Choosing The Right Curtains for Your Home – Choosing curtains to suit the style and image of your home might make more of a difference than you think. Other types of window covering can do the same job, but no other window treatment makes so much impact on a room. Professionals who know how to choose curtains will tell you that by using the right fabric, colors, headings and length of curtain, you can create the perfect finishing touch for any room.
By following some of the professional tips given in this guide you will be able to narrow your options and choose a window treatment that defines the theme of a room and pulls together all the elements of its decor.
Some care is needed when making your selection, because curtains can make a dramatic change to the appearance of a room. Learning how to choose curtains will allow you to make the right decisions about the type of fabric, length, width and curtain arrangements your windows require.
Color and Fabric
When you are choosing curtains, the type and weight of the fabric are important considerations. The way that curtains hang and how they fold depends on getting the fabric right. Curtains made with heavy silks and velvets provide excellent insulation, but cotton and rayon blends can be more practical curtain fabrics, because they are washable.
Curtain fabric should be chosen to match the mood of the room. Cotton, wool, cotton blends and wool blends all create a neat, crisp look that works well in any type of room. Velvet, cotton sateen, heavy silk and rayon blends are more suitable for a formal space.
Color co-ordination creates harmony within a room and enhances any style of decor. The best window treatment for a co-ordinated look is achieved by choosing curtains that blend in. The color should be a slightly darker shade than the walls or it should be matched with a non-dominant color in the decorating scheme.
The color you choose can either blend in with the decor or make a bold statement. A color blends in nicely when it’s a few shades darker than the walls or it matches a subtle color used in the decor. A strong color will make the curtains more of a focal point. If the curtains are unlined, consider how the sunlight will pass through and how it might infuse the room with color.
When there is already some patterned fabric or furnishings in the room, curtains in a solid color provide some balance. Solid color curtains allow a wider choice for accessories to be added and in options for future decorating options. When choosing curtains in a solid color, the best idea is to pick a shade that will not be too much of a contrast and will coordinate nicely with the furnishings. It’s not a good idea to have brightly colored curtains in a room with a formal decor.
Curtains in bright solid colors can fade over time if used in a room that is exposed to a lot of direct sunlight. They will also suffuse the interior with color in bright light conditions.
Curtains with patterns
Patterned curtains look good in a room that is dominated by one or more solid colors. Curtains with patterns made up of arabesques, trellises or medallions are more suitable in a traditional setting. Fabrics with small spots and floral designs look good in light, airy rooms.
Contemporary patterns that are made up of geometric shapes give a room a modern appearance. Curtains with vertical stripes add elegance and make a room look taller.
Choosing curtains with a tight weave and thermal qualities provide more protection against light and extreme temperatures. Quality blackout fabrics do not need to be heavy in appearance. They are available with many different color choices and in a variety of fabrics, including satins and silks that can be heavily pleated.
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The exact length required for a pair of curtains will depend on the style of window treatment. Measurements for curtains need to include any extra inches required from where the curtains are to hang to the level of their drop.
Curtains that drop down to the level of the floor look very crisp and modern. In a room with a traditional style of decor, longer curtains can be made to pool on the floor. A dramatic style that is often used by designers is achieved by hanging curtains from a rod, track or fitting that is placed higher up the wall than the top of the window.
A valance can hang alone or above a pair of curtains, where it can be used to conceal the curtain rod. A straight valance hung on its own is suitable for a kitchen window or any window where there is not much floor space below. It adds a country look or romantic feel to a room.
Victorian style valances can be made from heavily draped fabric that forms a swag. Highly decorative swags can be used as a focal point when draped across the top of a window, with lengths of the same fabric hanging down at either side.
Window scarves provide a room with a richer and softer quality. They are made from long pieces of light fabric and used in different styles. A window scarf can be looped at each side of the window through a bracket or loosely wrapped around a pole or a curtain rod. A more romantic look is achieved by using longer lengths of material, so that the scarf puddles on the floor and acts as a soft frame to the window. A shorter scarf can drop to the lowest level of the window or one side can be of a different length to the other.
How to Arrange Curtains
There is more than one way for curtains to be installed, and the fastest way of adding comfort to a room is to have the curtains arranged in the right way. Softness of light is something that also needs to be considered when choosing curtains. They can then be arranged quickly, to allow only the required amount of light into a room.
Tent flaps usually require a mounting board so that they can be attached and held firmly in position. They can be left hanging loose or held open by a grommet or a buttonhole in the fabric that can be slipped over a wall hook.
The advantage of using tent flaps to arrange the curtains is that they allow greater privacy control and the ability to choose how much light should be allowed into the room. An effective use of tent flaps is to create panels of decorative fabrics that are lined with a coordinated fabric, so that both sides will show when the flaps are opened.
Tiebacks are designed to hold curtains in place. They are particularly useful for preventing curtains from getting in the way or being blown by the wind when patio doors or windows are left open.
Different types of tieback can be formed from decorative ropes or braided materials, often ending with a tassel. They can also be made from fabric that matches or contrasts with the curtains they are intended to hold back.
Lovely long lengths of fine fabrics can be arranged so that they form overlaps and pool romantically on the floor beneath the window. The window is not hidden by this arrangement and a limited amount of light comes through the curtains. This creates the sort of soft and intimate mood that is suitable for a bedroom.
Curtains for tall narrow windows can be arranged so that they are held in place at the top and the bottom on rods, while the middle of the curtain is held by a tieback A similar effect can be achieved using tieback on the central part of a soft fabric panel and allowing the lower edge to pool out on the floor.
Curtain Heading Types
There are several options for the type of heading that can be used. The heading is the upper part of the panel which allows a curtain to be attached to a rod, rail or track. Different types of heading affect the way that curtains hang and should be chosen according to how and where the curtains are intended to be used.
Pencil pleat headings
Curtains with a pencil pleat heading have a series of deep folds placed closely together to resemble pencils lined up vertically against each other. The uniform gathering of the pleats is created by a cord, which can be used to adjust the fit so the curtain header is the right width for the window.
Triple pinch pleats
Triple pinch pleating is also known as French pleating and it makes curtains look particularly distinguished in a formal dining room or bedroom setting. The pleats are stitched in so they stay firmly in place
These pleats allow a softer gather for curtains in less formal rooms, such as a child’s bedroom or a kitchen. Cottage pleats are achieved by using a one inch heading tape. This should be fixed two inches from the top of the panel.
Goblet-shaped folds are suitable for heavier fabrics and a goblet heading can be used with curtain rods as well as being used with curtain tracks. Goblet curtain gathering looks good in a room with formal decor. It’s not suitable for use on a small curtain, when the goblets will not stack well.
Looser cylindrical folds are achieved with a cartridge heading, which is more suitable for a contemporary style rooms. Curtains with a cartridge heading can hang from a track or a rod.
A less formal, more relaxed and modern look is achieved with a tab-top heading, which consist of a series of flat loops of material along the top of the curtain panel. Tab tops are suitable for panels that are not opened to let in the light, because loops do not move easily along a rod or a wood pole.
Knowing how to choose curtains means that you will be able to select the best window treatments and use them to create the image you require for your home.