The Best Linen Sheets for Clean, Crisp Bedding

Upgrade your bedding with durable linen, which grows softer and more beautiful with age.

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Best Linen Sheets

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It’s no wonder the ancient Egyptians revered linen cloth. Traditionally woven from flax fibers, linen is durable, absorbent, and fast-drying. Its cooling, hypoallergenic properties make it perfect for warm-weather clothing and crisp, durable bedding. Europeans have long enjoyed linen sheets for their heirloom quality, comfort, and subtle, sophisticated appearance.

For sheets that last, linen is a good bet. Linen fibers are 30 percent stronger than cotton. The fabric is also more eco-friendly than cotton, as flax takes less water and fewer chemicals to cultivate. Although linen tends to wrinkle, that is part of its charm. And unlike cotton and other materials, linen sheets can improve in appearance and feel softer over time. Ahead, these shopping tips and recommendations for the best linen sheets will help you find a set that boasts style and sustainable design.

  1. BEST OVERALL: DAPU Pure Stone Washed Linen Sheets Set
  2. RUNNER-UP: Simple&Opulence 100% Washed Linen Sheet Set
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Oasis Fine Linens Stonewashed Linen Sheet Set
  4. BEST LUXURY: Beflax 100% Natural French Linen Bedding
  5. BEST ORGANIC: Len Linum European Made Pure Linen Sheets Set
  6. BEST BELGIAN: Solino Home 100% Pure Linen Belgian Bed Sheet Set
  7. BEST FRENCH: Sijo Premium Stone Washed 100% French Linen Bed Sheet Set
  8. BEST SET: Simple&Opulence Belgian Linen Sheet Set with Ruffles
Best Linen Sheets

Photo: iStockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Linen Sheets

You may see the phrases “French linen,” “Belgian linen,” or “Belgian flax” on sheet sets’ packaging. This denotes the region where the flax was grown. The manufacturer may send harvested plants to factories in China or India for production. “Belgian linen” should be trademarked by the Belgian Flax & Linen Association, certified that it is grown and woven in Belgium.

Depending on the origin of the flax and the quality and manufacturing process of the linen fabric, a set of linen sheets (fitted, flat, and two pillowcases) can cost between $60 to $250 or more. From your ideal softness level to the perfect fit, keep these factors in mind before you buy linen sheets.

Thread Count and Softness

Linen sheets are often stiffer upon purchase than cotton, bamboo, or microfiber, and may feel a bit rough initially. The stiff feel is due to the flaxen thread itself, which is thicker and stiffer than cotton and other natural fibers. Thread count for linen sheets is also lower than cotton—again due to thread thickness—so look for a thread count between 80 and 150 for good-quality linen.

Linen sheets can be “stonewashed” to ensure softness right out of the box.  This is a finishing process in which the manufacturer places fabric in an industrial washer with natural and manufactured stones. The stones have the effect of softening the material without compromising the threads’ strength and integrity. The result? A softer feel and subtle sheen.

Lightweight vs. Heavyweight

Thread count is not the only way to measure linen’s quality. Many companies prefer to use GSM or grams per square meter. This is a measure of thickness, so sheets with a higher GSM (between 150 and 180) will typically last longer and feel heavier than those with lower GSMs. Thicker sheets aren’t necessarily rougher, but they may feel stiff at first. Fortunately, linen softens over time with use and multiple washings.

Fit

Check each brand’s dimensions to ensure a proper fit for your mattress. Sizing is standard for linen sheets: from twin to California king. However, not all brands offer all sizes, so be sure to double-check sizing and measurements, especially if you have an extra-long or extra-deep mattress. Some brands offer “deep-pocket” fitted sheets, which measure 15 to 22 inches deep, in contrast to regular fitted sheets’ typical measurement of 7 to 14 inches deep. Linen sheets are preshrunk and stonewashed, so they typically won’t shrink much in the washer and dryer.

Our Top Picks

From European sourcing to beautiful stitching, these linen sheet sets are some of the best and come in various colors, sizes, and softness levels.

Best Overall

Dapu sheets are 100 percent French linen, with a 108-thread count. Exclusively grown in Normandy and harvested in an environmentally-friendly fashion, these sheets earn high praise and thousands of positive reviews. The fabric is Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, one of the world’s best-known labels for testing for harmful substances, for environmental practices, and the glossy finish is stonewashed for maximum softness. The fitted sheets are extra-deep and have 360-degree elastic edging. Four sizes are available (twin through king) in the following colors: off-white, natural linen, summer sky, smoky pink, sky blue, gray, and Celadon. If you need extra pillowcases, you can buy them separately (in natural and off-white). Like all good-quality linen, Dapu sheets get softer with every wash. The price is also highly competitive and less expensive than other French linen brands

Best French

Best Linen Sheets Set
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These 100 percent linen sheets are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, so the manufacturer does not use chemicals or toxic dyes. Nicely finished with sewn embroidery around the border, Simple&Opulence sheets have a 150 thread count and are more affordable than many top-of-the-line linen sheet sets. Pick your size (from twin to king), then choose your favorite shade and embroidered border (two variations are available). Machine wash on warm or cold settings and tumble dry on medium heat. These linen sheets run on the thin side, so treat them gently. Perfect for warm climates and keeping you comfortable during the night.

Runner-up

Best Linen Sheets Set
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Oasis sheets are 55 percent linen and 45 percent cotton, which gives them the look of linen and the softness of cotton at an affordable price. The manufacturer’s balance of textures gives these sheets all-natural breathability. The sheets are vintage-washed for added softness and designed for extra-large pillows and deep mattresses. Only white sheets are available, in full, queen, and king sizes. With a 230 thread count, Oasis sheets have a durable weave that’s also gentle on skin. The materials used for the bedding are pesticide-free, and the cotton is hand-picked to reduce carbon emissions. The manufacturer recommends you break in your sheets by washing on cold and tumble dry on low.

Best Bang For the Buck

Best Linen Sheets Set Oasis Fine Linens
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Beflax sheets are heirloom quality and will last for many years, with the right care. The manufacturer weaves the sheet from 100 percent European-sourced linen with plants harvested according to eco-friendly and socially responsible methods. The fabric is stonewashed and softened with natural enzymes to ensure comfort without sacrificing fiber strength. Due to their superior finish, Beflax sheets won’t shrink and will only get softer with use. These sheets are thicker in feel, with a high GSM and richly textured weave that is entirely hypoallergenic and breathable. Due to the sheets’ thickness, you may initially feel they are rough. Plan to wash these sheets several times to soften them. Each four-piece set is available in twin, queen, and king sizes. Colors are earthy and won’t stain easily: choose from three shades of brown, natural, and gray.

Best Luxury

Best Linen Sheets Set
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You will transform your bed and pay respect to the planet when you invest in Len Linum organic linen sheets. The manufacturer makes these sheets from 100 percent pure linen carefully woven from European flax, and stonewashed for added softness. Each four-piece set contains a flat and fitted sheet, plus two pillowcases. Every size is available, from twin to California king. The 11 color options include charcoal black, midnight blue, coral, natural, and white. Texturally, these sheets are relatively thin, so you should treat them with care and launder on gentle cycles.

Best Organic

Best Linen Sheets Set
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Solino Home manufactures its sheets from 100 percent Belgian flax. The company believes that luxury is in the details: the fitted sheet even has labels for “head” and “foot.” The stitching is beautiful, too, and will ensure the sheets last a long time. Each set comes wrapped in simple, sustainable packaging and a linen bag to store your sheets. Select your size (full through king, no twin available), and a preferred shade (white, ivory, or stone). Care is easy, as these sheets are completely machine washable. For a timeless look, layer these carefully made sheets with tone-on-tone bedding, to show off the natural dyes and weave.

Best Belgian

Best Linen Sheets Set
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Sijo creates its sheets in small batches in Normandy, France, a region known for fine linen production. These 175 GSM, 100 percent linen sheets are preshrunk and stonewashed for added softness and sheen. Oeko-Tex Standard 100-certified Sijo sheets are dye and chemical-free. Since not everyone uses a flat sheet, you can choose between a three-piece or four-piece set (flat sheet included), in sizes that range from full to California king. Sijo’s seven color choices are subtle, sophisticated, and show off the natural linen weave to the best effect. Launder according to the manufacturers’ instructions. No ironing is required. While these sheets are expensive, they receive top marks for durability, softness, and long-lasting beauty.

Best Set

Best Linen Sheets Set
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Simple&Opulence sheets are pretty, comfortable, and their price won’t break the bank. Made of 55 percent Belgian linen and 45 percent cotton, this set blends both fabrics’ best. The sheets are soft, breathable, and stylish. These high-quality 160 GSM/200 thread count sheets are also Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified for eco-friendliness. You can choose from four color-fast shades—white, gray, natural, and navy—that will stay fresh and bright. The ruffled edges are subtle, not frilly, and give just a touch of shabby chic flair. They are available in twin through king sizes. You wash them on a gentle cycle (no bleach) and tumble dry on medium heat. The linen will grow softer with each wash, and won’t lose the texture and heft that pure cotton doesn’t have.

FAQs About Linen Sheets

Once you’ve chosen your sheets, care for them well, and they can last for years. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions

Q. What is French linen?

French linen is woven from flax that has been grown and harvested in France, often in the Normandy region. It may be woven and manufactured elsewhere, however.

Q. What is Belgian linen?

True Belgian linen is grown and woven in Belgium. Belgian flax, in contrast, may be grown in Belgium and manufactured elsewhere.

Q. How should you wash linen sheets?

Wash linen sheets on a gentle cycle in cool or warm water. Tumble dry the sheets on low or medium heat. Ironing is optional.

Q. How do you soften linen sheets?

Linen sheets will soften over time, with daily use and multiple washes.