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Choosing Curtain Fabric

Updated on January 12, 2011

The weight and style of a curtain fabric can help set the tone of a room. Heavier styles in darker tones are typically viewed as formal, while materials which are lighter in both weight and color generally are viewed as more casual. Using pattern or texture adds an additional dimension to the overall décor, pulling in accessories and furniture into one cohesive look.

An initial step is choosing the appropriate curtain material. This is extremely important as not all styles of draperies can be accomplished in every fabric. Many manufacturers will work with you; bringing swatches directly to your home allowing you to compare them to existing décor for a better match. For consumers who are shopping via the internet, many companies will send a full range of swatches to you for your review before ordering. If you are having the drapes custom made, discuss style and types of materials to determine what will best suit your needs. Using a sturdy canvas type material or a delicate silk can each create a totally different look, and are suitable for very different styles.

Color and pattern also provide major impacts in any area of home décor. Whether decorating a French country living room using voile curtains as a focal point, or decorating a funky modern style bedroom with vintage inspired curtains, the material selected definitely helps define the look. The selection is virtually limitless, especially for those opting for custom work. If you’ve decided to purchase pre-made window treatments, your selection is more limited, but still is vast enough to offer something for virtually every taste.

After deciding on style, it is important to consider function and care. Consider whether you need to block out all light, or whether you want something a bit more sheer. Be sure to test swatches by holding them up to a strong light to see how much light comes through. Another important consideration is the care instructions for your selection. For many homeowners, cleaning draperies is a process that is done rarely. A home with pets or small children might have the need to clean draperies more frequently, which brings about questions like whether the fabric must be dry-cleaned, and whether shrinkage is a factor. If the treatment is on a window that receives direct, full sun daily fading may be an issue, so be sure to inquire about that before purchasing.

Major window treatments are an investment and typically stay in place for many years. Be sure to choose something that you will love looking at for years to come.


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