Homespiration: Laid-Back Linen Decor
Find a place in your home for summer’s favourite fabric with help from Brian Gluckstein, our Home Design Ambassador.
In this Q&A, Brian Gluckstein discusses the texture and feel of linen, and how to tastefully incorporate its unique qualities into every room of your home.
What’s your favourite thing about linen in the home?
I like that there’s a very relaxed approach to living when you have linen bedding and upholstery or drapes. It’s a great alternative for people who are not into pressing and ironing bedding or who like their furniture to have a relaxed feel.
Where in the world has linen been the most popular, historically?
Parts of Italy, where it’s very warm. It really starts in warm climates, because the fabric is breathable and light. We’ve seen it for many years in clothing. You look at the Mediterranean and see everybody in linen clothing; they have a different approach. Some North Americans want their linen clothes to be perfect, whereas the Europeans just live in their linen clothes. It’s relaxed, wrinkled and casual, and comfortable. We definitely see the influence from the Mediterranean.
Is linen bedding seasonal?
It used to be a seasonal thing, but now it’s more of a lifestyle. What makes it universal is that we’re still sticking feather duvets inside, so you’re getting the warmth of the duvet, but the natural quality and look of the linen, that atmosphere. Italians, Spanish and Portuguese have been using linen bedding for generations, and the French, too. People still buy it today, from linen table cloths to antique linen bedding. Some of it has lasted 100 to 200 years. If it’s maintained properly, linen can last a very long time.
With that in mind, are there special care considerations?
Wash linen sheets similarly to the way you would wash other fabrics, but you shouldn’t over-dry your sheets and towels. You’ll want to take linen items out of the dryer when they are almost dry and then let them dry naturally for those final moments.
You can even put the sheets on the bed straight out of the dryer – not when they’re wet, when they’re pretty dry, but not warm. People love opening the dryer to hot towels and sheets, but it’s actually very harmful for products. Europeans, for generations, didn’t have dryers, and the sheets dried naturally in the air. That’s what keeps fabrics lasting longer, when they’re not overdried and you’re not bleaching them. Just wash them, dry them to a certain degree, and then air dry after that. That’s what’s going to keep linen towels fluffy and soft. It’s the same with clothing. Don’t over-dry anything.
Is there anything particularly nice about the feel of linen sheets?
They get better and softer with age.
Do you like linen as an accent fabric in decor?
Our design office is seeing linen in accents like pillows. We’ll have clients and customers from Hudson’s Bay that want to change up their rooms seasonally. They may do faux fur pillows in the winter, then bring in linen pillows in the summer. That is a nice way to change up the space seasonally. You don’t have to change the sofa, but you change how you accent the space. It’s the same with towels. You might use the big, fluffy towels in the winter and maybe hammam or waffle towels in the summer.
Which materials and colours do linen mix well with?
We typically find linen in muted, natural tones. We’re not doing linen in bright red or oversaturated dyes. Dyeing is hard on the fibre, too, so we want to keep it in soft neutrals. Linen really mixes with anything that has a natural, relaxed feel to it like sisal carpets or cable-knit throws.
How does linen show up in the dining room?
Definitely for table linens. That is a much more relaxed way to dine as opposed to more formal pressed, crisp napkins and placemats. If you use linen placements and napkins, it has a more European feel to it.
Any star products from GlucksteinHome?
The bedding and the table linens. Those are the things that make the big statements.
Photos courtesy of GlucksteinHome.