When choosing curtains for any room of the home, you need to look past their colour and pattern alone, and consider the actual fabric. The type of fabric you choose for curtains will affect their durability, the insulation they provide inside the home, and their overall movement. Certain fabrics will also seem more regal and formal, and others may seem more casual. Because curtain fabric is so important, note a few tips on what to look for before you even begin shopping.
You may know to look for thread count when choosing new sheets or bath towels, but thread count also affects the overall look and feel of curtains! A higher thread count fabric won't get threadbare and thin over the years, and is more likely to hang straight from the rod without curling up along the edges. Invest in the highest thread count you can afford when buying cotton, linen, or wool curtains.
Some curtain materials, such as wool or velvet, will naturally block drafts and hot sunlight, but you still need to check the weave density. A curtain with a very loose weave will let in more cold air and hot summertime sun than the same material that is woven very densely. You also want a high weave density if you're looking to block out the most light, such as for a bedroom, or if someone in the home suffers from migraines.
Silk, chintz, and brocade fabrics can suffer what is called sun rot, where the material fades or starts to fall apart because of being exposed to lots of hot, direct sunlight. Opt for a more durable cotton or linen for windows that will get direct and damaging sunlight throughout the summer.
A thick and densely woven fabric can add sound insulation to your space; wool, cotton, and velvet are good for windows that face a noisy road or neighbours, or for rooms where you need more quiet, such as a home office or bedroom. Avoid lightweight silk and thin linen in these rooms, as these materials do little to absorb soundwaves.
Lightweight linen is the best for a billowy curtain that moves in a breeze, but its lighter weight also means it may not always hang perfectly straight from the rod, or be easy to fold and swag. If you prefer a more formal look without much movement to the curtains, or want to create a nice swag with the panels, choose a heavier velvet or wool.