Journal Insight #4: How to slow the process of your curtains fading.

Right! If you think this insight is going to help you avoid fading, I am about to disappoint. We are working with fabrics at windows, where light comes in, so we can’t stop fading – sorry. But… we can certainly manage it.


Pretty much everything fades eventually. After all, putting things in bright windows hardly helps. Do things fade if they are cheap? Often, yes. You certainly pay for quality and if you want good fade resistance you are likely to have to pay for it, but that doesn’t mean a higher price gives you lower fading. We are an industry led by designers and creatives, so there are always going to be designs that just look fabulous and to hell with the technical properties.



Clever scientists have gotten all excited by this topic and someone produced a rating. Here’s a table for you to get hyped about:


Grade Degree of Fading Light Fastness Type:


8 No fading Outstanding

7 Very slight fading Excellent

6 Slight fading Very good

5 Moderate fading Good

4 Appreciable fading Moderate

3 Significant fading Fair

2 Extensive fading Poor

1 Very extensive fading Very poor


OK, maybe not, but a handy reference all the same. You should be able to get this rating for any fabric you are looking at, and for mechanical binds like rollers its readily available. Selecting the right fabric is the first step in managing fading.


In terms of fabric material, the big one to worry about is silk. The higher the silk content the greater the likelihood of fading, even in north facing windows. Light will kill the integrity of the fabric as well as the colour, so it’s a double whammy.



Now, get your compass out as window direction is a key factor. A south facing window is going to be your biggest challenge with the most intense light coming in that way. Conversely you can have a lot more choice when looking north. Shaded windows help, where a gorgeous tree in front of a south facing window will make a significant difference.



When you know you’re going to have a problem there are a couple of tricks to call upon. We regularly use a trim on the leading edge as this is the bit of the curtain that sits in light when open and takes the most beating from the sun. It can be a great design detail but, in this instance, also think of it as a sacrificial strip. A client buying expensive handmade drapes will be happier if they know they can replace just a small section of the leading edge after a few years rather than the entire curtain. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper and if you advise them of this up front we find it’s a good tool to build trust and their confidence in you.



Protective window films are readily available and there are few firms on the market they will measure and fit for you direct to your client. The films range in styles, but you genuinely can get invisible films that block out the most harmful UV rays. Plus, you’ll be surprised how inexpensive it is.


Finally, there is a really easy option. Sheer, protective blinds, often roller blinds but sometimes Romans behind a curtain can make a massive difference, not only limiting the light hitting the curtains but also helping the homeowner manage the light coming into the room and also offering them greater privacy.


If you’ve found this helpful, please share.


Next time… Fabrics

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