The Ultimate Sheer Curtain Design Guide
by KRISTEN PHANG
I fell in love with sheer curtains for the first time at my great-aunt’s terrace house.
Above the doorframe of her glass side door hung a dark pleated curtain over a sheer white curtain. Whenever I visited her house as a child, I hid between the curtains. I love running my fingers through the soft, warm sheer curtain as I looked out at the garden. Walking through the curtains made me feel like I was entering Narnia.
Sheer curtains are magical and beautiful. The way they gently diffuse sunlight through our homes and sway gracefully in the wind could captivate anyone. Its elegant nature can drastically change a room’s mood and design just with its presence.
With such delicate drapery, we must choose delicate designs to let our sheer curtains bring harmony to our homes.
This step-by-step guide will teach you how to select the right sheer curtains and find the most suitable hanging method to bring their magic to life. Read until the end to make the wisest and smartest decisions before purchasing your curtains!
Let’s start with step one.
Step 1: Understand how your sheer curtains can best support your room’s design.
Focus / Collection
Huge design alert: the biggest mistake you have to avoid with sheer curtains is making them the main feature of your room.
Sheer curtains are absolutely exquisite, and we want to bring attention to them. However, if we do make it a feature element in your room, everything else in your room has to support its gentle nature.
While it is not impossible, there are very few design options you can choose without drawing attention away from the sheer curtain.
So, don’t put yourself in a box! Instead, use your sheer curtain as a key supporting element for your scarlet lounge sofa, oak dining table or light blue velvet curtains! Ironically, hiding your sheer curtain in plain sight is the best way to help it stand out.
When sheer curtains are treated as design accents for your room, they create character while uniting the whole room’s style and maintaining its hint of mystique.
Cruiser / Collection
When you shop for sheer curtains, you should also consider how they would be used in your everyday life.
Unlike most curtains, sheer curtains don’t entirely block out sunlight or give you complete privacy. Instead, its translucent nature only provides partial privacy and blockage.
While it may not fulfil the typical function of most curtains, the translucent fabric actually gives you a wider range of control over light, heat, wind, noise and privacy without compromising your view, especially when it's layered with other curtains.
Step 2: Determine how translucent your sheer curtains would be.
Focus / Collection
Sheer curtains are lightweight, translucent drapery that allows some light to pass through its fabric. At first glance, purchasing a sheer curtain seems simple: just get a translucent fabric! However, when you start exploring fabric options, you will realise that choosing the right fabric can get a little particular.
First off, there is a difference between transparent and translucent fabrics.
Translucent: A translucent fabric doesn’t need to allow much visibility or be a see-through fabric. A piece of fabric will be considered translucent when some or most light passes through its material.
For example, cotton is a translucent fabric that can block out a lot of heat while allowing enough daylight to light up a room. However, you won’t be able to see the view outside clearly. Sheer curtains without much visibility are called semi-sheer curtains.
Transparent: A transparent fabric will let most sunlight pass through its material and allow you to see the view clearly behind its fabric. It won’t be 100% transparent like glass, but fabrics like gauze will be thin enough for you to see through the fabric without squinting your eyes.
By these definitions, we can say that all sheer fabrics are translucent, but not all sheer fabrics are transparent.
To find your ideal transparency, hold your sample cloth flat near a clear window on a sunny day. (Don’t place the fabric directly onto the window! Give a bit of distance. Your curtains are not going to stick to your windows or doors.) A sheer cloth looks different on a table vs hung up.
With this lighting test, you can know exactly how much privacy and transparency you want from your curtains. This test is also why we recommend shopping for your sheer curtains in person.
It is possible to increase the thickness of your sheer curtain after purchase. Aside from layering, you can add a curtain lining or a privacy liner. Using these options will give you more control over your privacy, especially the privacy liner, as it is removable.
However, it’s usually a hassle to add on these options, so it’s best to get the right fabric thickness the first time.
Step 3: Identify the ideal fabric for your sheer curtain.
Don’t have to worry about fabric options when it comes to sheer curtains! Plenty of fabrics have the right thickness between 3-15 deniers.
For comparison, a stocking would have a thickness of 15 deniers, while opaque fabrics would have a thickness of 100 deniers.
The struggle you might face when it comes to sheer fabrics is actually the wide variety of choices! With so many options, how would you know which fabric would most suit your needs. It may take a bit of time, but by looking at these four fabrics first, it would be a lot easier to find what you’re looking for:
Sheer Bliss / Collection
- Polyester: This synthetic fabric provides various colour shades. It is also effortless to wash because of its neat weaving style, and it is also very affordable.
However, this fabric is very plain and simple. It doesn’t have much texture or elaborate details because it is made synthetically.
Look at our collection of polyester sheers here:
- Cotton: Cotton is the best option for modern homes. This cloth is naturally sourced from cotton plants which produce very soft threads. Their threads are also quite durable, making them easy to maintain and clean.
Cotton is also an affordable and popular option with a great variety of colours and designs. However, some cotton sheers may not give you the ideal sheer appearance as they can come in different thicknesses.
Look at our collection of cotton sheers here:
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- Linen: This cloth made from the flax plant is more robust than cotton but is equally as lightweight thanks to its tight weaving. They are one of the most breathable and cool curtains, which makes them great for hot weather.
However, linen is also a fabric that requires high maintenance and constant ironing to keep its fine look. It can’t be washed in a washing machine, so you will need to send it for cleaning services.
Look at our collection of linen sheers here:
Day Break / Collection
4. Voile: Voile is a mix of cotton, linen and polyester that takes the best out of all three materials. It is incredibly soft. It has a higher tread count than most fabrics, which means a sheer voile curtain doesn’t get blown away by the wind easily.
Despite having a higher tread count, it is lightweight and breathable, making it great for curtain layering and Malaysia’s hot weather.
However, because of its materials, it is also a little more expensive compared to other fabrics.
Nortica / Collection
There are many other cloth options like silk, lace and chiffon. However, most of these options are variations of the four fabrics we have mentioned before and are quite expensive.
At Acacia Fabrics, we provide a whole variety of different fabrics and collections for sheer curtains. If you are looking for a wide range of sheer fabrics to choose from, you can browse through our catalogue here: https://www.acaciacurtain.co/collections/
Step 4: Choose how you will hang your curtains
Sheer curtains look beautiful when hung alone and as a complimentary curtain to other drapery. But since these options will determine how you hang your sheer curtains, let's explore the benefits of both choices before you start installing rods and adding hooks to your curtains.
Most people choose to layer with sheer curtains as it pairs well with any curtain while enhancing its appearance with elegance and grandeur.
A great example of this is the popular solid over sheer combination. With this combination, homeowners have a wider range of control over sunlight, wind, noise and privacy, which helps negate the limitations of sheers. Sheer over solid curtains also gives the same benefits as a solid over sheer combination but offers a more elegant and gentle appearance.
You don’t have to use solid curtains for layering, either. Sheer curtains are extremely thin so you can layer as many as three sheer curtains on top of each other. Not only do you have more precise control over light and privacy, but it also provides a series of styling options thanks to its translucent material.
Imagine how your curtains would look if you layered two sheer curtains with different colours, or drew a lace sheer over a plain, textured one.
Seminar / Collection
Even if you choose just to hang one sheer curtain, you can hang the cloth in many ways and in many places.
In technical terms, S-shaped folds work fantastic for sheer curtains. Its rollers and clips help the curtains slow like one continuous wave in the ocean, giving it a smooth effect. The folds rest gently upon one another when the curtains are drawn to the side.
Eyelet curtains can also give a similar effect with plenty of layering options.
If you are looking for more traditional curtain styles, pleats make sheer curtains extremely elegant.
Thanks to the flexible nature of sheer, you can hang sheer curtains like a scarf over a rod, above doorways, between corridors and even above the bed if your bedframe has a canopy. Its hanging style all comes down to your creativity and the curtain’s role.
Step 5: Choose the right colour for your sheer curtains
Flo / Collection
Here comes the fun part: colours and patterns. Adding colours and patterns to your sheer curtains is exciting; however, it's often an option that isn’t needed.
That’s because the colour of your sheer curtains directly affects the function of your curtains. Sheer curtains are filters for sunlight. So, if white sunlight passes through a blue sheer curtain, it will give the sunlight a blue hue.
Sunlight with a light blue hue looks amazing for a room with white walls and greyscale furniture; however, if your room has sunflower yellow walls, you would get an unsightly green!
That’s why most people choose either white or grey sheer curtains. However, don’t let that stop you from exploring these options if you want to explore with different tones and moods. Just make sure the colour of your walls and floor are very plain white or very dark shades to avoid unexpected colours.
Cruiser / Collection
If you want your curtain designs to be a little more elaborate, floral or geometric patterns will work well for sheer curtains. Just note that with patterns, you will have uneven but beautiful shadows on the ground when there is sunlight.
Sheer curtains are a beautiful drapery that requires a lot of forethought to bring out their beauty. While there may be a lot to consider, choosing the right cloth will make everything else falls into place.
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