Curtains put the finishing touch on any room, and there are many fabric options ranging from heavy and formal to lightweight and sheer. The solution to dressing the windows in your home might come from combining a number of fabrics into one treatment. Light, medium, heavy and sheer curtain fabrics can stand alone or work together to make a statement.
Cotton is readily available and fairly inexpensive, making it one of the most popular choices for curtain fabric. Cotton has durability and ease of care. Calico, often used in quilting, has a firm drape. Designers use it in curtains for kitchens and bedrooms. Muslin, another cotton fabric, has loosely woven fibres and a light, airy appearance that makes it look casual.
Designers use linen, another natural fibre, for classic curtains. Made from flax, linen pairs easily with other fabrics, such as cotton. Linen mix, a blend of linen and cotton and nylon, does not crease as easily. It is easier to handle and more durable than linen alone.
Challis is one of the lightest, softest fabrics available. This fabric, usually made of cotton or rayon, has a slightly brushed surface and good drape. A washable version of this fabric might suit a child’s room.
Brocade, a medium-weight fabric with a pattern woven directly into the material, has a distinctive texture. Usually made in rich colours, the fabric may be silk and have metallic threads.
Damask is another medium-weight fabric made of silk, cotton, rayon polished linen or polyester. It features a noticeable pattern usually of the same colour that is seen when light falls on the fabric. Although similar to brocade, the pattern is usually flatter. You may see this fabric used in living and bedroom with traditional decor
Denim adds a casual feel to a room. Denim comes in medium to heavy weights and makes a durable option for curtain fabric.
Heavy curtain fabrics have a more classic feel to them. Homemakers have used chenille since Victorian times to create heavy curtains. It has a soft, short texture.
Velvet features a plush, short pile that forms an even uniform surface. Some velvet fabrics feature a burnout design. Designers tend to use velvet in the most formal curtains and valances.
Tapestries, another heavy fabric used for curtains, has ornamental embroidery. It may feature scenes or flowers with coloured and metallic thread adornment. Designers often choose this fabric for formal areas.
Sheers are lightweight fabrics that you can see through. Designers often use lace, muslins, nets and voiles as sheers.
Organdie, which is sheer and has a plain weave, has a stiffened drape. This crisp fabric withstands multiple washes
Organza, another stiff, sheer fabric, has a frosty appearance, wiry texture, and a hard, crisp finish.
Voile ranges from gauzy to ultra fine and gathers particularly well, making it appropriate for sheer curtains.