There’s much to think about in regards to interior fabrics, especially when it comes to choosing the best fabrics for your windows. Fabric is an essential part of choosing drapes, curtains and other window treatments. Since the material will ultimately dictate how well the window dressings will function and hold up over time, it’s important to choose wisely after determining the purpose they will serve (i.e. block light, let light in, decorative only, etc). Once you’ve done that and have a basic understand about what to look for in fabrics, you’ll be ready to make some purchases.
The good thing about decorator fabrics is that they often have a higher thread count than fabrics used for making clothes. This means that the fabric used for your windows will last a bit longer. With that said, fabrics have different thread counts and weaves, so some are going to be more durable than others. In the end, once you’ve narrowed down fabrics that will serve your purpose, the final decision will be based on your personal preference.
Popular Fabrics for Windows
Window treatment fabrics are abundant, ranging from completely natural fibers to man-made blends. Each fabric out there has their pros and cons, and since you know what it needed for your space, you should have the final say in what will work for your space. There are however, a handful of fabrics that are considered the most popular among homeowners. Here are ten:
- Canvas: Heavy, strong and tight-weaved fabric, great for blocking light.
- Poplin: Medium weave made individually or collectively from cotton, linen, silk, or man-made fibers.
- Velvet: Heavy fabric that blocks light and cold while providing a look of luxury.
- Satin: Smooth and shiny medium weight fabric.
- Brocade: Heavy, rich-looking fabric that blocks light and traps warmth.
- Linen: Lightweight fabric that gives light while still providing privacy.
- Rayon: A fabric with a crisp texture and shiny appearance that drapes well and lasts for a long time.
- Muslin: Medium-weight fabric made of woven cotton. It breathes well, allowing airflow into the space while still providing privacy.
- Lace: A fabric often made from natural fibers that gives light, provides privacy and exudes a classic and elegant look.
- Sheers: A lightweight fabric often layered under heavier draperies. Although often added for aesthetic purposes they are functional as well.
Some other tips that might come in handy as you search through fabric options:
- To see if the fabric drapes well, take some test fabric, pleat it like an accordion at the top and let it drape. If it flares, rather than falling straight, it won’t drape well on your window.
- Remember that sunlight fades fabric over time so avoid bright, bold colors in heavily lighted rooms, since they often fade faster.
- Linen, silk (or faux silk) and velvet hang the best.
- Suede, velvet, tapestry, or tweed will keep the cold out, however you can always line other fabrics with insulating material.
- Small windows or windows that are the only source of light only really need a simple valance, a Roman shade or café curtains.
- Decide how high above the window you’d like the curtains to begin and then measure. Hanging them higher than the window will give a sense of height to the room.
- Custom window treatments will give you exactly what you want but if they just aren’t in your budget, try to spend a little more on higher-quality retail fabrics.