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Living Well

What's the Difference Between Percale, Sateen, and Linen?

Unsure which bedding best suits you and your sleep style? Look no further as we break down the basics of our sheeting fabrics.

For 90 years, Matouk has handcrafted luxury linens from the finest factory partners across the world. Over the years, we've frequently received the questions, “how do I know what bedding material is right for me?” and “what’s the difference between percale, sateen, and linen?". We're here to help find you the best sheets for your sleeping style.

First thing's first. Quality bed linens are made into one of three fabrics...percale, sateen, and linen. The basis of both percale and sateen is cotton, as opposed to linen which is made from a flax plant. What makes each distinct in terms of look and feel is how the fabric is woven and finished.

Here we offer a primer on each fabric and how to choose the bedding that best suits you.


Percale bed linens are made using long-staple Egyptian cotton, combed with precision to remove all impurities and dyed naturally. A percale weave is most easily comparable to the perfect white button-down: crisp, clean and livable. It is garment washed for ultimate comfort and will only become softer as it’s laundered.

Percale’s tightly woven weave, accomplished in a classic one-thread-over-one-under fashion, gives the fabric a simple, matte finish while providing ultra breathability. Cool to the touch, Percale fabric is perfect for all seasons and is especially forgiving during the balmy summer months.

Our versatile percales—with their soft touch and wonderful durability—are made in Italy and India, and perfect for the sleeper who wants a crisp, cool sleep mate with ultimate breathability.

Percale favorites include...

Our Lowell linens.
Our Bel Tempo collection.

Lowell...Our iconic, best-selling percale


A Nocturne sateen tape border adorns our 600 thread count Milano sheeting, making Lowell an instant classic with a crisp feel.

Bel Tempo...Classic with a Twist


Crafted from our long-staple cotton percale favorite, Sierra…enjoy its cool, smooth touch.



Gatsby...Subtle Sophistication

Made with a delicate and fine yarn, 1,000 thread count Gatsby creates a luxuriously light, softer-than-soft feel. 

Our most luxurious collection, Gatsby.


Sateen is made from long-staple Egyptian cotton and creates a more lustrous bedding experience. Its unique weave—four-over-one-under—gives the material the sheen and drape of satin with the comfort and durability of world-class cotton.

Ultra smooth to the touch, sateen fabric feels luxurious against your skin and comfortable any time of the year. Matouk’s sateen bedding is finished with a signature double stitch tipping, giving it a distinguished look.

Smooth and luminous, sateen is a breathable, sumptuous option—ideal for the sleeper who is searching for something more substantial and luxe.

Sateen favorites include...

Nocturne in Lagoon.
Our newest sateen style, Talita Satin Stitch.

Nocturne...Opulent Detail

Made from Egyptian cotton made in Italy, you’ll sink into this smooth, lavish bedding.

Talita Satin Stitch...Sublime Simplicity

A sateen for percale loves...lightweight, breathable and sumptuous at the same time.


Linen is a light and airy fabric with timeless appeal. It’s different from percale and sateen in that it is made from the flax plant rather than cotton. Its casual elegance and breathability make this fabric well-suited for year-round use. Linen is great for absorbing moisture, so the materials work to help warmer sleepers stay dry and comfortable.

Our traditional linen is crafted with yarn, woven in Italy from flax grown in northern France. Mainly used in fine shirting, our artisans have adapted it for a dreamy textile. It’s a light, breezy, welcoming look that works anywhere.

We’ve also introduced a new 100% stonewashed linen this season that has a dreamy, soft, lived-in feel. Made in Portugal, this linen gets softer with each wash and adds a casual elegance to any bed. Unlike a percale or sateen, linen will never look perfectly smooth, which adds to its charm.

Linen favorites include…

Our Verano Hemstitch linen style.
Thea, our new stone-washed linen, finished with a decorative dash embroidery.

Verano... Future Heirloom

Cool and comfortable yet refined, Verano is 100% linen accented with a charming hemstitch pattern.

Thea...Relaxed Comfort

Thea's decorative embroidered dash adds a chic finish to our cozy new 100% stone-washed linen.  


Tristen...Smart Style

Available in two relaxed color options, Tristen's 100% stone-washed linen is finished with a simply corded edge.

Tristen is another stone-washed linen style with smart yarn-dyed stripes and sleek piping.


Shop the Story

Bel Tempo Sham

$68.00 – $149.00
+3+7 colors

Lowell Duvet Cover

$549.00 – $799.00
+27+31 colors

Gatsby Duvet Cover

$1,425.00 – $1,674.00
+2+6 colors

Gatsby Flat Sheet

$799.00 – $898.00
+2+6 colors