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 understanding of 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 weave, 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 its pros and cons, and since you know what is 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. Let’s take a deeper look into what some of those are.
Best Fabrics for Sheer Curtains
Sheers are a lightweight fabric that’s often layered under heavier draperies. Although often added for aesthetic purposes they are functional as well.
- Voile. Voile is a woven fabric that is soft, lightweight, and sheer. Typically, it is 100% cotton though it can also be polyester. Higher quality options have a very fine surface that let in just that amount of light, while still providing privacy.
- 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 give light, provides privacy, and exudes a classic and elegant look.
Best Fabrics for Regular Window Treatments
- Cotton. When in a drapery weight material, cotton is very popular for its look and its function. You may not need to line drapery weight cotton fabric, though lining can add to its strength and durability, and looks.
- Canvas. Canvas is a strong, durable, tightly-woven cotton fabric that is a staple fabric for home decor and utility. Not only does it look good, but it’s also great for blocking light.
- Poplin. Also called tabinet, poplin is a medium-weave made individually or collectively from cotton, wool, linen, silk, or man-made fibers. Not only does its horizontal warp and vertical weft give it strength, but it also gives it a unique look.
- Velvet. Velvet can be made from a variety of fibers such as cotton, linen, mohair, wool, and silk. Although each fiber produces different results, velvet still remains a lovely choice for home decorating. If you’re looking to block light and cold in a luxurious way, velvet is ideal. Find out more about what makes velvet a fabric to love.
- Satin. Smooth and shiny, this medium-weight fabric’s name actually refers to the weave rather than the material. Satin fabric is a wonderful way to add class to the windows in your home.
- Brocade. A heavy, rich-looking fabric often made in colored silks and with or without gold and silver threads. Brocade is incredibly beautiful and functional thanks to its decorative shuttle-weave.
- Linen. Linen (not dressmaking linen) often comes in medium to heavyweight, making it very suitable as a drapery fabric. Not only is it thick and durable, but it also gives light while still providing privacy. While linen can wrinkle easily, it doesn’t make it any less elegant. In fact, that’s actually part of its charm. Learn more about why linen is an essential fabric for your home.
- Rayon. Although derived from natural materials (cellulose), rayon does require certain chemicals, making it semi-synthetic. Its crisp texture, shiny appearance, durability, and ability to drape well makes it a very popular choice.
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 cafe 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.
Whenever you’re ready to incorporate new window treatments into your home, we hope you let us help. Stop by one of our showrooms or browse online to see our gorgeous selection of discount designer fabrics. We’re sure to have just what you need for stellar windows, upholstery, and more!