Rough Linen – Orkney Duvet Cover

Here’s something a little different–rather than clothing, I’m reviewing this beautiful duvet cover from Rough Linen.

Photo from the Rough Linen site.

First, let’s talk about priorities.

I’m a 23-year-old engineer. I moved, barely 6 months ago, from a room in my sorority house to a room in a walk-up apartment in Cambridge. I live with two roommates. Our building is definitely old, but I like to think of it as a cozy place, with character. My friends call it my “20’s apartment”, which is a fun way of saying a starter apartment.

But the location is what makes it special (and expensive)–it’s right in the middle of the City of Cambridge proper, not too far from Boston, and, we get composting!

When it comes to furnishings, almost all of mine are free. I have a shelf by my bathroom (I live in the “master” with its own bath) that I built myself at a university machine shop, from free scrap materials. The rest were various roommate and previous tenant hand-me-downs from my sorority house, all in great condition, and a futon I bought off a then-graduating senior three years ago (for $25!!!) that serves as our living room couch (it’s definitely starting to show its age).

BUT, I sure as hell bought a mattress. I was so done with sleeping on those horrible twin XLs.

What I’m trying to say is, sleep, and by extension, bedding, is very important to me. I have an organic cotton flat sheet from Under the Canopy, a down duvet insert that is many years old (and I have no intention of getting rid of), and now, a real-adult duvet cover, from Rough Linen. I hunted and researched and obsessed before purchasing this duvet, and I’m now confident that I made the right decision.

Rough Linen

Rough Linen is a beautiful brand of heirloom quality linen. I’d seen a lot of different types of linen brands and read a lot of reviews and articles. What stood out to me about Rough Linen was the heirloom quality of their fabric–it costs a bit more than Brooklinen and some other startup brands, but it is, in my opinion, worth it. I have confidence that this duvet cover will follow me from my “20’s apartment” to my 30’s, and 40’s, and 50’s apartment (who knows in this economy, but maybe even one day a house!)


The Rough Linen Orkney Duvet Cover is not for the faint of heart. It is literally rough, 100% linen, which will slowly soften over time–and for me, already has a little after a couple washes. I chose the natural color with coconut button detail, and it came packaged with a note, a ribbon, and a lavender sachet, which gave everything such a nice scent the first few nights I used the duvet cover. It softened after the first wash and then the second, and I still use the lavender sachet under my pillow. Because the “natural” color actually is natural–undyed, raw linen fabric–it has its own lovely natural scent as well. I don’t have to worry about the fabric being delicate or soiling easily–like good denim or a sturdy leather bag, it is luxurious and also robust.


This article on how the Orkney fabric ages over time had me really sold (though I read it after I’d already bought the duvet cover) because it’s a real testament to the quality of the fabric. I can’t wait to see how this ages over time, and though right now it’s unfathomable, should I someday have a guest or children’s bedroom to furnish I would happily choose Rough linen bedding again. It’s beautiful, too, especially with the coconut buttons. Even when I don’t make my bed, I feel it still looks artful somehow.


I sleep without a flat sheet for simplicity and ease of bed-making, but I do use a cotton fitted sheet, and, to save my curls, satin pillowcases. This makes for an interesting blend of textures on my bedspread, which some might find eccentric or off-putting, but I personally love it.

And I sleep so, so well. Much better than I did in college!  

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