How to Choose the Best Type of Sheer Curtains: Colors, Tracks, Headings and More

What’s the best type of sheer curtain for your home? Where should they be hung – wall or ceiling? And should they touch the floor? How about the track; what color should that be? Oh and how about the color and material: what’s the best option there?

These are all questions I get asked a lot, and today I want to answer them for you. Because, I hear you, Sheer Curtains can be hard to get right if you’re feeling less ‘design eye’ and more ‘design cry’ right now.

Sheer curtains are hands-down my five type of window treatment. They’re my first go-to (in conjunction with a roller blind underneath) when designing client homes. So let me share some of my knowledge with you to make the entire selection process easier.

7 Questions to Consider when Choosing a Sheer Curtain

Like a lot of other design choices for your home, deciding on the best type of sheer curtain is really about going through a series of questions. Once you answer each one you tend to reach a decision pretty quickly.

The seven main considerations when narrowing down the sheer curtain you’ll want for your home are:

  1. What heading style will you go for? There’s a few we’ll cover off below
  2. What color and material will you choose for your sheer?
  3. Where will they be fixed – wall or ceiling? And how wide will they go?
  4. Do you want them raised off the floor, or pooling onto it?
  5. What rod/track color will your sheer curtain sit on?
  6. Which direction will they open: Centre or left/right?
  7. Will they open via a cord or hand-pull?

Designer Style, Delivered

Don’t feel overwhelmed by this. I’ll take you through your options below for each of the 7 questions above, so you can reach a decision on your sheers once and for all. It’s not as hard as it seems, I promise!

Sheer Curtain Heading Styles: S-Fold, Eyelet or Pleat?

The heading of your sheer is a good place to start, because it really can make or break the overall look of the curtain more than any other element can. Here’s a quick description of the main heading styles on offer:

S-Fold Curtain Heading

This is the one I run with the most when working with design clients. The top of the curtain curves back and forth in an ‘S’ orientation along the track or rod it’s fixed to. It’s a modern look with a sense of sophistication to it. Because the track it’s attached to can be barely visible, it’s a somewhat minimalist look. It’s an absolute foolproof option and will look good in any style home.

Eyelet Curtain Heading

Eyelet curtains curve back and forth, the way an S-Fold curtain does, except there’s a rod running through each ‘S’ at the top. Rather than being attached to a slimline track, you slide a rod through each hole in the top of the curtain, which has a metal eyelet attached to it to protect the fabric. This style works best in a traditional home where you want the rod to be a feature.

Pleated Curtain Heading

This is by far the most traditional of the sheer curtain headings available. With pleats, there’s more bunching and detail across the top of the curtain because there’s more fabric being used. Because there’s more fabric, you do get a lot more bunching when the sheer curtains are open. The pleated curtains are attached to a rod/track using small hooks or rings.

There are of course different types of pleats available, so ask your curtain manufacturer if the traditional route is one you want to go down.

Best Sheer Curtain Color and Material

Once you know the curtain heading you want, it’s time to consider the fabric and color. Now, as you’re probably well aware, there are tonnes of colors available, and the same goes for fabric. I don’t want to overcomplicate it, so let’s explore some of the main options for you.

Color

Most clients I work with are going for a white or grey curtain. The idea of having a sheer curtain is to add softness to a room and filter the light. As such, you’re not looking to add a dramatic color statement to the space.

When choosing a sheer curtain color, you need to consider the tone of your walls and flooring. There should be a relationship between these three elements. If you want an effortless, fade-into-the-background vibe, choose a white sheer with a white wall. If you want to add a bit of interest, contrast a grey sheer against a white wall.

I did this Hamptons home where the walls were a light blue. I chose a crisp white sheer curtain to contrast against the paint, because that’s what the Hamptons look is all about. Concrete floors in a mid-grey, for example, pair well with light greys sheers or white ones, depending on how much interest you want to introduce.

Material

There are even more materials than there are colors available to you with sheer curtains, and every supplier will have their preferred materials to choose from. There are a few main types though.

On the lighter, smoother and more transparent end of the spectrum we have Voile, which is a blend of cotton, linen and polyester. It’s a simple, clean-looking material that works well in a variety of interior design styles. It’s often the more affordable option and doesn’t deliver much detail or interest in the fabric.

On the slightly heavier and more textured end of the spectrum we have linen sheer curtains, which aren’t as transparent and present a noticeable weave in the fabric. These are great for traditional homes with Hamptons or Provincial styles, or can even add some warmth to industrial spaces that feel a bit cold and sterile.

There are options in-between these two material ends of the spectrum, but it’s best you ask your supplier to see the options in-person. And always ensure you hold them up in the light against a window, because the color and material will always look different here than sitting flat against a tabletop in the studio.

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