Your Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Curtain Fabrics

Curtains are elegant and have a soft feminine look that is a classic choice among homeowners. There are numerous fabric choices for curtains and drapes which can be confusing at times. Each fabric creates a different look and has its own benefits, drawbacks and unique features. Depending on your requirements and the look you want to achieve, they must be chosen accordingly.

This post is a guide to choose the right material for custom-made drapery and the different criteria on which your choices depend.

Criteria to consider

The following are important criteria to consider when choosing the curtain fabric, colour, and style for any room of your house.

  • Density

Determine the privacy and natural light you want inside your room- this will help when choosing the curtain fabric of the right density. The thicker the curtain textile, the opaquer it will be blocking more light and increasing your privacy.

As Ashley Marino, designer and owner of Ashley Marino Design states,
“If you want to keep a bedroom dark for sleeping, you will want a thicker fabric and a style that covers the whole window. If you enjoy waking up to light leaking through your space, you’ll want a fabric that is lighter to allow more light through.”

  • Weight

A heavy fabric like velvet or canvas provides more privacy as well as insulation. Moreover, it will not be blown away by strong winds. Though, the curtain rods and accessories should be chosen, keeping in mind the weight so that it does not break down.

  • Opacity

The opacity is another essential criterion that is directly related to the privacy you enjoy. It is also related to the weight of the curtain as the opaque materials are usually on the heavier side. They are good for rooms that receive abundant sunlight as it can tone down the harshness or block it completely depending on the degree of opacity.

Pro tip 1:
Hold a textile sample in front of the window to check how well it filters the light to get the best idea.


  • Colour

The colour of the curtain complements the overall décor of your home and should be chosen with care. Depending on the material, the same colour can have a different effect and look within the same décor layout. Also, consider the functionality of the colour you choose.  For example, dark colours are prone to fading from sunlight, while light colours are more prone to staining and dirt.

Pro tip 2:
Choose darker colours for high traffic rooms as dirt and dust are not easily visible on them.


Fabric types and their advantages

Once you have determined the various criteria that are important to you when it comes to choosing the best window coverings for your home, filter through the variety of textile available based on their benefits and drawbacks. The following are some of the most popular fabrics chosen by homeowners looking for curtains.

  • Cotton

This is the most common and most popular fabric for drapery. It is versatile and there are different styles and patterns available. The crisp and clean look imparted by cotton curtains is ideal for homes with traditional and modern décor. There are different variants of cotton and it is a rather light material. Proper lining increases its weight as well as functionality. However, avoid using cotton for windows which are near the fireplace or kitchen as it is easily flammable and absorbs odour.

  • Silk

The texture and look of silk are highly luxurious and it is a perfect choice for upscale homes. If your curtains are primarily ornamental, silk can be a good choice as it is a fabric noted more for its aesthetics than its functionality. Moreover, it is very susceptible to sun damage. The best way to incorporate silk drapery in the household is in combination with roller blinds to block the sunlight. You can also consider polyester drapes mimicking the look of silk as they are cheaper and more durable.

  • Linen

It is a natural fabric which is very popular for its beautiful texture and functionality as drapery fabric. It is a very light-weight material that is perfect for a casual and laid-back décor style. Linen is slightly sheer and blocks the harshness of sunlight and filter a soft and warm light into your home. The only drawback of the material is that it tends to wrinkle easily after washing if it is not hung immediately.

  • Lace

Lace is a translucent fabric that diffuses the natural light while providing nominal privacy. If you want an airy and free-flowing ambience indoors, these are the best choice of curtain material. However, if you want more privacy, this is not the best choice for your home. Lace can be both dry-clean only or machine-washable depending on its construction. It is best to check the maintenance instructions when you are buying them.

  • Acrylic

The texture is like wool but acrylic is much more light-weight. It drapes beautifully and provides ample insulation within the house and attract and disperse moisture. The material is also hypoallergic and does not encourage mould or mildew growth. If there is a family member troubled by allergic reactions, these curtains can be a preventive measure for your household.

Finding the right curtain for your home will become much easier when you have a clear vision of the requirements you have and the different advantages and drawbacks associated with a variety of fabrics. The above-mentioned materials are few of the most popular ones and you will come across many more at any reputed drapery store.