Essential Tips for Choosing the Right Fabric for your Curtains
by Abby Lu
The legendary fashion designer Giorgio Armani once said, “To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail.” This is applicable, not only to haute couture, but to everything else that can be judged aesthetically.
At home, one of the items that can benefit from the application of this mantra are your curtains. As most interior decorators will tell you, curtains are something that can make or break a room. While choosing the right design for window coverings is undoubtedly important, it is only one part of the process. A more important and crucial part is choosing the right curtain fabric.
To help you through the process, here are the three most important factors to consider:
Natural Elegance / Collection
Colour. It is rather obvious that the curtain fabric should match the colour scheme of the room. However, selecting the right colour can be a difficult task. Sometimes, it is possible to use a colour that jumps out, making the windows a focal feature. At other times, a colour that blends in may be a better option.
Experts suggest creating a colour swatch of existing items in a room – floors, walls, furniture, etc. – and bringing that with you when you’re shopping for fabric. To see if a fabric matches the existing palette, simply hold the swatch against the fabric. Keeping a collection of pictures on apps such as Pinterest may be handy as well. That way, you will be able to readily imagine how the space would look like if you used curtains of a particular colour or print.
How it hangs. Whether a fabric is good curtain material also depends on how it drapes, folds, or maintains its form over time. Although this is information that your fabric supplier will be able provide, there are some ways you can tell while you’re shopping for fabric. One trick is to pleat the fabric like an accordion at the top and see how it drapes. A good curtain fabric will have visible folds in almost vertical lines all the way down. If it flares out like a tutu, that material is not likely to be a good choice. In general, velvet, linen, silk, and faux silk are some of the best choices in this regard.
Pure Linen / Collection
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Maintenance. In most cases, curtains are generally expected to last for a relatively long time. If you have children or pets, you may want an option that is easier to remove and clean. This means that a lighter and machine-washable fabric may be something that is more suited to your lifestyle.
Also, it is important to consider that colours – particularly if there is frequent exposure to harsh sunlight – will most likely fade over time. Therefore, you may want to think about how the curtain fabric may look like after it fades from washing, drying, or exposure to the sun.
In addition, some fabric such as silk tear very easily. If you have pets at home, this may be something you want to steer away from unless you are planning on replacing your curtains often.