Guide to the Best Fabrics for Drapes, Curtains and Other Window Treatments

Guide to the Best Fabrics for Drapes, Curtains and Other Window Treatments

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:

  1. Canvas: Heavy, strong and tight-weaved fabric, great for blocking light.
  2. Poplin: Medium weave made individually or collectively from cotton, linen, silk, or man-made fibers.
  3. Velvet: Heavy fabric that blocks light and cold while providing a look of luxury.
  4. Satin: Smooth and shiny medium weight fabric.
  5. Brocade: Heavy, rich-looking fabric that blocks light and traps warmth.
  6. Linen: Lightweight fabric that gives light while still providing privacy.
  7. Rayon: A fabric with a crisp texture and shiny appearance that drapes well and lasts for a long time.
  8. Muslin: Medium-weight fabric made of woven cotton. It breathes well, allowing airflow into the space while still providing privacy.
  9. Lace: A fabric often made from natural fibers that gives light, provides privacy and exudes a classic and elegant look.
  10. Sheers: A lightweight fabric often layered under heavier draperies. Although often added for aesthetic purposes they are functional as well.

Additional Tips

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.

 

What Kind of Valance is Right for You?

 Valances are a wonderful way to add that finishing touch to the windows in your home. Because of their versatility, they can be used to complete the look of your drapery by decoratively concealing hardware and fixtures, or they can simply be used to add some visual interest by themselves without overloading the window with fabric. Without knowing the types of valances out there however, it can be hard to pinpoint what kind of valance is right for your space. The “best” type of valance will depend on your personal preference in style, so let’s take a look at the varieties available.

What Kind of Valance is Right for You?

  • Balloon: A puffy valance made of lightweight fabric gathered to create a balloon effect.
  • Tailored, flat: A rectangular valance without ruffles or gathers.
  • Swag, festoon, jabot: One or more sections of draped fabric that hang down in a rounded fashion.
  • Scarf: A valance that is draped over, rather than attached to the rod (similar to swag but with less structure).
  • Ascot: Valances that are a “V” or triangular shape.
  • Crenellated: Bottom hem has a cutout edge similar in appearance to the edge of a castle.
  • Rod pocket or tab: It slides onto a separate rod just like a curtain.
  • Cornice or pelmet: Resembles a stiff box or frame rather than typical drapery-like valances.

As mentioned earlier, your decision will ultimately be based on your personal preference and style that blends with your décor. With that said, if you’re looking for a feminine or traditional vibe, stick with draped style valances such as the swag and scarf. For a masculine or modern look, go with something sleek and simple like the cornice or flat.

Before You Buy Fabric

Just because valances don’t cover the entire window, it doesn’t mean they should be considered any less important when it comes to purchasing. Be sure to think things through and take careful steps before you buy.

Always measure the width of the window, adding a few inches to account for the rod, in order to get the right fit. The length, although not crucial to fitting onto the window, will affect the final look. You can use a spare piece of fabric to get a general idea as to the length in which you want the valance to hang. This will also help you calculate the right proportions for your windows.

It’s also important to take into account the types of windows you have when measuring and purchasing. Do your windows open from the top? Are there any blinds, shades or indoor shutters installed? If so, then a valance might interfere.

When it comes to complimenting your home’s décor style, narrow down your valance choices by finding colors, prints and fabric materials you love. In some cases you might be able to simply add a valance, but in others, it might require a complete replacement.

Finally, be sure to shop around before making a purchase. Between department stores and the internet, there are thousands of choices out there to wade through. Sorting though it all can be extremely time consuming, so be sure to only focus on valances that meet your criteria.

Cotton Fabric throughout the Home

If you’re thinking about updating the fabrics in your home, take some time to consider cotton. Cotton is one of the most universally used natural or cellulose fibers with 18 percent of the annual crop being used for the home furnishing industry (source NCC). In linens alone, cotton is the most dominant fiber, holding over 60% of the bed linen market (sheets and pillowcases) and almost 100% of the bath linen market (towels and washcloths). Although this fiber has been around since ancient times, it is anything but. Cotton, grown throughout 17 states across the United States, is increasingly popular and well worth taking a look at when it comes time to update our home.

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Just like every other home fabric out there, cotton has its pros and cons. Some quick facts about cotton that are worth knowing:

  • It’s eco-friendly
  • It’s versatile, strong, durable and soft to the touch
  • It is absorbent and breathable
  • It’s resistant to piling and static electricity
  • It can wrinkle easily (but cotton-poly blends solve that problem)
  • It is easy to clean but can shrink, stretch and take longer to dry
  • It can fade in prolonged sun exposure
  • It dyes well and can take prints beautifully
  • It’s affordable

Best Uses for Cotton Fabric

Using cotton fabric throughout the home is an easy way to add style and color to the space at an affordable price. In the home, cotton can be used just about anywhere. Some of the best uses for cotton fabric throughout the home however, are rugs, window treatments, bedding, upholstery, wall coverings, linens, and accents like throw pillows.

It’s important to remember that there are different grades of cotton ranging from very basic (yet good) all the way to ultra premium. Thankfully this wide variety of fabrics and weaves means there’s really no reason why you can’t find something that will work perfectly in your space. It doesn’t matter if you want silky, rough, smooth, textured, luxurious, indestructible, sheer or thick—you’ll find it with reliable and beautiful cotton.

How to Use Multiple Fabrics Cohesively

Unless you are a home decorator, the thought of using multiple fabrics in a space can be a little intimidating. It doesn’t have to be though. In fact, simply understanding some basic principles about mixing colors, patterns and textures in your home can make it much easier to step outside the “safe zone” of neutrals. Let’s take a look at how to use multiple fabrics cohesively in your space.

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Create a Color Palette

We make several decisions based on color, so it’s no surprise that creating a color palette is the best place to begin. Always remember that your style (not the style of others) is what needs to be expressed in the space. Also remember that jumping on each trend that comes by can be a mistake. Trends come and go quickly, so create a foundational scheme that will be timeless and then build upon it with the season’s hottest colors.

Use a Variety of Pattern Sizes

Patterns were made to be mixed but if the scale doesn’t make sense, then you could end up with décor disaster on your hands. For example, you wouldn’t want to pair two large patterns together. Instead, it would be wise to pair a large pattern with a small to give the space a cohesive look. Additionally, it’s important to know how and where the fabric will be used. This will help ensure the pattern fits the piece it’s covering.

Some quick tips to guide you on scale:

  • Small-scale patterns will be easily mistaken for a texture or a solid if used in a large room and large-scale patterns will overpower small spaces and look fragmented on small pieces.
  • Medium-scale patterns work for large and small rooms.
  • Use stripes to add height or width.

Build Layers of Textures

Textures also need to vary. A great place to start layering textures is with pillows. As you become more confident, incorporate more textures throughout the space by way of window treatments or a reupholstered chair. Use swatches to mix and match until you have your favorites.

The Rule of Three

If you truly want to use multiple fabrics cohesively, do your best to stick to the rule of three, meaning limit yourself to three (no more than four) fabric choices. Adding solids will help balance everything out. Finally, don’t try to match all of the colors. Instead, create visual interest by finding colors that blend and compliment one another.

 

Reclaim Your Dirty Couches by Reupholstering

Over time, furniture accumulates a lot of wear and a lot of dirt. And there comes a point when a decision must be made: replace or reupholster? While replacing that worn, dirty couch seems to be the most logical, that’s not always the case. There are actually very valid reasons for taking the time and investing the money to preserving it instead.

Reupholstering Dirty Couches with Interior Fabrics

Should I reupholster?

Reupholstering an old sofa could end up costing more than you would pay for a new one, so it’s important to think it through before committing. There are however certain conditions where it can be worth it:

1)    It is an antique or family heirloom. Some pieces have so much history and value that they just cannot be replaced with something new. When dealing with old pieces such as this, it’s important to be extra careful to avoid mistakes and damage to the furniture, so unless you’re a proficient DIYer, it’s best to hire a professional.

2)    It fits your needs and your space. Perhaps you finally found a couch that fits perfectly in your space and can’t stand the thought of seeking out another. Maybe you just love the shape, size and comfort of it, but wish it didn’t look so worn. Whatever the reason, you can freshen up that couch you love with fresh fabrics.

3)    You get exactly what you want. Certain home décor requires a specific color, pattern or texture, which can often be challenging to find in the ready-made furniture market. Personally picking your fabrics and reupholstering allows you to have something uniquely designed for your space.

4)    You’d like to save money. As mentioned earlier, reupholstering can be an investment. With that said, it doesn’t always mean getting a run-of-the-mill piece from the furniture store is cheaper (especially if you’ll have to replace all upholstered pieces to match your décor). If you have a taste for high quality, then the piece in question is probably of high quality. If that’s the case, then reupholstering would definitely be the way to go. If you have a passion for DIY projects, then this is going to be the cheapest route for you as well.

5)    You want to enhance your skills. Reupholstering is a great DIY project if you have the time and inclination. There are many tutorials that can be found online should you find yourself itching to do something new.

It’s important to remember that recovering isn’t the same as reupholstering. Recovering is basically a cosmetic procedure, whereas reupholstering goes beyond the fabric. Reupholstering often includes stripping the piece to the frame, reinforcing it, replacing coil springs and padding. This is why it’s such a time- and labor-intensive process. With that said, it is still a great alternative to replacing a good, solid (yet dirty) couch.

Best Uses for Cotton Fabric When Designing Your Home

When designing your home, picking fabrics can be overwhelming. Each has their pros and cons, which often makes it challenging to narrow down what will work best for the spaces you have. It’s important to remember however, that there is one particular fabric that often stands above the rest: cotton.

Not only is cotton eco-friendly due to its being a natural fiber, it makes everyday living enjoyable because of its durability, absorbency, breathability, softness and cleanability. Furthermore, cotton comes in a wide array of colors and is the most affordable out of any other fabrics out there, making it a perfect choice for your home.

Best Uses for Cotton Fabric When Designing Your Home

 

Where to Use Cotton Fabrics

Cotton is so versatile that it can be used just about anywhere. Three of the best ways to use it however is as upholstery, for bed linens and for accents like window treatments and throw pillows.

Upholstery

As mentioned earlier, cotton fabric can “breathe,” which makes it ideal for upholstery, especially if the furniture is used often. The breathability factor will definitely enhance the comfort pieces like your sofa and chairs. Since cotton is also durable (cotton-synthetic combos are even more durable) it will be able to stand up against heavy use for longer.

Bed Linens

Cotton sheets are extremely comfortable to sleep on but when it comes to bedding (and towels), it’s important to remember that not all cotton is created equal. If you want durable, breathable, absorbent, and soft sheets look for 100% cotton opposed to cotton-poly blends that can make sleeping uncomfortable. After you’ve found 100% cotton, you’ll need to decide between regular, prima or Egyptian cotton. Although the quality increases between each one (Egyptian being highest) there’s no reason to spring for the highest if you don’t need too. Even the regular 100% cotton will offer you great quality, so don’t discount it when making purchases. Your need for prima and Egyptian should be based on personal preference as well as who will be using the linens.

Home Accents

Window treatments and throw pillows come in a variety of fabrics, but if you want low-maintenance and casual, then cotton is the way to go. Using cotton fabrics is a great way to add color to your space at an affordable price.

 

Guide to the Best Fabrics for Upholstery

It may seem exciting to have an abundance of fabric options to choose from, but without some basic knowledge, the search for the right upholstery can become overwhelming. We hope this guide will help you find the best fabric for your upholstery that will meet both your needs and your style.

Choosing the Best Upholstery Fabric Houston Tx

Now, onto the basics…

When it comes to fabric, it’s necessary to have some knowledge about fabric content, fabric types and pattern types. Let’s break those down a bit.

Fabric Content

Fabrics can be broken down into two categories: natural fibers and synthetic (man-made) fibers. Here we’ll go through a brief look at the pros and cons of each.

Natural Fibers

  • Cotton: soft, absorbent, breathable and durable, but fades easily.
  • Linen: airy, breathable and light, but tends to have hard plant fibers and wrinkles easily.
  • Wool: warm, durable but not the best for upholstery.
  • Silk: strong with a beautiful sheen but prone to fading if placed in direct sun.
  • Leather: tough, easy to clean and ages well.
  • Hemp: durable but wrinkles easily.

Synthetic Fibers

  • Acrylic: inexpensive, maintains shape and resists sunlight however, it builds static electricity and pills easily.
  • Polyester: very durable and comes in a variety of patterns, colors and textures; great for stains, yet doesn’t handle oils (from bodies or food) very well.
  • Nylon: durable and stain resistant.
  • Olefin: durable but can pill easily.
  • Rayon: fairly strong and affordable but stretches easily.

Fabric Type

Fibers are turned into fabric through several different processes. Two popular fabric types are woven, non-woven and printed.

  • Woven fabrics are woven together on a loom and can be made with intricate designs of multiple colors to simple designs of few colors.
  • Non-woven fabrics are bonded, rather than woven together, and are often adhered to a knit backing for stability.

Pattern Types

There is a wide variety of patterned upholstery fabric, but here are some common terms to become familiarized with:

  • Florals (sometimes called Jacquards)
  • Paisleys (tear-drop shape)
  • Body cloths (solid colors and textures)
  • Geometrics (squares, circles, etc)
  • Stripes (includes pinstripes and ombres
  • Plaids (includes checks, ginghams and hound’s tooth
  • Novelties (unusual designs)

Getting Started

Before you start making decisions, there are a few things to consider. Something very important to keep in mind is how the furniture will be used and where it will be located. This will help determine just how tough your fabric needs to be. Two other things to think about are the style of the furniture and the size of the room. This will help you narrow down pattern and color. Most importantly however, is that you need to love the fabric. Upholstering a piece of furniture is an investment, so make sure that it’s a fabric you will enjoy for many years to come.

Bold Seasonal Statements: Accent Fabrics

Brightening up your home and changing its look from time to time doesn’t require a big budget. There is a simple solution that can enhance and refresh a space: accent fabrics. Here we’ll discuss ways you can use accent fabrics to make bold seasonal statements whenever the mood strikes you.

Bold Seasonal Statements: Cotton Accent Fabrics OKC

Why Should I use Fabric for Seasonal Decorating?

Fabric is the quickest, easiest and (in most cases), most cost-effective home design technique for giving a room new life. Additionally, it opens the door to incorporating your personality and style with ease. Fabrics bring color, texture, and comfort needed to make a house a home. Now we’ll move onto three main ways you can use accent fabrics.

  1. Accent pillows. This is hands down the easiest way to use accent fabrics for bold seasonal statements. Out of everything, they are often the least expensive, which means you can change them out more frequently. Accent pillows can work in just about any area of the home—the bedroom, living room, patio, home office and kitchen (think window bench)—making them a total win. While there are several choices to be found on a department store shelf, your options for getting exactly what you want expand even further when you make them yourself or have them made by someone else.
  2. Window treatments. Although not as easily swapped out as accent pillows, you can still make bold seasonal statements by investing in a few different sets of window treatments. Whether you prefer heavy fabric drapes, whimsical sheer curtains, or no nonsense shades, using accents fabrics on your windows is a prime way to refresh the look of your space.
  3. Upholstered headboard. If you spend quite a bit of time in your bedroom and want to create an amazing focal point, then an upholstered headboard is the way to do it. Not only is an upholstered headboard a classy addition, it is a fantastic way to truly reflect your taste. While upholstering a headboard might not be as easily changed out as pillows and window treatments, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. In fact, there are several tutorials online that can help you create your own, which means you can have as many headboards as you’d like! In addition to the headboard, you can use the same accent fabric (or ones that blend with it) on other items in the room. Adding it to an accent chair, ottoman or window treatments can really tie everything together.

Don’t let these three ideas limit you. There are plenty more ways that you can use accent fabrics to make bold seasonal statements. Be creative and create a space you love each and every season.

Guide to Picking Fabrics

Fabrics are a big part of our home’s interior, and while picking the right ones should be done so carefully, it shouldn’t leave you stressed out. Knowing the answers to some simple questions and having some basic knowledge of fabrics can help make the process go from difficult to delightful.

Decorating Ideas that Cover the Fall and Winter Seasons

Before you get started shopping, and definitely before you make final decisions, ask yourself some questions such as these:

  • How will the space be used?
  • Is it an indoor space or an outdoor space?
  • Is it a high traffic area?
  • Is the room formal or informal (minimal vs. regular use)?
  • What type of light does the room have?
  • Are there pets or children?

The answers to these questions will deeply affect your fabric choices and taking the time to sort through them will save you time and money in the long run. Once you have your answers, then you can move onto picking fabrics for your home.

Fabric fibers fall under two categories: natural and synthetic (man-made). Natural fibers are cotton, cotton blends, linen, silk, wool, leather, ramie and hemp. Synthetic fibers include acrylic, microfiber, vinyl, rayon, olefin, nylon, acetate, and triacetate. There are pros and cons to each, which is just another reason as to why it’s so important to seriously consider what your needs will be for your space.

Upholstery Fabric

Color tends to be the driving force behind most fabric decisions, but when it comes to upholstery, it’s highly important to factor durability into your choice as well. Wear and tear can often be attributed to the amount of use, as well as the amount of sunlight it is exposed to. If you don’t want to be replacing fabric frequently then finding something long-lasting is key. Some things to keep in mind while you shop are:

  • Woven (not printed) fabrics with higher thread counts will be the most durable
  • Darker colors will help conceal dirt more easily
  • Leather and microfibers are great for both children and pets
  • Ask for fade-resistant fabrics if your pieces reside near a window
  • Pay attention to fabric cleaning and wearability codes

Always examine the fabric before purchasing it. Tugging it gently with and against the grain will determine the quality (loose threads mean it’s poorly made).

Window Treatments & Other Accent Fabrics

While longevity is important, window treatments and accent fabrics are often based on what sets the mood or makes you happy. With that said, they can have a purpose too. For example, window treatments in a rich color or fun pattern can cure your love of drama or whimsy, but they can help with need of privacy and/or light as well (heavy fabric blocks light; sheers let light in and can create romance).

Accent fabrics are great for those extra punches of style and personality you want to give the space. Multi-purpose fabrics are great choices for those little touches that you like to update more frequently.

At the end of the day, it’s all going to come down to your personal preference. However, having some basic knowledge about what to look for will help you decorate your home in a way that will meet both your needs and your style.

How to Properly Clean and Care for Your Interior Fabric

When you know how to clean and care for your interior fabrics, you will be able to retain the beauty of those fabrics you first fell in love with. With proper cleaning, care and maintenance, you will also be able to prolong its life, which will allow you to enjoy your space for years to come. Although proper cleaning and care requires consistency, it’s easy to do. The one thing that will make your maintenance tasks easier is choosing the right fabric from the beginning. Using the right fabric for the right place will make all the difference. If you don’t have the luxury of picking out new fabrics right now, you can still follow these tips to help you clean and care for the interior fabrics you currently have.

Decorating Ideas that Cover the Fall and Winter Seasons

 

Cleaning Interior Fabrics If you are in the market for new furniture, take advantage of the additional fabric protection before bringing it home. This fabric protection often includes a treatment with soil and/or water repellents, as well as mildew inhibitors. Vacuuming weekly or gently whisking fabric with a soft bristled brush can remove surface dirt, but when it comes to spot cleaning, it will vary depending on the type of fabric you have. This is why it’s important to check the manufacturer’s tag for the cleaning code (W, S, SW or X) before proceeding further. Blot any spills immediately with a clean folded towel, but always adhere to the fabric’s care instructions. If you have fabric that doesn’t need professional attention, it is best to use a mild cleaning product. As a general rule, having a professional clean your interior fabrics every few years is wise. Having a deep cleaning done will keep the fabric from becoming visibly dirty.

Caring for Interior Fabrics Interior fabrics aren’t indestructible so treat them kindly as often as possible. When it comes to upholstered furniture, avoid standing or jumping on it and keep sharp objects away so fabric isn’t scratched or torn. Two other big things that will help you in caring for your interior fabrics are turning cushions regularly and avoiding direct sunlight and pollutants.

Turn Cushions Regularly The life of your seating can be prolonged simply by turning those cushions on a regular basis. Turning them allows for an even distribution of wear and tear. It’ll also slow down those indentations. When the furniture is something that has multiple cushions, change the places of them every now and then since some seating gets more usage than others.

Avoid Direct Sunlight & Pollutants Sun can damage your interior fabrics, causing them to fade or fray. If it’s not possible to position your upholstered pieces away from the window, hang window treatments that will allow you to block direct sunlight. Airborne pollutants can also harm interior fabrics. They are more challenging to avoid but having proper ventilation can help.