What to Buy

Linen Isn’t Just For Beds—These Furniture Pieces Prove It

The breathable, textured fabric is having a moment elsewhere in the home, too.

May 29, 2021
Photo by Bobbi Lin

News flash: Linen is for far more than just towels and duvet covers (though don’t get me wrong, I love a good linen sheet set, too). Recently, I’ve majorly been lusting over linen furniture, which retailers are introducing in the form of lamps, nightstands, dressers, and more. All I can say is: Bring. It. On.

In a sea of standard wood and white pieces, linen stands out and adds so much textured personality to any space, despite being neutral in color. Whether your style leans boho, grandmillennial, or California cool, you’ll be able to effortlessly incorporate a linen piece or two into your home. And the pros agree with my take. “Linen is a versatile material that can be styled in both formal and casual settings, and is beloved for its classic texture that never goes out of style,” says Maiden Home founder Nidhi Kapur.

If you’re wondering how a linen nightstand or coffee table is supposed to hold up over the years, take note that oftentimes, these pieces are covered with lacquer. My favorite CB2 nightstand and table, for example, are actually hard to the touch yet still convey the breezy, fabric-based look that I love. Pieces like these are easy to maintain in the event of spills—simply wipe them down with a cloth the way you would any other item of furniture.

But then there are beauties like this floor lamp—which I purchased several months back and constantly admire in my living room—that are not coated and therefore are more prone to stains. Fortunately, my beloved lamp hasn’t suffered any pills yet (pardon me as I ensure it’s placed far, far away from any red wine glasses the next time I host happy hour). But just so that I’m prepared if this ever does occur, I turned to the experts for their linen furniture care tips.

“Never ever spray liquid cleaners directly on a linen furniture item; doing so will create variation in the sheen,” Anne R. Kokoskie of Styled by ARK advises. Rubbing stains into the fabric is also a major no, explains Molly Govus of Falconer Removals, a company that specializes in the care of antique possessions. “What you will need is a clean, damp cloth to gently dab to lift the stain.”

You’ll want to be cautious as to where you place linen pieces in your home, too. “Linen can easily become sun-damaged,” Govus adds. “The best thing to do is to place the piece of furniture away from direct sunlight. This can be avoided by fitting blinds or curtains in windows near your piece of furniture.”

Of course, there are a few simple steps you can take ahead of time to prevent the need for such cleanup. “If purchasing a table, consider having a custom glass top made for the surface, which will still highlight the uniqueness of the tabletop while protecting the investment and integrity of the linen fabric,” Kokoskie suggests. Adds Govus, “Alternatively, you could use a stain protector on your furniture, but it's important to test it on a hidden area first to decrease the risk of discoloration.”

Shop our favorites

Hawkins New York Stonewashed Linen Pillow, 22" x 12", $85

Photo by Rocky Luten

If you want to ease into the world of linen furniture, try some decor like a throw pillow. It's definitely not as overwhelming as a coffee table but still gives you that texture and warmth.

CB2 Archer Lacquered Linen Nightstand, $349

Photo by CB2

Linen is such a soft and drapey fabric so you don’t expect to see it in furniture—which is exactly why we love this striking nightstand.

Bestgoods Square Ottoman, $44.99

Photo by Walmart

Use this itty ottoman as a foot rest, seating for little ones, or even as a side table. The neutral fabric and wooden legs work with any decor, and the light weight makes it easy to move around.

CB2 Horseshoe Ivory Lacquered Linen Coffee Table, $699

Photo by CB2

The lacquered finish means that this coffee table is easy to clean and maintain so no need to worry about water rings.

Saatva Santorini Bed Frame, $1295

Photo by Saatva

At first glance, this looks like a regular upholstered bed frame—except that it’s covered in soft linen that feels like your favorite sheets.

Sand & Stable Charleigh Linen Texture Wallpaper Roll, $0.71 per square foot

Photo by Wayfair

For a fresh take on wallpaper, try a textured version like this one. It could be just the update your plain walls have been looking for.

Hawkins New York Stonewashed Linen Bedding, $78-$822

While linen furniture is becoming more popular, classic linen sheets are a tried and true classic. These will get softer and softer with every wash, and come in 18 colors.

Crate & Barrel Remi Natural Linen Floor Lamp, $299

Photo by Crate & Barrel

Both the lamp stand and shade are covered in textured linen, making it a much more unique piece than your usual floor lamp.

How do you feel about the linen furniture trend? Would you try it out? Tell us in the comments below!

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Sarah Lyon

Written by: Sarah Lyon

Freelance writer and interior design enthusiast

1 Comment

Helene S. May 29, 2021
Mmm, no. Sustainable it isn’t. The surface isn’t cleanable to any realistic extent and the dusty patina fabric covered furniture will eventually acquire isn’t a pleasant patina. These pieces are landfill in a few years.