A striking window dressing is often the eye-catching aspect of a room – and the feature that gives most scope for creativity. Whether you choose curtains or blinds, they are fundamental in creating a well-dressed room. As for the functional aspect; good window treatments can trap warmth, provide privacy and make a feature of less-than-handsome windows. All window treatments are an investment and so expert planning is a must. Ideally, curtains and blinds should be custom-made and there are local companies who will make a house visit to measure and assess the specifications of each window as well as discussing individual requirements.
For centuries we have been hanging textiles at windows to keep away draughts; well-made curtains will not only provide the perfect drape but also help retain heat and make your house a warm, cosy place.
The fabric of your curtain must be carefully chosen and the choice of fabric available today is endless. This year we will see a lot more colour injected into both curtains and blinds. The floral designs that have been big in fashion recently are now coming through in furnishings and drapery fabrics. We will see more bold prints, metallic and eco-friendly fabrics; a combination of luxury metallics with more earthy, natural fibres like linen, hemp and cotton. Other more cocooning fabrics like velvet, chenille and wool still remain a popular choice for curtains. Some upholstery fabrics, such as cotton-wool Indian crewels, can too be used for drapery.
One of the first things to consider is privacy. Fine voiles and floaty sheers can look pretty but are best kept for daytime screening. For privacy at night you will require a thicker, lined treatment. Lining curtains will prevent fabric fading and also make the curtain hang better, but interlining will really keep the room warm. Interlining is a thick blanket like lining which sits between the face fabric and the lining on the back. A professional curtain maker should offer this service.
The thickness of the fabric also affects whether a lining is necessary. Fine fabrics will need a thick interlining, otherwise you will get too many creases and folds in the curtain.
If you decide on using a patterned fabric for your curtain, especially if it has a large vertical pattern repeat; this can end up being costly as a lot of fabric will be wasted. So, avoid large designs if you are on a tight budget.
Curtain headings can vary and there are a number of popular styles to choose from. The ‘Goblet’ and ‘triple-pleat’ headings are the most traditional, whilst the double pleat is more contemporary in feel. The ‘gathered’ headings have a country feel and the ‘wave’ is modern and urban.
The amount of fabric needed for each heading varies. For a wave heading you will need double the amount of fabric per curtain, however, with a ‘double pleat’, gathered and goblet headings, you will require two-and-a-half times, whilst for a triple-pleat you will need two-and-three-quarter times.
There are some beautiful curtains poles on the market and a decorative curtain pole can add visual impact. Setting the poles slightly higher than is usual above a window gives the illusion of additional height.
This year one common thread between curtains and blinds is colour and pattern. Blinds have lost their overtones of functionalism and have gained a new excitement, whether used alone or as an underdressing to curtains.
You can even combine interlined curtains with roller or Roman blinds, tightly fitted into the window recess to guard against draughts. Specialist blinds companies also offer thermal blinds, which are woven with a metallic fibre to reflect heat back into a room.
To control sunlight in a conservatory there are modern light control options such as pleated blinds or specialist roller blinds with aluminium backing, which simultaneously block light and reflect heat away from the room.
There are other innovative window blinds that are available in the market today which are both attractive and practical. For example, the ‘window blind’ fits neatly into a stylish frame, which moves together with the windows and doors when they are opened or closed. These are both stylish and contemporary whilst particularly suited to conservatories and conservatory roofs.
Pinoleum blinds diffuse sunlight prettily, by transforming the sun’s glare into soft, dappled light that creates a relaxing ambiance in the room. These blinds allow light filtration without creating a blackout effect. The Pinoleum blinds are made using natural materials and natural in tone, but some companies offer a range of soft colours.
The latest in modern technology is the remote-controlled blinds and they can be installed onto any window, without the need of cables. Because the blinds are controlled by a remote, you can adjust the blinds from anywhere in the room. These blinds have a three to five year battery life, perfect for hard-to-reach windows whilst being energy efficient. They also come in a wide variety of beautiful colours, fabrics and textures tailor made to suit you.
In 2014 all blinds are required to meet certain safety standards to help prevent accidents with children and blinds, with powered blinds one of the safest options available.
Whether you choose curtains or blinds for your windows or both, they will enhance the interior of your home.