Here are some tips from interior designers a guide on how to select the ideal curtains—and how much you should budget.
Curtains and drapes serve several functions in the home, as they provide privacy, insulation, light control, and beautify the interior environment. To make a distinction, curtains are typically lightweight and less formal, whereas drapes are traditionally heavier and more luxurious. Both are window treatments, however, they can make an outsize impact.
Kevin Isbell, an interior designer based in Los Angeles, indicates that “..curtains can make or break a room, as they add texture and warmth and can frame a view in a way that an unadorned window never could.
Window treatments are often the last choice you make when decorating a room—a "finishing touch," so to speak. But if you’re considering curtains, I D experts say planning ahead is imperative, especially if you’re concerned about budget.
According to Veronica Solomon, principal designer at Casa Vilora Interiors in Katy, Texas, “drapery fabric is almost always the first thing I choose; sometimes it becomes the inspiration for the color palette and style of the rest of the room. Sometimes it is the focal point; sometimes it has a supporting role to create cohesiveness."
According to Kevin Isbell, who cautions that curtains "should never be an afterthought. The fabric selection allows you to move color or pattern around the room to create a cohesive feel throughout the space. As with most textile choices, customization gets a perfect fit that lends a "polished, professional look, but off-the-shelf options absolutely have their place.
Dramatic (luxury) drapes or curtains will run you upwards of $2,000 for a pair; for something simpler and perhaps more temporary, $200 to $600 is a reasonable range.
For color and design
Colour is the key to creating the desired effect, whether you want your curtains to stand out or blend in. To make a statement, bold, contrasting colors or eye-catching patterns; for a subtler look, choose a hue that’s similar to your wall, but in a darker shade. Smaller, more muted patterns are also good choices to be considered.
Coordinating with the rest of the room is obviously key, but timelessness is just as important, says Solomon: "Because they are a big investment, make sure they will stand the test of time."
For Panels and Pleating
(suggestions from I D. Veronica Solomon)
Are your drapes just for looks, or do you want privacy and control? Functional drapery requires a lot of fabric so you can open and close them, which means more weight and volume. If you need privacy and light control, layering your window treatments is a good option and can save you money when paired with inexpensive blinds.
Layering means installing a ‘hard window treatment’ like roller shades, roman shades, blinds, or shutters as the privacy and light control layer, and then adding decorative panels—which means that they are not meant to function—for some softness and to give height to the room.
When it comes to curtains, pleating adds volume and creates a more traditional look—but it’s also costs more because you need more fabric.
There are several styles of pleats, but the most common include the French pinch pleat, in double or triple folds wherein the fabric is "pinched" a few inches down; and a tailored or Euro pleat, also in double or triple folds, where the pinch is at the very top and the fabric waterfalls down with no interruption.
Pleats work in all but the most modern of spaces. The pleating allows the drapery to retain the ripple folds and keeps an orderly appearance.
For ultra-modern spaces, panel drapes with no pleating are a good choice. These rely on natural folds for a hint of fullness, but are generally more delicate and floaty. Flat drapery is the simplest, least expensive style, but can resemble a “bedsheet” if not carefully applied. A ripple fold has a more modern look and works better if you want a more substantial curtain.
The way the curtain is hung can also provide some "oomph." Panels often employ grommets, where the rings are sewn into the fabric and run through the curtain rod to create natural folds, or rod pockets—where the rod feeds into extra pockets of fabric at the top of the drape. Both of these options help add a more voluminous feel.
For Fabric and Linings
(recommendations from I D Solomon)
The type of fabric you pick will also dictate the overall aesthetic. Silks and velvets add a sumptuous formality to a room while more casual linens and cottons create a breezier atmosphere. For decorative purposes, a sheer fabric adds a touch of whimsy.
Silk, linen, and velvet all fall beautifully; anything thicker and heavier may be a literal drag. Take note that polyester fabrics typically don’t hang as well.
"I love linens, silks, and lately, I have been using a lot of velvet. Natural linens and silks—and even blends—hang just a bit crisper and tailored. Some of my favorite fabric houses are Fabricut, F. Schumacher & Co., Catania Silks, Libas, Stout, and Kravet." (in U.K. Bill Beaumont, and P.T.)
(I D Kevin Isbell recommendations)
Choose printed linen: "It’s lightweight and an excellent way to bring pattern into a room for those who may be print-adverse."
Lining and interlining (a thin layer sewn between the fabric and lining) also give your fabric body and fullness—it’s like conditioner for your hair: If you don’t use it, it won’t sit right (which might be the look you’re after—no judgment).
"I prefer my panels to be lined and interlined. It adds volume and heft, aids in insulation and light filtration, and makes for a more luxurious-looking window treatment."
“Lining also protects the curtain fabric from the sun’s damaging rays. Choose a privacy lining in a living room to let in some light, but pick a blackout lining for a bedroom if you need to slumber in complete darkness or keep odd hours.”
Designers Kathryn Heller and Kevin Short covered a 16-foot window wall in their San Francisco loft with custom curtains fabricated from 65 yards of block-printed fabric sourced from India. The curtains are motor-operated, and a black-out liner ensures good sleep in the bedroom upstairs. An additional sheer liner facilitates daytime light and privacy.
For Hanging and Height
How you hang your curtains dictates how long your drapes will be and can help create the illusion of height, especially in a room with low ceilings.
Any point from above the window to below the ceiling will work, but as a rule of thumb, pinpoint a spot at least two-thirds of the way toward the ceiling. If there’s not a lot of space—say, only 12 inches of blank space—install them almost all the way to the ceiling.
"Ideally, the curtains should be hung just a few inches below the crown molding to visually elongate the room height.” "The biggest mistake that I see is that people tend to hang them just above the window frame. This visually drops the perceived ceiling height to the top of the curtains, making the room feel stilted."
Width is also important. If you want panels that will feel full when they’re open and drape nicely when closed, you’ll need fabric that’s about two-and-a-half times the width of the windows. If you don’t plan on closing them, you can get away with just one-and-a-half times.
For pleated panels, the fullness is already present with the pleats, so the width of your opening will be about right. Finally, consider how you want them to hit the floor. "The curtain break is a personal choice, but I prefer that my curtains land just a touch above the floor,"
A panel that hangs flush with the floor—skims—takes some careful measuring but gets you a more modern, tailored look. The other option is the puddle break. Originally used to prevent cold drafts, this is when the fabric puddles in an opulent pile. It looks more elaborate and decorative—but is very high-maintenance.
For Curtain Hardware
(Recommendations from ID Solomon)
"Drapery hardware is like the jewelry that completes the look.” But there are important factors to keep in mind, such as if the draperies will function or not. If they need to open and close for privacy and light control, then a traverse rod might be ideal.”
A traverse rod (also known as curtain tracks) is designed to blend in, as the hardware is hidden inside the rod. It can be controlled by a cord or even motorized for ease of use, so there’s less risk of greasy fingers on your drapes.
Another option are smart drapes. Custom-made motorized drapes and window coverings from companies like Hunter Douglas can be opened with a tap on a smartphone app or remote control, or, even cooler, via voice control. (supplier J&S Design, Singapore)
More traditional curtain rods are the better decorative option, if not so functional. You can open and close the drapes, but with a bit more effort. Rods work with curtain rings, grommets, or pocket drapes.
A proper curtain panel, which has been lined and interlined, will have some weight to it, so make certain the rods are thick enough to carry the weight and have center supports to avoid sagging in the middle. Or worse, pulling out of the wall entirely.
Exclusive French return rods, where the rod is gently bent to a 90-degree return to the wall rather than sitting in a bracket. "It allows the panels to lay flat against the wall at the ends, making a more tailored end result. Morgik Metal in New Jersey, are recommended, as they can make-to-order to your exact specifications, and they offer a variety of finishes and rod styles.
Solomon’s top choices are Byron and Byron and Helser Brothers for their customization options.
How Much Should You Spend on Curtains?
There are three routes to go with drapes—ready-made curtains; custom-sized drapes; or fully bespoke, made-to-measure window coverings.
Our experts are big proponents of custom drapes. Custom-made is tailored for every need of the window and the room in general. While your costs will vary, $2,000 for a pair is a general ballpark, not including installation or design consultation.
Also, bear in mind that if you can find your own fabric and source a local drapery workroom or experienced seamstress to create your curtains, you can save some cash.
Save ($40 to $1,000)
What off-the-shelf curtains lack in customization options, they make up for in price, and if you know a good seamstress you may be able to make a Monet out of a mess.
Popular options include IKEA. IKEA’s Ritva Curtains ($39.99 for a pair) are something of a cult favorite among interior design bloggers due to their length (they come up to 118 inches, whereas most store-bought options max out at 84 inches) and their superb, linen-like fabric.
Parachute’s new washed linen curtains are also a good budget option at less than $200 per panel. A step up in quality, Restoration Hardware’s line of stocked drapery includes a range of linen, velvet, cotton, and silk options starting at $300.
Spend ($2,000 to $3,500)
In this range, you enter customizable territory where you can get the exact fit for your space for somewhere between $2,000 and $3,500 a pair.
Decorview (which offers drapery fabrics and hardware from Robert Allen, Carole Fabrics, and Kasmir Fabrics & Furnishings), and Barn and Willow are two of designer Emily Henderson’s top choices, and Solomon and Isbell both swear by The Shade Store.
"The Shade Store is a dream to work with in that their options are limitless, and they have a quick turnaround," says Isbell. "And if they don’t have something that catches your eye, you can always supply your own."
Many companies that sell off-the-shelf options also do custom drapes, such as Restoration Hardware, who also offer measure and install services—worth the extra expense if you’re ordering anything custom, as it can’t be returned.
Splurge ($3,500 and up)
At the top end, bespoke drapes ensure the perfect fit and a truly tailored look—for which you can plan on spending $3,500 and up per pair.
Here you’re paying for both superior quality and expertise, but it’s probably only necessary if you have a large number of windows to tackle and/or some unusual spaces to cover.
"You are usually working with a knowledgeable design professional who will take into account all the factors that go into quality draperies," says Solomon. "They're going to be knowledgeable about fabric choice, lining choice, functionality choices, style options, installation. They typically will have a great workroom and installation team, which is a huge part of quality constructed draperies."
Although the above are recommendations from renown Interior Designers from the U.S. it gives you an insight to make better choices in getting window dressings for your home and the cost is rather subjective as it depends on the quality and make of the fabrics chosen, the I D’s establishment and the contractor that provides the curtain making and installation. The cost will be similar in terms of the amount in number but in Ringgit currency.
For exclusive designer furnishing fabrics, it’s recommended to go to Decorplace / Savoir Distribution or Janine in Kuala Lumpur, or J & S Design in Singapore.
Article information curated from: https://www.dwell.com/article/how-much-to-spend-on-curtains-6a86fbef
Textile design is the creative and technical process by which thread or yarn fibers are woven together or interlaced to form a flexible, functional, and decorative cloth or fabric which is subsequently printed upon, dyed or otherwise adorned.
Furnishing fabrics include: upholstery fabrics, window furnishing (curtains, drapes, blinds), soft floor coverings, fabric wall coverings, and accessories such as cushions and throws.
One of the most important features of any design is the choice of the fabric and materials used to cover the upholstery, fabricate window coverings, and create the accent pieces within a space. The selections of these fabrics and materials can make for a visually successful space or one of total mediocrity.
The success of a room’s interior design critically depends on the selection of the quality of the materials for the application. Color, being one of the more recognizable traits, can present challenges when it comes to deciding where specific colors should be placed. Pattern, equally important to color, actually plays a more critical role when it comes to relaying a consistent style within a space. Then there are the less discernable qualities of fabrics, that if not recognized and understood, can lead to serious problems in the areas of appearance, upkeep and maintenance.
The” weight” of the fabric often became the key to its use. Heavily embellished wools with intricate and colorful threads would be used on upholstered pieces, while thinner linens and silks, often embroidered with silken accents, would hang from the windows.
The way the window covering was designed would dictate the type of fabric that was most appropriate. The curve of a piece of furniture, the size of its back and seat might also dictate the weight of the fabric and the size of its pattern. One quality of fabric that is rarely even discussed in today’s designs, except by knowledgeable and expert designers, is a quality called the “hand” of the fabric. The “hand” of a fabric refers to the way a piece of fabric feels against your skin. It is an important element when it comes time to decide what material should be placed on a large, comfy sofa or a small armed side chair. It also relates to the way the fabric feels between your fingers and your thumb. Interestingly enough, it plays to a combination of physical, physiological and psychological factors; not only how the fabric itself feels, but how it makes you feel, too!
Similarly, the “drape” of a fabric is key when it comes to selecting materials that would be considered for a window covering. When everyone was installing swags and jabots, a heavier, more substantial “drape” to the fabric, would give the swag and jabot more form, able to stand up to the curve of the swag and the folds of the jabot. Today, the “drape” of the fabric plays a key role when the design of a window treatment consists of two stationary panels, that simply frame a window. The question will then pertain to how will the selected fabric “fall.” If you want the panels to be more structured in appearance, the “drape” of the fabric should have more substance and body. If you want the panels to be more fluid, soft in appearance, or ethereal, the drape of the fabric chosen should also reflect those qualities.
If you know a few things about the types of fabrics before you get started you can choose with better confidence. Of course for truly great interior designing will have to rely on experienced, designers with good tastes and reputation.
UPHOLSTERY VS CURTAIN WEIGHT:
Furnishing fabrics are often marked with either UPH (upholstery weight) or CTN (curtain weight) - these are divided into 2 separate categories online. What do they mean?
You can generally use curtain fabrics for cushions also, some heavier cottons I would even say you could use for kitchen chairs etc as they can be spot cleaned but they will not last as long as a fabric that is designated upholstery.
Generally if you see a mix, you will be getting the best attributes of the fabrics listed rolled into one.
When selecting a curtain color, think about whether you want your window curtains to blend in with the decor or be a focal point for the living room. If you elect to have them play a more muted role, select curtains that are similar to the wall color or trim color of the space.
Natural Light: In or Out?
One of the first considerations for curtain fabric should be the amount of light the room gets and whether you want to let the light in or block it out? If you want to block out light, try a heavy fabric with a tight weave or a blackout curtain fabric, like the Jessica fabric collection.
Blackout Drapery Fabric
It’s also common to want your window treatments to provide some insulation against the cold. A heavier weight fabric with a tighter weave will be better at keeping the cold out than a sheer or open weave fabric. Blackout fabrics often feature insulating properties as well. You can up the insulation factor of any fabric by adding a flannel interlining to the back of the curtains. The interlining will also protect the fabric from UV rays of the sun and add more body.
UV Rays & Colorfastness
The sun’s rays can be really harsh on fabric. You don’t generally think about interior fabrics needing to be UV resistant, but curtains can see a lot of sunlight streaming through the windows. That’s why we recommend thinking about the colorfastness of the fabric you choose for curtains.
This isn’t an issue in every window, so you’ll want to think about your home, which direction the windows face and how much natural light they let in, and decide if this is a concern for you. In general, south-facing windows will see the most sunlight during the day.
If UV exposure is a concern, look for curtain fabrics with UV protective qualities. Solution-dyed and vat dyed fabrics will be the most colorfast and printed fabrics the least. However, you can always add a drapery lining to the back of the fabric to protect the decorative fabric itself from UV rays. Curtain lining is also great for making fabrics a little more opaque and for adding more body for fuller looking drapes.
abric Width & Repeat
Large-scale pattern Jennifer Adams Home Henley Henna Red
Especially when on a budget, it’s important to consider how many yards of a given fabric your curtain project will require. Fabrics with a thinner width or large repeats could mean you’ll need to do more seaming in drapery panels and order extra fabric to pattern match.
Typically, you want to use the length of the fabric as the length of the curtain so you might need to seam two or more panels together to get the appropriate width for your window. If your fabric has a pattern, note the pattern repeat. For the best looking shades you’ll want the patterns to match at the seam point, and a large pattern repeat can mean you’ll need to order extra fabric to get a good pattern match.
So keep in mind, when selecting fabrics for a design project, the color, pattern, weight, hand and drape, are all important traits that can make or break a room’s overall appearance as well as it comfort factor. And the quality of those fabrics is all too apparent in the overall success or failure of a space.
How to Choose the Best Upholstery Fabric for Your Sofa (or chair, chaise lounge, bed headboard)
First, consider how you live and who will use the piece - sofa/armchair? This will help guide you on the type of material to choose. You may love the look of a silk velvet, but it will quickly get destroyed in a house with kids or pets. Pieces in high-traffic areas, such as family or living rooms, will need durable fabrics and easy maintenance, while furniture that doesn't get as much wear and tear, such as a bedroom settee or headboard, can utilize any type of fabric.
A common mistake people make, is not considering how a fabric or leather may age over time. Check the label and ask questions at the showroom to find out about the material’s content and cleaning needs, then think about how much maintenance you’re prepared to do to protect your selection. How will it look in five years? Will you still love the leather as it develops a nice patina from everyday living? Will you vacuum the upholstery fabric regularly? Will you close the drapes when away or not using a room to avoid some of the fading that naturally occurs from exposure to sunlight?
The Best Upholstery Fabrics for Homes with Kids and Pets
Today’s engineered textiles look increasingly like their natural counterparts, but can withstand wear and tear much better. And many natural fabrics are nearly as durable. It all depends on what you choose.
There are plenty of upholstery materials that match good looks with durability. Homes with children and pets—and maybe red-wine lovers—consider the easy care of a faux suede or the durability of an indoor-outdoor fabric. Consider also slip-covered upholstery (popular with Asians); and distressed leather is great—you don’t have to worry about the occasional scuff or scratch. If you have a busy household, stay away from delicate or textured options, like silk, which could pull and aren’t as forgiving when it comes to stains.
How to Pick a Luxurious Upholstery Fabric
If messy children and pets aren’t a worry, then you can really flaunt your freedom and choose things like fluffy Tibetan wool or Belgian linen, Mulberry silks and the like. While linen is very durable, in lighter colors it doesn’t offer the level of stain resistance that a kid-friendly household might need and may not have a crisp, wrinkle-free look after a lot of lounging.
Consider the type of chair you are upholstering be it a chaise lounge or a wing chair. If you’re upholstering a curvaceous piece, stick to solid-colored fabrics. Patterns or textures with a distinctive direction may not upholster well. A pattern that looks great on a bolt of fabric may not look great once it is cut up and put back together on a sofa, particularly if it's a tricky, ornate shape. Take the size of the furniture into account, too. Consider larger pieces, such as a sofa, in a rich solid color or classic neutral so you won’t tire of it over time. Liven things up with smaller pieces—for instance, a great statement chair in a bolder shade or pattern. Think about the other furnishings in the room as well—especially the other upholstered pieces. You'll want to make sure the colors, textures, and patterns compliment each other
An easy way to be sure you’ll like an upholstery material on a certain chair, and like how it feels when you sit on it, is by going with something you see in the store. If you fall in love with a fabric that’s not shown on the floor, ask for a swatch, if a sample length is not possible, you can drape over a furnishing to get a better idea of how it will look. If you go with a custom option, make sure you see a large swatch of any patterned fabrics so you see the full motif and its complete color palette. A little due diligence will help you avoid any big disappointment when the piece arrives.
You're not limited to the fabrics in the store, especially if you have a regular expert upholsterer. Consider unconventional materials such as vintage blankets or kilim rugs for example. You might get a great conversational piece if you pair a bold choice of fabric on a traditional piece such as a wingback chair or camelback sofa.
Since the beginning of the Christian Era, the West imported silk from China and Persia. Under Justinian, the processing of this yarn came to Byzantium, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, a city with whom Venice had a strong trading relationship.
Venice had gained special privileges from Byzantium, such as the freedom of tax-free trading of all sorts of goods from the East. For this reason, it had the exclusive right to import luxury products such as spices, ivory and silk fabrics.
In addition to the trade of fine fabrics, local production of raw silk and its weaving later started, even if initially limited to simple patterns, without any embroidery.
Silk weaving techniques improved through time thanks to contact with other civilisations, mainly Chinese and Arabic, that had already been processing the fine yarn for centuries.
In particular, some fundamental processes for the production of clothes of gold were revealed to the local craftsmen by Antinope, an expert Greek weaver. He arrived in Venice with the court of the emperor Henry IV, who went there at the end of the XI century to venerate the relics of St. Mark’s body.
It is said that the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire fell in love with the noblewoman Polissena Michiel during his stay in Venice and he wanted to gift her with a beautiful silk and gold robe. For its realisation, he commissioned Antinope who, employing local artisans, taught them the technique.
Another important contribution dates back to 1269 when the Polo brothers returned to Venice from their first journey to China. From this country they brought back several goods and fabrics, introducing Venice to certain technical weaving solutions and the typical Chinese decorations with plants and animals.
During the 1300s, there was a change in the decorating style, which left behind the old patterns, very regular and symmetrical, and started experimenting with lively and realistic images, decorated with botanic elements. Traditional Chinese allegorical symbols were adopted, including the lotus flower and leaves, the peony and fantastic animals, together with those of Christian symbolism such as the calf, the peacock and the parakeet, with vegetable connecting elements.
Also, the numerous skilful weavers who went to the Laguna from Lucca, between 1307 and 1320, largely contributed to the development of the Venetian silk art, especially regarding velvet making, of which they were true masters.
At the end of the 14th century, Venice witnessed the rise of velvet becoming one of the most requested luxurious fabrics. In particular, there was a type of decorated velvet called “afigurado”, in which the decoration is characterised by strong chromatic combinations and oriental elements such as the jagged leaf or the crowned palm frond. Artists like Jacopo Bellini and Pisanello contributed to the creation of such decorations.
A typical Venetian speciality was the alto-basso or controtagliato: a velvet, generally of an intense scarlet red with a surface made of various levels of thickness, decorated with concentric roses alternated vertically and horizontally with heraldic crowns sustained by the junction of two twisted branches.
This velvet, which remained unchanged for four centuries, became the status symbol of the highest social and political classes; the stoles worn by senators and the state prosecutor were made with it.
In the Elizabethan era of history, levels of comfort significantly increased. Heavy curtains were draped over bedheads and around four poster beds to prevent drafts. Mantelpiece drapes were also very popular, and all types of draperies became more and more elaborate - even for windows. Tall windows were framed with window headings, deep swags and tails. These were often heavily trimmed, surrounded by intricate wooden cornices.
Upholstery fabrics for sofas started to catch on and became popular in great English houses. Upholstered settees were ordered so that multiple people could sit together in comfort, and this became the prototype for the modern-day sofa. Upholstery were then materials used in the craft of covering, padding, and stuffing seating and bedding. The earliest upholsterers, from early Egyptian times to the beginning of the Renaissance, nailed animal skins or dressed leather across a rigid framework. They slowly developed the craft to include cushions, padding, and pillows—stuffed with such materials as goose down feathers and horsehair.
The medieval upholsterer, who was primarily concerned with fabrics, made mattresses and hangings. In the 17th century beds were draped with sumptuous fabrics and ornate trimmings; as these beddings became less fashionable, chairs and sofas were in turn elaborately upholstered with velvet, silks, and needlework.
Springs, which permitted soft, bulky shapes, were first used by upholsterers in the 18th century; helical by the mid-19th century, they were later flattened for maximum resiliency. Upholstery techniques were revolutionized in the 20th century with the introduction of molded sponge rubber, dirt and liquid retardants, plywood, naugahyde, and synthetic fibres, which created new springing, cushioning, and covering materials.
At the same time, furnishing textiles underwent substantial changes, as well: during the 1600s, windows had a single curtain, usually made of saye, a typically English woollen fabric, very often green. Besides, cloths were laid on tables and upholstered chairs had covers made of leather, needlework or a “Turkey-work” woollen fabric, owing this name to its motifs, similar to Turkish carpets.
During the Elizabethan Era, to accomodate large Elizabethan skirts, the farthingale chair was introduced - a chair without arms with a piece of leather stretched across the back and nailed on each side. Elizabethan upholstering materials included: leather, brocade or embroidered cloth, and velvet trimmed with a heavy fringe. Stuffing could be anything from sawdust, grass or feathers, or deer, goat and horse hair.
Sofas still didn’t exist before now - seats for more than one person were usually benches that could be pushed against the wall.
Renaissance style (14th to 17th century)
Belive it or not, upholstery took a while to catch on - anything slightly comfortable was often disregarded and was felt to be effeminate. Jacobean furniture was still similar to Elizabethan, with a few adjustments along the way. Furniture was still made from oak, and blocky due to the carpenters using carpentry tools to make it.
Renaissance furniture was first produced in Italy during the 15th century. Trade brought wealth to Italy, and the growing bourgeoisie was able to afford better and bigger housing. Also, they significantly increased the demand for high-quality furniture.
The Italian style of furniture also spread to other parts of Europe. Craftsmen from other countries traveled to Italy to learn its form and techniques, and some Italian makers were invited to other European nations by the local courts. In many places, the designs were adapted to better suit the local taste and requirements.
In the 18th century, though, people preferred to protect their luxury upholstery fabrics and to uncover them only on special occasions, with tough and usually check-patterned covers. Window curtains became two for each window and were woollen, red or green, though the single curtain was reintroduced toward the end of the century. It was made of wool, a mixture of cotton and linen or, in the wealthiest houses, of damasked silk, and often had blue and white stripes.
With Charles II on the throne, the Puritan regime ended, and the decorative arts began to flourish in England. People were getting used to the comfort of upholstered furniture, and the first fully upholstered chair was built in 1705. This chair was referred to as a “sleeping chayre” - you could rest your head on either the sides or the back. Daybeds grew in popularity and custom cushions were everywhere.
Tapestry and fabric factories began to spring up in London and Paris, and the upholstery business began to boom.
Silk damask, wool moreen, elaborate embroidery were used more and more in upholstery. Cushions were made of horsehair with linen lining and down. Beds were one of the most upholstered pieces in the house: bedsteads were totally covered in soft fabrics such as velvet.
The age of the designer
By now, upholstery was very much integrated into the furniture-making process, and as comfort improved, the drop-in seat was invented. This meant that the seat could be upholstered in any fabric. Designers selected which colours and fabrics to use, which set the trends and colour palettes for the season. The Age of The Designer had begun.
Louis XVI’s chairs were upholstered in pastel blues, pinks, and yellows. Thomas Chippendale’s camelback sofas were some of the first to be completely upholstered, except for exposed legs. George Hepplewhite published a book to offer guidance in interior design, colour palettes, and how to arrange a room. His seats were overstuffed, finished with brass nailheads, and covered in fine haircloths and silk.
Throughout the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the furniture industry flourished, and standards of workmanship improved. While prices were still extremely high and only available to nobility during the early history of upholstery, great craftsmen were honing their trade and creating entirely new pieces.
Victorian opulence reigned supreme in the 19th Century. Two major innovations brought about modern upholstery. The first was the steam powered engine, which provided cheap power to machine looms so that machine woven fabrics could be mass produced. The second was the steel coil spring, which revoultionised seat cushions.
Bold, Rococco revival styles were popular - rich, jewel-coloured upholstery such as velvet, was paired with gilded, painted, or black lacquer frames. Shiny silks, leather and brocades featured button tufting. Cornucopia-armed sofas often featured matching, upholstered round cushions on either end. Fringing and tassels were used with abandon.
The 19th century saw the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, with innovations like machine-woven fabrics, chemical dyes, and of much brighter colours on wallpapers and textiles. The birth of printed cotton, the “chintz”, meant a widespread of linings and curtains with floral patterns on a light-coloured ground. But this, as paintings prove, was the century of red velvet upholsteries, too.
And if in the 1930s the colours of interior textiles were soft, with no or only a simple pattern, from the 1960s the motifs of upholstery fabrics became outlandish and vividly coloured. From the Eighties, though, carpets and curtains began to disappear. The introduction of steel coil springs and other modernizations made higher-quality furniture possible for more people at a more affordable price.
And the Geffrye Museum has managed to sum all of this up… and even a lot more.
20th century style
Styles from Mission to Art Deco and Mid Century Modern were born. The invention of Nylon was a durable alternative to silk - resistant to normal wear and tear that affected more traditional upholstery. Other inventions, from bent steel to fiberglass to molded foam cores, revolutionised furniture design and brought about many of the modern designs in furniture we still see today.
As innovation in technology drives innovation, upholstery and furnishing fabrics become more sophisticated, beautiful, functional and durable.
Check out our full range of designer fabrics here.
Why choose cotton and linen furnishing fabrics for your curtains and synthetic fabrics for upholstery.
Natural fabrics—such as cotton, silk and wool—are made of plant-based fibres
which include cotton, flax, hemp, bamboo, sisal, jute and animal fleece.
Linen: Linen is best suited for formal living rooms or adult areas because it soils and wrinkles easily. And, it won't withstand heavy wear. ... Wool: Sturdy and durable, wool and wool blends offer good resistance to pilling, fading, wrinkling, and soil.
Linen naturally resists pilling and soiling, but it can wrinkle easily, making it better suited for casual than formal spaces. It's often used in in a blend with cotton for greater elasticity.
Linen is a lighter material that still provides a tailored look, one that which suits casual dining rooms, airy bedrooms or modern living rooms. It also allows some natural light to pass through due to the sheer fabric. Note that linen should be dry cleaned only, and hung immediately to avoid forming wrinkles.
Cotton: This natural fiber provides good resistance to wear, fading, and pilling. It is less resistant to soil, wrinkling, and fire. Surface treatments and blending with other fibers often atone for these weaknesses. Durability and use depend on the weave and finish.Cotton is soft and durable, but it's also susceptible to wrinkling and can be easily soiled. Damask weaves are formal; canvas (duck and sailcloth) is more casual and more durable.
Wool: Sturdy and durable, wool and wool blends offer good resistance to pilling, fading, wrinkling, and soil. Generally, wool is blended with a synthetic fiber to make it easier to clean and to reduce the possibility of felting the fibers (causing them to bond together until they resemble felt). Blends can be spot-cleaned when necessary.
Cotton Blend: Depending on the weave, cotton blends can be sturdy, family-friendly fabrics. A stain-resistant finish should be applied for everyday use.
Wool curtains are popular in rooms where you’re aiming for a “period” feel. They are thick and heavy, and they tend to suit solid colours or blocky patterns such as Highland check. They are good for rooms where insulation is important, and they are effective at blocking out light. The downside of wool curtains is that they are very heavy, and they are hard to wash.
Silk: This delicate fabric is only suitable for adult areas, such as formal living rooms. It must be professionally cleaned if soiled.
Silk curtains are incredibly luxurious. They are thinner than the other materials, and they tend to let more light through, but they have an airy, vibrant appearance. You can get lined silk curtains that have a lovely, glossy look to them, but that still offer good light insulation. Silk curtains that are unlined will fade rapidly, but when lined they can be quite hard wearing. They are, however, also quite expensive and they are hard to care for because silk does not tolerate detergents well. You should not use silk in the kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere else where accidental splashes and stains are likely. However, silk is expensive and can only be cleaned by dry cleaning, so it is recommended to engage a curtain cleaning professional.
Note that silk is susceptible to sunlight damage, so either use window shades or tinted windows to protect the curtains.
Choose Curtains or Drapes for Your Living Room
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 cast gently filtered light in any space and are easy to care for, making them a great choice for your little ones' rooms.
On the other hand, a sheer cotton curtain will give the interior a light, an airy feel.
This fabric also drapes well, and is a great option for formal dining rooms or ballrooms.
Functionality Comes First
Designing modern curtains is all about choices — and identifying what you want for your living room is the best place to start! Would you like your curtains or drapery to make this space more private? Does the window face east or west, where you’ll need to block light from outside during certain hours of the day? Or were you hoping that natural light would shine through your custom window treatments all day long? Do you like to change your decor in the early spring or mid-fall? Or, are you looking for better insulation in the winter? As you can see there are a few choices to consider, so we recommend making a quick list of functionality that you’d prefer to get from your new modern curtains.
Now that you know your preferences for your living room curtains; let’s consider how to choose colors from your curtains or custom drapes. When selecting a fabric color, consider whether you want your curtains to blend in with the decor or be a focal point for the room. If you elect to have them play a more muted role, select curtains that are similar to the wall color or add trims matching the color of the space. In contrast, if you want your custom drapes to make a statement, then selecting a bold color will be your option. Just a word of caution, lighter color drapes will illuminate more with natural light and feel breezy. By comparison, darker tones will appear heavy, grounded, and can dominate the space. As it is your choice, pick a color that you love, reflects the character of the space as your custom curtains will play a key role in the overall aesthetic of your living room.
You could never go wrong with a neutral shades in a classic, functional style like euro pleat drapes or ripple fold. Optic White, Oyster, Grays, and natural shades work fabulous with different furniture colors, and are easy to apply to other styles.
Avoid 100% synthetic fabrics for curtains as tend to have static cling.
Polyester Curtains although easy to wash (cold wash preferably) and good in color fastness (color does not fade easily), the fabric attracts stains, lint, wrinkles and static electricity. Static electricity clings to many fabrics, polyester in particular. The static is due to an imbalance of electrons on fabrics.
A common fabric used in curtains, polyester is durable, easy to clean, resistant to wrinkles, and affordable. This is a good option for living rooms or bedrooms, but avoid using them in kitchens - polyester is flammable, susceptible to keeping odours, and hinders air flow. Take note that it can
Polyester curtains come in a variety of styles and designs, but since stains are hard to remove on this fabric, homes with children should choose darker colours.
For the best balance between price and luxury, consider polyester curtains that have been blended with cotton or silk. This is usually quite affordable, and has a texture and appearance that is closer to that of a more expensive fabric. The blend also increases the durability of the curtains. Many readymade curtains in standard sizes are made of a silk or cotton and polyester blend, so if you have standard sized curtains and want a common pattern, it’s easy to find great looking and affordable curtains online.
Picking the Perfect Upholstery Fabric
When choosing upholstery, you should be aware of its durability, cleanability, and resistance to soil and fading.
These are common fibers used in upholstery fabrics for their durability.
These are common fibers used in upholstery fabrics. They can be 100% or blended with other fibers to join characteristics. These fibers can be made up into a variety of fabric types, which also have an effect on their performance:
Your color choice is also dependent upon the type of use your furniture will see. A natural beige color is a popular choice for hiding dirt as well as being a neutral that can go with many different décor styles.
Consider lighter solid colors to create an airy, inviting mood in a space. Darker colors or patterns are better for hiding dirt and wear. Or you can always select a bright color or a fun, bold pattern to make a statement in your space!
These common, upholstery fabrics come in a variety of weights, colors, fibers, and treatments to ensure you get the fabric you need for your project.
If you are planning to upholster something that will experience everyday wear and tear, durability is important to consider. Upholstery fabric’s durability is determined by how it rates on the manufacturer-administered double rub test, which is a back and forth motion that mimics the wear and tear of someone sitting on an upholstered seat over time.
A 15,000 to 25,000 double rubs is a great place to start for residential upholstery, while commercial projects generally require fabrics to be at least 50,000 and ideally 100,000 double rubs. Double rubs are found through a mechanized test called the Wyzenbeek Test (sometimes called the Wyzenbeek Method). A standard used in North America.
In addition to higher double rubs, look for upholstery fabrics treated for performance, like stain resistance, water repellant, or UV resistance.
The Martindale is a common unit for quantifying the abrasion resistance of textiles, especially when used for upholstery. The Martindale method, also known as the figure-8 rub test. , simulates natural wear of a seat cover, in which the textile sample is rubbed against a standard abrasive surface with a specified force. A standard used more in the U.K. and Europe.
The Wyzenbeek and Martindale tests are the two methods commonly used to predict wear-ability.
Double Rubs for Residential Applications:
Double Rubs for Commercial Applications:
When purchasing upholstery fabric or upholstered furniture, be aware that the higher the thread count, the more tightly woven the fabric is, and the better it will wear. Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric.
Upholstery fabric is often not suitable for traditional washing or dry cleaning once applied to furniture; therefore, you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions and look for stain repellent fabrics for heavier-use pieces. Our recommendation for dry-cleaning is intended prior to upholstering, if cleaning before use is desired. Once upholstered, use spot cleaners intended for upholstery fabric, or upholstery cleaning services. Using a fabric protectant spray over your finished furniture is highly recommended.
Take note :
Synthetic fabrics include nylon, polyester, rayon, acrylic, etc. Leather, synthetic and even natural fabrics are heavily treated with toxic chemicals and they can have chemical residues on a final product. These chemical residues can cause negative health effects.
To avoid this look out for fabrics with the Oeko-Tex label. Oeko-Tex is a registered trade mark, representing the product labels and company certifications issued and other services provided by the International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology (which also calls itself Oeko-Tex for short).
The post below is based on an article written by Kate Smith, an internationally recognized color expert, consultant, and designer. She's an exceptional colorist and business consultant sought out by companies worldwide. She has been quite an influence in my inclination to color and fabric tastes. Here she is giving her take on what colors will be in demand or at least much influenced by renown designers.
Unlike in past years, Kate waited for each brand's comments on Color of the Year for the upcoming year before writing about them.
Kate expressed that she rarely found any insights other than what is put forward by brands of companies so this time around she wanted to share a few ideas and thoughts about each color to give her audience more to think about as they look at each trend color for 2020.
Being part of the trends forecasting team in her past corporate life, using her experience and expertise, she recommends her ideas from the connections she sees in the color trends that will be useful to her clients in various industries. Here are some of her comments which should be noted:
he Color of the Year 2020 Stays Around for More than One Year
Many people think that a color trend lasts about a year, and then by the following year, that color is no longer on-trend. That might be what many retailers and manufacturers would like people to think because it can boost sales, but it isn't true.
Yes, talking about color trends and naming a color of the year has become a useful marketing tool. Still, trends evolve over several years rather than changing entirely from year to year. Anything that comes into favor and disappears within a year or so is a fad. Trends generally last for four to seven years.
The takeaway? Just because we are talking about 2020 colors, it does not mean that the colors named last year have fallen out of trend. The Color of the Year 2019, chosen by Behr, is a good example.
As things in the world change, so do our emotions, and thus the colors we want to surround ourselves with, but it rarely a significant change. It is a subtle shift from year-to-year. If you look back four or more years, you can see a more drastic difference between what is popular now versus what once was on-trend.
No One Color of the Year Reigns Supreme
Each color has merit. Each company has put time and resources into making their selection. They have done the research, debated the findings, and come to a consensus about what colors will be necessary. You may not agree with a color choice, but just because it doesn't hit home with you doesn't mean that it is not an essential color for the upcoming year.
Some may say that Pantone's pick is the color of the year. Last year, I talked about why a paint companies color of the year may be the one consumers gravitate to more than the color released by Pantone. I feel just as strongly about that point this year, and you can find my reasons here. Be sure to read to the end of the article where you will find the two questions to ask about any color trend. These can help you better understand the colors we are talking about here as well as any trend colors.
If you are still wondering which is the real color of the year, the answer is all of them. If you're looking for a single solution, then go with the color of the year that resonates most with you.
Blue Takes the Top Spot
Most years, consumers see each company offering up a unique color as their top color. When two companies name the same color as Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore did with white as the Color of the Year 2016, there may even be speculation about copying each other.
Statements like that amuse me because rather than raising eyebrows, I think it shows that the process has credibility, After doing the research and talking it out, color forecasters from different organizations have agree that the feelings and desire for a particular color are so strong that it must be put forward. The same can be said this year about the color blue.
What is the Color for 2020?
PPG, Sherwin-Williams, and Pantone all landed on a shade of dark blue for their 2020 Color of the Year. Behr and AkzoNobel named green as the color for the upcoming year. Benjamin Moore elevated light pink to the top spot.
Now on to each Color of the Year 2020 starting with the blues!
PG 2020 Color of the Year Chinese Porcelain PPG1160-6
Dee Schlotter, senior color manager, PPG paint brand summed up what I also see for 2020 perfectly, "Consumers are tiring of stark grays and are looking to infuse colors that delight the senses. Blue is the easiest possible entry point from the world of neutrals to the world of color."
I agree that dark blue is the color people desire right now for all of the reasons above plus dark blue has no gender, no agenda, and no controversy. It is a sure thing in a world of uncertainty.
On a side note, color is my career, but it doesn't mean I don't get drawn in by trend colors the way everyone else does. I like this gorgeous blue so much that I repainted the inside of my front door, Chinese Porcelain.
See all of PPG's trend colors for 2020 or browse through their trends flip book.
Sherwin-Williams Navy SW 6244
Over the past couple of years, I've noticed more people moving away from using only neutrals, adding color to give their home personality. And I'm not alone in seeing this trend. Sue Wadden, Director of Color Marketing at Sherwin-Williams, predicts, "In the next 10 years, we'll continue to move away from omnipresent neutrals, and design will feel more personal again."
This change is driven, in part, by a trend direction I call Full Circle - Our innate need for connections drives concern and compassion for others and the earth. Rather than standing apart, we strive to live in step with our world, embracing the yin yang of opposing but complementary forces on earth. Our evolving view of the world comes to life in colors that feel stable and balanced yet vibrant and fully alive.
This classic color has even taken on new life in fashion as a color that can stand shoulder to shoulder with black at the most formal of occasions.
A color that has long been an interior decorating favorite don't be surprised if you see more dark blue exteriors. Naval and other deep blues are more approachable colors for those who are drawn to the trend of black exteriors but not ready to venture that far into the dark side.
See all of Sherwin-Williams' trend colors for 2020
Pantone Color of the Year 2020 Classic Blue 19-4052
When the color was released, Pantone also added that "As technology continues to race ahead of the human ability to process it all, it is easy to understand why we gravitate to colors that are honest and offer the promise of protection." I have to agree.
Anytime our world feels out of control or lacking in good news; people are drawn to colors that make them feel better and more hopeful, After the financial crash, we saw a desire for optimistic, bright colors. Now we are more cautious and feel a need for color but need something more stable and trusted. Blue — the color most often named as a favorite of both men and women — fills the bill perfectly.
Classic Blue is a color that is as comfortable as a favorite pair of jeans. Who wouldn't want to blanket themselves in this accepting color when what most of us need more than anything is a restful night's sleep and sweet dreams for tomorrow?
See more predictions from Pantone for 2020
Behr 2020 Color of the Year Back to Nature S340-4
Green continues to be a color that draws people to it because of its ability to relieve stress, quiet the mind, and promote tranquility. Like blue, this nature-based green is comforting, but the attraction goes deeper.
For many, a new nomadic lifestyle is replacing the goal of settling down. While blue speaks loudly to stability, green connects with this adventurous spirit.
With mobility and freedom in mind, the focus turns to what is essential and meaningful in life. Anything more will weigh us down physically, mentally, and emotionally. We want to travel lightly, be positive, and embrace every experience.
Designs that support a lighter lifestyle are clean, sophisticated, functional, adaptable, and green.
Checkout Behr's 2020 Color Trends Palette
AkzoNobel 2020 Color of the Year Tranquil Dawn
As a company based in Europe, AkzoNobel has a different perspective on what is essential now, and their choice of Tranquil Dawn reflects that thinking.
There is more to this color than its connection to nature. If that is the only aspect you think about when seeing this soft, cool green, you may be missing out on an essential element of design influencing a range of light, delicate hues.
Design goes beyond "form follows function" as materials and technology integrate to produce designs focused on well-being. Using what scientists have learned about how visual aesthetics can impact our brains and physiology, designers employ color, lighting, sounds, scents, and textures to stimulate our senses.
The feel of a surface is as important as its look and must appeal to all of our senses. Softness in color and tactile materials drive designs that nurture the spirit.
See AkzoNobel's 2020 Colors
Benjamin Moore 2020 Color of the Year
A gentle pink hue, First Light feels like it is born of the same trend direction as Tranquil Dawn. Even the names are quite similar. Although the colors are from different color families, both are on the cooler side and evoke a similar mood.
Whether at home, work or out in the world, we seek spaces where we can be ourselves to do and dream. To confidently breathe in life and calmly exhale our truth. We desire ease in all that is essential to life. First Light has a softness of color that nurtures the spirit, gently soothes the mind, and "is the backdrop for a bright new decade."
Benjamin Moore has narrowed down to 10 trend colors for the 2020 Color Trends Palette
When planning a room refresh or a home renovation, we normally fall in love with one colour in particular and struggle to introduce other tones. Following on from our ‘how to introduce a pop of colour’ blog, we explain how understanding the science will allow you to combine colours with confidence.
An abstract illustration of colour hues, called the colour wheel has been used by interior designers for centuries but now it’s your chance to use it to your full advantage. Whether a new purchase has inspired you to decorate or you are drawn to certain colour due to its popularity, use the handy colour wheel to see how it can be complemented.For best results choose one of the following schemes:
Tonal: Select a colour and then use lighter or darker shades to vary the tone and add depth. This can create a perfectly coordinated scheme. Just remember to add some neutral shades too such as a white ceiling and a wooden floor to break it up.
Harmonious: Pick colours that sit next or near to each other in the colour wheel. This can often create a look that is pleasing to the eye. For example green, yellow-green and yellow will work equally happily together in a room. Using harmonious colours create a relaxing and tranquil mood.
Complementary: Complementary colours are directly opposite of each other on the colour wheel. You can create stand-out, colour combinations to create a unique look. Nature provides some beautiful examples such as golden sand against the blue sea or a red rose with green foliage.
Don’t forget that you aren’t confined to using colour by just paint, experiment with fabrics and patterns too like those showcased in our bright and contemporary Fjord collection.
More colour tips
• Pink rooms have been known to slow pulses and calm people down – it’s even used in social areas in prisons.
• Orange is said to stimulate appetite so dieters stick to green or blue rooms where possible.
• Using a neutral colour with a pink undertone can soften dark wooden furniture.
• Yellow is hard to get right, a good rule of thumb is to select the yellow you want and then lighten it or tone down by two shades before you buy.
Inspired by the Art Deco movement and rural England, iLiv has launched its new Autumn/Winter collections of luxurious fabrics and rich wallpapers.
The innovative home décor brand, offers two new ranges specifically designed to make interior design that much easier thanks to its ‘mix and match’ philosophy.
The Art Deco collection is reminiscent of the arts and crafts movement. Patterns are intricate and decorative and come in vibrant shades of navy, soft cornflower blues, warm cherry reds and berries.
Prints, weaves and embroideries work together to create a timeless and luxurious interior scheme giving users the opportunity to fully co-ordinate upholstery, curtains, cushions and bedcovers.
The contemporary and transitional Meadow collection is based on the stunning English countryside with elements of meadow flowers, wild hedgerows and woodland trees.
The delicate watercolour style palette ranges from vibrant magentas and ruby reds to pistachio greens, natural charcoals and linens. The collection’s fabrics and wallcoverings co-ordinate sublimely to create a pretty and organic country interior, perfect for modern homes with a light and contemporary feel.
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