Window dressing is a specialised subject and this is why it is so difficult to choose the perfect style, colour and fabric for your room. This is made even more difficult if you have big, old fashioned windows which require lots of material and the investment is therefore far greater. On the flip side you can completely transform a room by updating your curtains or blinds and in this post we will try to help you to ask the right questions at the start to keep the stress levels down and make the process a pleasure.
Are you curtains purely there to make your room look pretty or do you need them to be functional too?
The material you choose will determine how your curtains function and last, as well as how they look. Textured fabrics such as wool give a more quality and natural feel, with a longer shelf life, whereas synthetics or the current trend for prints and metallic thread has a more trendy, short term appeal.
Seeking only beauty?
You can get away with lighter weight fabrics such as silk, cotton or our 8oz wool
if you are looking purely for a pretty set of curtains to brighten up a room and you don't need to block out light or keep warm. There are so many beautiful fabrics from plain colours, to prints, checks and sheer or voile that the most difficult part is deciding which one to choose. Pick your key colour in our tartan finder
and you can distill the options down from there.
Draught excluder required?
Wool, chenille or velvet are the warmest options and lining or interlining will add to this and also helps with fading if the window is particularly sunny. If you don't want to line your curtains then our 16oz wool
is heavy and warm enough, with the added advantage that you can see the gorgeous tartan pattern from the outside and the inside.
Heavier weight fabrics will block out light, and you can of course add a blackout lining if you want total darkness. Order a sample of the fabric
and hold it up to the window to test its light blocking qualities. Sunlight fades all fabrics over time so if the room gets a lot of direct sunlight it may be best to opt for neutral colours as these are less susceptible to fading. Natural fabrics such as linen and pure wool are the most durable.
If your fabric is too light your curtains won't hang well. You need a decent weight to create sumptuous folds and drape, whereas fabric which is too heavy or stiff will not fold back nicely when you draw the curtains. Order a decent sized sample
or strip of fabric and pleat it at the top with your hands or some clothes pegs to can see how it drapes. If you are lining your curtains remember this will also add some body and smooth out the drape. You can of course vary the weight and stiffness of your lining and any good curtain maker will check this before you start. Curtains treated with fire retardant backings are generally not used for curtains as the treatment makes them very stiff but if you use a pure wool fabric
then it is naturally fire retardant to domestic standards.
To keep out the cold you have two options - use a heavyweight fabric such as velvet or our 16oz wool tartan
with a reverse cotton lining, or alternatively use what we call an 'interliner', which is a warm felt like material that sits between the curtain fabric and the reverse lining. New houses won't need interlining but if you live in a draughty Scottish farmhouse like me then this extra layer makes a big difference. Lining and interlining adds weight and substance to your curtains and can turn even thin silks, linens and cottons into perfectly good curtain material.
Curtain top style?
If you are using an existing pole or track then this may guide your choice of curtain hanging.
- Suitable for a curtain pole and the perfect style if you want to pull your curtains right back from the window during the day and very durable if you use good quality eyelets. Choose a funky colour to bring out the stripe in your tartan for a different look.
Tab top curtains
- Simple style with fabric loops instead of eyelets for use on a curtain pole.
Double or triple pinch pleat curtains
- Your curtain maker will complain as these are more fiddly to make but the pleats create a lovely, neat finish and work with well with a track or pole. Use a medium or lightweight fabric as otherwise the pleats become too bulky.
Inverted pleat curtains
- Regarded as more modern than than double or triple pleats the flat finish of the inverted pleat works really well with heavier fabrics on a pole.
Pencil pleat curtains
- Use on a track or pole if you are a fan of the pelmet then the pencil pleat is the design for you. The tape heading makes them less time consuming and expensive to make up and a good everyday style of curtain.
Simple gather curtains
- This more relaxed style does just what it says on the tin with a simple gathered top which works on a track or a pole.
So now you are all set to create a whole new look for your room with some statement curtains. If you love tartan
there are over 500 to choose from and if you prefer a more subtle check or tweed
then we have lots of those too, all available in various weights for curtains depending on the style you are looking for.
If you are completely bamboozled then please give us a ring and we will help you work out just what you need, tartan or not.