Bed linen is that essential part of the bed nobody sees until it's time to crawl under the covers and go to sleep at night and it includes sheets and pillow cases and anything else that goes under the covers. It's basically a covering over the pillows and mattress in order to protect them and keep them clean. They are typically washable, so when it's time to launder them, it's simple and easy.
What is foremost important to you as you shop for bed linen? If you want something that coordinates with your bedroom, you can easily find a large variety of every imaginable color, solid colors as well as prints. If you're main interest is the material you will find polyester, bamboo, linen, cotton, silk and Egyptian cotton. Different weaves like a stripe or plaid bring still more variety and there are some that have a special enhanced weave that results in a more durable fabric.
Egyptian cotton originally was harvested in Egypt but is now grown other places as well. Egyptian cotton uses longer threads and that's what sets it apart from other cotton fabrics. Longer threads results in higher quality and stronger durability.
When you're shopping for bed linen, you will notice there are different thread counts. The thread count is the number of threads woven both lengthwise and width wise in a one inch square. Thread counts generally range from 200 to 1800. You may think that the higher the thread count, the better the product. Maybe yes, maybe no.
There is something more to keep in mind. A thinner and finer yarn size will give you a higher thread count. This results in a softer, more comfortable product and a tighter weave but may not necessarily be as durable. Yet another factor to consider is how many threads are twisted together to make a single strand of thread. Two ply translates into two strands, three ply would be three. So a three ply, 300 thread count would be a thicker and likely a more durable fabric than a higher one ply count. A higher one ply count would be a thinner and softer fabric by comparison.
So the quality of your bed linen fabric depends on a couple factors--
1. The quality of the fiber
2. The length of the yarn
3. The thread count
4. The ply
5. The finish
6. How it is constructed
And really this can be overwhelming if you're looking for a high quality, low cost product. You will be able to see from the manufacture's listing the fabric features to help you determine more easily what best fits your specific wants and needs. If you have children, your main concern could be a wrinkle resistant or stain resistant bed linen. This is normally a general characteristic of a polyester or microfiber fabric. If you are leaning toward longer life and a more durable product, then your Egyptian cotton with multiple ply yarn may be your best solution. Maybe you just want pretty and aren't concerned with either. There you have a multitude of choices. You are the one who decides what characteristic best fits your needs. I hope this sheds a little light on your shopping experience. It at least gives you a little insight to help you intelligently understand the fabric differences. So enjoy shopping!