What Fabrics Should You Use for Your Drapes?
Window treatments can make a dramatic statement in a room and the type of fabric you choose for your drapes can make or break a space. They can be the centerpiece or fall flat. Finding a balance between the two, based on the fabric you select, is key. We’ll help you determine what fabrics you should use for your drapes.
First, we’ll look at the difference between drapes and curtains, then consider the types of fabrics drapes are usually made of, and then finish off by considering whether a statement fabric or a neutral, less noticeable fabric should adorn your walls and windows.
Drapes vs. Curtains
Oftentimes, drapes and curtains are used synonymously with each other, when, technically, they are two different window treatments. Drapes tend to be made of a heavier fabric and are most often lined with a muslin or cotton weave. This brings a dramatic stateliness to a room. Traditionally, drapes extend to the floor, regardless of the size of the window or door. Due to their heaviness, drapes are designed to block light as well as keep the house’s heat inside, while keeping the outdoor cold outside.
Curtains, on the other hand, are made of a lighter fabric and are not lined. They are seen as the more ‘casual’ option between the two. They also do not hit the floor, but rather fall just below the length of the window. Curtains can be sheer and are usually not pleated. Because they are made from a lighter fabric, curtains do not block light very well and oftentimes don’t help retain the room’s heat.
The Type of Fabrics
There are two elements to consider when choosing your drapery fabric. First the lining and second the outer fabric. Since drapes are traditionally lined, the fabric you choose for the lining can help determine the level of privacy and light control you have with your drapes.
The lining fabric can be light and airy cotton muslin or heavy polyester; a mixture of the two is also available. If you’re looking for more privacy, you can choose a blackout material to keep the room dark as well as reduce the outside noise.
When it comes to the outer material, rich fabrics, such as silks and velvets, are traditionally used. Brocades, denim and sateen are also options for the heavier, stiffer fabrics. If you’re looking to be a little less traditional, organza, silk twill or linen are also acceptable.
The Pattern of the Fabric
Once you have the type of fabric decided, it’s time to narrow down your pattern choices. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the sky is the limit here. There are literally thousands of fabrics to choose from, even if you’re set on the type of fabric you’re looking for.
However, there are some things you can consider to help you narrow your choices.
- How formal is your room?
- Do you want the window treatment to be a statement piece?
- Or do you want them to blend into the wall?
- Will they have to be an exact color match to your furniture and accessories?
- Do you want to pick your paint color first, or your drape fabric?
Answering these questions can help you determine what function you want your window treatments to play. If they are just to cover the windows, a more neutral pattern will suffice. However, if they will be playing a more important role in your design, choosing your fabric prior to your paint or furniture colors may be needed.
We, here at Drapery Designs of Wilmington, are window treatment experts. We can help you in deciding whether curtains or drapes are more suited for your space as well as the type and pattern of fabric for your window treatment. Give us a call today to schedule your free in-home consultation.