Burlap is a dense and coarse woven fabric made out of the skin of the jute or hemp plant. It's popular eco-friendly material used for a variety of different things such as home decor, crafting, shipping and more.
When you think of jute burlap, it's common to think of handmade burlap Christmas decorations and wreaths or shipping and storage sacks for rice, grains and other food items, but burlap has many more uses - especially within the home.
Burlap curtains are an increasingly popular window treatment option that provides a rustic and natural look that lends itself particularly well to the farmhouse or country aesthetic. Read on to learn everything you need to know about burlap curtains.
Everything You Need to Know About Burlap Curtains
Burlap curtains are an excellent drapery option if you're looking for semi-sheer curtains for your living room, kitchen or commercial space. They are an accessible, shabby chic and easy to DIY alternative to linen curtains.
If you like the look of burlap drapes, you'll want to know the pros and cons and whether you should consider DIYing or buying your curtains before you begin your next home improvement project, so let's get into it.
How are Burlap Curtains Made?
Burlap curtain panels and burlap valances will be made differently depending on if you're looking to go the DIY or store bought route and whether you want the country curtain look of natural burlap or a slightly more polished look of dyed burlap.
Natural Burlap vs. Dyed Burlap
Natural jute burlap is a rustic brown or tan color. While this color lends itself well to those looking for farmhouse curtains, or a more shabby chic look, some may wish to have the benefits of this eco-friendly fabric but in a color that matches their current decor and gives off a slightly more polished look.
The process of dying burlap can be a bit involved, so typically, if you're looking for dyed burlap for a home decor project such as curtains, you'll likely be buying the fabric pre-dyed. You can find dyed burlap in a variety of colors, including blue, black, red, purple and orange, and you may even be able to find some burlap that is dyed using natural dyes.
The process of dyeing burlap at home involves bleaching your burlap to obtain a lighter, white colour before dyeing it using store-bought fabric dye as you would any other fabric. Burlap, however, can easily fray during dyeing and may take longer to gain the desired color - sometimes requiring multiple attempts. It's also possible that your color may come out patchy, especially if you were unable to bleach your burlap to a light enough colour.
Rod Pocket vs. Grommet Top Burlap Curtains and Window Valances
What's the difference between rod pocket and grommet top curtain and valance designs?
Rod pockets typically involve folding over a piece of the curtain fabric at the top and sewing or using no-sew adhesive to create a pocket. This makes for an easy DIY curtain project as there's no advanced sewing involved. The rod pocket allows you to slip the curtain onto your curtain rod easily. It's a simple and minimal look that lends itself well to small windows such as kitchen windows or areas of your house where you don't need or want your curtains to be a focal point.
Grommet top curtains involve affixing metal rings along the top of your curtain to create a more contemporary design and adds a bit more of a design focus to your window dressings. These grommets can come in a variety of sizes to suit the size of the window, the curtain size and the material being used; they also come in a variety of different colors and metals so you can choose the finish that best suits your space. Grommet top curtains take a bit more skill to DIY at home but can add some sophistication and more of a polished look to your window treatments.
DIY vs. Store Bought Burlap Curtains
For DIY burlap curtains, you may choose to go the no-sew route for creating your window curtains and valances or if you have some sewing skills, you can go all out and create beautiful floor length panels with grommets and tie backs. While most store bought curtains will look similar to your traditional linen curtain panels with grommets or sewn in rod pockets.
Which route you decide to go will depend on a few things:
- Crafting and sewing ability
- Desired look
If you have a limited budget, DIYing your curtain panels can be an easy way to save money, especially on larger home improvement projects where that money can be put to better use elsewhere. Burlap is an affordable and accessible fabric, and choosing to go for a new-sew design with a rod pocket can bring the cost down even more. However, if you are looking to create a more polished look with dyed burlap and/or grommets and tie back, then your DIY project can start to get a bit more pricey, and that's when you want to compare how much it will cost you in materials vs. how much it'll cost to buy pre-made curtains.
How much time do you have? If you're looking to add the finishing touch to a large home reno, it may be best to go store-bought for your burlap curtains and burlap valance as your time may be better spent on other parts of your project. On the other hand, if you have the time and are looking to keep your budget for window dressings down, DIY is the way to go.
Crafting and Sewing Ability
Let's face it, we all look at Pinterest for crafts and home decor ideas fully convinced that we can pull them off and get the exact results shown in the pictures- but that's often not the case. So while it may be a fun idea, making your own curtain panel sets, if you've never been one to craft or have no idea what to do with a needle a thread - it may be time to step away from the Pinterest DIYs and use that inspiration to find your perfect store bought curtain.
What look are you trying to achieve? A rustic country curtain, a cafe curtain with eco-friendly hipster vibes, farmhouse curtains that are a bit more refined? Knowing the exact look, you're going for when it comes to your window treatments is an easy way to determine whether you'll be better off buying your curtains or DIYing them. It's easy to achieve a simple, rustic look with a DIY curtain, but it can take more skill to create a more refined look or a rod pocket curtain, in which case it may be better to buy.
Pros of Burlap Curtains
What are the pros of burlap curtains over something like the more traditional linen or cotton curtain panels?
- Semi-sheer, light filtering is great for living rooms and kitchens. Provides a good amount of privacy without blocking all light like a blackout curtain.
- Made of eco-friendly, sustainable materials.
- Affordable, whether you're buying or DIYing.
- Burlap is exceptionally durable and long-lasting.
- Adds texture to a space.
Cons of Burlap Curtains
Here are some of the cons you should consider if you're looking to choose burlap curtains for your home:
- Burlap tends to be sold as smaller panels of fabric mean more sewing and seams when making floor-length or large window dressings.
- The coarse texture of the material can easily attract dust and dirt.
- Limited color options - unless you find the less accessible and more expensive dyed burlap fabrics.
- It does not launder well - will often shrink.
- Unless hemmed or sewn in some way, you may notice fraying and shedding of fibres.
Other Uses for Burlap
If you've gone the DIY route for your burlap curtains, you may have leftover fabric that you'd like to put to good use - luckily, there are tons of great ways to make use of scrap burlap fabric:
- Cushions and accent pillows for your sofa.
- Eco-friendly gift bags/wrapping.
- Table runners for your dining room table
- Tote bags
- Bows for gift wrapping, wreath accents and home decor
- Ribbon or tree skirts for your Christmas tree
- Pinboards and wall art
- Wrapping trees to protect from extreme weather & other gardening uses
All in all, burlap can be a great alternative to traditional linen and cotton curtain panels for your home. Burlap adds texture to your space and creates a warm, rustic, country vibe that lends itself well to a variety of home decor styles. Using burlap curtains and burlap valances to dress your kitchen windows, living room windows, and more can be a budget-friendly way to add that finishing touch to your home improvement projects and can easily be DIYed for those with a crafty side. If you're looking for an affordable way to dress your windows, burlap may be the perfect choice for you.