Have you ever purchased linen online, only to find it’s not what you expected once it arrives?
Ever struggle with knowing what to look for when you can’t see it up close or touch & feel exactly what you’re getting?
Are you confused or wondering how on earth it’s possible to have such varying price points on linen between different stores?
(…Don’t worry, me too!)
Below we dive into the pros and cons of linen options & what to look for so you can confidently purchase online and avoid any unwanted surprises when your order arrives.
Linen is a versatile, durable fabric that has been used for centuries and is perfect for items from summer clothing to bedding & home decor.
It is known for its breathable nature and ability to keep you cool in hot weather & warm in winter. But there are a few things to consider before you purchase to ensure you get the best quality and value for your money.
Firstly, the most important factor to consider is the weight & thickness of your linen which is usually measured in GSM.
So What is GSM?
GSM or 'Grams per Square Meter' is a measure of textile weight — i.e. how many grams does one square meter of linen weigh. GSM helps us compare products and gauge the best use of materials for its intended usage.
The higher the GSM number, the denser & thicker the fabric will be.
An example, if the label on a linen shirt reads 180-200 GSM, the shirt material would be reasonably thick and probably keep you quite warm. On warmer days, the best pick would be a shirt that is 130-150 GSM which is bound to be more airy and flimsy.
For reference; Linen GSM & common usage:
Summer Shirts, blouses & dresses
Flax linen, trousers, suits, skirts
Denim, towels, canvas, upholstery
How to know which is best suited to you:
- Think about the environment in which your new linen will be used. If it’s a family living space that sees frequent use, it's important to consider durability. Opting for a higher GSM (grams per square meter) linen will ensure the material remains fresh and presentable for months, even years to come.
- A lower GSM count indicates a thinner linen fabric that may not offer the same level of cushioning or support as thicker varieties. This could result in less comfort, particularly when it comes to bedding, throws, or cushions. Opting for a higher GSM count in this instance is recommended for a more luxurious look & feel.
- The thickness of the threads used in a higher GSM makes the fabric less susceptible to tearing, fraying, or wear & tear. Additionally, thicker threads respond well to washing and can easily be made to look brand new again. Consider if your home furnishings need to be child/pet friendly.
If you change your mind often, concerned your choices may date, looking for something seasonal & not for use all year round, Or if you’re decorating a space that’s rarely used (we all have one of them) then durability may not be a major concern so lightweight may be a great choice.
- If you’re after staple pieces or looking to create a solid foundation in a neutral colour scheme that won’t date I would suggest these are the pieces worth splurging on. A long-lasting, high-quality product in a heavy linen will allow for years of usage even in high traffic areas making it a much more cost effective option long term.
What to look for before you purchase:
They’re not the same product, nor are they offering the same benefits so the two cannot be compared.
- Look for product descriptions that include the GSM of the fabric. This will give you a good idea of the weight and quality of the linen. And if it’s not there.. ask the question & enquire with the store.
- In addition to the GSM, pay attention to the colour, weave and care instructions for the linen. Some linen fabrics may require special care, such as hand washing vs machine washing, so be sure to read the care instructions carefully & decide if this is something you can easily maintain.
- Pure Linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant. Make sure the product you are looking at is made from genuine linen and not a synthetic material. (You should be able to find this information in the product description).
- High-quality linen will feel soft and smooth to the touch but have a slightly irregular texture so try to scout out close up images to see if this is evident.
Buying linen online can be a great way to source high-quality & well priced linen for your home. Just be sure to check the products you’re comparing have the same specifications and properties before making your purchase to ensure your money is well spent.