The Wonderful World of Curtains!

At this time of year most people are thinking of ways to make their home feel cosier and more thermally efficient for the winter months. Curtains will certainly help with both of those things. Often an afterthought, curtains are overlooked and are sometimes considered the last thing to organise, when really they should be considered very early on in the design process. They work to add structure and height to a room as well as frame the window and the view beyond.

Picture Katherine Pooley

Some people consider curtains to be a bit old fashioned, but we have to disagree. Curtains have certainly made a comeback in recent years and there are now some incredible fabrics to work with, including velours, wools and linens, in patterns and plains, that will really add feature and texture to your space.

When considering curtains, some people just look at the size of their window (particularly the depth - leaving the drop just to the sill), pick a colour, then pick a fabric that suits a budget they like the sound of, and off they go. But we say forget that approach, curtains are an investment and you change them less often than you change your car. Don’t be afraid to spend good money on them, they will pay back your investment many times over.

Pick a fabric that you love, in a colour that works with your decor (or a colour that works with your theme if you are intending to let the curtains lead the design) and don’t be afraid to go with something colourful and patterned. Then pick a heading that suits both the fabric and the room the curtains are going into (and the period of your property).

We cannot overstate how important headings really are - they can set the tone of your room and they also have an impact on how the fabric hangs and looks – it is a very important consideration.

There are 5 headings that are generally used more than any others;

Pinch Pleat, either in a triple or double formation. Pinch pleat curtains offer a smart tailored look for both contemporary and traditional homes. They require more fabric than most other headings though at 2.5 times the fullness. Also bear in mind that this style of hanging could affect the look of a patterned fabric.

Wave; an effortless modern look. Unlike an eyelet, this can be attached to a track. This way of hanging works better for light weight fabrics and sheers as opposed to heavy fabrics such as velours and weaves.

Eyelets are great for a modern more contemporary look and are more cost effective than other methods as less fabric is generally required. It has a lovely hanging pleat and requires a pole rather than a track.

Goblet Pleat; this is a very formal and traditional look, with a decorative heading that resembles a wine glass. It works well with very thick fabrics or silks and can be used with a pole or track.

Rod Gathered; this is an informal look and works well with lightweight fabrics and with curtains that are not used regularly (opening and closing can damage some lightweight fabrics).

Ideally, irrespective of the depth of the window, you should be allowing your curtains to go to the floor wherever possible. It's a much more finished and designed look. For ease of cleaning and better function it’s best to have the curtains sit just above the floor (1-2 cm’s is ideal). Some fabrics such as silks look beautiful when pooled, however pooling collects the dirt and can be difficult to clean around, so is not very practical for most homes; usually best left to formal settings.

It is worth considering interlining your curtains too (if the fabric isn’t too thick). Obviously interlining will increase the price, however it can have a massive impact on the appearance of the curtains and the warmth of the room, so we really think that in the right room and setting it is well worth the extra spend.

That’s a little bit of information about curtains and there is so much more we could say but we’ve run out of space – please feel free to contact us if you would like more information or help with your project.

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