Linen vs. Bamboo Sheets: What Is the Difference?

Bedroom with various types of bedding

Laura Brophy Interiors

If you are looking to buy new sheets, you know that the options can feel endless. From thread count to colors, any combo is possible these days. While most of us have plenty of experience with cotton sheets, two trendy alternatives are on the rise: bamboo and linen.

We decided to turn to the experts and ask for the final verdict: which sheet reigns supreme? 

At a Glance

Linen Sheets
  • Crisp, textured feel

  • Lightweight and breathable, great for warmer months

  • Long-lasting

Bamboo Sheets
  • Soft, satiny feel

  • Durable and strong

  • Temperature regulating properties

Benefits of Linen Sheets

Linen adds visual warmth

Designer Ginger Curtis of Urbanology Designs shares her love of linen sheets with us for its ability to warm up a space. "We absolutely love linen,” she says. “We admire the texture and warmth it adds to a space, and our clients like how breathable and yet durable it is."

Important to add: Curtis notes that consumers do have to accept linen will crease, though she sees beauty in that. "It looks lived in and loved," she shares.

Linen looks great with minimal effort

“Linen sheets can look great both ways: ironed or natural,” Raj Ruia, the managing director of linen company, Richard Haworth, shares with us. “However, they can withstand an iron much better than bamboo, especially if your preference is to get rid of the traditional drapey, linen look."

Tip

For all sheets, Ruia let us in on an industry secret: iron any bed linen slightly damp for a neat finish. He also suggests ironing bamboo on a low setting and using a steam setting on linen.

Styled bedroom in khaki green

Cathie Hong Interiors

Linen is full of positive properties

While linen brings a specific aesthetic to your bedroom, it also has a few attributes that aren’t apparent physically. “Linen is antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, and gets softer with every wash,” Curtis says. 

Linen is great for warmer weather

If you live in a warmer climate or run hot while you sleep, Ruia says linen is the way to go. “Linen sheets are generally still most commonly used across hotter countries and are generally the best option for those wanting to keep cool at night,” he tells us.

Linen is sustainable

“Linen sheets are a rather sustainable product—almost all linen sheets are totally biodegradable,” Ruia says. He shares that you can ensure your sheets are eco-friendly by looking at any recycling instructions from the manufacturer, as well as details of whether pesticides have been used during the production of the fabrics.

Styled bedroom in neutral colors

Cathie Hong Interiors

Benefits of Bamboo Sheets

Bamboo is soft out of the bag

John Merwin, CEO of Brooklyn Bedding, touts bamboo sheets for their supreme softness—often, these sheets feel incredibly silky straight out of the bag. "Bamboo sheets offer supreme softness and incredible durability,” he notes. “They’re also gentle on sensitive skin. While linen sheets are as breathable, they often take time to soften with each wash and typically don’t match the strength and durability of bamboo sheets."

Bamboo is highly durable 

As Ruia explains, “Bamboo sheets can be very durable, but only if you care for them properly. The fibers are far more delicate than linens, so they must be washed in cold water, on a gentle cycle. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging the elasticity and color of the fabric."

As long as the correct instructions are followed, bamboo sheets will wash amazingly and will potentially never need to be replaced, according to Ruia.

Bamboo has similar benefits to linen

As Nancy Arulraj, founder of AllNaturalMothering, notes, bamboo offers similar benefits to linen—and as a result, it’s becoming the increasingly popular pick for parents of small children. 

“Bamboo sheets are extremely soft and gentle on delicate skin and absorb moisture well, which helps keep your child dry and comfortable,” she tells us. “They are naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, and they are environmentally friendly. Bamboo sheets are also temperature regulating, meaning they will keep your toddler comfortable in all seasons.”

Bamboo transitions across seasons

Kristin Bartone of Bartone Interiors adores bamboo sheets, as the fibers are breathable, lightweight, and super soft. Plus, these are a great pick in the summer and winter months, thanks to their heat-regulating capabilities.

"Keeping up with the changes in weather and making sure you are getting the very best night’s sleep is a great way to get through seasonal changes with ease," she notes.

Bedroom design by Laura Brophy Interiors

Laura Brophy Interiors

Bamboo has a higher thread count 

If you’re focused on thread count (the higher the thread count, the more tightly woven the fabric), then bamboo is for you. “Bamboo is generally mixed with other fibers, like cotton, to achieve a 300 thread count, while linens sheets aren’t mixed and generally reach up to 150 thread count,” Ruia explains. 

Bamboo is eco-friendly, too

While linen isn’t a bad option, Ruia says that bamboo is technically the more eco-friendly pick.

“Bamboo has the upper hand when it comes to what’s more eco-friendly, as there are fewer processes involved in creating the final product," she notes. "Bamboo undergoes a less intensive manufacturing process and requires a lot less water to grow.” 

Which Sheets Are Best?

In conclusion, linen offers a laid-back aesthetic and a lighter-weight feel that requires minimal effort to maintain. Bamboo is durable, eco-friendly, and instantly soft and cozy. In the battle of linen vs. bamboo, it all comes down to personal preference.