Buying curtains can seem like a quite straightforward task, but as with so many things in life, once you start to look into it, there is rather a lot to think about! They are an important investment which will make a big difference to the look and feel of your home, so it’s worth spending some time making sure you have chosen the right option.
Interior design experts recommend that you buy the best quality curtains that you can afford, not just because they will add elegance and style to your home, but because they are also a good source of insulation.
Heavy, well-fitting curtains will keep your house warmer for longer, meaning you can turn down the thermostat and reduce the time the heating system is on. This will lead to lower energy bills, and also help to reduce your carbon footprint. Conversely, on warm sunny days, thick drawn curtains will keep the room feeling pleasantly cool.
Why choose lined curtains?
When they buy luxury curtains, many people choose lined ones, which have an inner layer of plain fabric panels hung over the decorative material. The insulating properties of lined curtains are greater, and they will also have a better blackout effect, which prevents sunlight filtering through into the room, and fading fabrics and upholstery.
Lined blackout curtains are the perfect choice for the bedroom, because they block out light pollution which can easily wake light sleepers. Even when drawn in the daytime, they will filter out most of the light, making them a good choice for nightshift workers, young children or older people who nap during the day, and those who suffer from migraines.
Lined curtains will add more body to the drapery, making them fall better and appear fuller, which creates a cosy and welcoming atmosphere in any room. Linings also help to preserve the beautiful decorative material you have chosen from the harsh effects of sunlight and mildew, which can quickly shorten the lifespan of window drapes.
The lining can also set curtains off to their best advantage, especially if you have chosen a rich colour or design that you love. When unlined curtains are drawn across a window, any natural or artificial light source outside can have a diluting effect on the colour and pattern of the material. A lining will prevent this washed out effect.
From the exterior of the house, lined curtains add an extra layer of privacy and reassurance that no one can see inside. When each window is hung with lined curtains, this will create a pleasing uniform appearance from the outside.
Choosing a heading style
The heading style of the curtain is the method by which it is attached to the pole or tracks. A common heading is the eyelet, which are simply evenly spaced holes across the curtain top, which can be threaded through a curtain pole. It is a very contemporary look, and means that the curtains can be hung with minimal effort and fuss.
Eyelet curtains lead to less bunching of the fabric, and the folds are gentle and even, so they are ideal for showing off patterns and prints.
Pencil pleat curtains are another very popular heading style. They create neat narrow folds across the curtain top, and are fixed to a track with a double row of hooks attached to a tape on the reverse. They ensure that the curtains are fitted closely to the window, so they are ideal for a blackout effect, or very cold rooms to minimise heat loss.
For those who like a more decorative or romantic effect, perhaps for a period property or a cosy country cottage, curtain swags are a wonderful accessory. They are pieces of fabric which are loosely slung over a curtain rod, or between tie-backs, to create a soft flowing frame which disguises the hanging method.
Swags are often seen draped around the frame of a four-poster bed, which can make it feel extra warm and cocoon-like! Another method for concealing the hanging method of the curtains, and adding extra privacy and insulation, is the valance. This is a box-like covering across the top of the curtains, which can be made from wood and draped in fabric.
Choosing a fabric
The fabric you choose will depend on what your priority is; light control, décor, insulation, and longevity. Many retailers will deliver free swatches so you can choose from several different types to get a feel of how they drape and filter the light. Remember that light fabrics will not fall as elegantly, and provide less insulation than thicker ones.