A guide to styling linen curtains

Rochelle Vitz
Written by Rochelle Vitz
Russells Consultant
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Linen is a textile that has been used for centuries. In terms of curtains, people like the texture it brings to a room as well as the elegant and effortless way linen drapes. We can help you achieve the popular linen look with a wide range of curtain fabrics that drape wonderfully to create an airy, relaxed feel; a great curtain option for bedrooms and living spaces.

We recommend linen blends or linen look fabrics to achieve the look you want at a cost effective price with good performance and a long life. You’ll find more on why at the end of this article.

Heading styles make all the difference

Linen fabric curtains can look casual and rustic or timelessly elegant depending on the heading style; choose a pencil pleat for something tidy and sophisticated or tab top for a more relaxed look.

For lasting colour…

In bright, sunny rooms choose either a light neutral tone or, if you want colour, perhaps choose a linen blend fabric as the harsh UV light in New Zealand has a tendency to fade natural linen.

How to hang

Linen drapes really well so you have your pick of heading styles and hanging aesthetics. We recommend pooling; this is when the fabric is longer than the space it goes in and therefore the extra fabric pools (or puddles) on the floor.

Three different linens – pure linen, linen-look and a sheer:

Kyoto by James Dunlop

This 100% linen originates in Turkey and while it’s light and floaty as you’d expect from linen curtains, it’s texture, weight and 16 colour options allow it to be styled to suit a variety of spaces. The shade shown here is ‘indigo’.

Kyoto by James Dunlop

Tidal by James Dunlop

A light and sheer fabric, Tidal is a blend of 60% linen with the rest polyester and cotton. It’s translucent and floaty, and has an organic-look stripe-like pattern through it that adds to the texture. We think it’s perfect for laid back living rooms, bedrooms and reading spaces. This shade, ‘Cloud’ is one of seven options.

Serenity Tidal by James Dunlop

Chatham by James Dunlop

Part of what makes Chatham so impressive is that while it features a highly textured weave, it’s actually made of an acrylic polyester blend and is a ‘linen-look’ option. You may find these last that bit longer than a natural fibre like pure linen.

This solid-colour fabric is available in over 26 different shades, so there is no room that it cannot add to.

“Texture and craft are strong emerging trends, which are giving focus on timeless simplicity. Chatham cements this trend with a highly textured weave. A yarn dyed construction to give dimension and the characteristics of a hand loom, but with the durability of a modern textile”.

Chatham Pegasus by James Dunlop

The drawbacks of pure linen

We appreciate you may have a certain look in mind when choosing linen curtains so we aim to be upfront with our recommendation to choose a linen blend or linen look fabric. Here’s why:

  • Pure linen fabrics can come at a premium price that does not align with its delicate and temperamental nature.
  • Pure linen is not suited to New Zealand conditions as it moves with humidity, meaning your curtains may either be too long or too short on any given day.
  • Pure linen is notorious for creasing and cannot be steamed out as this stretches the fabric.
  • They are quite difficult to clean requiring gentle treatment.
  • Linen can attract mould and mildew, which will eventually rot the fabric.
  • Pure linen has a short lifespan.

Learn what to consider in picking the right curtains for your home

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