The differences between sateen and percale cotton sheets

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Sheets made from cotton are all the same, right? Wrong! Even sheets made from the same type of cotton can offer vastly different benefits, looks and feel. It comes down to the actual construction–or weave–of the sheets. Two popular types of weaves are sateen and percale. Below, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of both types of cotton sheets to help you determine what sheets make the most sense for your hotel or institutional laundry facility.

Cotton sateen
Cotton sateen sheets offer a beautiful luster reminiscent of satin. Sateen weave has three to four threads woven over one thread, creating a looser grid pattern. What this looser weave does is expose more yarn to the surface for a luxurious silky-smooth feel and slight sheen.

The major downside to this type of weave, however, is that sateen is a little thicker and isn’t very breathable. Warm sleepers may get overheated, which can be especially uncomfortable during warmer months or in warmer climates. However, if your hotel resides in a cold climate, sateen sheets can provide that warm cozy bed your tired guests crave.


  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Slight sheen
  • Feels silky-smooth
  • Good drape
  • Warmer


  • Pilling and snags may occur
  • More likely to retain heat
  • Slippery texture may cause bunching
  • Sheen may fade

Cotton percale
Cotton percale sheets offer a crisp, clean look. The tight, flat “one under, one over” pattern creates a lightweight feel and matte appearance that’s reminiscent of a white button-down shirt. Unlike sateen, percale sheets are breathable and airy. They’re great for year-round use, especially for those who want to stay cool as they snooze.

Percale sheets aren’t as soft as sateen sheets, but they do get softer over time as they’re used and washed. Another great benefit is that percale offers more durability thanks to its tight grid pattern. Just be aware that percale sheets are much more prone to wrinkling. Ironing can remove those wrinkles, but this is a step that not every hospitality business has time for.


  • Durable
  • Breathable
  • Softens with each wash
  • Easy care
  • Feels smooth and crisp
  • Good for all seasons


  • Not as soft as other weaves
  • More prone to wrinkling
  • Noisier

Are sateen or percale sheets right for my hotel?
What’s right for your hotel, or your hotel clientele, really depends on your needs. If you’re prioritizing durability, then percale sheets make sense. The tight pattern prevents snagging and pilling—problems you’re more likely to encounter with sateen. However, if you want to create a soft, luxurious bed for your guests, then sateen edges out percale with its silk-like feel and wrinkle-resistant properties.

It’s also worth noting that you can find cotton percale and cotton sateen sheets for sale across a variety of price points. The weave doesn’t affect the cost so much as the specific type of cotton used does. For example, sheets made from long-fiber Egyptian cotton will cost more than sheets made from upland cotton, regardless of the weave type.

Turn to Venus to fulfill your hotel sheet needs
Venus offers a wide range of hotel sheets, including percale and cotton sateen sheets. Our textile experts are happy to field any questions you may have as you decide which sheets to choose for your hotel or industrial laundry facility. Simply call 800.421.6599 or send an email to [email protected].