Journal Insight #3: Curtain Linings


There is often some confusion when the subject of curtain linings is raised, although there isn’t really all that much to know. A quick review should do it.

There are two types of linings. The first is the actual lining on the back of a curtain, which can be simple cotton or blackout. The softness of a cotton lining helps it drop effortlessly, with some light glowing through. In rooms where you want to play with light, or emphasise the openness of a particular face fabric, linens or cottons for example, this kind of lining works perfectly.

Blackout lining is not actually black – so many people assume it is and we often have to disarm people of this preconception when asking if they want it. It does however block the light. This is done with the way it is woven and has the added advantage of adding some degree of thermal gain too. So, if you are looking to darken a bedroom at night or block out that annoying streetlamp immediately outside a window, blackout lining is a must. However, while the lining may be blackout, it won’t in itself guarantee a light free space, as light can bleed around the edge of curtains and blinds and over the tops of poles. Think of this lining as one tool in your room darkening armoury.

Blackout is also a great help with fabrics that fade (more about this in the next Insight), and it helps protect the bulk of the face fabric from the harmful UV rays).

All linings tend to come in a white and a variant of cream, and some have other neutral hues.

The second type of lining is called interlining, and is the fluffy, thermal, thick fabric between the face fabric and outer lining. It has two purposes.

  1. To thicken the end result, which can add a huge amount to a curtain, stopping it hanging limp and looking a little deficient.
  2. To add warmth. We recommend anyone with single glazing to add interlining and reap the benefits of a far warmer room. For really cold windows and especially for doors there is super thick interlining, commonly called Bump.

Our home is a c.1800 cottage with original leaded (leaky) windows, so we employ a combination of bump interlining and blackout lining at all the windows, and we feel the benefits every winter, especially as our face fabric is a thick printed velvet – toasty!

Before we let this go, there is a final option – self or contrast lining. Using a face fabric to line a curtain adds impact from the outside looking in. It doesn’t have to be plain old off white for your neighbours to stare at. Sure, you need to think about fading, but the right choice at the right window for the right client can really add some ‘’wow’’!

If you’ve found this helpful, please share via email or social media.

Next time… Fading.

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Journal Insight #2: Curtain Headings
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Journal Insight #4: How to slow the process of your curtains fading

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