Happiness lies in spending money where you spend your time – just ask Drake – the proud owner of a Grand Vividus bed from Hästens, with a price tag of US$400,000.
To those who don’t value a good night’s rest, it may seem absurd but when you stop for a moment and think about it, and compare it to acquiring another Richard Mille or Lamborghini Aventador SV, it actually makes perfect sense – not just for a bloke worth US$150 million.
Purchases that improve your everyday existence, are always wise and when it comes to sweet dreams, it starts with a quality set of sheets, preferably, from one of these Australian brands. Investing in your first set of quality sheets will awaken a seventh sense of pure satisfaction and have you embark on a lifelong journey of sheet snobbery.
You spend a third of your life sleeping, so why not make the most of it. Here are Boss Hunting’s 10 best Aussie bed linen brands, describing the benefits, analysing thread count, comparing linen and cotton and then highlighting the best local suppliers of linen and organic cotton.
Linen is a natural fibre made from the stalk and root of the flax plant, an eco-friendly, resilient and sustainable crop that amongst other outputs, produces the strong fibres that are woven into linen fabric.
The best linen flax is grown in cool gentle climates, most notably in Western Europe, specifically France, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as Lithuania and India. In many cases, the plant is grown and harvested before being shipped to manufacturers in China. The quality of flax, weaving, the dyeing process, sewing and stone washing will all have an effect on the quality of the finished product. Flax that is grown, spun, dyed, woven and sewn in Europe, naturally, comes at a higher price.
Aside from the environmental benefits relating to growing and harvesting, linen offers sleepers positive benefits in all seasons. Linen is highly breathable and naturally absorbent meaning it is comfortable in hot and humid climates. It is also an extremely textural fabric meaning that softens with each wash meaning it is cosy and warm in winter. Finally, it’s rustic weave and aesthetic means it can come straight out of the dryer, or off the line, onto your bed, without looking like it needs an iron.
Does linen have a thread count?
There’s a common myth that a high thread count guarantees high quality, but thread count is simply a measure of sheet weight. The higher the thread count, the heavier the sheet. The quality is actually defined by the choice of cotton, the quality of the spun yarn, the weave and the finishing.
Linen quality is not measured in thread count but rather like paper – by ‘GSM’ – grams per square metre, which indicates the weight of the fabric.
Most linen bedding will sit between 140 and 220GSM, with a higher GSM number representing a thicker fabric.
My thoughts on linen vs. cotton
While I will always agree with someone new to linen sheets that they are a game-changer, today my opinion has shifted somewhat. They have been a huge trend and to be honest, don’t offer a significantly better sleep than cotton, in fact, I’ve shifted back to cotton recently and I’m sleeping far better – that may be due to the reintroduction of a flat sheet which I think is a must in winter.
Linen is very textural, even after a year of washing so it doesn’t have the same luscious feeling like a soft set of premium cotton sheets does. I prefer sleeping in linen during summer and cotton in winter – I don’t think it’s the every season solution all these brands hype it to be – although I’m told the best linens have an almost flannel texture so can be perfect winter companions.
Let’s jump in.
The Sheet Society – $
This list features ten great operators but The Sheet Society are the only ones offering absolute customisation, made easy with their innovative Bed Builder, which will soon add the power of AR, to allow customers to view their choices on their own bed before purchasing.
Not only will The Sheet Society let you select different sizes and colours for your set, but you can also choose from the largest range of materials on this list, including organic cotton, linen, waffle, corduroy, quilted and subtle printed and striped styles. As an owner of linen sets from both Bed Threads and I Love Linen, I mixed it up with organic cotton from The Sheet Society – opting for a blend of Moss & White.
The silky cotton arrives pre-washed, in premium individual packages and boasts the best-fitted sheet I’ve ever used, wrapping right under the mattress, which is important for lovers of firm beds which are typically thinner. In my opinion, the organic cotton feels more luxurious than linen, especially when paired with a flat sheet – recreating that sumptuous hotel vibe. Suffice to say you won’t be disappointed.
Isolation treated Hayley and Andy Worley’s company extremely well, recording their biggest month ever in May, on their way to turning over $4.4 million this financial year, in only their third year of business.
Sheet Materials: Linen, Cotton, Corduroy
Linen King Set: (2 pillowcases, quilt cover, fitted & flat sheet): $620
Cotton 400TC King Set: $390
Bed Threads – $
Bed Threads founders Genevieve and Alan began their business to prioritise high quality, pure, 100% French flax linen at a price point you won’t lose sleepover – and they delivered. BT is a great starting point for those interested in getting into linen due to their accessible price point and their ‘Special’ sets – being able to buy combinations with a larger flat sheet or doona cover.
Interestingly, the quality of their Flax linen, grown in France and assembled in China, is on par with my last linen set from I Love Linen, which costs quite a bit more. Like The Sheet Society, Bed Threads have the option to build your own bundle from their excellent range of colours, although it’s far more primitive.
Sheet Materials: Linen
King Set (2 pillowcases, quilt cover, fitted & flat sheet): $430
Mr. Draper – $
Mr. Draper was established in 2014 in response to the ‘fast fashion’ movement, with an aim to create beautiful products that were hardwearing and functional. Based out of regional Victoria, with additional manufacturing in Melbourne & Lithuania – at the country’s oldest flax mill – their ethical approach to both producing and sustainability is reason enough to invest in their products. They take transparency a step further than MAJOR-MINOR and actually list their supplier, much like Kelly Slater’s Outerknown.
Alongside retailing conscious products, Mr. Draper offers features unique to this list including their ‘Order Book’, rewarding mailing list members with discounts, and a repurpose and trade program, whereby you trade your handmade items for theirs. Stock is currently sold out but is set to arrive again in July.
Sheet Materials: Linen
Sets from approx $505.
I Love Linen – $$
I Love Linen was created by Lauren Roe in 2013 and specialising in French flax linen and organic bamboo sheeting as well as bedding accessories and homewares, with one of the largest colour ranges online. I Love Linen produces its products across the globe, with the core of their sheet range in Shenzen China.
Inspired by her travels, Lauren has introduced a Hotel Cloud Collection featuring luxurious mattress toppers, doonas and ‘sleep easy’ pillows, which promises to elevate their products one step further. She also makes cot sheets for that little person in your life. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with choice, I Love Linen’s signature colour bundles are a great place to start.
Sheet Materials: Linen & Bamboo
Linen King Set (2 pillowcases, quilt cover set, fitted & flat sheet): $774
Bamboo King Set: $399.90
IN BED – $$
Like I Love Linen, IN BED helped pave the way for bed linen brands, bursting onto the market in 2013 and quickly becoming a favourite by producing timeless, utilitarian and beautiful products.
IN BED is one of the most transparent operators on this list when it comes to where and how their products are made, with both their linen and cotton bedding being produced in a family-run factory in Guimarães, Portugal, while sustainable packaging adds to the brand’s conscious approach. Unlike other brand’s on this list, they don’t offer sheet sets which results in a very manual and rather clunky user experience while onsite.
Sheet Materials: Linen, Cotton, Flannel
Linen King Set (2 pillowcases, quilt cover, fitted & flat sheet): $900
Cotton 400TC King Set: $625
CULTIVER – $$
Founder Nicolle Sullivan’s vision for CULTIVER was to offer a curated collection of the best items for homes that elevate every day. CULTIVER produces linen designed to showcase the best of what the textile has to offer, incorporating an enzyme wash to accelerate the softening process that naturally occurs with each wash as linen ages.
CULTIVER flax originates from Belgium and France before being woven and manufactured in China, delivering accessible prices and a diverse range to their clearly very happy customers. Their swatch booklet is a great option for those struggling to decide on colour, or who want to feel the product before committing to an order.
Sheet Materials: Linen
Linen King Set (2 pillowcases, quilt cover, fitted & flat sheet): $760
Redeem your $50 credit at cultiver.com.au
MAJOR-MINOR – $$
MAJOR-MINOR was created by mother and daughter team Anne and Hannah, based in Berry, NSW with a focus on simple design, thoughtful construction and consumption, and responsible sourcing. They’re also one of the most transparent brands in the space.
MAJOR-MINOR’s OEKO-TEX certified linen is grown, woven and sewn in the in Europe with flax sourced from France, Belgium and the Baltics. Rustic colours contribute to a coastal meets country aesthetic, reflecting the town from which the brand originates and their detailed manufacturing information page shows they’ve got nothing to hide.
Sheet Materials: Linen
King Set (2 pillowcases, quilt cover, fitted & flat sheet): $992
bedouin SOCIETE – $$$
Virginia Fledtman founded bedouin SOCIETE in 2011 with a focus to make refined, simple, sustainable and genuine products that provide a sense of revelation and intimacy, in tune with our everyday lives.
The aesthetic is timeless, understated elegance, in muted tones, with the brand’s eco-friendly textiles produced by quality, accredited, ethical and sustainable manufacturers – although their website isn’t clear where the products are produced. Unlike the rest of the list, bS isn’t direct to consumer, instead represented in unique and premium homeware boutiques globally.
Sheet Materials: Linen
King Set (2 pillowcases, quilt cover, fitted & flat sheet): $1,210
Hale Mercantile Co – $$$
Melbourne’s Hale Mercantile Co is committed to providing lasting quality and supporting the European region in linen production. HMCo yarns are individually yarn dyed and spun from premium grade flax sourced from France and Belgium then, unlike Bed Threads, handmade by Europe’s finest, and you pay a serious premium for the pleasure.
I for one am intrigued as to what benefits superior linen that is grown, spun, dyed, woven and sewn in Europe, has on my sleep, especially in winter. Assumedly, the source of flax holds little relevance if is not spun and woven by equally premium craftsman and this is where HMCo promises to deliver. However, even as a self-proclaimed bedding enthusiast, I doubt my ability to ever spend the money HMCo are asking for their products, as lavish as they do look.
Sheet Materials: Linen
Linen King Set (2 pillowcases, quilt cover, fitted & flat sheet): $1,583
Sheridan – $$$
Finally, Sheridan has been creating premium quality home and lifestyle products for over 50 years, founded in 1967 by Italian migrant and visionary entrepreneur Claudio Alcorso, making them a natural inclusion on this list.
Devoted to quality, craftsmanship and sustainability every piece has been crafted and tested to the highest quality standards by Sheridan’s in house team. Their Abbotson Linen is produced from 100% Belgian linen flax and manufactured in China, which is interesting given the high cost of a set. There’s plenty of material and style options at Sheridan although one must question the perceived value of the brand with so many great brands to choose from today.
Sheet Materials: Linen, Cotton, Flannel, Chambray, TENCEL, Silk
Linen King Set (2 pillowcases, quilt cover, fitted & flat sheet): $1,269.75
What to buy?
Brand pricing is heavily dependant on origin, apart from Sheridan’s product which I’d avoid – clearly you are just paying for a brand name. I’ve owned sheets from three of these brands and I couldn’t tell you the difference between the quality of I Love Linen or Bed Threads linen – so if you’re conscious of budget they’re worth a go.
I cannot speak highly enough of The Sheet Society’s cotton, they will not be the last set I acquire and a steal at $390. Their bed builder has also changed the innovation game, being able to mix and match materials, colours and sizes. I think the best combo would be a cotton fitted and flat sheet with a linen doona cover and linen pillowcases.
Unfortunately, I can’t share personal experiences of any European manufactured linen but will probably opt for a set from Mr. Draper once stock returns – the brand’s honest and sustainable approach is something I want to support.
Despite being one of the earliest players in the space I’m not drawn to bedouin SOCIETE, the lack of transparency and e-commerce probably means you’re paying too much, especially when the mid-tier operators IN BED, CULTIVER and MAJOR-MINOR all have a comprehensive breakdown of their manufacturing operation and are more affordable. Finally, even if I had all the money world, I think I’d have a hard time justifying Hale Mercantile Co’s kit – who knows, maybe it’s absolutely mindblowing.