The way the windows are treated has a big influence on the finished look of a room. Curtains, blinds and shutters all aid a room’s privacy, dress the window, and alter the amount of natural light that can enter the room.
Curtains are the most popular form of window dressing chosen for our living spaces. We love them for their practical uses – they aid the room’s privacy and help keep it warm and draught free – but, more importantly, we choose them because they help influence the atmosphere and style of the room. Whatever the curtain style, the softness and drape of the folds of hanging fabric brings a cosy, comforting element toy our homes.
Assessing your windows
Before you think about fabrics and curtains headings, take a look at the window itself. Study the window shape, its size and its relation to the rest of the room. Bear in mind the architectural style of the room as a whole; casement windows in a low-ceilinged cottage need a completely different window treatment from a large bay window in a Victorian home. Aim for the curtains to work with the proportions of the room.
Think about the amount of light which comes into the room, and whether you’d like to take advantage of this, or if you need curtains that help to darken the room for sleep.
Large, bulky curtains make small windows look over-dressed, while floor-length curtains help to make rooms appear taller. Maximize the amount of sunshine in darker rooms by ensuring the curtains pull right back from the window. Long, wide curtains – such as those needed for bay windows – are a great way to show off with a fabric with a large scale or dramatic pattern. These days window treatments tend to be understated with few flounces or pelmets, whatever the age of the house or style of interior.
Choosing Curtain Length
The standard lengths for curtains are sill-length, below the sill, and floor length.
Floor length curtains make a definite design statement, drawing the eye to the window whether the curtains are pulled or drawn. They use a substantial amount of fabric and therefore are more expensive to make or to buy.
Sill and below sill-length curtains are less costly to make or to buy, as they use less fabric. They are less formal, and can add a ‘country-cottage’ effect to windows. They suit smaller windows are windows in small rooms where floor length curtains will look much too grand.
The range of fabrics on sale can be baffling, and so having some ideas in your head about the look you want to create will help narrow down your choice. Consider your budget and the style of the rest of the room. Is it large and formal? Simple and contemporary? Small and cosy? What kind of effect do you want: soft and romantic, crisp and modern, dramatic? Compare your chosen swatches with the paint or wallpaper swatches to ensure the elements work together.
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