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8 Types of Curtain Fabric: Does It Make a Difference?

Living area with window with linen curtains

Specific use scenarios will determine whether type of curtain fabric will work for your home or business. There are plenty of choices, and they all have something great to offer. If you’re confused about curtain fabrics, then this should be a good starting point to whet your appetite. 

1. Polyester

Polyester is one of the common Blackout Curtain Fabric types that you will find. If it isn’t 100% polyester, then it is a hybrid that contains important polyester materials. It is low-cost material that carries a reputation for high quality. While other products get a different reputation for using polyester, the relationship of polyester for curtains is wholly positive. Settle with the right brand, and this fabric type will last you for a long time. Choose a cheap brand, and you’ll see a dramatic decrease in quality. Reviews are everything, so pay close attention to what customers say about a specific polyester fabric curtain. 

2. Voile

Remember polyester? Voile is made from natural or synthetic fibers. It is a ‘between’ option when you want curtains that balance out light and privacy options. Lightness is what makes voile so good since it opens up the curtain rod options for the more exotic types. Even thin rods will have no trouble with voile fabric. That makes it the universal choice for anywhere in the home, even when used in combination with thicker blackout curtains. Voile has also been a favorite of companies that create sheer curtain fabrics. It is the everything fabric, and has no weaknesses at all. 

3. Outdoor

Outdoor fabric is on an entirely different level due to the requirements. You can’t put any indoor curtain into an outside space and expect it to hold up to the conditions. That is why a thicker curtain is needed, or at least one that will be durable enough to withstand changing conditions. Outdoor fabric is weather resistant thanks to a special coating. It repels mildew, mold and will keep its color as the seasons change. In humid climates, this is a big deal since a normal inside curtain will turn into an outside mess within a few days. With normal cleanings, outdoor curtains will surprise you with their longevity. 

4. Silk

A fabric that never needs any introduction is silk. For curtains, silk is continued a luxury fabric that comes in the finest colors and designs. Despite its appearance, the fabric is a lot more durable than given credit for. It’s heavy, and does an incredible job of holding its shape as it ages. If you want to create a ‘wow’ factor in a room, purchase extra long silk curtains and let them hang at the bottom of a window. The downside of this beautiful fabric? It absorbs moisture at a higher rate than other fabrics. If you don’t want to deal with the upkeep, silk fabric is a bad choice for humid climates. 

 Bathroom with velvet blackout curtain

5. Velvet

When silk isn’t your thing, velvet comes to the rescue. This fabric is a lot more common than silk but comes with the same luxurious reputation as its competitor. Velvet curtains have a lot of variety, but tend to lean more towards formal designs. There are less unique designs, and you’ll likely find that some of the patterns are more traditional than modern. It is heavy like silk, and does a better job of blocking out light. In colder climates, this fabric is a fantastic choice to keep the house warm. This is also true for office buildings that have moved from basic polyester to something more fitting for their current decorations. 

6. Cotton

Cotton is the budget friendly fabric that is almost as common as polyester. Cotton has the most variety, best price and is often found in hybrid fabrics. This curtain type also varies in size, so can be thin or thick based on your preference. For the creative types, plain cotton curtains provide the best canvas to make your own design. So, if you don’t like anything a store has to offer, get a plain cotton curtain make it into something worthwhile. The downside of this fabric is that it is easy to care for, but not as durable as other options. Colors are prone to fading, and the sun will make short work of any unprotected cotton fabric. Make sure to line your cotton curtain to protect both its design and your investment, or it will become a revolving door of fading curtains. 

7. Lace

Lace has the beauty of silk but none of the durability. Lace can be manmade or natural, but the end result will always be some of the prettiest curtains you’ll ever see. It adds a specific touch that can turn heads, as it was purchased more for its design aesthetics than utility purposes. To keep the ‘look’, these curtains work best by themselves on small windows. But a good designer can make them work with anything by adding them as a perfect compliment to another curtain fabric. But remember, the durability is the lowest of any fabric on the list. A bad day with some kids or pets could be the end of your favorite lace fabric!

8. Linen

Linen is made from cotton, but is made to be denser. You’ll often find linen curtains used in places like hotels or offices since it is both thick and airy. These are two important features to separate it from cotton, and as an extra bonus linen is much more durable. The key here is that the durability comes down to care since dirt, dust, hair and other particles tend to gravitate towards the fabric. This is a minor issue in places of business since upkeep is a part of the job. Linen lets you spend cotton fabric money on a curtain that is in the same quality category as polyester or velvet. In bulk, linen curtains are the bargain of a lifetime. 

Make A Solid Choice

It’s your space, so how you decorate it will come down to personal preference. Like anything in design, there is room for creativity that goes beyond the norms. Choose the right curtain fabric, and you’ll already be halfway through the decision process.