Real Silk or Faux Silk Curtains: Which Is the Better Option?

Silk and silk-like draperies are great options for when you want window treatments that are both soft and smooth to the touch, as well as luxuriously radiant when struck by light. If you’re in the market for new curtains or drapes that fall under the “silk” category, you basically have two options: real silk and faux silk.

If you aren’t sure which type of product to choose for your home, no worries. We’ve prepared this short guide about the pros and cons of each type of silk drapery material.

Real Silk Curtains
As the name suggests, real silk curtains are made of natural silk, which is a protein fiber produced from the spun cocoons of the silkmoth Bombyx mori. The long individual fibers of each silk cocoon are collected and reeled in before they are twisted into yarn strands to make them strong enough for weaving or knitting.

Real silk is known for its plush and luxurious feel while also affording that signature, sumptuous shine that has made it so popular throughout the centuries. However, due to the high costs involved in silkworm farming and in manufacturing the actual silk fabrics, natural silk curtains also often comes with a substantial price tag—something that will probably deter a lot of homeowners who are looking for the right window treatments.
Curtains that are made of natural yarns like real silk are also particularly at risk of fading and photodegradation. Constant exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can break down the fabric’s dyes while also causing the fabric itself to become more brittle over time. To make your silk curtains last longer, consider having your windows tinted with an anti-UV film that can block as much as 99 percent of the sun’s UV rays. You can also pull your silk curtains fully back from the window during the day to avoid directly exposing them to sunlight. 

Another point to consider is that natural silk tends to be quite delicate to begin with, which means you have to be very careful when handling them. Silk is best hand-washed when they need to be cleaned up. The good news is that silk curtains these days typically come with an additional fabric lining that makes them stronger and more durable.

Faux Silk Curtains
If real silk is not a practical window treatment option, faux silk drapes or curtains can offer the perfect compromise. Instead of comprising actual silk yarns, faux silk fabrics are typically made of synthetic yarns like polyester, semisynthetic ones like rayon, or natural analogs like mercerized cotton.

Faux silk fabrics might not have that distinctive opulent feel of real silk, but they can be almost as luxurious and shiny. As such, you must be careful to buy only from a trusted supplier to avoid being duped into buying faux silk that is passed off as real silk.

Faux silk curtains tend to be much cheaper than real silk curtains, which means you can achieve almost the same aesthetic effect for your home without breaking the bank. This is one of the faux silk’s most important advantages over real silk. Aside from this, faux is silk also less reactive to sunlight exposure. However, as a buyer, you, should be aware that all kinds of fabrics will fade and degrade much faster than they should when consistently exposed to direct sunlight. As such, make sure to apply the same preventative measures as when you are trying to preserve real silk curtains.  

When deciding between getting real silk or faux silk curtains for your windows, several factors will come into play. These include the quality of the fabric, their resistance to photodegradation, and their cost. Both faux silk and genuine silk are great options depending on what your priorities are and what you expect out of the products you buy.

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