Designer’s Tips for Selecting Fabric and Customizing Curtains

By Maria Dinshaw | Oct 2020

When it comes to fabric selection, the number of choices can feel overwhelming. How do you choose the one that’s right for your home? In this guide to curtain selection, we’ve put together the most important parameters to consider to ensure that your curtains look amazing, are easy to maintain, and last a long time.

How to Select the Right Fabric for Curtains?

The most essential component is the fabric itself. Depending on the style of your home, you will need to choose a fabric that is suitable for the design and function that it needs to serve. For example, in the living room where complete darkness is not required, you can opt for a semi-sheer or lighter curtain fabric that will cut the light without blocking it completely. In the bedroom, you’ll want to select a heavier fabric and add a blackout lining to block the light completely.

For a high-end look, the best interior designers in India select a heavier fabric with a slight sheen. Velvet, silk, and brocade work especially well because they fall nicely and look at elegant informal areas. However, be wary of very shiny or glittery fabrics which can look rather tacky.

Designer’s tip: Don’t only look at a fabric laid flat on the table as that will give you a false impression. To see what the sheen and color of your curtain is really going to look like, hold the fabric against the window so that it’s backlit.

Which Curtains Stitch is Right for my Space?

When considering stitch options, make sure the selected pleat works with the style of the home and the size/ proportion of your windows. In modern residential interiors, the windows tend to be wider than they are tall. In this case, it’s best to avoid curtain rods and hang the curtains on tracks (preferably concealed inside pelmets). In classic villa interiors, the windows are more vertical and it’s common to have high ceilings. This creates a great opportunity for hanging taller curtain panels with elaborate rods and accessories.

The Most Common Stitch Types are:

  1. American Pleats (also known as pinch pleat or tailored pleat)
  2. Pencil Pleats
  3. Ripple Fold (our favourite)
  4. Eyelet curtains
  5. Tab-top curtains

As the best interior designers in Mumbai, we typically recommend ripple fold to our clients as it gives a very consistent and smooth look to the curtains. However, ripple fold requires special tracks which has an impact on the cost.  If you’re on a budget, American pleats are a good choice. This stitch requires less fabric and can be hung on basic tracks available in the market.

What is the Best Length for Curtains?

For a modern look, curtains should float above the finished floor level with a ½” gap between the bottom of the curtain and the floor. This maximizes the length of the curtain while still allowing for easy cleaning. In classical interiors, we often see curtains bunched (or puddled) on the floor. This looks very elegant but is only suitable for environments with minimal dust.  If the floors are being cleaned daily, hanging curtains slightly above the floor is a better option.

What to Use to Weigh Down Curtains?

If you want to achieve a good fall on the curtain and a high-end finish, adding rope weights is essential. What is rope weight? It’s a lead chord designed to fit inside the bottom fold of the curtain. Rope weights are available in 25g, 50g, and 100g depending on the gauge that is required.  Speak to your tailor or fabric supplier to help in selecting the appropriate size for your curtains.

Designer’s Tip: Adding a rope weight is especially important with ripple fold curtains – it gives a continuous wave at the bottom and removes kinks.

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