How to Choose the Perfect Curtain Material

18th March 2022

Choosing the perfect curtain material for beautifying your windows can be a challenging process. It’s often an afterthought, most people jump straight into looking at design styles and colourways, but it is as important to make sure that the curtain fabric you choose is 100% fit for purpose. The characteristics of all fabrics differ, making some materials more suited to some projects than others. Depending on the style and formality of your room, the type of material you choose can play a huge factor in the finished design and practicality. Thinking all this sounds way too confusing? Please don’t panic; instead, read our guide to help you choose the best curtain material to deliver your dream drapes.

black and white striped curtains

What are the reasons to use cotton curtain material?

Cotton fabrics are most commonly used for curtains because they are an incredibly versatile natural fabric that’s perfect for all climates. They are a firm favourite amongst curtain and blind makers since they are so easy to work with on all windows. 100% cotton and cotton mix materials are usually a lighter weight fabric than linen and wool alternatives, so you should always accompany them with a lining when using them for curtains and blinds. Linings are an inexpensive way of protecting the face fabric from harmful sun damage as well as providing curtains with extra fullness so that they hang beautifully with longevity.

All Ian Mankin dyed yarns have a lightfastness of 4 or over on a scale of 1-5. However, it is important to remember that undyed natural fibres such as linen, cotton and viscose may fade when exposed to intense light over time. If blocking out sunlight along with keeping out the cold air is of real concern, then you might want to consider a blackout curtain lining fabric which is thicker than a standard curtain lining.

Pink striped curtain material

Why use linen fabric for curtains?

Linen fabrics are a classic choice for curtain material bringing a sense of comfort and luxury to interiors. This material is fabulous for curtains due to their relaxed nature, natural elegance and beautiful drape. They are also one of those fabrics that never seem to go out of style! Linen is notorious for creasing, but don’t let this put you off, as they are incredibly hard-wearing, naturally breathable and absorbent. If you live in hot climate linen is sure to keep your home cool throughout the scorching summer months! Being a natural fibre means it will also fade when exposed to sunlight. So, if you think a lining is needed for protection and extra weight, then why not just do it?

dining room and curtains

If you want to let plenty of natural light into your home while still maintaining privacy, linen sheers are a great choice. By no means are we talking about the traditional net curtains of the ’80s that are often considered old-fashioned and frumpy! Linen sheer curtains are a contemporary, stylish alternative with a very different personality that can look exquisite once fitted. Take a look at our Newlyn Stripe Natural and Helford Stripe Natural linen sheer designs, and you’ll see what we mean. If you’d like your window coverings to really stand out, then there is nothing stopping you from using them in addition to curtains.

sheer curtain fabric

Is wool a suitable fabric to use for curtains?

Curtains made using wool fabrics are becoming more and more popular in interiors because they are fantastic for adding warmth and cosiness. Its thermal properties are perfect for additional insulation and will make your home feel welcoming no matter what the weather. If you’re looking for peace of mind 100% wool curtains are also naturally flame retardant without the addition of any chemicals. Wool is often heavier than standard cotton or linen materials, but this is nothing to worry about, the additional weight helps wool curtains hang beautifully. It can also endure years of wear, especially if you choose a truly classic design style like our reversible Sutton Stripe Dark Navy or Haworth Sage fabrics.

grey wool curtain material

For more ideas on finding the perfect curtain fabric, take a look at our different fabric design styles and colourways.

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