Curtain linings do a number of things -

  • They assist with insulation in summer and winter to keep your power costs down.
  • They protect your fabric from the UV rays thereby protecting your investment.
  • They cut out light transference to darken your room.
  • They make the folds of the curtains hang better.
  • They help with noise control.
  • On a separate track behind sheers they give you options for daytime privacy, insulation and light control.
 The fabric properties that determine the effectiveness of your linings depend on three things:
1) The type of fabric the lining is made from.
2) The tightness of the weave or knit.
3) The thickness of the fabric.

Linings are usually stitched into the pleated heading of your curtains but you can also choose to have your linings made so that they are detachable.
In this case both the curtain and the lining will use the one hook but you will be able to separate the lining from the curtain for laundering. 


When choosing a lining for your curtains there are some things you need to consider. The answers to the following questions will guide you to the best option.
  • What is the room used for? Bedroom, Living Room, Family Room?
  • What is the aspect of the window? North, South, East, West?
  • Are the windows protected by a wide awning or veranda?
  • Is there a need for privacy during the day? Facing the street?
  • How dark does the room need to be with the curtains closed?

There are various base cloths that are used in the Soft Furnishings Industry as curtain linings. The three main ones are:
  • 100% Cotton Linings
  • 100% Polyester Linings
  • Coated Linings (1 Pass, 2 Pass, 3 Pass)
  • The industry also uses an interlining, called Bumph (either Cotton or Polyester), which sits between the lining and the decorative fabric. 

100% Cotton Linings – If the cotton lining is lightweight and not dense then it becomes the least effective as an insulator but if it is a heavy dense weave, like a good quality sateen then it will be an effective insulator. Cotton Linings allow a soft diffused light to enter the room through the curtain fabric but be aware that as light is “yellow based”, especially in Australia, this can distort the colours you see in the curtain fabric. Cotton is easy to launder and if there are any mildew problems cotton is an easier fabric to treat than some other linings but please also remember there is a possible 3%-5% shrinkage factor for 100% Cotton. 

Coated Linings – Coated Linings can have a base cloth of 100% cotton, a mix of polyester and cotton, or 100% polyester. They have a layer of acrylic foam coating adhered to the back of the cloth. Coated Linings are described as 1 Pass, 2 Pass, or 3 Pass. All of these offer good thermal properties and UV protection but remember that the third consideration, the thickness of the fabric, is what gives 3 Pass, also known as Blockout Lining, the edge in UV protection and thermal rating. Coated Linings can be laundered by either washing or dry cleaning, or both, depending upon their composition, but if your windows are large then the meterage of fabric in your linings may be very difficult to handle in a domestic washing machine (some only recommend commercial cleaning)  and also, finding a suitable place to hang them correctly to dry might prove challenging. Also remember that all fabrics will state that there is at least a 3% possibility of shrinkage. 

1 Pass - I Pass Coated Lining has a single layer of the coating on the base cloth so that it darkens the room but it still allows a diffused light to filter through the fabric. 
2 Pass – 2 Pass Coated Lining has two layers of coating on the base cloth. The first layer is dark grey and the second layer is white. Unfortunately the dark grey coating tends to show through the base cloth to change its appearance to a very light grey. For this reason 2 Pass Coated Linings are rarely used. 
3 Pass – 3 Pass Coated Lining has three layers of coating. The first layer is a white layer, the second is the dark grey of the 2 Pass Lining and the third layer is a final white coating. 3 Pass Lining is often described as Blockout Lining as you won’t be able to detect any light coming through the lining. It is ideal for darkening a room but be aware of light that can still come into the room from above the rod and at the sides of the curtain. If you want to maximum darkness remember to not just line your curtains with Blockout Lining but also return your curtains to the wall at each end of the track and to place a pelmet at the top. 

100% Polyester Linings – Polyester Linings, whether knitted or woven, are naturally mould and mildew resistant, wash easily, and don’t shrink. Knitted versions are quite dense because of the knit and therefore give excellent UV protection. They are also ideal for lining light fabrics, sheers and laces so that you don’t loose the delicate look of the decorative fabric. They allow a lot of filtered light. 

Bumph Interlinings: Bumph is used as an interlining. It sits between the lining and the decorative fabric. Bumph comes in various weights and thicknesses and is available in both cotton and polyester base cloths. Bumph enhances the ability of a curtain to insulate and it also helps with noise reverberation. For luxurious fine fabrics like silks, it adds body and makes them drape better. Most bumph interlinings are Dry Clean only. 


Insulation: Once you understand that the way to keep warm air in and cold air out in winter (and vice versa in summer) is by trapping a layer of still air between the glass and the room, then it is easier to think through how to do it as effectively as possible. Trapping a layer of air (in various degrees of stillness) is what curtains do but a lined curtain makes it a thicker barrier and has the added benefit of creating another very thin layer of still air between the lining and the decorative fabric of the curtain. Remember that any gaps at the base, sides, and top of the curtains affects the degree of "stillness" of the air because gaps cause draughts.......which means that the air is not completely "still". Anything you can do to keep the air as still as possible, even if not perfectly so, will help with insulation. 

UV Protection: The lining of a curtain is always at the "coal face". It is always right there The UV is what breaks down the fibres to rot the lining so if it doesn't have good UV protection factor then the UV filters through to attack the decorative fabric. The condensation is mostly what causes mildew or mould on the linings. 

Light Control & Privacy: The amount of light control & privacy needed depends on the room as well as how you personally like to use the space. If a room is facing the street or if it is a bedroom that requires daytime privacy then a lining on a separate track behind a light curtain works well as it will give you the maximum flexibility for how and when and why you use the linings. A cotton lining, a polyester lining and a 1 Pass coated lining will allow filtered light so that, even if the lined curtains are mostly closed, you are not always entering a very dark room. A 3 Pass coated lining will black out all light that the eye can see but you must also remember that light can escape at the sides and at the top of the curtains so, for maximum light control, your curtains must be returned to the wall at both ends of the track that should be fitted well above the window (preferably top fixed to the ceiling) or under a pelmet. 

Noise Reduction: Acoustic fabrics used as linings and their ability to absorb sound waves to reduce reverberation within a room is a specialised area and we cannot, in this article cover the subject fully. Sound waves in many frequencies from low to high and different fabrics absorb frequencies differently. The rule for the effectiveness of acoustic fabric in order to assist with reverberation is that, for best results, the curtains should sit 1/4 of the wave length of the lowest frequency to be absorbed, from the wall and the ceiling. When considering general domestic curtaining, a thick lined curtain will still make a room considerably quieter and by adding a porous layer like a bumph interlining, it will be even more effective. Please remember that the ability of curtains (even with bumph interlining), whether acoustic or not,to keep external noise from a room is limited. It is also important to address the acoustic effectiveness of the windows, doors, wall, floors and ceilings.


The best "value" for your money you will get from your new curtains is not related to the price you paid but to the enjoyment you will have over many years in loving what you chose for your home. The best way to protect that investment is to line your curtains!