grey curtains behind brown couch


Linen is made from a fibre found in flax plants, one of the oldest cultivated plants in human history; and until the late 1800s, linen was the world’s most important textile fibre. In terms of curtains, people like the organic texture it brings to a room as well as the elegant and effortless way linen drapes.

various sheer curtains in contemporary room scenes

The drawbacks of pure linen

Unfortunately, because it is a natural fibre, there are some reasons pure linen curtains are not ideal, including:

  • Not suited to NZ conditions as it moves with humidity (curtains may either be too long or too short on any given day)
  • Notorious for creasing, cannot be steamed out as this stretches the fabric
  • Quite difficult to clean requiring gentle treatment
  • Short lifespan and can degrade quickly
  • Premium price does not align with its delicate and temperamental nature

We recommend linen blends or linen look fabric to achieve the same aesthetic you want at a more cost-effective price with better performance and durability.

pink spotted sheer curtains in contemporary room on beige walls

Linen tips and tricks

  • Have the curtains pool on the floor for a relaxed yet elegant look. This will help alleviate its shifting shape with humidity. A good rule of thumb is 10cm on the floor for a 2m drop.
  • Request a generous hem to allow alteration should severe movement occur.
  • Definitely have them lined to protect against harsh sunlight.

Find more tips and fabric inspiration in our blog article on styling linen curtains.

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various sheer curtains in industrial home scenes

Natural and neutral

Simple and elegant, understated yet sophisticated – the linen look in any neutral tone is timeless. Linden by James Dunlop is a wonderful semi sheer with a polyester linen (40%) blend, the latter being where it gets its beautiful textural quality and stunning drape. James Dunlop’s Zia is 24% linen (blended with viscose) and offers that quintessential linen look with better durability; plus it comes in 30 different colours. With a slightly denser weave but still semi-sheer, New Haven (another James Dunlop number) is a 70/30 poly-linen blend with a jacquard stripe detail that is fine and stunning.


Whether you’re choosing curtains to complement white or grey walls, or white or grey curtains to complement coloured walls, it all comes down to choosing the right shade for your décor. Pair with their undertone colour (eg. pink, green, yellow, blue, purple) or a colour complementary to the undertone.

James Dunlop Zia Swan Swatch

James Dunlop



James Dunlop Hampton New Haven Ivory Swatch

James Dunlop

New haven


various sheer curtains in modern scenes

Sheer beauty

Sheers offer much of the same visual appeal, but offer other advantages not possible with linen. These fine, semi sheer linens create a tranquil haven in your home, filtering light and bringing softness to the space. Keep it simple with Altitude from Nettex, polyester linen blends ideal for creating light and bright rooms without glare. Or invite a whisper of colour into your home with James Dunlop’s Murmur, a 90% linen mix curtain fabric available in shades of grey, moody blues, warm golds and calming greens.

Choose linen look sheer curtains with a light pattern for an added dimension. Tidal by James Dunlop (61% linen blend) creates a handcrafted aesthetic with the use of an organic textured yarn woven through. Arctic from James Dunlop’s Serenity collection is 100% pure linen with a melting geometric pattern inspired by delicate ice crystals.

Learn more about linen

This article from fabric supplier James Dunlop is an in-depth look at how linen fabrics are created.

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