Which Window Treatment Fabric Suits You

Interior Design, Window Treatments
Sunshine Drapery sliding glass doors window treatment

In general, one can select from among four types of fabric for window treatments: cotton, linen, polyester and silk. Our interior designers can assist you with determining which window treatment material best suits your personality, functional objectives and desired ambiance. Fabric is an essential part of choosing window treatments. The higher the quality of the fabric, the longer your window treatments will last and function well. Using a solid lining also helps prolong the life of your curtains and shades. Because window treatments are much more than just window coverings, our team is ready to help you determine which fabric type best provides the required privacy, light control, insulation and desired style to your rooms' decor. Following are key considerations about the four fabric types.


Cotton fabric in window treatments lets in the most amount of light, compared to other fabrics. Cotton fabric is eco-friendly and available in a wide variety of colors and prints. It also is available in different weights. Cotton window treatments are straightforward for which to care, with polished cotton fabrics being dry clean only. We always recommend incorporating liners into window treatments to prevent potential fading of cotton fabrics after years of use or protracted sun exposure. Cotton is a smart choice for people who like to change the looks of their rooms more frequently, or who like to alter window treatments based on seasonal differences. For those seeking soft or very natural-looking window treatments, cotton fabric augments that style.


Linen fabric commonly presents more formal window treatments, and also is eco-friendly. Many people enjoy the variety of textures found in linen fabrics. Linen is made from flax-fibers, but also can be composed of hemp or cotton. Organic linen means the linen is made from plant fibers and grown without the use of pesticides and fertilizers. For the best quality — defined as the longest possible fibers — the flax is either harvested by hand by pulling up whole plants or stalks or by cutting very close to the roots. After the fibers have been separated and processed, they are typically spun into yarns and made into linen textiles, which can be bleached, dyed or printed. Linen is two to three times stronger than cotton. Because linen is very absorbent and a strong conductor of heat, it always feels cool to our skin. It’s a lint-free fabric that also resists dirt, stains and insects. It won’t pill, and is smooth to the touch. It has the ability to quickly absorb and lose water, gaining up to 20 percent moisture without actually feeling damp. Linen fabrics are simple to dry clean or steam. Most people believe caring for linen window treatments is easy.


Polyester fabric is a synthetic material that has extensive staying power. There are many artistic styles in polyester as well. If you want your window treatments to blend in with your walls and not be a room's focal point, choose a solid or very subtle fabric design. If you want your window coverings to add some drama, pop or fun to a room, use a patterned fabric. Remember, however, that prints will not be laying flat and thus will be creating a bit different, overall effect if they are pleated. Air fluffing in a dryer will remove dust and refresh the fabric of polyester draperies, but when your drapes require thorough cleaning, we recommend it be done professionally with ultra sonic cleaning in your home or at a dry cleaner. Always first check fabric labels for spot cleaning instructions! Polyester fabrics, including microfiber, also may be dry cleaned.


Silk fabric, as a natural protein fiber, has a lustrous sheen and small slubs that run horizontally across the fabric. Silk treatments fall in soft folds to create elegant atmospheres in rooms. Silk window treatments do well with dry cleaning. Be sure to not use any chlorine bleach products to spot clean silk, as it will damage the fabric. Do not even wet silk locally, as this may cause rings. Some dry cleaners that specialize in window treatment will steam or dry clean draperies in your home where they hang, and this works very well for silk textiles. We find many people believe window treatments need more cleaning than they actually do. Draperies can have dust taken off by gently using a hand vacuum on them. If this is done on a fairly routine basis, there isn't as much need to clean them, unless a major spill on them happens or something is accidentally sprayed on them. The exception to this rule is for homeowners with pets, who otherwise may need more cleaning on an as-needed basis due to animals' shedding or sometimes laying up against draperies.

Final Thoughts

No matter the fabric material chosen for your personal decor goals, keep in mind that light-colored window treatments open up areas and make them look bigger, and that dark-colored ones can make a room appear smaller. Choosing the right color of curtains enables you to control your own space dimension, and to better focus on the fabric type you'd most enjoy. Make your appointment with our experts right away to get started looking at fabric swatches and different styles. We really enjoy exploring and selecting fabrics with our customers.
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