Velvet Curtains for 21st Century!

Everyone is thinking velvet for their interiors and why not? It is such a timeless, elegant fabric and always looks good in any room.

However before you get carried away – you need to understand the various pit falls in choosing the best velvet for your home out of the huge range of velvets available today.

Velvet curtains can be tricky; unfortunately there is a huge offering of ready- made velvet curtains available on line, often made with cheap and sometimes very shiny velvet which can de value the prestige of this fabric

Also you need to avoid the dated look with velvet curtains from the 70’s:  for example brown rusty colours with braiding and shaped pelmets.

Which Velvets should l use for my curtains?

There are hundreds of different velvets available on the market.  Velvet for upholstery is often back coated and will be much more stiff so will not drape well.  Choose always velvet which is specifically for curtains

Also beware that velvets may have a high Martindale score – which means that they are very good for upholstery and will not wear out and become threadbare  – this does not mean that they will resist marks or staining with water etc. Do you check this before ordering your velvet if you are looking for some robust fabric which will not mark.

Velvets are available in smooth cotton/cotton mix which give a very sharp clean look; velvet can also come very textured and even have a crushed effect which gives a beautiful mottled colour as the light plays on the pile.

If you have a big window or do not have the budget to stretch to some of the more sumptuous velvets, think about using a faux velvet  / suede effect fabric. These are 100% polyesters so are very reasonable and if made up well with the correct fullness can look stunning.

Do I need to line velvet curtains?

It is always better to line curtains and velvet is no exception. It will hang better as a lined curtain and hide all the seams and hems at the back.

If you are using velvet in a bedroom or a sunny room or at a window overlooking a noisy street, then line the curtains with blackout lining. Velvet blackout curtains are very effective in blocking light and noise as the weave of the velvet is very dense.

Think carefully about whether it is necessary to interline these curtains. As velvet tends to be a heavier fabric, by adding interlining it can make the curtain very bulky. The curtains will take a lot of space stacking each side of the window and will be heavy to operate. If you are interlining the velvet curtain to help insulate a draughty room or to reduce the noise from the street, it is more effective to use blackout which is a cotton lining and coated 3 times to stop light and sound passing through.

What heading style works well for velvet?

10 – 15 years ago we were advising clients to use eyelet headings to make velvet curtains more contemporary. Unfortunately, the eyelet heading has been devalued as it is much used for ready-made curtains.

Any pinch pleat, twin pleat, triple pleat or inverted pleat look fantastic on velvet curtains; if you want a very contemporary look then opt for a Wave heading especially for the super chic smooth velvets.

What hanging system should I use for velvet curtains?

As the curtains are likely to be heavy make sure that you have a metal track and not a plastic or cheap track. It is best to have the track or pole corded so that you do not have to touch the curtains and it will be easier to draw them .