Originally designed for purely practical reasons, curtains are a key part of your room's colour scheme. When selecting curtains make sure you keep their practical uses in mind to ensure that you select curtains that will not only look good but that will also be functional.
Consider whether you need curtains that:
If, for example, you are hoping to soften the window architecture, but privacy isn't that important, you may opt for cafè curtains instead of heavy curtains. However, if a bedroom can be seen from the street, cafè curtains may not provide the desired privacy.
While choosing curtain fabric, consider the effect you are trying to achieve, the curtain's resistance to fading and the weight of the curtain fabric (this will generally affect its ability to retain heat).
Always fix your track into place before measuring for curtains, so that you can get exact measurements. The height of the pole will depend on the curtain length you choose. There are three common lengths - sill length, just below sill length and floor length. There are no rules as to which you should choose, but consider the window size and shape, the other room furnishings and the end result you are trying to achieve. If you are using curtains over a ranch slider you would generally use floor length curtains. However a small window in a kitchen may be covered with sill length curtains so that they can be easily pulled back to allow more light. The length of the curtain track will be determined by the window recess area, or if placing the track outside the window recess area, allow an extra 15cm on each side so that the curtain can be pulled back off the window for maximum sunlight.
Curtain linings protect the curtain fabric from coming into contact with the window, dirt, dust, sunlight and other contaminants, while also promoting light exclusion and insulation. Unlined curtains are ideal where insulation and light exclusion are less important than easy laundering and versatility. The steam and moisture present in rooms such as kitchens and laundries necessitates more regular washing of curtains in these areas, so you may opt for lighter unlined curtains, or detachable linings, to make them easier to clean.
There are many window dressing options other than the common fabric curtains - choose from sheer curtains, pelmets, blinds and the list goes on. Sheer curtains are traditionally hung at windows to give privacy to a room that is overlooked, or to screen an unpleasant view. Since they become transparent at night, additional curtaining will be required to ensure privacy. Blinds are an increasingly popular choice, particularly for awkwardly placed windows and where there is limited space.
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