Your Guide To Common Curtain Fabric Types

Your Guide To Common Curtain Fabric Types

Your curtains play an important part in controlling the light, temperature and privacy of your home, but do you ever think about what material they're made from? Curtain material types can affect how well they filter light, if air can flow through them and also how easy they are to clean. So it's time to learn how to choose the curtain fabric that is best for your home.

At Spotlight, our range of curtains includes many different types of curtain fabric, and you can also find plenty of raw curtain fabric types that you can use to make your own window furnishings. Let's go through the most popular curtain fabric types you can find and which curtain material is best for your home.

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Cotton Curtain Fabric

As a natural material, cotton is breathable, soft and reasonably durable. Cotton curtains have a lovely drape due to their weight, and their versatility means they are well-suited for the living room, dining room and bedrooms. The density of cotton makes cotton curtains better for insulation than lighter materials like linen, helping keep your home at a stable temperature even if your windows are open.

Because they are a natural fabric, curtains made from cotton are susceptible to mould, mildew and fading from direct sunlight. Cotton curtains should not be hung in moisture-heavy areas like the kitchen or bathroom, and if they are there it's important to clean them regularly to prevent any build-up. Be aware that, while suitable for washing in a washing machine, cotton curtains can shrink if not pre-washed before use. Hand washing in warm water can help prevent this.

Cotton can also fade in direct sunlight, so be aware if you have windows that face the sun in your home that their colours may be bleached. Of course, this won't be a problem if your curtains are white.

Benefits of Cotton Curtain Fabrics

  • Breathable and soft
  • Beautiful drape
  • Versatile for a variety of rooms

Linen Curtain Fabric

Known for its delicate, rustic look, linen curtain fabrics are one of the best types of curtain fabrics if it's the style that you're after! As a semi-opaque curtain material, linen can be subbed in for classic polyester sheers when you want light-filtering window furnishings - and because they're UV resistant, they won't fade or become brittle from the sunlight. Organic linen curtains are breathable, timeless and can even repel insects, and are great for use in communal areas, offices and bedrooms.

Linen curtains do not have the insulation and durability of cotton curtains and are susceptible to damage, as well as mould and mildew as they are an organic material. Linen is also prone to creasing, but some people consider this part of its charm!

Benefits of Linen Curtain Fabrics

  • Semi-opaque to allow light to flow
  • Rustic and modern look
  • Natural and earthy tones

Polyester Curtain Fabric

Affordable and durable, polyester curtains are a great all-rounder curtain that can be used in any room in your home. Made from synthetic materials, polyester curtains are available in a huge range of colours and patterns, and are easy to clean when needed with a quick wipe-down. Polyester curtains are quite strong and resistant to fading, wrinkling, and weakening, plus insects that would chomp down on natural curtain material types will have no interest in polyester curtains.

Polyester curtains absorb odours easily so if they're hung in the kitchen you'll need to wipe them down regularly. Being synthetic also makes them flammable, so be aware if they're hung anywhere near your stove, fireplace or any candles.

Benefits of Polyester Curtain Fabrics

  • Affordable and durable
  • Easy to clean and wipe down
  • Many colours and patterns to choose from
Versatile polyester grey curtains for any room

Velvet Curtain Fabric

While technically a way of weaving and not a fabric type, velvet is so distinct in its look and feel it definitely needs its own paragraph! Velvet curtains can be made from silk, cotton or polyester, with silk creating a heavier velvet curtain and cotton a lighter one. Heavier velvets will block more light and insulate better than lighter velvets, but all will have an exquisite drape, plush feel and muffle noise from the outdoors. Velvet curtains in jewel tones will give any space a sense of grandeur and will puddle beautifully on the floor if overlong.

Velvet curtains can be expensive to maintain as most can only be cleaned via dry cleaning. They should not be hung in areas that can cause them to get wet or dirty, such as the kitchen, bathroom and any areas of high traffic.

Benefits of Velvet Curtain Fabrics

  • Opulent and high-end look
  • Plush feel
  • Insulating and reduces noise

Coated Curtain Fabric

Curtain fabric types can have an additional layer of acrylic added to them, which changes how well the filter light and sound, as well as affecting how they can be washed. You'll commonly see an acrylic coating on thermal curtain fabrics and blockout curtain fabrics, which is a solid layer applied to the back of the curtain that prevents light, sound and excessive heat or cold from penetrating - the more coats of acrylic, the stronger the backing will be.

Coated curtains are stiffer and won't have a soft drape like uncoated curtain fabrics, and cannot be washed easily. Dry cleaning is the safest option, as even with a careful hand or machine wash the acrylic coating can stick to itself or be pulled off both during the cycle and afterwards when drying.

Benefits of Coated Curtain Fabrics

  • Insulating benefits for hot and cold seasons
  • Durable and thick
  • Blocks out light which is great for bedrooms

Canvas Curtain Fabric

Thick, sturdy and durable, canvas curtain fabric is often used for outdoor curtains and upholstery because of its waterproof and fade-resistant properties. Spotlight's canvas fabrics are made from linen, cotton, polyester or a blend, and will have a layer of wax or rubber that makes them waterproof. Being waterproof makes them easy to clean - a quick wipe down will get rid of most dirt and stains, and they can stand up to a rougher scrub if needed.

Canvas curtain fabric can be difficult to sew with because it is so thick, and because of this thickness it will not have a nice drape. Very heavy canvas curtains may be too heavy to be washed inside smaller washing machines, so hand-washing may be the only way to thoroughly clean them when needed.

Benefits of Canvas Curtain Fabrics

  • Sturdy and durable
  • Nice drape due to heavyweight properties
  • Fade-resistant
Dark blockout curtains for your living room

Choose The Perfect Curtain Fabric From The Range At Spotlight

Which types of curtain fabrics will you choose? Browse the full range of curtain fabrics online, pay your way and we'll deliver your curtain materials straight to your front door. You can also visit your nearest Spotlight store, where our friendly team will help you choose the right curtain material types and decide which curtain material is best for your needs.

Now that you know how to choose a curtain fabric that suits your space, why not try using it to make your own? Our curtain projects and furnishing fabric projects have something for everyone to try making! Or, check out our buying guides on curtain care and maintenance, hanging curtains and the best kinds of curtains and blinds for every room.

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