The almost unlimited variety of curtain fabric available today ensures that draperies can reflect the nuances of personal taste, budget and décor. Design, texture, color, line and scale contribute to the beauty of drapery and window treatments. The fabric of the curtain is the largest and most visible element of the drapery system.

Cottons, linen, silks, and synthetic materials used for curtain fabrics come in a range of colors, patterns and textures. Cottons range from crisp materials such as chintz and calico to fine materials such as organdy. Smooth silks like chiffon reflect light; raw and patterned silks add texture to create interest in formal rooms.

Weaves range from smooth and flat to nappy. Brocade displays a pattern in relief woven over a background. Damask is similar to brocade but the pattern is flat, becoming visible as light strikes it. Coarse weaves include burlap and homespun; plain weaves include muslin and voile.

Some types of cloth are used specifically for curtain fabric (26124)either draperies or casements, although there is a range that suits both. Casement curtains are generally lighter in weight and sheerer than draperies made from materials like linen, lace, voile and organdy. Draperies are usually heavier than casements and are usually in materials that cascade gracefully like taffeta, velvet, brocade or satin. The weave and surface finish add to the beauty of each material.

Particular fabrics are associated with period rooms, but are also used in contemporary decorating. For example, chintz and toile may be used in American, English and French informal rooms. For formal rooms, damask, velvet or brocades may be used for the same periods as well as for Spanish and Italian decor.

With the advent of the Arts and Crafts movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the use of realistic floral motifs brought new life to textiles. These motifs, particularly those of William Morris, are reproduced today as vintage fabrics. Several companies that worked with major designers in textiles from that window curtain fabrictime continue today, producing both modern designs and reproductions.

Lace has been used as an embellishment for windows for hundreds of years; the patterns, weaves and textures reflecting the designs and styles of each period. Originally hand made, as technology developed it was hand-loomed and eventually mass-produced on power looms. Lace suits almost all décor, with designs varying from Art Deco-style geometric motifs or intricately woven flowers, to simple motifs applied to net curtains. It can be found today in an assortment of colors, designs, prices and of varying qualities.

Curtain fabric is available in fabric stores, specialty shops and from on-line retailers. The vast selection of colors, textures and motifs allows creativity in designing draperies that will complement the decorative scheme of any room.