Window Curtains | Choosing Fabrics for Window Curtains

Choosing Fabrics for Window Curtains

There are so many fabrics available for window curtains that the choice can be overwhelming. But there are a few factors which will help you narrow down your choice so that you know what you are looking for when you go shopping. Follow this simple process to find the right materials for your fabric curtains

1. Formal or Informal

Some curtain fabrics lend themselves naturally to a more formal setting. For example silk, satin, velvet, chintz and jacquard weaves and man-made fabrics designed to imitate them are good for formal settings whereas cotton is in the informal category.

This will often be determined by the type of room you are designing for. It’s usual to have an informal look in kitchens, bathroom and kids’ rooms with a more formal look for lounges and bedrooms.

However it is also affected by the style you are aiming for – maybe your little girl’s room is going to be a boudoir fit for a princess or you want a very casual lounge style with denim curtains. Either way you know the type of fabric to look for based on the level of formality of the room.

2. Durability and Maintenance

The type of fabric you choose can affect how you care for your curtains and how long they will last. Cotton is washable and hard wearing though it does tend to shrink (Make sure you choose pre-shrunk cotton or wash and press before making into curtains) Natural silks need to be dry cleaned and may shred and rot over time – you are better using man made equivalents for durability. Linen (hemp) and linen union (a cotton linen mix) are durable but they require good pressing with a hot iron and tend to crease.

Modern Stripe Design for Curtain Fabric

Modern Stripe Design for Curtain Fabric

3. Draping Quality

When creating window coverings some fabrics drape better than others.  Cotton and linen drape quite well but if you want a billowing effect silk, satin and taffeta and equivalent man made fabrics work better. Some fabrics are firmer or thicker and are better suited to tab top curtains where you are not looking for a full gathered effect.

4. Color and Pattern

Most of us choose our curtains based on the design and color of the fabric and of course this is important.

Choose a plain coordinating color if the drapes will be surrounded by pattern. Patterned window treatments work best with plain walls as too much pattern can be overpowering.  Or if you prefer choose matching or contrasting plain curtains with plain walls.

If plain curtains seem a little dull choose a fabric with texture. Man made fabrics are being made now with fantastic weaves and textures so you will be spoiled for choice.

Make sure that the design on the fabric  is in keeping with the type of room that you are decorating (whether formal or informal) and with the theme of the room -  a retro room requires retro curtains from the same period, a minimalist lounge requires simple plain curtains and so on.

5. Cost

And of course there is always your budget to think about. Large windows can be prohibitively expensive to buy curtain panels for especially if you need more than one pair and that may limit the types of fabrics you can choose. Sometimes it is better to use a cheaper fabric in volume however than skimp and not have enough fullness in a luxury curtain fabric.

When looking at potential fabrics for your window curtains be sure and weigh up each one against these criteria so that you are sure you are buying a suitable fabric before you invest in curtain sized lengths of it!

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