The right curtains can be the perfect finishing touch to any room, but between fabric, size, colour and print, it’s easy to end up with a mismatch. When you’re shopping for curtains, keep these points in mind to make sure you find the right materials and measurements for you and your home.
Think carefully about how much light and heat you want to let into a room when choosing your fabrics. Suede, velvet, tapestry and tweed are particularly adept at keeping out the cold and blocking light, but many other fabrics can still be lined with a ‘bump,’ or piece of felt to make them thicker, warmer and more durable.
Although sheer fabrics are relatively inexpensive, their translucency makes them best reserved for sunrooms and conservatories. In bedrooms, you’ll need to think about whether you want light and airy curtains that let you wake up naturally with the sun, or heavy curtains that keep your room secluded, warm and private.
Colour and design
Colour can be used to add depth and personality. Matching curtains to the bedspread or a signature wall can help tie together a room, but even if you don’t want complete co-ordination, avoid clashing with the room’s décor. Remember that harsh light will make colours fade, so if the window faces the sun for most of the day, opt for neutral tones and avoid bright colours, as these tend to fade faster. When buying for children’s rooms, printed curtains are ideal for reflecting their personality and interests, making the room truly individual.
A blackout curtain or lining is a dense fabric that light can’t penetrate. A lining can be sewn onto the back of any curtain to keep out the sun, creating an easy space to nap which is certain to be appreciated by teens and babies alike! Floor-to-ceiling blackout curtains can also be used to convert a sitting room into a movie theatre: the more fabric you add, the better the acoustics will be.
Generally speaking, curtains that just touch the floor are perfect for family rooms, while drapes that pool on the floor create a romantic, elegant feel for the bedroom. If in doubt, go high or wide or both – it will make ceilings feel taller, the room feel brighter and the windows seem bigger. When measuring width, make sure to add four or five extra inches to adequately block the sun. To break up wide double glazed windows, you can try hanging several individual curtains across the window, attaching drawstrings or a pull-cord to each one so each panel can be closed individually.
If you have children, pets, or a tendency to spill, opt for machine washable and heat resistant curtains. Low-heat curtains can’t be put in the dryer, which can mean hours of ironing out creases each time you spring clean. Machine washable curtains are ideal for the dining or sitting room, since curtains here tend to be bigger than in other rooms. You shouldn’t need to clean your curtains too regularly, but when you do, there’s no harm in making it as easy as possible!