linen vs cotton sheets

Linen vs Cotton: Differences [Which Sheets are Better for You?]

It seems like every time I go shopping for sheets, there is a new kind. I grew up with cotton and linen sheets around the house and have used them for a while.

Exploring different fabrics to figure out what I find the most comfortable is a fun thing to do for me. When I stroll down a bedding & sheets aisle, it is impossible to ignore the cotton and linen sheet options. So many colors, patterns, and sizes available for these two types of sheets and they are similar when it comes to a lot of things. I wanted to see what the main differences were and what made cotton and linen sheets different from each other.

Cotton and linen: two of the most natural fibers, cultivated, spun and woven into cloth for generations on top of generations. Both are super comfortable to sleep in, perfect for year-round use, easy to care for and inviting. But what are the key differences?

In a hurry? If you prefer a more crisp feeling on your sheets, go for linen sheets. If on the other hand you want more variety and softer feeling cotton sheets are right for you. Not all sheets are created equal. If you’re looking for high-quality cotton sheet set I highly recommend California Design Den. These inexpensive sheets are so soft and silky. If you prefer linen you can’t go wrong with Simple&Opulence 100% linen sheet set.

Linen vs Cotton Sheets

Both linen and cotton are some of the most popular fabric choices when it comes to bed sheets.  When searching for luxury bedding, perhaps the two most popular fabric choices are the world famous Egyptian cotton sheets and linen sheets.

I mean we also have whole closets we call Linen closets, so I think it is clear to say they have been around for a while.

The availability of the cotton plant and the flax plant are all widely spread throughout the world and people started using cotton many years ago to make clothes, sheets, and other fabrics.

While Linen comes from the flax plant and that was not discovered to be good for textile use until years later, linen sheets still took the world by a storm, showing everyone a different type of natural fiber that is similar to cotton.

Linen Sheets

Linen fabric comes from natural flax plant fibers that are widely available all over the world. The best flax plants come from Europe, so European Linen is better in quality than other places, especially linen that comes from Belgium.

Belgium has the perfect weather conditions and rich soil that grow the best flax plants available to date. Linen fibers are heavier than cotton fibers and that’s why Linen sheets tend to be heavier in weight. Linen also is more crisp than soft during first usages but softens up and becomes incredible to touch over time.

Incredibly absorbent, linen sheets can hold moisture up to 20% of its own weight before feeling damp or wet. The strong fibers mean that not a lot of it is needed to make a durable, comfortable sheet set.

Lower thread count in linen sheets is not because they are not quality but rather because they just don’t need to be. Caring for linen sheets are easy. Just wash them in cold-warm water so they don’t shrink, and tumble dry them on a low setting.

Cotton Sheets

Cotton sheets come from, drum-roll please, you guessed it, cotton! Probably the most known and used fabric choice in the world. The best underwear, towels, and shirts always seem to be made with cotton fabrics and for sheets, they sure are the safest and the most familiar for many people.

Now that we have new technology, new fabrics and sheets are out on the shelves but that did not mean cotton is no longer used. It still is a favorite, especially Egyptian cotton which often times is referred to as the most comfortable and luxurious types of sheets you can get your hands on.

Caring for cotton is just as simple as taking care of linen sheets. Just wash in cold to warm water and throw in the drier. Unlike linen, cotton sheets are soft even before being processed and manufactured therefore the sheets never go through a crisp phase and are soft and silky from the get-go.

Linen vs Cotton Bedding: Head-to-Head Comparison


Both sheets are very comfortable to sleep in. Cotton sheets are soft from the first use till the last and linen sheets have a crisp feel- which some people love- at first but soften up with usage and become much softer and silkier on the skin.


Cotton sheets are comfortably used throughout the year thanks to the breathable fabric absorbing heat when necessary and keeping the heat away when the nights are a little warm and moist. Linen sheets have a lower thread count so they don’t provide as much versatility but can be easily layered to provide some more warmth.


You can wash both cotton sheets and linen sheets in cold to warm water with your favorite detergent and fabric softener so that they don’t shrink and dry them in your dryer on a low setting to keep the sheets as good as new.


While Linen sheets are a little bit more durable than Cotton because of the flax plant is tougher, both sets of sheets will last for a long time.

Make sure to follow the care instructions so you can keep them for longer. High thread count linen sheets and Egyptian cotton sheets are always going to last a very long time due to perfect manufacturing processes that weave the fibers into each other tightly.


There is a wide range of selections when it comes to both linen and cotton sheets. You can find sets of both on shelves for really cheap prices or you can go for the higher count sheets if you prefer higher quality and are ready to spend a bit more.

Best Cotton Bed Sheets 2019: Review

California Design Den 100% Cotton Sheet Set

This is a high quality 100% cotton sheet set by California Design Den.

Verified customers have left great reviews, talking about how they always pick cotton sheets and that they can’t go wrong with it.

A beautiful set of cotton sheets for a reasonable price, this ESSEU set will make your bedroom look much more luxurious.

Read more reviews on Amazon

Click here to see the current price

Best Linen Bed Sheet 2019: Review

Simple&Opulence 100% Linen Sheet Set

This linen sheet set captured my heart with its comfortable, inviting look from just the picture.

This 100% Linen sheet set is from Simple Opulence and the pastel colors and crisp look already makes me want to crawl in bed and sleep for 20 hours.

The reviews are basically confirming how comfortable the sheets are and how lovely they are to sleep during the summer.

I might end up getting one more color, considering every other buyer seems to have done it already.

Read more reviews on Amazon

Click here to see the current price


How is linen different from cotton?

Linen sheets are made from the flax plant whereas cotton sheets are made from the cotton plant. 

Is linen or cotton softer?

Cotton is soft from the beginning whereas linen, while also soft to touch, is a little crisper at first and gets softer with usage.


See more 100% linen sheets available on Amazon

See more 100% cotton sheets available on Amazon


So, Is Cotton or Linen Better for Bed Sheets?

Overall, both cotton sheets and linen sheets are very comfortable, durable and have a wide price range and color options. The only main differences are the different plants they were made from and the fact that Linen sheets are a little crisp at first.

Picking one will depend on your personal preference, so touch and feel the fabrics before buying and read some reviews as well.