitted ones do not become crumpled or move from their place as the users move on the mattress.

Using fitted sheets is highly recommended for people who are restless while sleeping or feel uncomfortable if their sheets are not covering the mattress properly. Fitted sheets offer better protection for the mattress from everyday wear and tear and thus enhance mattress life.

What Is a Fitted Sheet Used For?

When it comes to usage, fitted and flat sheets are considerably different. Since fitted sheets hug the mattress snugly, they offer better protection from day-to-day wear and tear. Moreover, fitted sheets create a smooth and wrinkle-free sleeping surface, even though they cannot regulate body temperature like flat ones. Washing your fitted sheets is easy and does not require the users to follow special care instructions. Most importantly, fitted sheets can be covered with flat sheets during the day for enhanced mattress protection. Also, the snug fitting of fitted sheets minimizes the risk of the sheets slipping and falling off the bed due to excessive user movements.

Are Flat Sheets Better than Fitted Sheets?

Comparing different aspects of fitted vs flat sheet is essential to know which of the two is better. With the above discussion, it is pretty clear that both fitted and flat sheets have advantages and disadvantages. However, the ultimate choice depends mainly on the personal preferences of individual users and the level of comfort they seek. The overall environment and bed frame type also impact individual users’ sheet preferences.   

While fitted sheets offer a softer and slip-free sleeping solution for users, flat sheets are a better option for people seeking a more convenient and time-saving solution. People who prefer traditional bedding essentials are also more likely to opt for flat sheets, as are mostly older adults. Fitted sheets are quite popular among younger generations and people who live in excessively dusty and windy areas. Fitted sheets are also recommended for people with adjustable beds to prevent them from falling off.

How to Choose Flat Sheets Vs Fitted Sheets?

The choice between a flat sheet or fitted sheet is not an easy one to make. That is why prospective buyers need to consider the following pointers to make the right choice.

Use: The usage of the sheets is the most crucial factor in ensuring people buy the right one. Flat sheets are easy to use and can be simply spread out on top of the mattress. However, fitted sheets require some effort to ensure that they snugly fit the mattresses.

Aftercare: When it comes to choosing between a fitted sheet vs flat sheet, the aftercare needs of each type should be considered by users. Unlike flat sheets, fitted sheets may have specific aftercare needs to maintain the elasticity of their corners and edges. 

Price: The cost of the sheets is another vital aspect to consider while choosing between fitted and flat sheets. Fitted sheets are more expensive than flat ones due to their unique design and construction. On the other hand, flat sheets have a simple design, making them quite affordable for people with different budget limitations. Fitted sheets cost nearly INR 2500, while flat sheets cost approximately INR 1500.

Sizes: Flat sheets are available in multiple sizes as they are large rectangular pieces of cloth. Hence, people can easily get flat sheets that match mattresses of different sizes. However, fitted sheets need to be of the accurate size as the mattress, as even a slight variation in size can make them unfit for use.  

Material: Another important factor to consider while choosing between flat and fitted sheets is the material used for making them. Both these types of sheets are available in a wide variety of materials, including cotton, linen, and even blended fabrics.  


The above comparison between a fitted sheet vs flat sheet can help prospective buyers choose their sheets wisely. Fitted sheets are suitable for people who do not want to adjust their sheets frequently and seek a smooth sleeping area. Flat sheets are a better option for people seeking hassle-free usage, affordability, and minimal aftercare needs.


Why do hotels use flat sheets instead of fitted?

Since flat sheets can be ironed and folded more neatly than fitted sheets and may be removed without lifting the mattress like fitted sheets must be removed at home, flat sheets are frequently used as bottom sheets in hotels.

Why do hospitals use flat sheets?

A flat sheet’s job is to protect your duvet cover, so there’s no need to wash a duvet cover as frequently if a hospital washes its flat sheet frequently. Flat sheets are also easy to press and fold.

What goes first, flat or fitted sheet?

The fitted sheet goes first. With the finished side facing down, place your flat sheet on top of the fitted sheet. Make hospital corners on all four corners to achieve an exceptionally crisp, tucked-in effect.


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Written by

Payal Singh
Content Writer
Bachelor's in English Literature and Health Sciences Previously wrote blog articles for various Doctors for their websites Familiarity with various content management systems and SEO best practices

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