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12 best linen bedding sets for a comfy night's sleep

Forget crisp cotton and dive into one of these low maintenance linen sets for relaxed luxury in the bedroom

The beauty of linen is that it's naturally breathable, keeping you cooler in summer and toasty during winter

Whether you're going for 40 winks or a full eight hours, you don’t have to have the highest thread count to get the most satisfying sleep, so let’s not worry too much about numbers. 

The finest Egyptian cotton may have its merits but pure linen (with fewer woven threads per sq in) offers a host of benefits to rival the most luxurious hotel-style bedding sets. 

Linen sheets are naturally breathable, durable, hypoallergenic, cool in the summer months and toasty warm in the winter, making them the perfect choice for relaxed year-round style.

It’s a laid-back approach that continues in the laundry room, too: if you’re averse to ironing, a linen duvet set looks and feels best when left to dry naturally, and without pressing reveals an attractive crumpled texture you’ll want to dive straight into.

Permission to give your ironing board a wide berth, then.

Linen also boasts impressive eco-credentials: made from the long fibres of the flax plant – one of the oldest continuously cultivated plants in the world, and a renewable source that’s fully biodegradable – you can sleep soundly in the knowledge your bedding set scores high on sustainability.

You’ll find most linen duvet covers, sheets and pillowcases come in pure white, soft pastels, or rich jewel hues, making them ideal for mixing and matching.

Keep the look subtle with complementary shades or go bold with daring colour clashes. 

Look out for pre-washed bedding if you want to feel the linen’s immediate effects but of course, the joy of pure linen is that it only gets better, and softer, with age, just as we found after many splendid sleeps (it’s a tough job), and subsequent rounds of washing. 

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of our retailers, but we never allow this to influence our selections, we are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent. 

The Linen Works classic white bed linen: From £150 (duvet), £30 (pillowcase), £100 (flat sheet), The Linen Works    

Sizes: Single, double, king, super king 
Set includes: Sold separately  
Machine wash: 40° 

If you’re a sucker for packaging this is the linen bedding for you: it arrived beautifully boxed with ribbon and bows – so consider it an anytime birthday present to yourself. The contents didn’t disappoint, either: ethereally soft and light, we found it emits a gentle sheen when the sunlight catches it. Paired with the soft pink mireille rose from the same collection, it is unapologetically pretty. Like diving into a bed of dreamy marshmallow fluffiness.  

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Pillowcases
Flat sheet

Piglet luna stripe bedtime bundle: From £347, Piglet   

Sizes: Double, king, super king 
Set includes: Duvet cover, four pillowcases (including an additional pair of white), white flat sheet, white fitted sheet  
Machine wash: 40° 

It may be a spring/summer staple but we can do a nautical stripe at any time of the year. This bedding set offers a relaxed contemporary look that will appeal to Scandi enthusiasts with its skinny charcoal stripe on pale ecru (the natural colour of unbleached linen). Wonderfully soft and invitingly crumpled, the linen comes pre-stonewashed to ensure it won’t shrink, fade, or lose its shape. Finished with little wooden buttons, we loved this effortlessly chic look in the bedroom.  

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AM.PM scala stitched pure pre-washed linen bedding, white: From £125 (duvet cover), £25 (pillowcase), La Redoute    

Sizes: Double, king, super king  
Set includes: Sold separately  
Machine wash: 60° 

This one made us audibly sigh when we got it out of the packaging. Pure white, super soft, and with intricate spoke stitching, the bedding has a charming vintage appeal that throws back to the antique French linens of yesteryear. It coped well on a hot wash (we tested it at the maximum 60°), which bodes well for maintaining its dazzling whiteness, for there will, inevitably, be coffee stains. Pair the oblong pillowcases with the square for a luxurious layered look.  

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Pillowcases

Heal’s washed bed linen, dusky pink: From: £159 (duvet cover), £28 (pillowcase), £89 (fitted sheet), Heal’s   

Sizes: Double, king, super king 
Set includes: Sold separately  
Machine wash: 40° 

You’d be forgiven for thinking this brand new bedding had been lived in and loved for years. Made from the finest Italian flax, the linen exudes a timeless quality – its dusky pink shade the colour of faded glamour. The pillowcases are finished with a classic Oxford edge while delicate mussel shell buttons on the duvet cover add a touch of luxury. Noticeably one of the finer linens we tested, these were tangibly soft and light and kept their form after washing.  

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Pillowcases
Fitted sheet

Wallace Cotton chambray linen duvet cover set, charcoal: From £180, Wallace Cotton   

Sizes: Double, king, super king  
Set includes: Duvet cover and two pillowcases  
Machine wash: Gentle cold wash with a reduced spin  

Offering a utilitarian take is this denim-like set, by far the most demonstrably hard-wearing of the bunch, and one which immediately screams "bachelor pad". You won’t find any decorative ruffles or embroidery here. Rather, the chambray fabric, with its characterful imperfections, simply speaks  for itself. We loved this one for different reasons: what it lacked in relative softness it made up for in durability – and a reliably solid drape.     

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Urbanara alvalade bed linen, natural: From £89 (duvet cover), £16 (pillowcase), Urbanara   

Sizes: Single, double 
Set includes: Sold separately  
Machine wash: 60°   

This biscuity bedding looked best when offset with pure white sheets and breakfast pillows, adding depth and contrast – ideal for a warm, layered, and neutral scheme. Don’t be fooled by the pristine packaging: the duvet cover and pillowcases appeared practically pristinely wrinkle-free at first but after just one wash they reverted to the appealing crumply softness we know and love from pure linen, with a contrasting green piping border, which holds the shape well.  

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Ikea puderviva quilt cover and pillowcase: From £45, Ikea     

Sizes: Single, double, king  
Set includes: Duvet cover, pillowcase (two pillowcases for double and king)    
Machine wash: 60° 

Offering great value for money, Ikea’s linen bedding set doesn’t scrimp on any of the benefits you get with this naturally breathable material, so why break the bank? In white, green, or dark grey, the duvet cover and pillowcases carry a cool, contemporary aesthetic that’s true to form for the affordable design-led Swedish brand. We tested the dark grey set, which washed well and didn’t fade despite its deep hue.  

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The French Bedroom Company pure linen bed linen set, pale grey: From £140, The French Bedroom Company  

Sizes: Double, king, super king 
Set includes: Duvet cover and two pillowcases  
Machine wash: Separately on wool cycle  

While this modest bedding might not shout the loudest with luxury finishes (it comprises a very simple button-up duvet cover with a pair of no-frills housewife pillowcases), what makes it stand out is the quality of the fabric itself. Appropriately the colour of a cloud, we found the pure Australian linen soft to the touch in the first place but after a few washes it became even more irresistibly supple. 

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Secret Linen Store 100 per cent linen bed linen, aubergine: From £85 (duvet cover), £15 (pillowcase), £50 (fitted sheet), £55 (flat sheet), Secret Linen Store

Sizes: Single, double, king, super king, emperor  
Set includes: Sold separately  
Machine wash: 40° 

With a choice of sizes from single up to a whopping emperor you can kit the whole family home out in this cosy pre-washed linen. Woven from pure French flax, and in a gracefully aged and muted purple hue, the quality of the bedding is immediate on first touch. In fact, this is one set you may struggle to roll out of each morning, such is its potent tactility. Dangerously lovely, then.  

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Anthropologie stitched linen duvet cover and pillowcases, peach: From £178 (duvet cover), £68 (2 pillowcases), £48 (square pillowcase), Anthropologie   

Sizes: Double, king  
Set includes: Sold separately  
Machine wash: Cold wash  

You can always rely on Anthropologie for beautiful, laid-back bohemian homewares and their linen bedding offering is no exception. We found this linen set became softer and more attractive with time, its natural crumpled texture revealing itself after the first wash. The stitched border on both the duvet cover and pillowcases is a simple but effective embellishment while the option of matching square pillows allows you to stack them up and cosy down.  

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Pillowcases

Designers Guild bed linen, biella fuchsia and cassis: From £110 (duvet cover), £25 (pillowcase), £75 (flat sheet), Designers Guild    

Sizes: Single, double, king, super king  
Set includes: Sold separately  
Machine wash: 30°

For fans of contemporary colour-blocking, this reversible bed linen comes in an enticing palette of 22 contrasting shades to mix and match. We opted for the biella fuchsia and cassis colourway: two rosy hues, one bold, one a little more bashful. (Flip it to suit your mood). The linen arrived pre-washed for immediate softness and its high quality was instantly obvious.   

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Rockett St George Lisbon soft linen duvet cover and pillowcases, silver grey: From £135 (duvet cover), £45 (2 pillowcases), Rockett St George    

Sizes: Double, king, super king  
Set includes: Sold separately  
Machine wash: Cold wash 

New to Rockett St George, this super soft linen bedding offers a relaxed, contemporary look in the prettiest light grey, which, depending on the angle and light, gives off just a hint of metallic shimmer. Behaving exactly as the finest pure linen should, we found the duvet cover and pillowcases took on an attractive texture that only got better after washing. These hung so beautifully on, and casually draped off, our bed.  

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Pillowcases

The verdict: Linen bedding sets  

The Linen Works’ classic white range is exactly what you want from a luxury linen bedding set: beautifully crafted, high quality, timeless style. It may not be the cheapest but you’ll want to cherish these linens for years to come, so treat it as an investment. If you’re after a more colourful option, Secret Linen Store’s aubergine bedding gets our vote for a cosy, rustic look.  

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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