Cotton vs Linen

I know, it is complex – which sheets are superior? Should I go with a more casual linen set or luxurious-looking cotton? It is beyond, and honestly, I am here to decide for you. Linen vs cotton is an easy battle once you understand what you prioritize and value from your bedding. 

The difference in Touch and Feel

The ‘beauty is pain’ ‘choose what looks best’ motto just does not apply to bedding. Everyone should feel as though they are on a cloud, already dreaming when they get into bed. Therefore, quality and preference is of the utmost importance. 

First, let’s look at cotton. The feel is determined by the weave and thread count. Percale is an ‘one-over, one-under’ weave that provides a crisp, light, and matte feel and look. Sateen is a ‘three-over, one-under’ weave that is exceptionally soft, shiny, and smooth, giving a hotel aesthetic at home. Now thread-count is considered to translate directly to ‘softness’ for cotton sheets, but this is extremely misleading as 300-500 is the ideal range; anything higher has been pursued to increase profits, not enhance your sleeping experience! 

Now onto linen, a highly durable fibre derived from the flax plant, which gets softer as the fabric ages. This commonly turns people off initially because linen sheets take a decent number of washes to truly achieve an effortless feel. However, while “rougher” than cotton linen should not irritate the skin, if you’re uncomfortable with initial friction, then they are not right for you! Note linen is heavier than its cotton counterparts, but the fabric is more breathable due to the looser weave, making it superior for hot climates and sleepers. Instead of thread count, for linen, quality is expressed by grams per square meter (GSM), and the optimal GDM is 170 to 190. Overall, both high-quality 100% linen and cotton sheets will not disappoint in feel but take note of what you prioritize! 

Impact of Aesthetic 

Ok, let me be quick with this one. Sheets set the mood for your bedroom. Sateen cotton provides luxurious vibes, perfect for cooler months in the city. In a crisp white, I ensure you will feel as though you are in a 5-star hotel. Now, parcel cotton is my least favourite, but no less serves a purpose. The ‘standard’ cotton sheets can be dressed up and dressed down, great for all year round. Finally, linen provides a relaxed effortless feel in the bedroom. I suggest linen for any summer house or California modern interior. If you cannot decide, create a mood board for your bedroom and swap in cotton vs linen sheets. Notice how with all other elements remaining the same, the mood shifts – whichever speaks to you more is the aesthetic you are after. Oh, and I suggest white for everything! Sheets are an investment; I believe no patterns or colours will last the test of time. 

Maintenance, Durability and Price (MDP) 

When investing in any home good MDP should be carefully assessed. Let’s break down the level of care invested into each. Sateen cotton sheets are highly wrinkle-resistant, especially if you immediately take them out of the dryer. I suggest even slightly damp, and you should be left with a crisp bed. This step is necessary because when cotton is wrinkled, it looks messy in a problematic way. 

While percale is less wrinkle-resistant, following a similar protocol of removing them promptly from the dryer should set you up for success. Pressing percale cotton sheets is another option to explore, but I am not sure who has time for this. 

With linen, the labour comes in the beginning; I would suggest frequent washing to break them into their soft, airy feeling. This could take around five washes, so time the process as you please. In terms of upkeep with linen, you must accept the winkles, do not fight them as this is the look. I have found with increased washes, the wrinkles are less dramatic, but imperfections are to be embraced. To prevent insane wrinkles, take everything from the dryer damp and allow sheets to finish air-drying. 

Durability, linen takes the cake. Linen sheets are meant to last generations, while cotton sheets of high quality last around five years. Note, if you put in the investment, you will notice a significant difference in lifespan. 

Overall, remember that we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping (or attempting to). So, while a high-quality complete set of sheets will come in at around $700 to $1,500 CAD, this is almost a necessary investment as indirectly, your sheets are improving your health and wellbeing. 

Next up, I will be featuring a Canadian female-founded linen sheet company, the Last Light Linen Collection. If you are in the market for linen sheets, I cannot recommend Last Light Collection enough, and you will hear a complete review coming soon. 


Curated with love, 

Taylor Hannah Curation 


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