Common Curtain Mistakes To Avoid

19th Aug 2022
Common Curtain Mistakes To Avoid

When selecting and hanging curtains in your home, there are a few common mistakes that can end up causing you a lot of hassle, time, and even extra expense. Curtains are an investment that should last you for many years to come. 

They play an important role in the décor and colour scheme of the room, and also help you control the amount of light and the temperature in the room. To help you enjoy the full benefit of your new curtains, here are some common mistakes to avoid. 

Not measuring up accurately

This is the biggie, of course. The size of the curtains you need obviously depends on the size of the window where they will hang. However, you should measure the length of the rail or pole above the window rather than the window itself. The pole or rail should be positioned about 15 cm above the window, and extend for 15-20cm on each side. 

Ready-made curtains come in standard widths, which should be double the width of the track or pole, to allow for the curtains to gather at the top, and overlap fully in the middle when they are closed. Remember that even when the curtains are drawn, you will want them to hang in soft folds, rather than to be stretched flat across the window.

The gather can be affected by the type of fabric you use. For example, thinner fabrics may need extra length to create a pleasing gathered effect, and heavier or more sumptuous fabrics may need less. 

Not considering the overall effect on the room

Once you have nailed the width of the curtains, it’s time to consider the drop. This is where many people go wrong, because the drop of the window dressings can really alter the look and feel of the whole room. Floor length curtains can look stylish and elegant, and help to make the most of a beautiful fabric or print.

They can also help to make a room feel more spacious. However, if the window is small, longer curtains may look too overwhelming, so consider the overall effect. If there is a radiator under the window, the curtains should fall to about 3cm above this, to avoid blocking the heat. Overwise, measure them to fall about 15cm below the sill.

The way you measure will depend on whether you want eyelet or tab top curtains, or pencil or pinch pleat curtains. Eyelet and tab tops hang from a pole, whereas pencil and pinch pleats hang from a track and rail.

To measure for eyelets and tab tops, measure from the top of the pole to the desired length. If floor length, allow for about half an inch above the floor, so that they do not drag on the ground when they are drawn.

Not considering the weight of the fabric

The weight of the fabric will depend how much warmth, privacy, and light control that you get from the curtain. This may be affected by the room where they will be installed. For example, in an upstairs room that is not overlooked and gets a lot of sun, a lighter fabric such as voile may be adequate.

In a colder room, heavier curtains can help to add warmth and a sense of sumptuousness. If the room is overlooked, or you want an extra element of light control, you may want to install an additional layer of voile or net curtains, which allow the light to filter through, but stop the glare of direct sunlight, and shelter you from view during the day.

Not buying sturdy enough curtain rods

If you have a large window, or have chosen a heavy fabric for your curtains, then you will need to make sure that the curtain pole is up to the job. Choose a sturdy rod in metal or wood, that is at least 1 inch in diameter. A rod that bows under the weight of the curtains will really spoil the effect of the fabric and flow.

The rod should have support brackets every 50 inches, in a point that won’t interfere with the function of the curtains. As to the colour of the rod, you could either choose one that picks out an accent colour of the room, or choose one that tones with the colour of your curtains, or the colour of the walls. 

Not ironing your curtains before hanging them

Unless your curtains are made of an intentionally crinkled fabric, it’s important to iron them before hanging. This will make them fall beautifully straight, and show off the material and design of the curtains at its best.