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Linen vs Cotton. A Guide from Crane & Canopy.

When searching for luxury bedding, perhaps the two most popular fabric choices are linen and cotton. Both linen and cotton bedding look gorgeous and feel luxurious, but subtle differences may make one more suitable for you, your lifestyle, and your home.

What is linen?

Linen is a durable natural fiber derived from the flax plant. The finest linen comes from Europe, and specifically from Belgium, where an optimal climate and rich soil allows for strong, beautiful flax. With Belgian linen, you’ll experience bedding with higher quality fibers.

Linen fabrics are heavier than their cotton counterparts, and they are approximately 30% stronger. They often feel more crisp initially, though through time and use, linen fabrics become soft and supple to the touch. Linen boasts longevity, luster, and lovely drape. As linen fibers are thicker than cotton fibers, a lower thread count is necessary to guarantee high quality, enduring linen fabric.

what is linen


Linen is well known for its absorbency; it can absorb up to 20% of its weight in moisture. Its ability to wick moisture, moreover, makes it a favorite choice to keep bedrooms and sleepers cool. If you tend to sleep warm, breathable linen is a perfect choice for you. Linen bedding is a particularly popular fabric choice for use in warmer climates and during the summer months.

Linen bedding should be washed in cold water on a gentle cycle and can be tumble dried on delicate and low heat.

Linen retains texture more than cotton and gives bedding a relaxed, inviting look.

See our collection of soft-washed Belgian linen bedding here.

What is cotton?

Cotton is a natural fiber that comes from the cotton plant. Cotton fibers are fluffier than linen fibers, and cotton fabrics are known for their versatility, softness, and comfort.

Though linen is the stronger fiber naturally, cotton fabrics, made from several cotton fibers spun and woven together, are also resilient. As cotton fibers are significantly finer than linen fibers, they can be woven into higher thread count fabrics for an incredibly soft and silky feel.

Cotton is also extremely breathable and absorbent, as it can absorb up to 25% of its weight in moisture. It does not share linen’s moisture wicking properties, however, and it can take longer to dry. Cotton bedding works well through all seasons and can be layered to achieve desired warmth and comfort.

Much like linen bedding, cotton bedding should be washed in cold water, though it can withstand warmer water when necessary. Cotton bedding can also be tumble dried on delicate and low or medium heat.

Cotton bedding is easy to care for and perfect for everyday use.