Ability to add a monogram
Great neutral color options
Soft and breathable
Duvet cover not included
No travel bag
Buying linen bedding can be a little bit overwhelming. Not only are there are a lot of brands to choose from, but the most common question is: Aren’t they all the same? The short answer is no. The longer answer is no, there are different levels of quality that can be the difference between your best night of sleep and “I’d be better off sleeping in a literal bale of hay” kind of sleep.
The West Elm Belgian Flax Linen Sheet Set is perfectly acceptable—they’re soft, breathable, and they look really great on your bed. I tested a full-size set (also available in queen, king, and California king) to judge the quality of the material, texture, and more. Read on to see how well I slept.
Material: Super-smooth linen
When my sheet set arrived, I immediately fell into the calming effect linen sheets seem to bring to a room. As the name implies, these sheets are made from 100 percent Belgian flax linen. To produce, the company exports flax grown in Europe to a Fair Trade Certified facility in China, where the all-natural fibers are woven into linen fabric. The resulting sheets are incredibly subtle. Linen grain can be quite noticeable, but this set looks more like a smooth cotton sheet from far away.
Weave: Crisp, classic over-under
The all-natural linen used for these sheets was sourced in Belgium. You won’t find linen sheets being measured in thread count like you will for cotton sets, and there’s a reason for that: the yarns used in linen textiles are thicker and more textured than cotton. They can’t be directly compared. That being said, linen and cotton sheets are both made using the same over-under weave.
Linen’s thicker fibers actually make it more breathable than other materials, and it’s also great at wicking moisture and regulating temperature.
Design: Minimal with fantastic packaging
The West Elm packaging is minimal, from the black ribbon down to the care instructions. For what’s considered an affordable option, it doesn’t feel like you’re cutting back on quality. There’s no option to add a duvet cover (you’ll get only the essentials with this set: a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and two pillowcases), which brings the cost down a bit. You can’t buy the sheets on their own, but you can purchase additional pillow cases—notable if you’re looking for replacements.
This is the perfect beginner set for someone just laying his or her head down in the world of linen bed covers.
These sheets are available in soft neutrals which I found pleasing: white, flax, platinum, slate, and pale lilac. The hems are clean, but don’t expect any special features like button closures or special pillowcase folds as you would get with a set from Parachute.
Speaking of pillowcases, my pillow did manage to wiggle itself out a bit more than it did with competing sets from Linoto and Parachute, which I also tested. Maybe I turn into an aggressive head-banger while I snooze, but I found myself wishing there was some fun design trick to keep that pillow in place.
The most delightful part of this set: You can add a custom monogram. While it doesn’t add to the quality at all, it is fun little details like this that make your bedroom feel more like home.
Texture: Incredibly light and soft to the touch
To the touch, the fabric is cool and only slightly textured, which I appreciated. While more texture can be aesthetically appealing, I liked that this fabric didn’t leave any weird marks on my face when I found myself wrapped up in the top sheet come morning.
To the touch, the fabric is cool and only slightly textured, which I appreciated.
I didn’t wake up especially hot or cold during the night. That’s because linen is said to be breathable and regulate temperature. I will say they aren’t as weighty as the Parachute or Linoto sets, so they did tend to get kicked off here and there. I could see these being my pick for a dead-of-summer sheet set when I can’t deal with any more layers than I actually need.
First off, unless you seek out a wrinkle-resistant set, wrinkles are something you will battle with any bedding, but especially linen. I will say that the lived-in look really works when you’ve got a set of linen sheets. It brings that wabi-sabi, “I woke up like this” vibe to the bedroom. If you find wrinkles infuriating, you’re going to want to either A) go with another material for your sheets or B) have an iron or steamer on hand.
Durability: Not the strongest
The light nature of these sheets made me worry that they would snag, and while I still haven’t experienced this after a month, some reviews confirm that theory. If you have pets with long nails, you might want to opt for another set.
The West Elm website says these sheets have been pre-washed for a “lived-in look,” which also helps combat shrinkage. To clean them on your own, machine-wash cold on a gentle cycle with non-chlorine bleach. If you want to cut down on how wrinkly your sheets are, fluff them before you toss them in the dryer on a low tumble. Hand-washing this sheet set in warm water worked well enough for me, and the linen did dry quicker than a cotton set.
Features: Basic without any added frills
If you’re looking for a breezy, beautiful, soft linen set that includes only the essentials, this is a great way to introduce linen into your bedroom. If luxe is what you’re after, look to another brand like Parachute or Brooklinen.
Other than the option to monogram, this is a basic set, but it will look great in your home. Aside from wishing my pillow would stay put for more than a night at a time, I really didn’t find myself wishing for anything else with these sheets.
If luxe is what you’re after, look to another brand like Parachute or Brooklinen.
One thing I would have loved to see is travel bags similar to what Parachute sends with its sets. Not only do they make great shoe bags for your trips, but I can see a situation where someone traveling somewhere for a long period of time would want their own sheets.
Price: An affordable linen sheet set
This is the perfect beginner set for someone just laying his or her head down in the world of linen bed covers. The set would be the perfect gift for a parent looking to treat kids graduating college and renting their first adult apartments. It would also be great for a guest bedroom or a space that doesn’t see constant sleepers, given that they seem a little less durable than other options.
Competition: The most affordable of the top-rated options
This set from West Elm is on the affordable side of things; more luxe options will bite a bit deeper into your bank account. If you want bedding that will last forever, check out the Linen Venice Sheet Set from Parachute (upwards of $460 for a full set, including the duvet cover). A good middle-ground purchase is the Linoto 100% Linen Sheets, which feature more texture and run a bit cheaper than the Parachute set at $378.
West Elm doesn’t offer much outside of neutral colors; if that isn’t your thing or you want to match your sheets to your room’s color story, look to Linoto, which has the largest range of shades.
Easy on your wallet without skimping on quality.
If you’re looking to purchase linen bedding on the (relatively) cheap and don’t expect it to last forever, the West Elm Belgian Flax Linen Sheet Set will treat you well. While the quality is good and the ability to customize is fun, don’t expect other special design features; you really are getting exactly what you see.
- Product Name Belgian Flax Linen Sheet Set
- Product Brand West Elm
- Price $249
- Color White, flax, platinum, slate, pale lilac
- Material 100% Belgian Flax
- What’s Included Fitted sheet, flat sheet, 2 pillow shams