Linen curtains are the epitome of ‘quiet luxury’, the interior design mood shaping the way we approach home decor projects right now. Followers of the ‘quiet luxury’ lexicon yearn for effortless and elegant living – shying away from showy and shiny in favour of timelessness and quality. ‘Nothing shouts but everything speaks to you; welcomes you in,’ explains Cathy Dean, Founder & CEO of Studio Dean.
Linen curtains embody this relaxed ‘home’ rather than ‘show home’ aesthetic thanks to their hang ability, durability and versatility of design. ‘There's nothing that says quiet luxury quite like a linen curtain,’ says Cathy Dean. ‘How they drape and flow is restful and calm.’
What’s more, hanging a 100% linen curtain is one of the most sustainable choices you can make. Derived from the flax plant, it's a renewable, biodegradable and natural resource that’s fast growing and fertiliser free.
Read on for why the distinctive qualities of linen fabrics and the myriad of styles and options you can choose from could be the answer for your window treatments.
The beauty of linen
Of course, linen has been around for millennia. The oldest of textiles, it is widely believed to have originated in ancient Egypt more than 10,000 years ago and its intriguing history can be traced via Plutarch, the Bible and the Bayeux tapestry to today where it is the global go-to fabric for all manner of home furnishing.
The lived-in softness, the sheen, the beautiful, natural variations and the ability to keep you cool or cosy that those ancient Egyptians valued many moons ago still ring true. And with the ‘buy once and buy well’ mantra alive on everyone’s lips, the natural purity of linen textiles perfectly sums up the environmental messaging of the moment.
How to style linen curtains
When we shop for linen curtains, we often think about choosing them in their undyed neutral colourways, but thanks to modern day colouring and printing techniques we get to enjoy an array of elegant hues. From forest green to rouge red and in sophisticated patterns from herringbone to checks, the variety complements both contemporary and classic schemes.
Here’s our pick of five elegant styles. Take a look and add them to your window treatment wishlist…
For a cool and considered vibe, choose white and neutral colourways for linen curtains. These refined and sophisticated hues put the pure and simple beauty of the textile up front and central, emphasising its nubbly and tumbled texture. Choose a pinch pleat heading (shown here on Elba in Dove) or a more minimalist wave heading and, for extra luxury, go long and puddle the length onto the floor. For a relaxed yet blissfully elegant hang, interline and then line for a doubly deep and weighty look that will also help with acoustics.
What could be more blissful than beach-inspired blues? Wake up to linen curtains that speak of the wide skies and undulating seas of Devon and Cornwall. Small prints work particularly well for bedroom curtains where window sizes are smaller, and you can afford to be playful but also tick the ‘good sleep’ box with a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Choose Maypole in Pansy, a painterly lattice design of gentle waves filled with soft neutral motifs, that hangs from pole to floor in length. Consider layering up with a Roman or roller blind in a white or complementary neutral for added privacy and light level control.
Choose slubby linen curtains in a rusty and earthy colour for town and country-style period properties. This rustic palette marries happily with heritage design elements, such as stone floors, original beams and architraves, and contrasts well with modern heritage paints in the inky blue spectrum. Head for a block print style floral motif, in colours such as Rubia in Ochre from the Bibi collection, and interline for a textured, heavier weight curtain treatment. These hang particularly well in hallways or on external doors to reduce pesky drafts and add decorative character (choose a door curtain rail known as a Portiere Rod for each opening and closing). Add extra decorative details with bobble trims.
The casual striped linen curtain is one of interior design’s style classics – it will never go out of fashion. The key to today’s sleek and modern iteration is opting for Ralph Lauren’s timeless colour combination of camel, white and navy. Choose Danube Stripe in Indigo for an airy, contemporary feel at sitting room or kitchen windows. Stripes are good for creating illusions, elevating low ceiling heights, or magically giving a tiny window a larger aspect. If you keep the linen curtain unlined, you’ll achieve that lovely breezy feel where light dapples through and the fabric moves romantically when windows are open on warm days.
Seek out Albertine in Classic Rose for a bohemian tumble of floral bouquets that speak of the romantic English rose garden. In pinks, reds and greens redolent of summer, this printed linen curtain is perfectly placed in country houses and cottages that embrace the feeling for nostalgia. Add a modern kick to this style of linen curtain with a plain border trim on the inner edge and keep in place with details, such as wooden holdbacks or classic tassels. Accessorise with matching cushions but keep things simple with plain backs.
A pair of linen curtains is the most versatile of window treatments, moving from season to season with style and functionality. Linen’s magic is its adaptability to different interior aesthetics – from contemporary apartments to classic townhouses settings and everything in between. Linen’s intrinsic and high-quality character means that it looks perfect, hangs gracefully and is spot on in our search for a sustainable and environmentally friendly fabric. Before you purchase, take advantage of Linwood’s free sample service (you can order up to six at no cost) so that you can find the colour, pattern or plain that’s right for your linen curtain project.