How to Choose the Perfect Curtains for Your Home
As any decorator will tell you, curtains can make a room — but only when chosen correctly. The choice depends not only on what looks good, but what their purpose is, will the curtains work on the specific window you’re wishing to hang them on and will it be right for the activities in that room?
Every room is different, maybe you have the same carpet running throughout the house, however having the same kind of curtains in every room can often be the wrong choice. Some rooms need light and airy curtains, while others might need a heavier fabric. It depends on the purpose of the room and how much daily sunlight that room receives. The other big factor is what colour the walls are and what furniture you have. It’s important to make sure that all the colours in the room complement each other.
With so many decisions, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. We’ve put together some tips for choosing the perfect curtains for your home.
1. Deciding on the Function of the Curtain
What do you want the curtain to do? Is its purpose to block light, or do you need it to be translucent so it can let through as much light as possible? Do you want it to create privacy by shielding the room from the street or the neighbours? For example, if you’re putting drapes on a picture window, you want them to be light and easy to open, so that you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful outside view.
Of course, in some situations it will be both light and shade, privacy and a view required. In that case, you probably need to use a heavier drape that can be left open, with a sheer, lighter shade of fabric behind it, so that some light can still be let in during the day.
2. Colour and Fabric
Fabric is an essential part of choosing curtains. The specific fabric chosen will impact the room in various ways. Curtains can easily lift a room’s colours and make it feel larger and brighter, however it’s important to take into account the fabric, colours and specific curtain system, to make sure you will achieve your desired look.
If you want to have the curtains blend in rather than stand out, pick something that is slightly darker than the walls, or a subtle shade that is already part of the room. A fine print can also work, if the windows are not the dominant feature in the room.
Rumpus rooms and children’s bedrooms are the best rooms for curtains that experiment with crazy patterns, bright colours and features such as tassels. If you’re using period design with strong wallpaper patterns like a regency stripe, then a solid colour will be most appropriate. For cinema or gaming rooms you’ll need to be able to block out the light into the room and to shade the screen to play video games.
There are an amazing range of choices when it comes to picking fabrics for curtains, linen, velvet and silk are great choices, as they hang beautifully. Faux silk is hardier than the real thing, as well as less expensive, so it is worth considering.
Choosing a fabric also depends on the style of the room it is going to be hung in. A heavy velvet brocade is obviously not suitable for a child’s bedroom, and should be kept for more formal rooms such as the dining room or hallway. Bright prints work best in well-lit rooms and the less formal parts of the house, such as the family room and the kitchen.
Of course, curtains can also decorate a room, with bold block colours and simple patterns being great choices.
If the curtains are too heavy, they may not fold crisply when drawn; too light and they may not fall nicely, I suggest holding fabrics up to a window, even pleat it like an accordion at the top, let it drape and look at how it falls.
Also, remember sunlight will fade fabrics over time. If the room in question gets a lot of light, it’s smart to avoid bright colours, since they tend to fade faster. Neutral colours are less likely to fade than other colours and also a great option.
There are many headings to choose with curtains such as a more structured triple pinch pleat and the more informal pencil pleat. Each heading will allow the fabric to fall in a certain way creating a very different look. For a very casual coastal room you may choose the soft fold or if it is a sheer sitting behind a drape maybe the gathered or rod slot is sufficient. Which ever you decide will need to suit the fabric and track to which the curtain is to be hung on.
4. Length and Lining
Hanging curtains higher than the window will give a sense of height to the room, and for a more traditional or coastal look you can add extra length to the curtain so it is slightly puddled on the floor. For a modern, crisp look, have the curtain fall flush with the floor.
The type of curtain you choose will often pre-determine which track, rod and hardware you require.
Rods come in all shapes, colours, materials and sizes. You can choose styles that suit any type of décor, wood, metal, plastic, brass, silver just to name a few.
The style of curtain you choose may require a track, this can either be cord drawn, hand traverse or motorised and again these come in a range of styles, sizes and colours.
Many parts of Australia have a warm or quite tropical climate. Curtains are a great way to help keep the heat out in summer and in winter retain the heat inside. Heating and cooling will often make a heavy curtain cost-effective if it helps insulate a window that would otherwise be a big drain on a comfortable indoor environment and your hip pocket. You can select a fabric that has a self coated lining, a triple weave or choose a fabric that requires an additional separate lining which is attached to the fabric in either blockout or cotton.
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