A Bedding Enthusiast’s Review of the Softest Linen Sheets She’s Ever Slept On
Subtly rich colors and a no-pill, breathable weave.
Published Mar 8, 2023 1:36 AM
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I consider myself a percale person. The slightly crisp, crinkly texture reminds me of clean white hotel sheets and, as a warm sleeper, I love that cool-to-the-touch feel. Because of this, I don’t often stray from the material (save for a few spurts with sateen). But over the past three months, I’ve been reaching for one set more than any other—and shocker: It isn’t percale.
Lackluster experiences with linen (an unappealing in-person color, slightly scratchy feel, noticeable thinning after washes, excess of left-behind lint, etc.) rendered my opinion of the popular bedding suspect at best. It wasn’t until I tested a duvet cover from Cultiver—an Australian brand offering Belgian and French flax linens in soothing colorways, with thoughtful details like piped trim and color-blocking—that my stance on the material was forever challenged. Below, read my full review of the linen sheets I’m now declaring as the softest I’ve ever slept on.
The Lived-In Look
First, products from Cultiver arrive fully packaged in cardboard (easy recycling), and sheet sets come in linen drawstring bags that are, honestly, a good way to wrap up host gifts. Linen is famously relaxed in the looks department, and Cultiver’s iteration is no different. The color covering my bed, cedar stripe, has a vintage feel; the just-off-white base gives the sheets and pillowcases a snuggly vibe, and their ever-so-wrinkly texture adds to the character. That’s the thing about linen—you’ll want to be cool with lived-in versus tightly tucked. If you are, you can’t really go wrong here. The colors are versatile and chic, with options to please almost everyone. Among the other hues is dusk, an inviting mauve; sage, a dusty green; and white and navy, a classic piped option.
The Cozy Feel
Supple and breathable straightaway, these sheets, made in Portugal and China from 100% Belgian and French flax, only soften as they are washed. The linen clocks in at 165 grams per square meter (GSM), just slightly lighter than what’s considered medium weight and what the brand says balances a long life span with immediate comfort.
I do not say this lightly: I was floored with their feel on the first night I used them and continue to become more attached over time. The fabric gently grazes or comfortably drapes versus stiffly staying put or bordering on suffocating. Cool to the touch, the sheets keep me and my husband insulated throughout the night without us overheating. You’ll see some light shedding, something pretty customary with linen. But I’ve found that it isn’t much of a nuisance; I just round it up and toss it in the bin.
The Comfortable Fit
Sheet sizing ranges from twin to California king (there’s no full); I’ve noticed some sizes are in and out of stock in different colors. But one of the main features I love is the extra-deep pockets that generously fit around my 11.5-inch-tall king mattress with a 3-inch-tall mattress topper. The edges come a little loose at night, but making the bed in the morning takes care of that quickly. The king pillowcases fit just right around a king-size pillow with an envelope closure on the back.
While the set I’ve been sleeping on has horizontal lines, which offer an easy guide to “this way or that,” a top/bottom tag on the fitted sheet would be beneficial. I’ve noticed it on other brands I’ve tested and found it a nice little upgrade that helps to avoid flailing about after laundering.
Manufacturing linen is famously more time-consuming than other textiles, which contributes to its higher price point. But on the flip side, it’s a stronger and longer-lasting material—which makes it an investment that will outlast cheaper alternatives. Bonus: Its cultivation is easier on the environment, requiring fewer natural resources than my previously preferred cotton percale or sateen.
Cultiver’s set prices (which include a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and two pillowcases) range from $325 to $420, placing the brand squarely between entry level and higher end where linen is concerned. Plus its production partners are Oeko-Tex certified. One option to lower the cost is to invest in a singular fitted sheet or flat sheet to add to your bedding instead.
The Final Word
Aside from the higher price point, there’s little to detract from Cultiver’s linen bedding. The sheets are a quality product that I just won’t shut up about (ask my friends, family, and coworkers). To date, I’ve seen no visible wear on them after three months of sleep, weekly washes, and regular cuddles with my 30-pound beagle-corgi, Elsa. All of this attests to a durability that has surpassed the other sets occupying space inside my bedside chest.
If you need more convincing: Several other Domino editors plug them as a sworn-by favorite, plus they’ve also earned the top spot in our guide to the best linen sheets (I’m just sayin’).