The Swatch Switch – How to Select the Right Fabric For Your Curtains

If you were to ask me what the hardest part of home decor is, for ME, I would tell you window treatments, hands down. I’m NEVER happy with mine. I’m always agitated with local selections, and I never can get things quite right when I order them, either. One of the few fights my husband and I have had that I can clearly remember was over window treatments. And we’ve been in our current home for 8 months now, and I STILL have windows that aren’t dressed.

So when Laura Costello suggested an article to me regarding choosing fabric for curtains…YES, please! I’ll take all the help I can get! And I LOVE her suggestions! Check them out…

How to select the right fabric for your curtains! #howto #windowtreatments #homedecor Click To Tweet

When it comes to choosing fabric for your curtains, there are a few things you should consider. Fabric is an essential part of commercial drapery, dictating how well your curtains function and hold up over time. With so many fabrics, patterns and styles to choose from, it can take time to find the right curtains for your space. Follow these simple tips and tricks to select the right fabric for your new curtains.

Every Room is Different

Having the same kind of curtains in every room can leave a lot of creative potential unfulfilled. The type of curtain fabric you use in each room depends on the purpose of the room, and how much daily sunlight the room receives. Some rooms need light and airy curtains, while others might need a heavier fabric. For this reason, there is no ‘one-size fits all’ policy available for curtains, and it is important to carefully consider and design each curtain with appropriate fabric in mind.



Colour: Colour is the most obvious influence on curtain fabric choice. The safe way to select a curtain colour is to choose a colour that is one tone from either side of your wall colour. In this way, you will make the room and the curtains feel harmonious. If possible, always borrow a returnable sample of the fabric or, buy a yard of the fabric to see it in the light of your own home. The color can change dramatically depending on light levels in each room.

The sun’s rays can be especially harsh on fabric, especially curtains which see a lot of sunlight streaming through windows. For rooms that get a lot of afternoon sunlight, man-made fibres are a better choice. Natural fibres such as linen or cotton are prone to deteriorating quickly in the sun.

If UV exposure is a concern, look for curtain fabrics with UV protective qualities. Solution-dyed and vat-dyed fabrics are considerably more colour fast than printed fabric alternatives. Curtain lining is also great for making fabrics more opaque, without sacrificing the vivid colour.

Pattern: The pattern you choose is important as it can make a room seem larger or smaller than it actually is. It is also an important factor to consider if you are styling on a budget. Fabrics with a thin width or large repeat, will mean you’ll need to order extra fabric to pattern match.

Material:  The fabric you choose should correspond to your intentions for the interior design of the room. If you’re after a luxurious look, consider velvet drapery. If you wish to create privacy without compromising your view, consider sheer curtains. If you live in a moist environment, avoid using silk at all costs. While cotton and linen fabrics suit most rooms, velvets are mostly appropriate for period homes only. With so many fabric options now available, there is something to suit every room design.

Weight: Choosing the correct fabric weight for curtains means considering the window size and style of the curtains you have chosen. Lead-weighted curtains are a popular choice to maximise the available drop length and to achieve a perfectly finished hem.


Mounting your fabric correctly will enhance your décor and make your room feel bigger. When measuring the width of your window, consider how full you want your curtain to be. Hanging panels higher than the window will give a sense of height to the room. For a draped look, the curtain should be 3 times as wide as the window. For a tailored look, a good standard is curtain panels 2 inches wider than the window.

Curtains are much more than just window dressing. They can form the basis of a room’s look and atmosphere. Having a wider choice of fabrics means you’ll have a greater scope in putting your own stamp on the final design, and a better chance of finding your dream curtains.

Bio: Laura Costello is a recent graduate of a  Bachelor of Law/International Relations at Latrobe University. She is passionate about the law, the power of social media, and the ability to translate her knowledge of both common and complex topics to readers across a variety of mediums, in a way that is easy to understand.

Thank you SO MUCH, Laura! I feel like she really narrowed down the endless options so you can pick something for your windows that is not only RIGHT for the window and the space, but that you will actually like in the end!

Now, I wanna hear it: What is the HARDEST part of home decor FOR YOU?

Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!

11 thoughts on “The Swatch Switch – How to Select the Right Fabric For Your Curtains

  1. I so needed to read this post right now! I’ve been trying to figure out new curtains but it can get overwhelming…. your tips are absolutely helpful for me!

  2. Home decor has always been one of those things that has been hard for me as well. Knowing what exactly to put in a room to pull it together.

  3. Curtains really do tie the room together. This was a great amount of information and really opened my eyes to some tips.

  4. Finishing your home and giving it a life is something everybody consistently dreams of. Your house is where you
    invest the greater part of your energy and you will need to keep the vibes positive in there.

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