Curtain Material Types:
Polyester is a common fabric for curtains, as it is durable, sturdy, and affordable. Polyester curtains are easy to care for and resist wrinkling, shrinking, and stretching. Because polyester curtains are so low maintenance, they’re perfect for curtain first-timers. If you’re moving into your first home, polyester is a great option.
This fabric is perfect for bedroom or living room curtains. However, you should avoid outfitting your kitchen with polyester curtains as the material is flammable, can absorb odors, and limits air circulation. Polyester curtains are available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and styles. Consider choosing a darker curtain color if you have young children or for windows in high traffic areas since it can be difficult remove stains from polyester fabric.
Linen tends to be a more billowy fabric that still provides a tailored look, making curtains constructed of this material perfect for a casual dining area, airy bedroom, or contemporary living room. Linen drapes nicely, and the sheer fabric doesn’t block the sun, which allows for natural light to fill your living space.
Linen curtains are typically dry clean only, and they should be hung immediately to avoid wrinkling. This type of curtain will be a breath of fresh air in your home, and linen curtains will be picture-perfect additions to any room where your family gathers.
Curtains made of cotton or a cotton blend are versatile options, as they offer a crisp, clean feel that suits traditional or modern decorating styles. Cotton curtains drape well, making them a natural fit for formal dining rooms.
If you’re looking to block sunlight in a bright bedroom or provide privacy in your living room, choose cotton curtains with a tight weave, or opt for a lined cotton panel. If you prefer your room to have a light, airy feel, go for sheer cotton curtains. Cotton curtains cast gently filtered light in any space and are easy to care for, making them a great choice for your little ones’ rooms.
Silk curtains are heavier than curtains made from other materials and drape well, offering a romantic look that’s ideal for bedrooms or formal dining rooms. Keep in mind that silk is dry clean only, which makes laundering these types of curtains more time consuming. If you’re hanging silk curtains in rooms that receive a lot of natural light, protect your investment by using window shades or lighter-colored panels for lining, as silk is very susceptible to sun damage.
Faux silk curtains offer easier laundering and more durability. Whether they’re imitation or the real deal, silk curtains are ideal for creating a luxurious feel in any room.
Velvet is a heavy fabric that keeps out the cold, making these window treatments ideal insulators for homes with drafty windows. Thanks to their thickness, velvet curtains provide extra privacy and help to block sounds and light.
Velvet curtains drape well, so this style offers a polished look that dresses up formal dining rooms, traditionally styled living rooms, or regal master bedrooms. To learn more about how to achieve a certain look with different curtains, read our Curtain Styles Guide.
Lace is a very sheer fabric, so curtains made from this material tend to diffuse natural light and offer an open, airy feel. Use lace curtains to add a romantic touch to your traditionally styled dining room, or hang them over French doors to provide some privacy without totally blocking your source of outdoor sunlight.
Lace curtains are typically available in neutral shades, such as white, ivory, and ecru, so they’re easy to coordinate with any color scheme in your room. Depending on the construction of lace curtains, they may be dry clean only or machine-washable. Always check care labels for specific laundering instructions.
If you live in a chillier climate, thermal curtains could be a great option for your home. These are often made of heavier materials such as polyester or cotton. Because thermal curtains are so thick, they can give your home extra insulating drafty windows. To learn more about thermal curtains, read our FAQs About Thermal Insulated Curtains guide.
As implied in their name, blackout curtains are ideal for blocking out sunlight. They’re perfect for bedrooms of kids who take naps or for your own bedroom if you need to sleep during the day.
Blackout curtains are made of an opaque fabric that’s backed by foam, which is what stops light from entering your room. Much like thermal curtains, the thick fabric of blackout curtains will also increase your home’s privacy.