Choosing Fabric for Draperies or Curtains

I’ve been sewing curtains and draperies for almost all my life and the number one thing most people say they have trouble with is choosing the fabrics to match their decor.  Having done this for so long, choosing fabrics comes so naturally to me that I’ve come up with a system that really seems to work well.

Light or Total Darkness?

The first thing to consider when choosing fabric for draperies is whether you want your draperies or curtains to add privacy to a room or create total darkness when they are shut.  Many curtains and drapes that you can buy in department stores do not come lined and if you don’t enjoy waking up with the sun or having the sun reflect into your television set you will most likely want a heavy fabric or to line your drapes.  Lining your drapes not only keeps the sun out, it also keeps the cold out in winter and protects the fabric from fading over time.

Formal or Casual?

The next thing to think about is what kind of atmosphere do you want to create.  Are you looking for a formal or casual look?  If you are decorating a formal dining room for instance you might want to go with a heavy silk, velvet, rayon blend or sateen.  For a more casual space, linen, cotton, cotton blends and wool work well.

Bold or Subtle?

When it comes to choosing the colors of your draperies you need to decide if you want to make a bold statement or go with a subtle look.  To go subtle choose a fabric color just a few shades darker than your wall color, or choose a subtle (non-dominant) color from your furniture or carpet.  By doing this your drapes or curtains will be a continuation of the wall and not stand out or be the focal point of the room.  If you’re goal is bold, choose one of the bright colors from your furniture.   One rule of thumb to keep in mind is if you have furniture with a patterned fabric, you should go with solid curtains and vice versa.

Buying the Fabric

Before you buy fabric, which can be expensive, make sure that you bring swatches into the room and look at it during different times of the day to see how it looks in all light.  When we work with clients we have thousands of fabrics to choose from and find that it is easiest having the swatches in the room in the light that it will exist in with all of the other colors we are trying to match.

 Jaque Peterson is the owner of Exciting Windows! By Window Covering Gallery located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  She has been designing window coverings and window treatments for over 30 years.  For a free in-home consultation, contact Jaque today!