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"The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Curtains for Your Home Décor"

Never underestimate the power of curtains! 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 to frame the window and add depth and cosiness.

I feel curtains are very undervalued by most people, they see them as expensive and unnecessary, but I'd argue that they are an integral part of the room and its structure. Whether they are fully working curtains or dress curtains, they work wonders to bring a room together.

Floor length patterned curtains framing a hall window at the end of a light and bright corridor

Revival by Design

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

Let's just have a quick run down of curtains; not all are equal. As I'm sure you will have found out if you have ever shopped for curtains, that there is an amazing array of options, from off the shelf, in standard widths and drops, to made to measure bespoke curtains with embellishments, trims, tassels, and fringes. There is a massive range when it comes to cost; one reason for this is mass production versus them being locally made just for you and your window, with the other main reason being the quality of the fabrics and linings used in them.

The mass-produced, off the shelf options are made as cheaply as possible with thin linings and cheap fabrics, and the options can be quite limited, whereas with bespoke curtains, the quality is much higher and you can have whatever your heart desires. They are made to measure to fit your windows exactly and because the are made for you to your specifications, you can have exactly what you want to suit your room. You can have a lot of fun playing around with fabrics and even incorporating trims or borders to give them that extra touch of individuality, which is something you simply cannot get from off the shelf.

At Revival by Design we specialise in the latter and we work with you to create something truly unique, just for you.

So, when considering curtains, there are quite a few things to think about.

  • You should know that good quality curtains, in a considered design scheme, will be an investment. However, if you plan and choose correctly it's unlikely you will change your curtains for a number of years. Most people change their car far more often!

  • Think about what you want the curtains for...

    • Is it to dress the window?

    • To add height to the room?

    • Maybe to provide interest, depth texture?

    • Or to keep your room warm during the winter months?

    • Or to darken the room to allow for sleeping on lighter mornings?

  • Chances are its more than one, if not all of the above.

Floor length cartridge heading neutral curtains on a chunky wooden pole

Ok, so let's look at the purpose of your curtains. Think about your home, do you live in a Grade II listed Georgian property with single glazed original windows, or a new build home where thermal efficiency is high, or maybe it's somewhere in-between? If you need thermal efficiency, you wouldn't choose voile curtains for example, because they aren't going to offer any thermal properties, whereas velvets and heavy linens will. I always urge my clients to pick a fabric that they love, in a colour that works with their decor, or a colour that works with the intended theme. You could let the curtains lead the design, and don’t be afraid to go with something colourful and patterned if that's what you feel. Conversely you can go with something plain, for example if you have other competing fabrics and colours in the room - there is always the opportunity to add a trim, border or leading edge to make it feel a bit more special than just a plain standard curtain, after all these are curtains are designed especially for you, so you can have whatever you want.

Before we move on to headings and linings, which will be covered in the next blog, it's important to consider your window. Most standard British homes have a radiator under the window - the bane of an interior designers life, they create the conundrum of the half height curtain! I would urge you to always consider other options before going with a half height curtain, they don't ever do a room justice.

There are a few options to consider here;

  • Roman blind - we will cover these in a future blog, but they are a great option instead of a curtain and can be made with both blackout and interlining for thermal efficiency.

  • Best of both - A roman blind and dress curtains, this is a beautiful way to dress your window and adds real depth and layering.

  • Better still, roman blind and full working curtains, you have the option for different look when the curtains are drawn and you can them when when your radiator is not in use.

Bay windows are also fun! If you don't have a radiator under the window in a bay, then consider a bent track that runs around the shape of the window. If you do have a radiator, opt for the blind and dress curtains, that way you still get heat from your radiators without compromising on the fabric you fell in love with. I wouldn't suggest running a curtain across the front of a bay window, as you not only loose the wonderful feature of the window, but floor space as well.

Many people like the plantation shutter option, although I can't say I'm a huge fan. I find them cold and a bit austere, I'm a true fabric lover! If you do like shutters consider softening the space with half height shutters and have romans above. As an alternative option, if it's privacy you are looking for, consider voile roller blinds behind your roman blind - I will touch more on this in a blinds blog, but the upside to a voile roller is the they are more cost effective, let in more light and can be automated.

So hopefully this has given you some food for thought in your planning process. I also hope it's helped and not confused the situation further!

If you'd prefer to chat to us in person and get our help in designing some curtains for you please make a free appointment here

In the next blog I'll talk about headings and linings, and how these choices will influence the look and feel of your room.

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