As relaxed as it is regal and as approachable as it is precious, there’s a duality about linen fabric that makes it work for both a casual space by the sea or a chic loft in the city. “Linen is at once both elegant and organic. It truly lends itself to any style of space from the most minimal to truly traditional,” says Grant Trick, of Grant Trick Furnishings in Irondale, Ala.
Made from the fibers of the flax plant, linen has an earthy touch that renders it versatile for drapery, upholstery, bedding, and wallpaper. “It feels simultaneously modern and earthy,” says Marea Clark of Marea Clark Interiors in San Francisco. “Inherent textural qualities make it interesting.” It’s that same versatility that enables it to be iterated in many different weaves and finishes, from the lightest translucent to the heaviest weave, says Susie McLaren, creative head of residential interiors at SHH, an architecture and interior design practice in London. It can be woven into jacquard patterns and multicolored herringbones, and can be hand, screen, or digitally printed. “Either natural, bleached, or dyed, its character always comes through,” McLaren says.
Linen is generally strong and hard-wearing, and its character improves with washing and age. Light and midweights are perfect for formal pleating and embroidery, while washed and stonewashed varieties are ideal for a more relaxed look, McLaren says.
The material is also naturally anti-microbial and resistant to mildew, “which is especially good for humid climates,” says Kristin Hildebrand, lead designer and CEO of KH Interiors based in Southern California. “Its fibers are so tightly woven, they won’t loosen over time, making whatever linen you have in your home last longer,” she says.
How and where to render this fabric within your walls is only a matter of the style you seek for your home.