When studying Interior Design in college, I was very lucky to be an intern in a custom drapery workroom. Transforming a bolt of fabric into a beautiful window treatment was magical to me then and still is today. In the UK, they say “curtains”, where in the U.S., we say ” drapes”. Whichever term you use, do not ever underestimate the power of fabric on your windows. It can be used for light softening, room darkening, warmth, privacy or as a major design statement.
When decorating a room, there must always be a starting point. For some people, it may be a sofa or an oriental rug. For others it is the drapery fabric that sets the tone. It could be a classic blue and white toile, a silk damask, wool herringbone or sheer linen. There are thousands of fabrics to choose from in all price levels. My advice is never to buy budget drapes unless you are skilled with a needle and can adapt them to properly fit your windows. Nothing looks worse than skimpy fabrics that are too short or too narrow. Unless your curtains are intentionally a sheer linen, they should be lined and weighted to hang properly and keep those beautiful folds. Lining also protects your fabric from sun damage which can cause fading or rotting when exposed to sunlight.
My advice for those budget conscious people is not to compromise on proper fabrication and lining. You can however find some beautiful fabrics in polyester, rayon and cotton blends that mimic silk and other high end fabrics at a fraction of the cost of the real thing. If measured and made properly, only your decorator will know the difference.